Every year I say it and every year I am flabbergasted by the lack of attention and notice that head coaches, coordinators and offensive and defensive systems get amongst fantasy football players. I will put it to you this way: Look at an NFL Team as you would a movie. A movie could have every famous actor and actress that you could imagine, but if the script is a piece of garbage then so too is that movie. Every team in the NFL uses a script. It is called a playbook.  If the playbook is sound and it suits the personnel taking part in its development well, the chances for success are high. But if you try and take Adam Sandler and put him in "The King's Speech," chances are it is going to fail. 

Head coaches are the directors of the film. They are the ones who build a staff, implement the systems and choose the actors who will bring their ideas to life. If a director doesn’t have a proper script, a vision of what they wish to see and a cast who will fulfill that prophecy the film is doomed to fail. 

Football is one of the only sports where it isn’t just about God given ability or even pure talent. Every player that steps out onto an NFL field is a historically amazing athlete. But if they don’t have a good script, good directors and aren’t a good fit with the rest of the cast, they just aren’t going to work out for the team or for your fantasy squad. 

With this in mind let’s take a closer look at each NFL teams coaching staff and see which tickets we’ll be purchasing this season. 

***A few notes about the breakdown. Each number you see is where that particular coach’s unit ranked in the NFL that season. Certain coaches that did not have play calling responsibilities were absolved from this list. Only the head coach and offensive play callers warrant consideration in fantasy football unless otherwise noted.***

Arizona Cardinals

Head Coach – Bruce Arians (4th Year)

Offensive Coordinator – Harold Goodwin (4th Year)

Defensive Coordinator – James Bettcher (2nd Year)

Offensive System: Air Coryell

Volume Report (Values refer to NFL rank in each category)

BRUCE ARIANS – HEAD COACH

Category

2013

2014

2015

Points

16th

24th

2nd

Total Yards

17th

19th

25th

Pass Attempts

17th

15th

19th

Pass Yards

13th

14th

2nd

Rushing Attempts

20th

24th

9th

Rushing Yards

23rd

31st

8th

 

HAROLD GOODWIN – OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR

Category

2013

2014

2015

Points

16th

24th

2nd

Total Yards

12th

24th

25th

Pass Attempts

17th

15th

19th

Pass Yards

13th

14th

2nd

Rushing Attempts

20th

24th

9th

Rushing Yards

23rd

31st

8th

Offense Breakdown: Arians runs the offense and has a pass-heavy playbook that results in good numbers for his QB’s. Legendary offensive coordinator Tom Moore is the assistant coach and basically the passing game coordinator. Harold Goodwin is more of an offensive line coach than true offensive coordinator. The Cardinals believe in a power run game setup to complement their wide-open passing attack. The Bruce Arians/Tom Moore way involves the QB having complete control of where he wants to deliver the football within the route tree. When you have a QB that changes his mind more often than directions the wind blows this leads to some major production fluctuations among the wide receivers.

The good news normally for fantasy owners is that Arians has preferred to utilize one RB as the main ball carrier. Last year was a great example of this. Despite significantly out producing Chris Johnson on the field, David Johnson was held to a backup and goal line role until an injury to CJ2K opened the door. This year, expect David Johnson to be the lead dog and Chris to play a backup or complementary role within the Cardinals' offense.

Players That Fit The System: Carson Palmer, David Johnson, John Brown, Larry Fitzgerald

Defensive System: 3-4

Defense Breakdown: It was unclear how the loss of Todd Bowles would affect the Cardinals' defense going into last season but they did not disappoint. The aggressive young James Bettcher proved to be a pass rush strategist and wizard in getting the most out of his linebackers. The Cardinals held opponents to significantly less yardage and created more turnovers than they ever did under Todd Bowles. This is a good scheme especially for fantasy where you have a great collection of players for DST and some of the best IDP players in the league.

Players That Fit The System – Tyrann Mathieu, Deone Bucannon, Calais Campbell

Atlanta Falcons

Head Coach – Dan Quinn (2nd Year)

Offensive Coordinator – Kyle Shanahan (2nd Year)

Defensive Coordinator – Richard Smith (2nd Year)

Offensive System: West Coast Offense

Volume Report (Values refer to NFL rank in each category)

DAN QUINN – HEAD COACH

Category

2013 (Seattle)

2014 (Seattle)

2015

Points

Def. Coordinator

Def. Coordinator

21st

Total Yards

Def. Coordinator

Def. Coordinator

20th

Pass Attempts

Def. Coordinator

Def. Coordinator

8th

Pass Yards

Def. Coordinator

Def. Coordinator

6th

Rushing Attempts

Def. Coordinator

Def. Coordinator

16th

Rushing Yards

Def. Coordinator

Def. Coordinator

18th

 

KYLE SHANAHAN – OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR

Category

2013 (Redskins)

2014 (Browns)

2015

Points

23rd

27th

21st

Total Yards

8th

4th

20th

Pass Attempts

9th

26th

8th

Pass Yards

16th

20th

6th

Rushing Attempts

13th

6th

16th

Rushing Yards

5th

17th

18th

Offense Breakdown: I told you in this space last year that Dan Quinn brought in Kyle Shanahan to run the offense and would have very little to do with that side of the ball. That is exactly what happened. I also said that Shanahan’s cut blocking run system was one of, if not the best in the NFL. Thus, this would be a great running game and that is exactly what happened. The Falcons took great measures to improve their offensive line this offseason and that means more big things for this running game. 

But as you will notice from the above breakdown, the Falcons did throw the ball a lot in 2015. They ranked in the top 10 in both pass attempts and pass yardage last year and that opened up another viable WR spot for fantasy purposes. Leonard Hankerson had a very solid run in the early part of last season before getting injured and falling out of favor with the coaching staff.

Players That Fit The System: Devonta Freeman, Tevin Coleman, Julio Jones, Mohamed Sanu

Defensive System: 4-3 With LEO Pass Rush

Defense Breakdown: The former Seahawks defensive gurus Dan Quinn and Richard Smith have now put together two very good drafts in back-to-back seasons and have this Falcons defense on the verge of mediocracy. This staff believes in building an outstanding secondary that can cover the entire route tree, take the ball away from receivers and make tackles in the open field. Thus, these are great defensive backs to target in your IDP leagues this season. 

Players That Fit The System – Keanu Neal, Vic Beasley, De’Vondre Campbell

Baltimore Ravens

Head Coach – John Harbaugh (9th Year)

Offensive Coordinator – Marc Trestman (2nd Year)

Defensive Coordinator – Dean Pees (5th Year)

Offensive System: West Coast Offense

Volume Report (Values refer to NFL rank in each category)

JOHN HARBAUGH – HEAD COACH

Category

2013

2014

2015

Points

25th

8th

25th

Pace

7th

13th

6th

Pass Attempts

8th

17th

1st

Pass Yards

18th

13th

8th

Rushing Attempts

18th

11th

26th

Rushing Yards

30th

8th

26th

 

MARC TRESTMAN – OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR

Category

2013 (Bears)

2014 (Bears)

2015

Points

28th

25th

25th

Pace

8th

21st

6th

Pass Attempts

16th

7th

1st

Pass Yards

5th

15th

8th

Rushing Attempts

24th

30th

26th

Rushing Yards

16th

27th

26th

Offense Breakdown: John Harbaugh is a fine assessor of talent but does not have a set system of his own on either side of the football. But Harbaugh has benefitted from an outstanding group of coordinators over the years, including six who have served as head coaches in Rex Ryan, Chuck Pagano, Cam Cameron, Gary Kubiak, Hue Jackson, Jim Caldwell and now Marc Trestman.

Trestman is more comfortable running a more open spread type of offense. But Harbaugh wanted to build on the success the team had under Gary Kubiak in 2014 and thus really placed the shackles on him last season. The offseason talk is that the Ravens will allow more of Trestman’s style into the playbook this season which would be very good news for the fantasy values of Joe Flacco, Justin Forsett, Kamar Aiken and the entire Ravens passing game. They kept the zone blocking or stretch zone running system which fits presumable starting RB Justin Forsett well.

Players That Fit The System: Joe Flacco, Justin Forsett, Kamar Aiken, Steve Smith

Defensive System: 3-4

Defense Breakdown: Dean Pees is a turnover guru who insists on his defenses taking the ball away and scoring once they do. They preach aggressiveness and accountability in Baltimore but this style worked much better when there were stars such as Ray Lewis and Ed Reed to lead it. The Ravens struggled in stopping the passing game last year and will have to both cover and rush the passer better in 2016. The good thing for fantasy owners is the Ravens are a team that can have a big week with their DST because they create turnovers and have players who can take it back to the house.

It should also be noted that special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg is a master in creating blocking schemes that often result in long returns. He is one of the better ST coaches in the league and the Ravens are known to pull off a few special teams trick plays each season. These usually have a very positive impact in DST fantasy scoring.

Players That Fit The System – Terrell Suggs, Kamalei Correa, Eric Weddle

Buffalo Bills

Head Coach – Rex Ryan (2nd Year)

Offensive Coordinator – Greg Roman (2nd Year)

Defensive Coordinator – Dennis Thurman (2nd Year)

Offensive System: West Coast Offense

Volume Report (Values refer to NFL rank in each category)

REX RYAN – HEAD COACH

Category

2013 (Jets)

2014 (Jets)

2015

Points

29th

28th

12th

Pace

15th

16th

26th

Pass Attempts

29th

27th

31st

Pass Yards

31st

32nd

28th

Rushing Attempts

5th

4th

2nd

Rushing Yards

6th

3rd

1st

 

GREG ROMAN– OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR

Category

2013 (49ers)

2014 (49ers)

2015

Points

11th

25th

12th

Pace

24th

20th

26th

Pass Attempts

32nd

29th

31st

Pass Yards

30th

30th

28th

Rushing Attempts

3rd

9th

2nd

Rushing Yards

3rd

4th

1st

Offense Breakdown: Rex Ryan is a good leader and head football coach. The problem with him is that he allows too many off the field distractions to take away from his ability to identify talent and build a scheme. Greg Roman is a very underrated offensive coordinator and needs to be in the discussion of best running game providers in the NFL.

Roman has developed his own offensive style which basically takes the best parts of the power/counter/trap running game along with a spread offense passing game and combines them into a zone-read option. This system creates headaches for defensive coordinators and personnel alike. It is extremely difficult for opposing defenses to solve what the goal of each play really is and to have the proper personnel on the field for it.

Both Ryan and Roman signed off on the very aggressive move of promoting Tyrod Taylor to the QB1 spot last year and the move paid off gangbusters. Taylor fits what Roman wants to do perfectly and when these stars align between player and offensive coordinator, great things happen for fantasy football. The Bills will run the heck out of the football and as we saw last year, it really doesn’t matter if it is LeSean McCoy, Karlos Williams or Mike Gillislee running the football for them.

Players That Fit The System: Tyrod Taylor, LeSean McCoy, Karlos Williams, Jonathan Williams

Defensive System: 3-4

Defense Breakdown: The defense is Rex Ryan’s baby with Dennis Thurman serving more as a defensive backs coach. This defensive style features a strong focus on pass rush and Ryan is a master at designing blitz packages and disguises. The infusion of young talent on this side of the ball should pay immediate dividends for the Bills. Rookies Shaq Lawson, Reggie Ragland and Adolphus Washington should play immediately for Buffalo and are likely among the next wave of IDP stars that both Ryan and Thurman have created.

Players That Fit The System – Stephon Gilmore, Marcell Dareus, Jerry Hughes, Reggie Ragland

Carolina Panthers

Head Coach – Ron Rivera (6th Year)

Offensive Coordinator – Mike Shula (4th Year)

Defensive Coordinator – Sean McDermott (6th Year)

Offensive System: Erhardt-Perkins Offense

Volume Report (Values refer to NFL rank in each category)

RON RIVERA – HEAD COACH

Category

2013

2014

2015

Points

18th

19th

1st

Pace

32nd

23rd

19th

Pass Attempts

30th

19th

27th

Pass Yards

29th

19th

24th

Rushing Attempts

7th

8th

1st

Rushing Yards

11th

7th

2nd

 

MIKE SHULA – OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR

Category

2013

2014

2015

Points

18th

19th

1st

Pace

32nd

23rd

19th

Pass Attempts

30th

19th

27th

Pass Yards

29th

19th

24th

Rushing Attempts

7th

8th

1st

Rushing Yards

11th

7th

2nd

Offense Breakdown: One Super Bowl appearance is not enough to disguise the fact that Mike Shula is one of the worst offensive coordinators in the entire NFL. He is so formulaic and simple minded it is retarding the growth of Cam Newton. When you have a weapon like Newton, you must build a system around him to allow his natural skills to fit the goal of the offense. Newton should be playing in a style of offense that provides him numerous read options and shorter quick pass plays. Instead, they run a very simplified offense that is easy to learn and operate. This is why you will see Cam bored at certain points in the season. Even though the Panthers tried to have more read-options last year they still only featured it 7 percent of the time despite having the single biggest weapon in the history of the NFL at their disposal.

The focus of the Carolina offense is a ball control philosophy that waits for the defense to put them in position to win. This hurts Cam Newton’s fantasy value quite a bit because he could be so much more in another style of offense. Now, Cam is still an elite level fantasy QB because of his ability to run over and around even the best LB’s in the league. But he has made great strides in his ability to keep the defense honest and make all the throws. He is such a weapon that it’s impossible to contain his fantasy production. But please keep in mind that this simple offense under Shula will put a lid on the ultimate success that Cam and the Panthers offense has.

Players That Fit The System: Greg Olsen, Jonathan Stewart

Defensive System: 4-3

Defense Breakdown: Ron Rivera and Sean McDermott have built one of the best young defenses in the NFL. On top of the skill, they scheme as well as anybody and maximize the use of their linebackers like few other teams. Linebackers in the Panthers' system need to be able to both rush the passer and also drop back into coverage to disrupt passing zones. This take great pressure off of their CB’s and safeties which was one reason why they didn’t want to pay the freight for Josh Norman this offseason. This is a great system for IDP league formats in which LB’s will rack up points on tackles, sacks and turnovers.

Players That Fit The System – Luke Kuechly, Thomas Davis, Kawaan Short, Shaq Thompson

Chicago Bears

Head Coach – John Fox (2nd Year)

Offensive Coordinator – Dowell Loggains (1st Year)

Defensive Coordinator – Vic Fangio (2nd Year)

Offensive System: Erhardt-Perkins

Volume Report (Values refer to NFL rank in each category)

JOHN FOX – HEAD COACH

Category

2013 (Broncos)

2014 (Broncos)

2015

Points

1st

2nd

23rd

Pace

4th

10th

21st

Pass Attempts

2nd

9th

25th

Pass Yards

1st

4th

23rd

Rushing Attempts

11th

12th

6th

Rushing Yards

15th

15th

11th

 

DOWELL LOGGAINS – OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR

Category

2013 (Titans)

2014 (Browns)

2015

Points

19th

QB COACH

QB COACH

Pace

14th

QB COACH

QB COACH

Pass Attempts

23rd

QB COACH

QB COACH

Pass Yards

21st

QB COACH

QB COACH

Rushing Attempts

10th

QB COACH

QB COACH

Rushing Yards

14th

QB COACH

QB COACH

Offense Breakdown: John Fox doesn’t involve himself much in the offensive side of the ball. He habitually trusts his offensive coordinator to manage and execute the offense. Last year’s offensive coordinator Adam Gase is the new head coach in Miami which leaves Dowell Loggains in charge of the Bears' offense. Loggains has spent the past two seasons as a QB coach and last called plays back in Tennessee in 2013. He has an absolutely horrible track record of developing QB’s, including ruining the careers of Kerry Collins, Vince Young, Matt Hasselbeck and Jake Locker.

The Bears' offense will likely be even more conservative this season as it was in this coaching regime's first season. That will mean more work for each of the RB’s, including fifth round pick Jordan Howard who will likely carve out a role. The Bears have a good amount of offensive firepower with Jay Cutler, Alshon Jeffery and Kevin White. But the shackles of Loggains' system will limit their fantasy output this season.

The important thing here is to identify which role these RB’s will have in 2016. Jeremy Langford, Howard, Ka’Deem Carey and Jacquizz Rodgers will all be battling for an identity within the offense. It’s unlikely that any of them, however, will be a regular fantasy contributor this season.

Players That Fit The System: Jeremy Langford, Jordan Howard, Zach Miller

Defensive System: 3-4 (4-0-4 Front)

Defense Breakdown: It’s going to be difficult for offenses to pick up what the Bears' defense is going to be putting down early on in the season. This scheme is as complicated as any in football and that usually leads to very successful defensive units. John Fox is a traditional 4-3 defensive setup guy but he has migrated into some 3-4 sets late in his time in Denver. He went out and hired a 3-4 guru in Vic Fangio who likes to use hybrid setups that fool the QB -- especially in his coverages.

The Bears are going to win or lose based on the success of their defense. They went out this offseason and acquired several key components that should help a unit that had become a laughing stock over the past few seasons. Their LB corps features three guys who can put their hand in the dirt on the line of scrimmage or drop back into coverage. This is great for IDP leagues because you can get some real cheap players like Pernell McPhee or Leonard Floyd who can be a source of tackles, sacks and turnovers for you on a weekly basis.  

Players That Fit The System – Danny Trevathan, Pernell McPhee, Lamarr Houston, Leonard Floyd, Jonathan Bullard

Cincinnati Bengals

Head Coach – Marvin Lewis (14th Season)

Offensive Coordinator – Ken Zampese (1st Season)

Defensive Coordinator – Paul Guenther (3rd Season)

Offensive System: West Coast Offense

Volume Report (Values refer to NFL rank in each category)

MARVIN LEWIS – HEAD COACH

Category

2013

2014

2015

Points

6th

15th

7th

Pace

24th

18th

29th

Pass Attempts

12th

25th

26th

Pass Yards

8th

21st

15th

Rushing Attempts

8th

5th

7th

Rushing Yards

18th

6th

13th

 

KEN ZAMPESE – OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR

Category

2013

2014

2015

Points

QB COACH

QB COACH

QB COACH

Pace

QB COACH

QB COACH

QB COACH

Pass Attempts

QB COACH

QB COACH

QB COACH

Pass Yards

QB COACH

QB COACH

QB COACH

Rushing Attempts

QB COACH

QB COACH

QB COACH

Rushing Yards

QB COACH

QB COACH

QB COACH

Offense Breakdown: The Bengals have lost a lot of coaching talent over the past few seasons with Hue Jackson being the latest casualty as he takes over the Cleveland Browns head coaching job. Ken Zampese assumes the role as offensive coordinator and he will try to emulate a foundation that has been passed on between Bob Bratkowski, Jay Gruden and Hue Jackson.

Zampese, of course, is the son of legendary offensive guru Ernie Zampese who is widely regarded as one of the best passing game architects ever. The elder Zampese was the assistant of Don Coryell and the two together created the pass-heavy system that is today referred to as “Air Coryell.” I have to believe that Ken Zampese has at least a little of his father’s offensive blood in him. So even if the Bengals try and run a similar west coast offense than they have over the past decade, I do see this system changing in the years to come. This means that I would put a little more stock on the passing game here in Cincinnati for keeper and dynasty league formats. In 2017, it very likely may be an “Air Coryell” system here in Cincinnati.

Although QB Andy Dalton thrived under Hue Jackson in his run-heavy system, Zampese is more of a passing game guy than his predecessor. More passing attempts will improve Dalton’s raw fantasy numbers but will most likely effect his efficiency. What this all means is that Dalton is unlikely to fall too far down the QB scoring leader board under his new offensive coordinator.

Players That Fit The System: Andy Dalton, A.J. Green, Giovani Bernard

Defensive System: 4-3

Defense Breakdown: Paul Guenther enjoyed more success in his second season as the Bengals DC than he did in his first. But he still hasn’t solved a major issue his system has in regards to coverage designs in three and four WR sets. The Bengals have been fortunate that the teams in their division haven’t had the personnel to really make them pay when their DB’s are thinned out, but when you see the offseason additions the Browns and Ravens have made you have to believe they are aware.

The Bengals' defensive line with a healthy Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap is next to impossible to run against. This side of the ball is loaded with talent but these guys are starting to get older and it is not a deep squad. Injuries could completely derail what is otherwise a likely top five NFL defense.

Players That Fit The System – Geno Atkins, Carlos Dunlap, Adam Jones

Cleveland Browns

Head Coach – Hue Jackson (1st Year)

Offensive Coordinator – None

Defensive Coordinator – Ray Horton (1st Year)

Offensive System: West Coast

Volume Report (Values refer to NFL rank in each category)

HUE JACKSON – HEAD COACH

Category

2011 (Raiders)

2014 (Bengals)

2015 (Bengals)

Points

16th

15th

7th

Pace

15th

18th

29th

Pass Attempts

22nd

25th

26th

Pass Yards

11th

21st

15th

Rushing Attempts

7th

5th

7th

Rushing Yards

7th

6th

13th

 

PEP HAMILTON – ASSOCIATE HEAD COACH

Category

2013 (Colts)

2014 (Colts)

2015 (Colts)

Points

14th

6th

24th

Pace

12th

9th

12th

Pass Attempts

15th

1st

9th

Pass Yards

17th

1st

22nd

Rushing Attempts

23rd

17th

21st

Rushing Yards

20th

22nd

29th

Offense Breakdown: Hue Jackson has been saddled with the impossible task of trying to rescue the Cleveland Browns from complete obscurity. While the mountain is high, I do believe that Jackson is exactly the kind of coach the team needs to get back on track. Jackson is a leader of men and a guy who is a great talent evaluator and offensive play caller.

He is going to install his tried and true west coach blend offense that relies much more on the running game than traditional west coast setups. Jackson thrives in play design where he builds blocking schemes that result in his offense having a favorable matchup on every play. What this means in a nutshell is that there will be more blockers to a certain side or quadrant of the field than the defense can account for. So, you’ll see more production out of even the most mediocre of running backs than in a normal system. You’ll also notice a fascination with WR’s and TE’s that can block.

Jackson will serve as his own offensive coordinator, a risk that has doomed many head coaches in the past. But he did bring over veteran offensive coordinator Al Saunders who has built some of the better passing offenses in NFL history. Saunders will coordinate the passing game for the most part and try to find throws that Robert Griffin III can make. Jackson also appointed former Colts OC Pep Hamilton as the associate head coach which means he will likely have much influence on that side of the ball.

Players That Fit The System: Duke Johnson, Isaiah Crowell, Corey Coleman

Defensive System: Multi Front (Mostly 3-4 Base)

Defense Breakdown: Ray Horton was the Browns' defensive coordinator back in 2013 and did a pretty good job. Although that was back when he had D’Qwell Jackson and Joe Haden in their prime. No such luck this time around, but Horton is a very innovative defensive mind that will squeeze the most out of whatever personnel he is given. What Horton’s defense does well is change formations on a dime. They will often line up in a traditional 3-4 set but then as the offense is making their reads, change out to a 4-3 or even 5-2 setup. Ideally he wants players who can do a multitude of things such as LB’s who can rush the passer and drop back in coverage. He also expects his DB’s to be proactive in the run game. This will be a huge problem with his current personnel in Cleveland.

Players That Fit The System – Emmanuel Ogbah, Carl Nassib, Paul Kruger

Dallas Cowboys

Head Coach – Jason Garrett (6th Year)

Offensive Coordinator – Scott Linehan (3rd Year)

Defensive Coordinator – Rod Marinelli (3rd Year)

Offensive System: Air Coryell

Volume Report (Values refer to NFL rank in each category)

JASON GARRETT – HEAD COACH

Category

2013

2014

2015

Points

5th

5th

31st

Pace

26th

32nd

32nd

Pass Attempts

13th

31st

23rd

Pass Yards

14th

16th

27th

Rushing Attempts

31st

3rd

18th

Rushing Yards

24th

2nd

19th

 

SCOTT LINEHAN – OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR

Category

2013

2014

2015

Points

13th

5th

31st

Pace

26th

32nd

32nd

Pass Attempts

5th

31st

23rd

Pass Yards

3rd

16th

27th

Rushing Attempts

14th

3rd

18th

Rushing Yards

17th

2nd

19th

Offense Breakdown: The Cowboys' offensive struggles last year were not a fault of the coaches. But it is curious that they continue to play at such a sluggish pace that they really allow these poor NFC East defenses to keep up with them by adjusting at the line of scrimmage.

What Scott Linehan does is recognize what the strengths are of his team and implements plays, tempo and play calling that maximize that productivity. He is an experienced offensive mind and has earned more of Jason Garrett’s trust over the last three years.

The Cowboys are going to run the football and will do so effectively no matter which player is carrying the football. They spent their first round pick ensuring that they will be able to run the football by grabbing the best RB in the draft in Ezekiel Elliott. They also signed Alfred Morris to ensure there is no loss of productivity even if injuries occur. The Cowboys are the chalk to lead the league in rushing behind an outstanding offensive line. But they will be able to regain their passing prowess as long as Tony Romo and Dez Bryant stay healthy.

Players That Fit The System:  Ezekiel Elliott, Darren McFadden, Tony Romo, Dez Bryant

Defensive System: 4-3

Defense Breakdown: Rod Marinelli is a defensive line specialist. He is good at developing the technique needed to get through and around blockers en route to the quarterback. His system features more rotations among the defensive line as well which helps keep the main guys fresh to finish out games which is when they are needed the most. The Cowboys have taken some major hits along the defensive line this offseason and thus Marineli’s system will be tested to its core to find and develop new pass rushers.

Players That Fit The System – Cedric Thornton, Sean Lee, Charles Tapper

Denver Broncos

Head Coach – Gary Kubiak (2nd Year)

Offensive Coordinator – Rick Dennison (2nd Year)

Defensive Coordinator – Wade Phillips (2nd Year)

Offensive System: West Coast

Volume Report

GARY KUBIAK – HEAD COACH

Category

2013 (Texans)

2014 (Ravens OC)

2015

Points

31st

8th

19th

Pace

13th

13th

11th

Pass Attempts

6th

17th

13th

Pass Yards

15th

13th

14th

Rushing Attempts

22nd

11th

17th

Rushing Yards

20th

8th

17th

 

RICK DENNISON – OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR

Category

2013 (Texans)

2014 (Ravens)

2015

Points

31st

QB Coach

19th

Pace

13th

QB Coach

11th

Pass Attempts

6th

QB Coach

13th

Pass Yards

15th

QB Coach

14th

Rushing Attempts

22nd

QB Coach

17th

Rushing Yards

20th

QB Coach

17th

Offense Breakdown: Gary Kubiak and Rick Dennison have worked together for many years dating back to their days with the Broncos back in the late 90’s. Their reunion in Denver last season was a monumental success despite an unforeseen QB controversy. This coaching staff was hired under the direction that they work with Peyton Manning who has served as his own offensive coordinator for most of his career. It was a very uneasy transition for all parties concerned but nevertheless resulted in a Super Bowl title.

Kubiak calls the plays while Dennison is in charge of running the patented cut-block system along the offensive line. This system has generated an incredible amount of fantasy production dating back to Terrell Davis, Orlandis Gary and Mike Anderson in the mid-to-late 1990’s. Understand that this Broncos offense will get back to a more traditional Kubiak/Dennison style which revolves around running the football. C.J. Anderson is in line to be a big comeback performer in terms of fantasy performance in 2016.

Although the passing offense will be much simpler this season, the Broncos have two extremely talented wide receivers that can create both before and after the catch. The volume of this passing offense will be lost but the output should still be strong. Mark Sanchez is capable of making the throws that he needs to in order to get these talented receivers the football. Do not overlook this fact.

Players That Fit The System: C.J. Anderson, DeVontate Booker, Emmanuel Sanders

Defensive System: 3-4

Defense Breakdown: Wade Phillips brought his tried and true 3-4 back to the Mile High City last season and he smashed the world with it. Phillips' system is unique in that he runs a one gap style which will have the LB’s such as DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller rushing the line of scrimmage much more often. As we all know, this resulted in huge seasons for both of them. The Broncos' biggest question mark on the defensive side of the ball is who will pick up for the departed Danny Trevathan and Malik Jackson? Fortunately, Wade Phillips remains and he has proven that his scheme makes great players and not the other way around. 

Players That Fit The System: DeMarcus Ware, Von Miller, Aqib Talib

Detroit Lions

Head Coach – Jim Caldwell (3rd Year)

Offensive Coordinator – Jim Bob Cooter (1st Year)

Defensive Coordinator – Teryl Austin (2nd Year)

Offensive System: Air Coryell

Volume Report (Values refer to NFL rank in each category)

JIM CALDWELL – HEAD COACH

Category

2013 (Ravens)

2014

2015

Points

25th

22nd

18th

Pace

7th

20th

24th

Pass Attempts

8th

11th

4th

Pass Yards

18th

12th

9th

Rushing Attempts

18th

25th

30th

Rushing Yards

30th

28th

32nd

 

JOE LOMBARDI – OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR

Category

2013 (Broncos)

2014 (Saints)

2015

Points

Offensive Assistant

QB Coach

18th

Pace

Offensive Assistant

QB Coach

24th

Pass Attempts

Offensive Assistant

QB Coach

4th

Pass Yards

Offensive Assistant

QB Coach

9th

Rushing Attempts

Offensive Assistant

QB Coach

30th

Rushing Yards

Offensive Assistant

QB Coach

32nd

Offense Breakdown: Jim Caldwell is not an X’s and O’s type of coach that brings any great scheme or new ideas to the table. He is a strong, steady leader who identifies with his players and becomes a mentor to them on and off the field. If you are one of those people who give heaping amounts of credit to former Indianapolis offensive coaches, then just stop reading here because you don’t understand football. Sorry but that is just the hard truth. Some may point to Caldwell’s run as the Ravens' offensive coordinator during their Super Bowl run in 2012. Again, this guy got incredibly lucky to be promoted when he was and to witness everything from defensive backs falling down to the power going out at the Superdome. As a head football coach, Jim Caldwell is a placeholder. He had success in his first year in Detroit but the team fell apart last year. From a fantasy perspective he is a complete zero as well.

The man who has the unenviable task of saving Caldwell’s job is new offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter. Jim Bob was an assistant with the Broncos in their record setting season of 2013. He also spent time with the Saints coaching Drew Brees. Thus, he’s been around enough elite talent to know how to utilize it. But his style is pass happy which is much closer to that of fired OC Joe Lombardi than it is to what Caldwell wants.

What Cooter plans to do is to push the pace of the Lions' offense as well as be aggressive down the field. He will continue the Lions' signature of throwing the football but will try to attack more down the field. His offense also rotates personnel more which means more RB’s and WR’s will have an opportunity to make an impact. The key for fantasy is to not invest in these role players. We cannot sustain a winning season on predicting when guys like Theo Riddick and Brandon Pettigrew will be useful.

Players That Fit The System: Matt Stafford, Golden Tate, Theo Riddick

Defensive System: 4-3

Defense Breakdown: Teryl Austin is a well-respected defensive mind that specializes on defensive back development. This is a very important aspect to Austin’s ability being in a division that features some of the best passing games in the NFL. The better his DB’s cover the better this underrated pass rush of Ziggy Ansah and Haloti Ngata will produce.

Players That Fit The System – Ezekiel Ansah, Darius Slay, Quandre Diggs

Green Bay Packers

Head Coach – Mike McCarthy (10th Year)

Associate Head Coach/Offense – Tom Clements (5th Year)

Offensive Coordinator – Edgar Bennett (2nd Year)

Defensive Coordinator – Dom Capers (8th Year)

Offensive System: West Coast

Volume Report (Values refer to NFL rank in each category)

MIKE MCCARTHY – HEAD COACH

Category

2013

2014

2015

Points

8th

1st

15th

Pace

11th

24th

10th

Pass Attempts

18th

20th

18th

Pass Yards

6th

8th

25th

Rushing Attempts

12th

14th

12th

Rushing Yards

7th

11th

12th

 

TOM CLEMENTS – OFFENSIVE PLAY CALLER

Category

2013

2014

2015

Points

8th

1st

15th

Pace

11th

24th

10th

Pass Attempts

18th

20th

18th

Pass Yards

6th

8th

25th

Rushing Attempts

12th

14th

12th

Rushing Yards

7th

11th

12th

Offense Breakdown: So the deal is that Mike McCarthy was bummed out that more of his assistant coaches weren’t getting looked at for many head coaching vacancies and thus decided to change things up. He promoted Tom Clements to Associate Head Coach/Offense and has given him play calling duties on game days as well. I said in this space last season that I was “freaked out” by this. Sure enough, McCarthy had to take back play calling duties for the final four games of the regular season.

When you have a successful formula as the Packers do on offense, it doesn’t make sense to shake it up with a job that is of such importance as play calling is. The company line going into 2016 is that Clements will once again call the offensive plays but with a better understanding of what McCarthy would like to do. The Packers have ran the ball much more than other seemingly high-powered offenses because once they get a lead they like to sit on the clock and the ball. This limits the upside of Aaron Rodgers and his receivers. Over the years he’s been able to overcome this, but it is definitely worth noting especially if you think that Green Bay will be playing with a lead most of 2016.

Players That Fit The System: Aaron Rodgers, Jordy Nelson, Eddie Lacy, Randall Cobb

Defensive System: 3-4

Defense Breakdown: Dom Capers is one of the best defensive minds in the league and handles everything from personnel decisions to play calling on the defensive side. Capers likes to put pressure on the QB and his defense is always on constant attack mode. This leads to plenty of sacks and turnovers which make the Packers a pretty consistent fantasy defense. The aggressiveness of Dom Capers' blitz heavy scheme does leave them vulnerable to the big play at times. The Packers have curiously loaded up on defensive backs in the draft the past few years which I am sure is a response to giving up too many big plays.

Players That Fit The System – Clay Matthews, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Quinten Rollins

Houston Texans

Head Coach – Bill O’Brien (3rd Year)

Offensive Coordinator – George Godsey (2nd Year)

Defensive Coordinator – Romeo Crennel (3rd Year)

Offensive System: Spread

Volume Report (Values refer to NFL rank in each category)

BILL O’BRIEN – HEAD COACH

Category

2011 (Patriots)

2014

2015

Points

3rd

14th

22nd

Pace

1st

14th

3rd

Pass Attempts

3rd

30th

10th

Pass Yards

2nd

24th

18th

Rushing Attempts

17th

1st

5th

Rushing Yards

20th

5th

15th

 

GEORGE GODSEY – OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR

Category

2013 (Patriots)

2014

2015

Points

TE Coach

QB Coach

22nd

Pace

TE Coach

QB Coach

3rd

Pass Attempts

TE Coach

QB Coach

10th

Pass Yards

TE Coach

QB Coach

18th

Rushing Attempts

TE Coach

QB Coach

5th

Rushing Yards

TE Coach

QB Coach

15th

Offense Breakdown: Bill O’Brien is at a crossroads of his tenure with the Texans. Coming off of a division title despite a 9-7 record, it can only go up or down for the third-year head coach. O’Brien is a very controlling and Napolean-like presence in all aspects of the Texans' plans. The front office spent big bucks to fill some of the shortcomings from a year ago namely finding them a QB (Brock Osweiler) and a lead RB (Lamar Miller). Any regression in 2016 will be a direct reflection of O’Brien and his staff.

The Texans run a domesticated spread offense in that they will line up in all different sets so as to disguise the play from the defense. For instance, the Texans will line up with 2 TE’s on almost half of their plays, only to have one move into the backfield and the other split out wide. This is the style that O’Brien and Josh McDaniels established in New England, only the Patriots have it down to a science whereas the Texans seemed almost confused at times by their own playbook. When you have to cycle through QB’s like used Klenex, though, that is bound to be the result.

The idea is for Osweiler to come in and be the Texans' version of an early career Tom Brady. That is, control the offense, limit mistakes and allow one of the best defenses to win them ball games. The Texans play at a very quick pace which obviously results in a lot of offensive plays. This is great for fantasy purposes as Osweiler, Miller and DeAndre Hopkins are in a great spot to rack up fantasy numbers.

Players That Fit The System: Brock Osweiler, DeAndre Hopkins, Lamar Miller

Defensive System: 3-4

Defense Breakdown: Romeo Crennel proved last year that he is still one of the better defensive coordinators in the league. Everybody know that J.J. Watt is one of the best defensive linemen in the NFL. But few understand that Crennel’s scheme was what has allowed him to get to the ball so darn often. Anybody who has watched what Crennel and his mentor Bill Belichick have done on defense over the past ten years knows that the 3-4 is just a base model for their defense. The fact is that they run an awful lot of 4-3 to match up with the ever increasing passing formations across the NFL these days. The system will be tested, though, early on as JJ Watt recovers from back surgery. They will need players like Jadeveon Clowney and Jeoffrey Pagan to step up and fill the void for however long it takes for Watt to get back to form.

Players That Fit The System – J.J. Watt, Vince Wilfork, Johnathan Joseph

Indianapolis Colts

Head Coach – Chuck Pagano (5th Year)

Offensive Coordinator – Rob Chudzinski (1st Year)

Defensive Coordinator – Ted Monachino (1st Year)

Offensive System: West Coast

Volume Report (Values refer to NFL rank in each category)

CHUCK PAGANO – HEAD COACH

Category

2013

2014

2015

Points

14th

6th

24th

Pace

12th

9th

12th

Pass Attempts

15th

1st

9th

Pass Yards

17th

1st

22nd

Rushing Attempts

23rd

17th

21st

Rushing Yards

20th

22nd

29th

 

ROB CHUDZINSKI – OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR

Category

2013 (Browns)

2014

2015

Points

27th

Associate HC

24th

Pace

5th

Associate HC

12th

Pass Attempts

1st

Associate HC

9th

Pass Yards

11th

Associate HC

22nd

Rushing Attempts

30th

Associate HC

21st

Rushing Yards

27th

Associate HC

29th

Offense Breakdown: Last year in this space I wrote “We are a year away from Pep Hamilton being fired and a real offensive coordinator being brought in to take Andrew Luck to the next level. The guy who will likely replace Hamilton, in my opinion, is already on the Colts coaching staff and that is Rob Chudzinski.” What do you know? That is exactly what happened. Hamilton is out as is defensive coordinator Greg Manusky. Chuck Pagano was retained, however, and has assembled a whole new staff.

Rob Chudzinski will have complete control of the Colts' offense. This is good for the Colts and great for fantasy owners. Chudzinski is a master at involving the TE and with Coby Fleener in New Orleans and Dwayne Allen resigned to a big deal, we know who the beneficiary will be.

Chud is going to put this offense on the shoulders of Andrew Luck. The Colts will be among the league leaders in pass attempts and yardage. Assuming Luck stays healthy, he’ll be back to being a top five fantasy performer as well. Dwayne Allen and Donte Moncrief are going to be the big breakouts of this system so target them in all of your drafts. 

Players That Fit The System: Andrew Luck, Dwayne Allen, Donte Moncrief

Defensive System: 3-4

Defense Breakdown: The Colts went out and hired longtime Ravens defensive coach Ted Monachino as their new defensive coordinator. Monachino has been the Ravens' linebackers coach for a years having mentored the likes of Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs and CJ Mosley. He’s going to keep the 3-4 base setup but will also feature multiple fronts depending on the situation. This should help spark a very poor pass rush over the last few years. There are very few interesting IDP players here other than D’Qwell Jackson and Vontae Davis.

Players That Fit The System – D’Qwell Jackson, Nate Irving and Vontae Davis

Jacksonville Jaguars

Head Coach – Gus Bradley (4th Year)

Offensive Coordinator – Greg Olson (2nd Year)

Defensive Coordinator – Todd Wash (1st Year)

Offensive System: Vanilla/West Coast

Volume Report (Values refer to NFL rank in each category)

GUS BRADLEY – HEAD COACH

Category

2013

2014

2015

Points

32nd

32nd

14th

Pace

6th

3rd

4th

Pass Attempts

11th

16th

12th

Pass Yards

22nd

31st

10th

Rushing Attempts

28th

28th

31st

Rushing Yards

31st

21st

27th

 

GREG OLSON – OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR

Category

2013 (Raiders)

2014 (Raiders)

2015

Points

24th

31st

14th

Pace

20th

8th

4th

Pass Attempts

25th

4th

12th

Pass Yards

24th

26th

10th

Rushing Attempts

16th

32nd

31st

Rushing Yards

12th

32nd

27th

Offense Breakdown: Let’s not mix messages. Greg Olson is historically one of the worst offensive coordinators of all time. Last year was the most successful any of his units have ever been and most of that production was a result of a defense that was so bad that all the Jags could do was send Blake Bortles back and wing it. If anything, the Jags were wise to bring in assistants like Doug Marrone and Nathaniel Hackett to help develop these young offensive players.

Gus Bradley stays out of the way when it comes to his offense. He chooses instead to let his offensive coordinator run that side of the ball and call all defensive plays. But as I said, Olson is among the least innovative coaches in the NFL.

The success of Blake Bortles, Allen Robinson and the entire Jaguars offense last year is going to lead fantasy owners to chase after that production here in 2016. This will very likely be a big mistake. If you look at the final numbers and where the Jags ranked in key categories last year, you will notice a complete lack of a running game and only a mediocre offensive output outside of fantasy. This all stems from the defense being so bad they were playing catch up most of last season. Assuming this defense improves and the Jags dedicate themselves to running the football, it would take a monumental effort out of Bortles and company to even match their 2015 production in fantasy football. 

Players That Fit The System: Allen Robinson, Blake Bortles, Chris Ivory

Defensive System: 4-3

Defense Breakdown: It’s do or die for Bradley and he has to know that coming into this season. Bob Babich is finally out as defensive coordinator and in is Mike Dempsey's (for all of you SXM listeners) look alike Todd Wash. Wash and Bradley have been together a long time dating back to their time at North Dakota State back in the early 2000’s. So if they are going to fail, they will go down together.

Bradley refuses to give up on the idea of building the Seahawks' defense here in northern Florida despite not having the horses in the secondary to even approach this feat. But an interesting thing happened in the draft this year. Florida State CB Jalen Ramsey fell to them with the fifth pick then they were able to land projected first round LB Myles Jack in the second round as well. Suddenly, with the additions of DE Malik Jackson and S Tashaun Gipson in free agency and the return of last year's first round pick in DE Dante Fowler, this unit appears to be among the more talented defenses in the AFC. A player like Ramsey makes this entire system come together because if the CB’s can handle man-to-man coverage it frees the LB’s and safeties up to execute the complex blitz packages that Bradley and Wash want to do.

Players That Fit The System – Jalen Ramsey, Malik Jackson, Tashaun Gipson

Kansas City Chiefs

Head Coach – Andy Reid (4th Year)

Offensive Coordinator – Brad Childress (1st Year)

Defensive Coordinator – Bob Sutton (4th Year)

Offensive System: West Coast

Volume Report (Values refer to NFL rank in each category)

ANDY REID – HEAD COACH

Category

2013

2014

2015

Points

6th

16th

9th

Pace

25th

29th

31st

Pass Attempts

20th

28th

29th

Pass Yards

24th

29th

30th

Rushing Attempts

15th

16th

13th

Rushing Yards

10th

10th

6th

 

BRAD CHILDRESS – OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR

Category

2010 (Vikings)

2012 (Browns)

2013-2015

Points

29th

24th

Spread Game Analyst

Pace

25th

8th

Spread Game Analyst

Pass Attempts

21st

13th

Spread Game Analyst

Pass Yards

26th

19th

Spread Game Analyst

Rushing Attempts

12th

24th

Spread Game Analyst

Rushing Yards

10th

24th

Spread Game Analyst

Offense Breakdown: Andy Reid’s offense has ranked in the top half of the NFL in all but four of his 17 seasons as a head coach in the NFL. Reid runs a modern version of a balanced west coast system. His system is built around a dynamic all-purpose RB and a QB that limits mistakes and moves the chains. With those two elements in place and an offensive line that creates room, the Chiefs' offense will move the ball. Jamaal Charles is the focus of this offense and as long as he stays healthy he’ll be a top five RB in fantasy football.

With Doug Pederson moving on to become the head coach in Philadelphia, longtime Reid assistant and former Vikings head coach Brad Childress will step in to run the offense. Childress has spent the last few seasons being the Chiefs' spread game analyst. The Chiefs under Andy Reid’s direction have taken a liking to the analytical side of the game. They have stat nerd Mike Frazier and sports science guru Ryan Reynolds leading the analytics department.

This kind of innovative coaching will allow the Chiefs to maximize production out of their players. We saw it translate last season, in fact, as guys like Alex Smith, Jeremy Maclin, Charcandrick West, Spencer Ware, Justin Houston, Tamba Hali and Derrick Johnson each had amazing production despite a lack of volume or skill. This will make them better fantasy players despite our common perception that only those exceptional athletes or large volume players tend to produce in the fantasy game. 

Players That Fit The System: JaMaal Charles, Alex Smith, Jeremy Maclin, Spencer Ware

Defensive System: 3-4

Defense Breakdown:  The defense is led by former Army head coach Bob Sutton who was a longtime assistant for the Jets. This group started off soft but just as they did in 2014, they got really good by the end of last season ranking third in the league in points against and seventh in yards against. What is amazing is that the Chiefs are able to generate pressure on the QB regularly by only rushing four. They use their LB’s to get into passing lanes and break up the QB’s rhythm. After two seasons of watching them get better and better every week, I am convinced that their devotion to analytics is paying off more on the defensive side of the ball than we give them credit for.

Players That Fit The System – Justin Houston, Tamba Hali, Marcus Peters

Los Angeles Rams

Head Coach – Jeff Fisher (4th Year)

Offensive Coordinator – Rob Boras (1st Year)

Defensive Coordinator – Gregg Williams (3rd Year)

Offensive System: West Coast

Volume Report (Values refer to NFL rank in each category)

JEFF FISHER – HEAD COACH

Category

2013

2014

2015

Points

21st

21st

29th

Pace

21st

26th

22nd

Pass Attempts

28th

23rd

30th

Pass Yards

27th

23rd

32nd

Rushing Attempts

17th

26th

14th

Rushing Yards

19th

20th

7th

 

ROB BORAS – OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR

Category

2013

2014

2015

Points

TE Coach

TE Coach

TE Coach

Pace

TE Coach

TE Coach

TE Coach

Pass Attempts

TE Coach

TE Coach

TE Coach

Pass Yards

TE Coach

TE Coach

TE Coach

Rushing Attempts

TE Coach

TE Coach

TE Coach

Rushing Yards

TE Coach

TE Coach

TE Coach

Offense Breakdown: How can three offensive coordinators in three years be wrong? It is unclear if Jeff Fisher actually knows what he wants to accomplish here with the Rams or if he is just throwing darts. It’s also fuzzy whether he was ever a good football coach or just a guy that’s hid behind a small market and lack of premium talent his whole career.

All of those excuses are crumbling down and it is going to be time for a Jeff Fisher team to start producing or for him to move out and let somebody else do the trick. With the move to Los Angeles, the Rams will have as much capital as any team in football. They also traded up for the No. 1 overall pick which they used to select franchise QB hopeful Jared Goff. With Goff and last year’s Rookie of the Year Todd Gurley in tow, there are no more excuses left for this offense not to produce. 

The Rams promoted TE coach Rob Boras, a guy who grew up in the next town over from me, to offensive coordinator. Considering he has never called a play at any level of football ever, this seems like a big reach for a team that needs to win now. Boras will be in charge of developing Goff and in running a conservative offense that controls the football and keeps the defense fresh. You can expect a whole lot of Todd Gurley on the ground and gimmick passes to Tavon Austin to be the backbone of the Rams' offense in 2016.

Players That Fit The System: Todd Gurley, Tavon Austin, Tyler Higbee

Defensive System:4-3

Defense Breakdown: I’ve been on this Rams defense each of the past two seasons and despite some rough starts they have not let me down. There is a stigma surrounding defensive coordinator Gregg Williams because of his bountygate past in New Orleans but what is often lost is that he is a very good defensive strategist. Williams is a blitz heavy play caller but really doesn’t need to with Robert Quinn, Aaron Donald and William Hayes in place along the front four. This makes his scheme even more dangerous to opposing QB’s and passing games. With John Fassel in place as special teams coordinator, Tavon Austin as primary return man, the Rams are once again poised to be one of, if not the best DST for fantasy football in 2016. 

Players That Fit The System – Robert Quinn, Aaron Donald, William Hayes, Trumaine Johnson

Miami Dolphins

Head Coach – Adam Gase (1st Year)

Offensive Coordinator – Clyde Christensen (1st Year)

Defensive Coordinator – Vance Joseph (1st Year)

Offensive System: Air Coryell

Volume Report (Values refer to NFL rank in each category)

ADAM GASE – HEAD COACH

Points

1st

2nd

23rd

Pace

4th

10th

21st

Pass Attempts

2nd

9th

25th

Pass Yards

1st

4th

23rd

Rushing Attempts

11th

12th

6th

Rushing Yards

15th

15th

11th

Points

1st

2nd

23rd

 

CLYDE CHRISTENSEN – OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR

Category

2010 (Colts OC)

2011 (Colts OC)

2012-15 (Colts)

Points

4th

28th

QB Coach

Pace

1st

2nd

QB Coach

Pass Attempts

1st

21st

QB Coach

Pass Yards

1st

27th

QB Coach

Rushing Attempts

28th

29th

QB Coach

Rushing Yards

29th

26th

QB Coach

Offense Breakdown: No team in the NFL needed a complete makeover more than the Miami Dolphins. I’ve wasted so much space in these write-ups the past few years explaining just how bad Joe Philbin was and I am very thankful that those days are over. Adam Gase is a coach with a lot of hype surrounding him but if you dig deep enough you’ll see that there isn’t a lot of substance here, either. He hit the jackpot when Peyton Manning decided to come to Denver and save the Broncos and Gase from what would have been the Tim Tebow Era. Manning went out and made history while Gase was given a lot of the credit. But as anybody that understands football knows, Peyton Manning was his own offensive coordinator.

Gase hired former Colts OC Clyde Christensen to be his offensive coordinator and I am sure that both men are hoping that Ryan Tannehill can show them half of the effort and production that they had when each coached Peyton Manning. Gase will call the plays for the Dolphins in Year 1. The biggest question here is whether they are going to continue to run the zone blocking scheme that the previous regime had installed or go back to what Gase is familiar with in the man blocking scheme. Gase likes to use two TE’s on the field and ran plays during OTA’s that suggest this will be a staple. If so, that points to a power running scheme. However, the signing of Arian Foster, one of the most accomplished zone blocking runners of all time suggest they will keep this system for at least 2016. 

As of now, I am ranking Foster and others in this Dolphins offense as if they will be running the zone blocking system. If and when things change, I will update both the rankings and this writeup. I expect more read-option out of this Dolphins offense, perhaps combining this with their longer downfield pass routes which could ideally spread out the defense and leave big chunks of yardage open for the taking. Either way, this offense will benefit from having a stable NFL quality system and coaches who know how to develop players into winners both on and off the field. 

Players That Fit The System: Ryan Tannehill, Jarvis Landry, Arian Foster

Defensive System: 4-3

Defense Breakdown: The hiring of Vance Joseph was a solid one by Adam Gase. Joseph has spent much of his post playing career coaching in the college ranks where he developed a strong understanding for identifying with his players and playing to their strengths. Considering he has played in and coached some very good 3-4 defenses, Joseph has gone with a 4-3 setup here in Miami simply because that is the personnel he has. He has admitted that the Dolphins will play some multi-front this year depending on the matchups and that is what wins in today’s NFL. Any system can be broken these days. This Dolphins defense has "breakout" written all over them. I would not be surprised if they were a top five DST across the board here in 2016. 

Players That Fit The System – Ndamukong Suh, Cameron Wake, Kiko Alonso

Minnesota Vikings

Head Coach – Mike Zimmer (3rd Year)

Offensive Coordinator – Norv Turner (3rd Year)

Defensive Coordinator – George Edwards (3rd Year)

Offensive System: Air Coryell

Volume Report (Values refer to NFL rank in each category)

MIKE ZIMMER – HEAD COACH

Category

2013 (Bengals)

2014

2015

Points

Def. Coordinator

20th

16th

Pace

Def. Coordinator

17th

27th

Pass Attempts

Def. Coordinator

22nd

32nd

Pass Yards

Def. Coordinator

28th

31st

Rushing Attempts

Def. Coordinator

18th

4th

Rushing Yards

Def. Coordinator

14th

4th

 

NORV TURNER – OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR

Category

2013 (Browns)

2014

2015

Points

27th

20th

16th

Pace

5th

17th

27th

Pass Attempts

1st

22nd

32nd

Pass Yards

11th

28th

31st

Rushing Attempts

30th

18th

4th

Rushing Yards

27th

14th

4th

Offense Breakdown: There are few systems in the NFL that are as tried and true as Norv Turner’s take on Air Coryell. What works for Turner time after time is that he knows that for this mid-to-deep passing game he needs a few key elements. First and foremost, it needs a strong offensive line that can get space off the line of scrimmage for the RB to run through. Turner has gotten amazing fantasy production out of such random RB’s as LaMont Jordan, Stephen Davis, Terry Allen and Jackie Battle. Even an aging Adrian Peterson is a terrific fit for the Vikings and especially for fantasy owners. 

This system also needs a couple of big WR’s who can get downfield and make plays on contested pass attempts. They had hoped that Mike Wallace and Charles Johnson would fit the mold last season but both failed miserably. Stefon Diggs had a nice midseason run but was revealed as a one-trick pony. They hope that Laquon Treadwell can be that big downfield WR that they have been searching for since this regime took over. Even so, there is only so much that can be made in this passing offense so long as Teddy Bridgewater is the QB.

Players That Fit The System: Adrian Peterson, Laquon Treadwell, Kyle Rudolph

Defensive System: 4-3

Defense Breakdown: Defensive coordinator George Edwards has been successful in developing linebackers and that is his background. Zimmer will continue to handle the defensive setup and play calling this year, however. He will use variations of both a 4-3 and 3-4 system depending on the situation. He is an artist when it comes to planning a scheme against an offensive opponent mostly because he isn’t afraid to use his personnel in a variety of ways. Players on his defense had better be able to play against the run or the pass and DB’s have to possess the ability to play both sides of the field.  

Players That Fit The System – Anthony Barr, Harrison Smith, Everson Griffen

New England Patriots

Head Coach – Bill Belichick (17th Year)

Offensive Coordinator – Josh McDaniels (5th Year)

Defensive Coordinator – Matt Patricia (5th Year)

Offensive System: Spread

Volume Report (Values refer to NFL rank in each category)

Bill BELICHICK – HEAD COACH

Category

2013

2014

2015

Points

3rd

4th

3rd

Pace

3rd

2nd

9th

Pass Attempts

7th

7th

5th

Pass Yards

10th

9th

5th

Rushing Attempts

9th

13th

25th

Rushing Yards

9th

18th

30th

 

JOSH MCDANIELS – OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR

Category

2013

2014

2015

Points

3rd

4th

3rd

Pace

3rd

2nd

9th

Pass Attempts

7th

7th

5th

Pass Yards

10th

9th

5th

Rushing Attempts

9th

13th

25th

Rushing Yards

9th

18th

30th

Offense Breakdown: When they are not blatantly cheating, the Patriots are among the most innovative offensive systems in the NFL. Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels will create personnel mismatches on offense much like Bill Belichick has made a career out of on defense. The greatness here is that the Patriots can and will line up in anything from a five wide spread formation to a two TE jumbo package. They acquire and utilize personnel better than any other coaching staff in the NFL.

Belichick won’t allow his system to get stale. He is continuously changing schemes in order to adjust to personnel and to how the opposition is matching up. You had better believe that Belichick and McDaniels understand that in order to save Tom Brady from getting hit and to give his defense a breather, they will need to run the ball more. This is still a spread offense but one that will adjust play-to-play depending on the tempo and tone of the game.

For fantasy purposes, if you plan on owning a Patriots player or two you absolutely must be able to understand how this coaching staff will attack each opponent every week. If you think that you can just use one of their RB’s or WR’s every week you are going to be sorely mistaken. If you are not good at anticipating how teams will attack each other, you should stay away from the Patriots no matter how delicious they may look on draft day.

Players That Fit The System: Tom Brady, Julian Edelman, Rob Gronkowski, Dion Lewis, Martellus Bennett

Defensive System: 4-3 Hybrid/Multi Front

Defense Breakdown: To say that the Patriots defense fits into any one particular scheme is not realistic. This is a scheme that will jump in and out of sets and coverages in order to lure the offense into making mistakes. They are very good and making QB’s believe they have figured something out only to be jumped as if they knew it was coming. Belichick is one of the all-time great defensive strategists. He gets more out of less than any other coach in the NFL.

Over the past few seasons, though, the Patriots have lost quite a bit of players to free agency causing them to have to reload year after year which really tests the greatness of coaches. The secondary is in the midst of a total rebuild and yet they were still able to make enough plays to get them to the AFC Championship Game last season.

Players That Fit The System – Jabaal Sheard, Dont’a Hightower, Devin McCourty

New Orleans Saints

Head Coach – Sean Payton (11th Year)

Offensive Coordinator – Pete Carmichael (8th Year)

Defensive Coordinator – Dennis Allen (3rd Year)

Offensive System: Air Coryell

Volume Report (Values refer to NFL rank in each category)

SEAN PAYTON – HEAD COACH

Category

2013

2014

2015

Points

10th

9th

8th

Pace

27th

5th

13th

Pass Attempts

4th

2nd

2nd

Pass Yards

2nd

3rd

1st

Rushing Attempts

26th

19th

20th

Rushing Yards

25th

13th

24th

 

PETE CARMICHAEL – OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR

Category

2013

2014

2015

Points

10th

9th

8th

Pace

27th

5th

13th

Pass Attempts

4th

2nd

2nd

Pass Yards

2nd

3rd

1st

Rushing Attempts

26th

19th

20th

Rushing Yards

25th

13th

24th

Offense Breakdown: Sean Payton is one of the brightest offensive minds in the NFL and he continues to be on the forefront of the latest innovations in formations and play calling in the NFL. This system is a timing-based system in which Drew Brees basically picks an open spot on the field to throw to and the receiver’s job is to get there without breaking stride. This system can look impeccable when run correctly or lead to a ton of turnovers if the QB and receivers are not on the same page. Hence the WR production from the burners will rise and fall dramatically from week to week.

Payton still calls all of the plays and Carmichael does more of the advanced scouting and preparation for QB Drew Brees. Unlike most coordinator sidekicks, Carmichael is actually a very astute planner and manager of talent. He did well in calling the plays for the Saints during Sean Payton’s one year suspension back in 2012. The Saints finished second in the NFL in yards per game that year and third in points per game as well. This is a very talented group that can and will develop stars and fantasy producers from players you would normally think of as average NFL talents.

Players That Fit The System: Drew Brees, Brandin Cooks, Michael Thomas

Defensive System: Multi Front

Defense Breakdown: The Saints punted Rob Ryan who was buried in New Orleans with a high-profile offense and an exceptional lack of defensive talent. Dennis Allen replaces Ryan and is much more of a teacher and developer of defensive talent than Ryan was. This will be a good start for a young defense in need of a fresh start.

I have long said that bad defenses are actually good sources of cheap IDP points because so many flock toward players on better defenses. But if you think about it, bad defenses are on the field more and thus generate more volume. And as we always talk about, the more plays a player is on the field the more fantasy points they accumulate. There is some very fine young talent on the Saints defense believe it or not so don’t make a mistake and ignore them in all of your IDP leagues.

Players That Fit The System – Kenny Vaccaro, Sheldon Rankins, Vonn Bell

New York Giants

Head Coach – Ben McAdoo (1st Year)

Offensive Coordinator – Mike Sullivan (1st Year)

Defensive Coordinator – Steve Spagnuolo (1st Year)

Offensive System: West Coast/Up Tempo

Volume Report (Values refer to NFL rank in each category)

BEN MCADOO – HEAD COACH

Category

2012-2013

2014

2015

Points

QB Coach

13th

6th

Pace

QB Coach

7th

2nd

Pass Attempts

QB Coach

9th

7th

Pass Yards

QB Coach

7th

7th

Rushing Attempts

QB Coach

10th

19th

Rushing Yards

QB Coach

23rd

19th

 

MIKE SULLIVAN – OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR

Category

2012 (Bucs)

2013 (Bucs)

2015

Points

13th

30th

QB Coach

Pace

22nd

23rd

QB Coach

Pass Attempts

13th

26th

QB Coach

Pass Yards

10th

32nd

QB Coach

Rushing Attempts

18th

21st

QB Coach

Rushing Yards

15th

22nd

QB Coach

Offense Breakdown: I was not a big Tom Coughlin guy but he was incredibly successful in New York and was treated terribly on the way out. What basically happened in New York was a coup where the assistants all remained but the leader was executed. 

So, Ben McAdoo takes over the lead role here and will keep his offensive scheme and call all of the plays on game day. He brings in Mike Sullivan who was Eli Manning’s QB coach last season and spent a few years coordinating the offense in Tampa Bay. Sullivan is a west coast guy as is McAdoo. But the system they ran last year featured a lot of up-tempo pace and many spread elements as well.

The quick pace tells us that no matter whether good or bad Eli Manning shows up on a weekly basis, the volume will provide us plenty of fantasy points. McAdoo claims that he wants to give Rashad Jennings 15-plus touches per game this season but until they rid themselves of short yardage guys like Andre Williams and pass catching RB’s like Shane Vereen, I cannot believe this to be true.

Players That Fit The System: Eli Manning, Odell Beckham, Sterling Shepard

Defensive System: 4-3

Defense Breakdown: Spagnuolo is a New York favorite and will once again run his 4-3 setup with a lot more blitz packages back to the Giants. Spagnuolo’s defensive philosophy is to distract the passer while the rush is coming going as far as to literally bait a QB into a potential big play down the field just so that his pass rushers have an extra second to make a play. From a fantasy perspective, if you are in an IDP league, Spagnuolo likes to use his DB’s as pass rushers at times which adds to their value quite a bit.

Players That Fit The System – Janoris Jenkins, Olivier Vernon, Landon Collins

New York Jets

Head Coach – Todd Bowles (2nd Year)

Offensive Coordinator – Chan Gailey (2nd Year)

Defensive Coordinator – Kacy Rodgers (2nd Year)

Offensive System: Spread

Volume Report (Values refer to NFL rank in each category)

TODD BOWLES – HEAD COACH

Category

2013 (Cardinals)

2014 (Cardinals)

2015

Points

Def. Coordinator

Def. Coordinator

11th

Pace

Def. Coordinator

Def. Coordinator

16th

Pass Attempts

Def. Coordinator

Def. Coordinator

15th

Pass Yards

Def. Coordinator

Def. Coordinator

13th

Rushing Attempts

Def. Coordinator

Def. Coordinator

10th

Rushing Yards

Def. Coordinator

Def. Coordinator

10th

 

CHAN GAILEY – OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR

Category

2011 (Bills)

2012 (Bills)

2015

Points

14th

21st

11th

Pace

24th

26th

16th

Pass Attempts

10th

23rd

15th

Pass Yards

15th

25th

13th

Rushing Attempts

27th

13th

10th

Rushing Yards

13th

6th

10th

Offense Breakdown: Todd Bowles is best known as a developer of defensive backs and anti-passing game strategist. He doesn’t concern himself much with the offensive side of the football as he leaves that entirely to his offensive coordinator Chan Gailey.

Gailey has been on the cutting edge of NFL offense since the late 1990’s. He runs a very unique style of offense that in most ways is a spread offense. But, unlike most spread systems, he utilizes a very basic route running tree that makes it relatively simple for both QB and WR’s. "The Pistol," as it has become known around the league, utilizes a lot of shotgun which Gailey believes gives his QB’s an extra couple of seconds to make the proper reads. This system also calls for a decent amount of running plays to begin from the shotgun formation. He has been able to squeeze a lot of production out of players like Tyler Thigpen and Ryan Fitzpatrick and thus it is hard to argue against this scheme.

Gailey chose a zone blocking scheme here in New York, something he has done effectively in his last few stops. His offense will rarely line up in the same manner in which the ball is snapped. There is a lot of motion among the offensive line in order to gain knowledge of what the defense is doing. This style requires athletes all along the offensive line because there are a lot of pulling of the guards and moving pockets. This type of running game actually suits both Matt Forte and Bilal Powell very well. It is going to be difficult once again to slow down this Jets offense with all of the formations and weapons at their disposal.

Players That Fit The System: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Matt Forte, Brandon Marshall, Bilal Powell

Defensive System: 3-4

Defense Breakdown: Head coach Todd Bowles runs the defense along side Kacy Rodgers. Rodgers is a terrific developer of defensive line talent and he will focus on that and generating pass rush while Bowles runs secondary coordination. Bowles will employ his aggressive coverage style on the secondary in which they like to blitz and swap coverage mid play. The Jets squandered their shot at the AFC playoffs a year ago but this defense is poised to not allow that to happen again. 

Players That Fit The System – Darrelle Revis, Muhammad Wilkerson, Leonard Williams

Oakland Raiders

Head Coach – Jack Del Rio (2nd Year)

Offensive Coordinator – Bill Musgrave (2nd Year)

Defensive Coordinator – Ken Norton Jr. (2nd Year)

Offensive System: West Coast

Volume Report (Values refer to NFL rank in each category)

JACK DEL RIO – HEAD COACH

Category

2010 (Jaguars)

2011 (Jaguars)

2015

Points

18th

28th

17th

Pace

26th

18th

17th

Pass Attempts

31st

28th

14th

Pass Yards

27th

32nd

16th

Rushing Attempts

3rd

4th

29th

Rushing Yards

3rd

12th

28th

 

BILL MUSGRAVE – OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR

Category

2012 (Vikings)

2013 (Vikings)

2015

Points

14th

14th

17th

Pace

9th

9th

17th

Pass Attempts

28th

20th

14th

Pass Yards

31st

23rd

16th

Rushing Attempts

8th

18th

29th

Rushing Yards

2nd

8th

28th

Offense Breakdown: Since Jon Gruden left Oakland after 2001, the Raiders have run out a who’s who of absolute nightmares as head coaches. There was one Hue Jackson season sprinkled in amongst the nonsense but otherwise this is a Hall of Fame of Dumpster fire coaches. Jack Del Rio is a strong defensive-minded coach that will also motivate his players on the offensive side of the ball. He knows what it takes to develop football players, not athletes as some coaches do.

The offense will be firmly in the hands of veteran coach Bill Musgrave who rejoins Del Rio after the two spent two years together in Jacksonville back in 2003-04. Musgrave is an old fashioned west coast guy but he did spend a season coaching QB’s under Chip Kelly in Philadelphia. I was hopeful that he would roll in more up-tempo pace settings in Oakland but that just wasn’t the case last season. Musgrave gets a lot of credit in NFL circles for developing Matt Ryan during his first three years in the league and also squeezing the most out of veteran guys like Byron Leftwich, Steve Beurlein, Jeff George and Mark Brunell. He worked well with Derek Carr last year and we saw a very nice step forward with him. The interesting thing about Musgrave’s offenses over the years is that they have produced some outstanding individual performances from RB’s including Adrian Peterson’s 2,097 season of 2012 and the two best years of Fred Taylor’s career.

The Raiders just didn’t run the ball much in 2015. But I wouldn’t completely write off their RB’s this season. You have a very defensive-minded coach who has a high volume of rushing attempts on his resume as a head coach and a coordinator who has been a part of some dynamic rushing seasons. These circumstances are what usually define the term “sleeper.” 

Players That Fit The System: Derek Carr, Latavius Murray, Amari Cooper

Defensive System: 4-3 (Some Multi Front)

Defense Breakdown: Del Rio still believes in the 4-3 base defense though he, like many of the better defensive minds in the game, moves his personnel in and out of different setups through the game. Ken Norton Jr. could be one of the best defensive coordinators in football in a couple of years. He is going to be pivotal in developing this young LB corps in Khalil Mack, Shilique Calhoun and Ben Heeney. I expect a huge step forward out of this unit together and individually. They are going to surprise a lot of people. 

Players That Fit The System – Khalil Mack, Bruce Irvin, Karl Joseph

Philadelphia Eagles

Head Coach – Doug Pederson (1st Year)

Offensive Coordinator – Frank Reich (1st Year)

Defensive Coordinator – Jim Schwartz (1st Year)

Offensive System: West Coast

Volume Report (Values refer to NFL rank in each category)

DOUG PEDERSON – HEAD COACH

Category

2013 (Chiefs)

2014 (Chiefs)

2015 (Chiefs)

Points

6th

16th

9th

Pace

25th

29th

31st

Pass Attempts

20th

28th

29th

Pass Yards

24th

29th

30th

Rushing Attempts

15th

16th

13th

Rushing Yards

10th

10th

6th

 

FRANK REICH – OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR

Category

2013 (Chargers)

2014 (Chargers)

2015 (Chargers)

Points

QB Coach

17th

26th

Pace

QB Coach

28th

14th

Pass Attempts

QB Coach

14th

3rd

Pass Yards

QB Coach

10th

4th

Rushing Attempts

QB Coach

23rd

22nd

Rushing Yards

QB Coach

30th

31st

Offense Breakdown: I will be fascinated by all of the attention the Eagles will get in fantasy this season despite Chip Kelly’s up-tempo system being gone. You see, Kelly’s offense would generate so many more plays than other teams that it kept defenses on their heels and simply provided his players with more opportunities to produce.

So enter Doug Pederson as the new head coach. You know what that means? Basically that means that Andy Reid is back in town because Pederson has been Reid’s right hand man for much of the past decade. He will install a similar west coast offense and thus will be dependent on his pass catching RB the way Reid’s offenses have always been.

The interesting thing here is that Pederson never called plays for the Chiefs. He claims that he will “work with” offensive coordinator Frank Reich on who calls the plays on game day. That sounds like a complete catastrophe in the making to my ears. Nevertheless, the Eagles traded away RB DeMarco Murray and brought in Reich who was with the Chargers in Ryan Mathews' breakout season of 2013. That tells me all I need to know about how they feel about Mathews and his likely fantasy value this season.

Players That Fit The System: Ryan Mathews, Wendell Smallwood, Nelson Agholor

Defensive System: 4-3

Defense Breakdown:  Say what you will about Jim Schwartz, but he is one hell of a defensive coordinator. He sat out last season which he claims helped him sit back and understand what opposing offenses are trying to do better. Schwartz will also change out the Eagles' 3-4 style defense with his signature 4-3. This is a much better system for the Eagles as they can use their numbers to attack the passer while holding an extra LB back in coverage. Schwartz emphasizes turnovers and preaches stripping the ball loose upon every tackle opportunity.

The good news for IDP leagues is that several of the Eagles' LB’s will go back to playing their natural positions at DE which will give them dual eligibility during the season. 

Players That Fit The System – Connor Barwin, Fletcher Cox, Leodis McKelvin

Pittsburgh Steelers

Head Coach – Mike Tomlin (9th Year)

Offensive Coordinator – Todd Haley (4th Year)

Defensive Coordinator – Keith Butler (2nd Year)

Offensive System: Erhardt-Perkins

Volume Report (Values refer to NFL rank in each category)

MIKE TOMLIN – HEAD COACH

Category

2013

2014

2015

Points

16th

7th

4th

Pace

22nd

22nd

15th

Pass Attempts

13th

6th

16th

Pass Yards

12th

2nd

3rd

Rushing Attempts

25th

15th

24th

Rushing Yards

27th

16th

16th

 

TODD HALEY – OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR

Category

2013

2014

2015

Points

16th

7th

4th

Pace

22nd

22nd

15th

Pass Attempts

13th

6th

16th

Pass Yards

12th

2nd

3rd

Rushing Attempts

25th

15th

24th

Rushing Yards

27th

16th

16th

Offense Breakdown: If there are a handful of coaches across the NFL that have the respect of their players as much as Mike Tomlin, I would like to see it. The Steelers have had a fair amount of trouble with players on and off of the field, yet each situation is nipped in the bud and gone before it becomes a distraction to the team. While Tomlin is a great leader, he doesn’t offer much in terms of scheme on either side of the ball.

Todd Haley is one of, if not the hardest coaches to get along with in the NFL. He often rubs his players and fellow coaches the wrong way which leads to some sort of mutiny everywhere he has been. Somehow, Tomlin has been able to weather a few storms between Haley and his players and has them all pulling on the same rope. Haley’s scheme is actually quite good for fantasy players. He likes to throw the football and his offense does it a lot. As a result, Ben Roethlisberger is constantly underrated in fantasy football.

This mix of Tomlin, Haley and Roethlisberger seem to result in premium numbers out of the lead RB position. This is very similar to how Andy Reid’s offense produces similar type of output without a premium type of volume. This is likely because the Steelers do not rotate their RB’s. They have a lead guy and he carries the ball at the goal line, on passing downs and between the 20’s. That dedication is rare in the NFL these days and the result is outstanding fantasy production out of that RB spot.

Players That Fit The System: Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, Le’Veon Bell, DeAngelo Williams

Defensive System: 3-4

Defense Breakdown: Tomlin was a Tampa-2 guy while in Tampa Bay and Minnesota but was blessed with the presence of Dick LeBeau and his vaunted 3-4 scheme during his entire reign in Pittsburgh. LeBeau parted ways with the Steelers last season but they tried to employ the same scheme. Keith Butler was promoted to the coordinator positon and his first year was disastrous. The Steelers ranked in the bottom five among most defensive categories. The team used five of their seven draft picks on defensive players this year. The hope is that the influx of talent will help stop some of the bleeding. Butler will have his hands full, though, coordinating this defense while standing in the shadow of a legend.

Players That Fit The System – Ryan Shazier, Bud Dupree, Artie Burns

San Diego Chargers

Head Coach – Mike McCoy (4th Year)

Offensive Coordinator – Ken Whisenhunt (1st Year)

Defensive Coordinator – John Pagano (5th Year)

Offensive System: Erhardt-Perkins

Volume Report (Values refer to NFL rank in each category)

MIKE MCCOY – HEAD COACH

Category

2013

2014

2015

Points

12th

17th

26th

Pace

31st

28th

14th

Pass Attempts

22nd

14th

3rd

Pass Yards

4th

10th

4th

Rushing Attempts

6th

23rd

22nd

Rushing Yards

13th

30th

31st

 

KEN WHISENHUNT – OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR

Category

2013 (Chargers)

2014 (Titans)

2015 (Titans)

Points

12th

30th

28th

Pace

31st

21st

23rd

Pass Attempts

22nd

24th

21st

Pass Yards

4th

22nd

26th

Rushing Attempts

6th

29th

28th

Rushing Yards

13th

26th

25th

Offense Breakdown: It is amazing that Mike McCoy got another year in San Diego. He is a dutiful head coach but doesn’t have the leadership skills nor the scheme to make an impact in this league. Back in 2013 then-offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt was able to calm Philip Rivers' mechanics and attack defenses with the running game. Over the past two seasons, the Chargers completely lost sight of the running game and Rivers was asked to carry the weight of the entire franchise. 

Well, Whisenhunt is back and only the great Lord above knows whether or not he can resurrect what is left of this offense. The only thing that is certain is that the Chargers will make more of a commitment to the running game than they have in recent years. But with a faulty offensive line and no true workhorse in the backfield, it is going to be hard to generate much fantasy impact.

Players That Fit The System: Philip Rivers, Antonio Gates, Melvin Gordon

Defensive System: 3-4

Defense Breakdown:  The one constant in San Diego is longtime Charger assistant John Pagano who will continue to run the defense. John is the Brother of Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano and a very wise defensive strategist himself. Much like his brother, John's defensive scheme is all about stopping the run first and attacking the receivers second. An old school approach to say the least.

The Chargers are often among the leaders in defensive scoring which is a key to Pagano’s philosophy. This obviously makes for a very good fantasy defensive unit, though over the past couple of years, injuries and a lack of talent have smashed their production. The top priority for this Chargers defense is to stop the bleeding and that means giving up fewer points. They are at least a couple of years away from being a fantasy worthy DST. 

Players That Fit The System – Jason Verrett, Manti Te’o, Joey Bosa

San Francisco 49ers

Head Coach – Chip Kelly (1st Year)

Offensive Coordinator – Curtis Modkins (1st Year)

Defensive Coordinator – Jim O’Neil (1st Year)

Offensive System: Spread/Up-Tempo

Volume Report (Values refer to NFL rank in each category)

CHIP KELLY – HEAD COACH

Category

2013 (Eagles)

2014 (Eagles)

2015 (Eagles)

Points

4th

3rd

13th

Pace

1st

1st

1st

Pass Attempts

27th

5th

6th

Pass Yards

9th

6th

12th

Rushing Attempts

4th

7th

11th

Rushing Yards

1st

9th

14th

 

CURTIS MODKINS – OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR

Category

2011 (Bills OC)

2012 (Bills OC)

2013-15 (Lions)

Points

14th

21st

RB Coach

Pace

24th

26th

RB Coach

Pass Attempts

10th

23rd

RB Coach

Pass Yards

15th

25th

RB Coach

Rushing Attempts

27th

13th

RB Coach

Rushing Yards

13th

6th

RB Coach

Offense Breakdown: Chip Kelly is a much better coach than general manager. Make no mistake on why he didn’t work out in Philadelphia. His personnel decisions during his reign in Philly were absolutely horrible. But he will have limited input in those decisions in San Francisco -- at least in Year 1.

His offensive system is one of, if not the very best in the NFL and for fantasy football. The fundamental base of this scheme include running an abundance of plays one right after the other in order to stop the defense from substitutions and eventually wear them out. We call this "pace" and it has become an absolute must-read metric for anyone playing fantasy football these days. Conditioning is one of the major attributes required here and it takes a very specific kind of player to hold up in this scheme.

Another key component of Kelly’s read-option offensive system is finding where the defensive weakness is and exploiting it. The ball is always in the hands of a player who has a mathematical advantage against the defense. This system is all about leverage and knowing how to not just take what the defense gives you but go for the throat every time. The 49ers will use a variety of players to accomplish this feat and thus there is going to be a lot of fantasy production in San Francisco going forward.

Players That Fit The System: Colin Kaepernick, Carlos Hyde, Torrey Smith

Defensive System: 3-4 (Multi Front)

Defense Breakdown: The 49ers have employed two separate versions of the 3-4 defense in their past two coaching regimes and will continue to do so under new coordinator Jim O’Neil. But O’Neil vows to bring a multi-front look to the 49ers similar to what he did in Cleveland. Hopefully for 49ers fans, though, they have more success than the Browns did.

O’Neil’s defensive scheme swaps out front especially in sub packages (3-3-5/4-2-5 nickel defenses), and its base defense truly blurred the line between traditional “4-3” and “3-4.” The kind of hybrid defense allows the defensive line to 1-gap and 2-gap their opponents depending on the flow of the play. The problem he had in Cleveland was that their down linemen had atrocious gap control. Opponents exploited this fact mostly in the running game where they absolutely gashed the Browns right up the gut. If the 49ers are to get any better on defense this has to be the thing that is addressed first.

Players That Fit The System – DeForest Buckner, Arik Armstead, NaVorro Bowman

Seattle Seahawks

Head Coach – Pete Carroll (7th Year)

Offensive Coordinator – Darrell Bevell (6th Year)

Defensive Coordinator – Kris Richard (2nd Year)

Offensive System: West Coast

Volume Report (Values refer to NFL rank in each category)

PETE CARROLL – HEAD COACH

Category

2013

2014

2015

Points

8th

10th

5th

Pace

29th

31st

28th

Pass Attempts

31st

32nd

28th

Pass Yards

26th

27th

20th

Rushing Attempts

2nd

2nd

3rd

Rushing Yards

4th

1st

3rd

 

DARRELL BEVELL – OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR

Category

2013

2014

2015

Points

8th

10th

5th

Pace

29th

31st

28th

Pass Attempts

31st

32nd

28th

Pass Yards

26th

27th

20th

Rushing Attempts

2nd

2nd

3rd

Rushing Yards

4th

1st

3rd

Offense Breakdown: This is by far the most player friendly and overall likeable coaching staff in the NFL. Pete Carroll is both a keen identifier of talent and head cheerleader. System wise the Seahawks do nothing special on either side of the ball. The obvious mistake so many will do this year is over value the Seahawks players based on their Super Bowl appearances. As good of a pal Carroll and crew are there isn’t anything innovative about how they play football. The Seahawks' offense is as simple as it gets in the NFL. They don’t throw the football unless absolutely necessary, making Russell Wilson and receiving crew barely usable in fantasy. Just take a look at the volume reports (above) and see that the Seahawks rank last or next-to-last in passing attempts each of the last three seasons. The fact that Russell Wilson has been a useful fantasy QB is a miracle on the level of Jonah Hill being a movie star.

Darrell Bevell (aka Brett Favre’s best friend) has added more running plays to his west coast arsenal because of workhorse RB Marshawn Lynch. But Lynch is gone and the search is on for a new workhorse in the Seattle backfield.

The focus of this offense is high percentage plays, which is why players like Percy Harvin don’t fit and others like Golden Tate don’t reach their full fantasy potential. The expectation last season was that Jimmy Graham would catapult this passing game which was never a real possibility. This offense is what it is and the success they have achieved here in Seattle means that isn’t going to change anytime soon. For all of Russell Wilson and Doug Baldwin’s success last year there still just wasn’t the volume needed for sustained success. You may want to invest in players who exceed all season with their fantasy production but I will not. In my experience, these trends are short lived and will come crashing down fast.

Players That Fit The System: Russell Wilson, Thomas Rawls, C.J. Prosise

Defensive System: 4-3

Defense Breakdown: One of the most ridiculous things about the NFL is the perception of current and future head coaches. The league cannot get out of their own way in rewarding ancillary people with better jobs and more responsibility. When Gus Bradley left Seattle, some thought the heart would go out of this Seahawks defense. Then Dan Quinn came in and won a Super Bowl and came within a yard of a second the following season. Kris Richard came in and although there was a little regression last year, the Seahawks' defense was no worse for wear.

Richard was one of the architects of the Seahawks' “Legion of Boom” secondary. His style is ultra-aggressive and it gets away with quite a bit of contact especially in home games. The Seahawks' defense will beat up and intimidate WR’s and scare them away from making plays over the middle of the field. Age and free agency have picked apart some of the elite talent here and thus they will need to demonstrate the ability to develop the next wave of stars.

Players That Fit The System – Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Head Coach – Dirk Koetter (1st Year)

Offensive Coordinator – Todd Monken (1st Year)

Defensive Coordinator – Mike Smith (1st Year)

Offensive System: Air Coryell

Volume Report (Values refer to NFL rank in each category)

DIRK KOETTER – HEAD COACH

Category

2013 (Falcons)

2014 (Falcons)

2015

Points

20th

12th

20th

Pace

19th

6th

7th

Pass Attempts

3rd

3rd

22nd

Pass Yards

7th

5th

17th

Rushing Attempts

32nd

27th

8th

Rushing Yards

32nd

24th

5th

 

TODD MONKEN – OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR

Category

2007-10 (Jags)

2011-12 (College)

2013-15 (College)

Points

WR Coach

Oklahoma St (OC)

Southern Miss (HC)

Pace

WR Coach

Oklahoma St (OC)

Southern Miss (HC)

Pass Attempts

WR Coach

Oklahoma St (OC)

Southern Miss (HC)

Pass Yards

WR Coach

Oklahoma St (OC)

Southern Miss (HC)

Rushing Attempts

WR Coach

Oklahoma St (OC)

Southern Miss (HC)

Rushing Yards

WR Coach

Oklahoma St (OC)

Southern Miss (HC)

Offense Breakdown: There’s no telling what went wrong with the Bucs and Lovie Smith but his ousting really raised an eyebrow for me. I don’t know what the expectations were for a team with a depleted defense and a rookie starting QB but a four-game improvement had to be about right. Still, Smith was fired and his offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter named as his replacement. You still want to tell me that the NFL doesn’t have a problem with minority coaches?

Anyway, Koetter is tasked with developing Jameis Winston and getting him to be not only a professional player but a man as well. Koetter is in familiar territory here in Tampa with two big, strong wideouts and an inferior offensive line. The Bucs ran the ball a lot last year and the idea is that it was against the wishes of Koetter. So, we should expect a heavier volume of pass attempts out of this Buccaneers offense this season.

Todd Monken was summoned from SMU where he has been the head coach for the past three years. He and Koetter worked together in Jacksonville and the Bucs paid a pretty penny to bring him back to the NFL. Monken had run a spread style offense at SMU which would add another interesting wrinkle to the Bucs offense. It did not appear as though they were going to run a lot of spread based plays on initial OTA scrimmages, but it is safe to say that this offense will be throwing the ball more than anybody realizes. 

Players That Fit The System: Jameis Winston, Mike Evans, Vincent Jackson

Defensive System: 4-3 (Multi-front)

Defense Breakdown: Koetter went back to his Jacksonville days once again in hiring his defensive coordinator, naming Mike Smith to the position. Smith had a very successful run as the head coach of the Atlanta Falcons. He is a terrific leader but it is concerning that he hasn’t schemed a defense since he left the Jags in 2007. He says he is going to run a multi-front setup where they will switch between 4-3 and 3-4 depending on the matchups. Smith was very good in Jacksonville and Atlanta at evaluating the talent he had and utilizing it properly. It's therefore assumed that he will begin his Bucs tenure with a one-gap 4-3 front that switches up in obvious passing situations. No matter what he does, though, the Bucs have a long way to go in order to be a top half of the league defensive unit in 2016.

Players That Fit The System – Lavonte David, Gerald McCoy, Vernon Hargreaves

Tennessee Titans

Head Coach – Mike Mularkey (1st Year)

Offensive Coordinator – Terry Robiskie (1st Year)

Defensive Coordinator – Dick LeBeau (1st Year)

Offensive System: Air Coryell

Volume Report (Values refer to NFL rank in each category)

MIKE MULARKEY – HEAD COACH

Category

2011 (Falcons OC)

2012 (Jaguars HC)

2014-2015

Points

7th

30th

TE Coach

Pace

21st

7th

TE Coach

Pass Attempts

4th

11th

TE Coach

Pass Yards

8th

21st

TE Coach

Rushing Attempts

11th

30th

TE Coach

Rushing Yards

17th

30th

TE Coach

 

TERRY ROBISKIE – OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR

Category

2013 (Falcons)

2014 (Falcons)

2015 (Falcons)

Points

WR Coach

WR Coach

WR Coach

Pace

WR Coach

WR Coach

WR Coach

Pass Attempts

WR Coach

WR Coach

WR Coach

Pass Yards

WR Coach

WR Coach

WR Coach

Rushing Attempts

WR Coach

WR Coach

WR Coach

Rushing Yards

WR Coach

WR Coach

WR Coach

Offense Breakdown: Mike Mularkey was retained as the Titans head coach after serving as such in an interim capacity for the final nine games last season. Not surprisingly, he didn’t have much success in taking over for Ken Whisenhunt last year. Mularkey has had his fair share of opportunities to lead a team and has been unsuccessful at every stop. He owns a career 18-39 record as a head coach and doesn’t really possess any innovation within his scheme.

You would think that Mularkey would understand that his style of offense just doesn’t play in today’s NFL and thus push the envelope and hire an up-and-coming offensive mind. Nope. He hires longtime Falcons WR coach Terry Robiskie who instantly becomes the worst offensive coordinator in the league. Robiskie has had some success as the Falcons' WR coach, but he has absolutely no system of his own to draw from.

Mularkey has said that he will call the plays and that the Titans' offense will be an “exotic smashmouth” type of style that incorporates a read-option passing game for QB Marcus Mariota. He also plans on running the ball a lot and utilizing both DeMarco Murray and second-round pick RB Derrick Henry. The NFL has become a very pass-happy league and thus when you can find a system that features a heavy run volume you must invest in those RB’s. 

Players That Fit The System: Marcus Mariota, DeMarco Murray, Derrick Henry

Defensive System: 3-4

Defense Breakdown: Dick LeBeau spent a season as a defensive assistant in Tennessee but will officially become the team’s defensive coordinator this year under Mularkey. LeBeau is an NFL Hall Of Famer who is credited with creating the Zone Blitz scheme.  In this system the defense uses a variety of different pass coverages along with pressure from different areas in order to confuse the QB. This defensive style works especially well against today’s pass-heavy offenses in which they can greatly confuse the pass protectors and disturb the QB’s rhythm. The days of stacking against the Titans' defense is likely done. Though there still isn’t much talent here, LeBeau’s system will not allow for a ton of fantasy production against them.

Players That Fit The System – Jason McCourty, Brian Orakpo, Austin Johnson, Kevin Dodd

Washington Redskins

Head Coach – Jay Gruden (3rd Year)

Offensive Coordinator – Sean McVay (3rd Year)

Defensive Coordinator – Joe Barry (2nd Year)

Offensive System: West Coast

Volume Report (Values refer to NFL rank in each category)

JAY GRUDEN – HEAD COACH

Category

2013 (Bengals)

2014

2015

Points

6th

26th

10th

Pace

24th

27th

30th

Pass Attempts

12th

18th

20th

Pass Yards

8th

11th

11th

Rushing Attempts

8th

21st

15th

Rushing Yards

18th

19th

20th

 

SEAN MCVAY – OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR

Category

2013

2014

2015

Points

TE Coach

26th

10th

Pace

TE Coach

27th

30th

Pass Attempts

TE Coach

18th

20th

Pass Yards

TE Coach

11th

11th

Rushing Attempts

TE Coach

21st

15th

Rushing Yards

TE Coach

19th

20th

Offense Breakdown: The Redskins were finally able to get over the whole Robert Griffin III drama by benching him in favor of Kirk Cousins last season. The move to go with Cousins was a bold one by Jay Gruden and his staff but it paid off immensely as they not only won the NFC East but also uncovered a much better player than they had anticipated in Kirk Cousins.

Gruden will once again call the offensive plays for the Redskins in 2016, leaving offensive coordinator Sean McVay as more of a messenger than anything. The Redskins also ditched the zone blocking scheme and it really affected their ability to run the football. Alfred Morris was obviously not a fit outside of the zone blocking system and thus Matt Jones will assume the lead back role.

If I had to term the Redskins' system under Gruden it would be “efficient.” They aren’t pushing up the pace, they’re not running a ton of plays and they’re not racking up massive amounts of yards. Thus, this is not a very good offense for fantasy owners. Still, Cousins and company will make few mistakes and inch the ball up the field as a result. There are big plays in the passing game but the frequency in which they come are not identifiable. I would limit your exposure to the Redskins' offense in 2016.

Players That Fit The System: Kirk Cousins, Matt Jones, DeSean Jackson, Keith Marshall

Defensive System: 3-4 (Multi-front)

Defense Breakdown: Joe Barry is the only NFL coach to have both a Super Bowl ring (Buccaneers 2002) and a winless season (Lions 2008) on his resume. He runs a 3-4 scheme in place that is much more complicated than a standard 3-4 setup. Barry is going to use a variety of different initial sets to confuse the offense and will also use a package of zone blitzing to gain pressure on the QB. Former Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell is also on staff as defensive backs coach and his presence seemed to greatly improve this unit from one year to the next. Now he gets former Panthers CB Josh Norman to help lock down one side of the field which should greatly help both the coverage and pass rush of this Redskins defense.

Players That Fit The System – Josh Norman, DeAngelo Hall, Bashaud Breeland

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