The fact that you are here right now and reading this article on NFL coaching systems means you want to learn to be a better fantasy football player. We love it and that is exactly what we are about here at Fantasy Alarm – learning how to be a better player and winning championships. So, let’s continue that education. The first article – the AFC East – also includes a full glossary of terms for the different offensive and defensive systems, as well as personnel packages and coverage schemes. Start there if you haven’t yet and then bookmark all of these pages because you’re going to use them as a reference point, not just in your drafts, but also in-season when deciding on which players you want to add via the fantasy football waiver wire. Most fantasy football draft guides offer you preseason fantasy football player rankings, articles for fantasy football sleepers and busts and maybe a few strategy items to get you ready for your fantasy football drafts. We do that too. And more!

Our fantasy football draft guide gives you everything you see around the industry, plus our own secret sauce which has proven to be extremely valuable from draft day through the moment they hand you your trophy. This guide will help you manage your teams better, make stronger picks from the fantasy football waiver wire and lead you to important NFL tools to aid in those always-important weekly lineup decisions. Learning these coaching systems is just the beginning, so buckle up and start reading!

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AFC South Coaching Systems

Houston Texans

Head CoachDeMeco Ryans1st year
Offensive CoordinatorBobby Slowik1st year
Defensive CoordinatorMatt Burke1st year
Offensive SystemWest Coast 
Blocking SchemeZone/Inside & Outside 
DeMeco Ryans -- HC    Bobby Slowik -- OC   
Category2020 (SF)2021 (SF)2021 (SF) Category2020 (SF)2021 (SF PGC)2022 (SF PGC)
Pass AttemptsLB COACHDCDC Pass AttemptsOFF. ASST.2926
Passing YardsLB COACHDCDC Passing YardsOFF. ASST.1213
Rushing AttemptsLB COACHDCDC Rushing AttemptsOFF. ASST.69
Rushing YardsLB COACHDCDC Rushing YardsOFF. ASST.78

Offensive Breakdown

As Kyle Shanahan’s coaching tree blossoms, the number of copycat offenses in the NFL continues to grow and that’s exactly what we have here with first-time head coach DeMeco Ryans taking the reins in Houston. Ryans has spent the first six years of his coaching career working under Shanahan and understands just how effective this scheme can be when properly implemented. But Ryans was on the defensive side of things in San Francisco, so to help him implement the scheme on the offensive front, he brought along Bobby Slowik who has spent the last four years working under Shanahan as a passing game coordinator. Together, they will be bringing their own spin on Shanahan’s west coast offense.

Let’s start with the running game, because, like the 49ers, the Texans will use the run to set up the pass. They brought in former Colts offensive line coach Chris Strausser to install his zone-blocking scheme which uses a fullback and/or tight end to help seal off the edge. That gives the running back the opportunity to either take it to the outside around the tackle or cut back between the tackle and guard. Hence the inside/outside zone hybrid. Dameon Pierce will likely be used as the primary early-down runner with Devin Singletary handling more of the third-down work. It gives value to both, especially with a rookie QB who is going to need a supportive ground game upon which to lean, though keep Singletary in mind late in your drafts as the Texans are likely to play from behind more often than not and this scheme isn’t the same as last year when Lovie Smith ran Pierce no matter what.

The passing will be done in a traditional west coast style. We will see the short dinks and dunks to help move the chains with the run helping to set up play-action for deeper shots down the field. Players like Singletary, Dalton Schultz and Robert Woods will likely handle the shorter routes while Slowik uses guys like Nico Collins and John Metchie to stretch the field. Just understand where the value is in drafting these players. If we are copying the 49ers offense, then we know things like Schultz as a tight end in this system sees a lot of targets so keep an eye on his with his ADP so low. The receivers will be interesting to sort out, but it should be Woods in a PPR format with the upside plays being Collins and Metchie. Training camp is going to be fun to watch so keep tabs while you can.

Players Who Best Fit the System: Dalton Schultz, Devin Singletary, Dameon Pierce, John Metchie

Defensive System: 4-3 base with multi-front looks and a mix of Cover-3 and Cover-1 Man

Defensive Breakdown: 

The key to the Texans defense this season is going to be the front four. Ryans is one of the top defensive minds in the game, but the scheme he is employing is not one he created. He employed it in San Francisco, but it was designed by Gus Bradley (with some help from Pete Carroll) when he was the defensive coordinator for the Seattle Seahawks. That defense went from worst to first between 2010 and 2012 and Ryans believes he has the personnel to build a similar unit, starting with Will Anderson, Sheldon Rankins, Maliek Collins and Herry Hughes.

Ryans wants the pressure to come from his defensive line so he can drop seven into coverage at any point. Collins and Rankins will be tasked with plugging the gaps in the middle while Anderson and Hughes try to collapse the pocket. Houston was one of the worst teams against the run last year, so expect that to be a focal point of adjustments early on.

The Cover-3 base will help set the tone early on in games as the linebackers fall back into coverage more often, but the mix of man-coverage will certainly help free up the safeties and confuse the quarterback into thinking the coverage is softer than it actually is. Again, the key is to get enough pressure off that defensive line. Pressure from the line means more players available in coverage as well as a shorter field to have to cover. Bringing over Jimmie Ward was a big move for Ryans as he now has a field general in the defensive backfield who knows exactly what his coach wants. 

Players Who Best Fit the System: Will Anderson, Sheldon Rankins, Jimmie Ward



Indianapolis Colts

Head CoachShane Steichen1st year
Offensive CoordinatorJim Bob Cooter1st year
Defensive CoordinatorGus Bradley2nd year
Offensive SystemAir Coryell 
Blocking SchemeInside Zone w/ mix of Power 
Shane Steichen -- HC    Jim Bob Cooter -- OC   
Category2020 (LAC OC)2021 (PHI OC)2022 (PHI OC) Category2020 (NYJ)2021 (PHI)2022 (JAC PGC)
Points18123 PointsRB COACHCONSULTANT10
Pass Attempts53223 Pass AttemptsRB COACHCONSULTANT10
Passing Yards6259 Passing YardsRB COACHCONSULTANT10
Rushing Attempts923 Rushing AttemptsRB COACHCONSULTANT17
Rushing Yards1815 Rushing YardsRB COACHCONSULTANT14

Offensive Breakdown

If you read last year’s draft guide, then you could probably just go to the Eagles section and re-read everything I wrote about Shane Steichen and the offensive system he installed for them. Or, I can just serve it up for you here if you like. You can expect the Colts to use lots of shotgun formations with a lot of three and four-receiver sets to help stretch the field. You will see a lot of RPO work as well as this tends to freeze the linebackers and safeties and help keep the middle of the field open. Everything you saw from the Eagles, the Colts will try to replicate.

Keep in mind that, even with the RPO (run-pass options) used often, we are likely still looking at a lean towards more passing plays. There will be plenty of work for Jonathan Taylor and with Anthony Richardson under center we will see plenty of designed QB-runs, so don’t sweat that if you’re a Taylor owner. In fact, having a mobile quarterback like Richardson will help to open more running lanes as the defense adjusts to paying more attention to him. But Steichen likes an aggressive passing attack and will, like he did in Philly, lean that way.

If anyone wonders why the Colts were so content letting the Panthers and Texans grab Bryce Young and C.J. Stroud, it’s because they coveted Richardson’s size, mobility and arm strength more. It is also why Jim Bob Cooter was brought in work side by side with the rookie. We will see a lot of vertical routes that put immediate pressure on the defensive backs and get the ball up the field at a quicker pace. The deep passing numbers we saw for the Eagles (eighth-highest aDOT and seventh highest number of routes that went beyond 20 yards) should translate over here as well which should help move Alec Pierce into a better role. Michael Pittman slots in as the X-receiver, but with the likelihood that we will see a lot of two-TE sets, it should be Pierce on the outside opposite him and tht works well for the deeper routes. HJosh Downs profiles more as the slot guy, for sure. The passing game could be a very underrated asset in fantasy, so long as the offensive line continues to improve from game to game. 

Players Who Best Fit the System: Anthony Richardson, Jonathan Taylor, Alec Pierce

Defensive System: 4-3 base with a Cover-3 zone

Defensive Breakdown: 

Remember everything you just read about DeMeco Ryans’ defense? Well, the Colts didn’t need to change their defensive coordinator to get a proven winner as Steichen was more than happy to retain Gus Bradley as the Colts’ defensive coordinator and keep the defensive scheme the same. It will be, just as you expect with the pressure being on the defensive line.

Bradley likes to have strong run-stoppers up the middle and both DeForest Buckner and Grover Stewart on the interior line and Shaquille Leonard backing them up when necessary. But the pressure will come from the outside rotation of Kwity Paye, Dayo Odeyingbo and Samson Ekuban. This should free up the linebackers to help more in coverage situations as the traditional Bradley 4-3 scheme calls for less blitzing and using seven to drop back into more coverage. If the line can be successful and they can generate a significant amount of pressure, the work in the secondary will be much easier.

The Cover-3 zone keeps two safeties high and one linebacker in coverage. He tends to fall back into the middle of the field and helps the corners with the underneath routes. The defensive backs are passable but no one really pops to the point where you would covet him in IDP leagues. But as mentioned before, if the front four are successful in applying the right amount of pressure, you don’t need game-braking corners to make this scheme work.

Players Who Best Fit the System: DeForest Buckner, Shaquille Leonard, Kenny Moore



Jacksonville Jaguars

Head CoachDoug Pederson2nd year
Offensive CoordinatorPress Taylor2nd year
Defensive CoordinatorMike Caldwell2nd year
Offensive SystemWest Coast Offense 
Blocking SchemeZone/Outside Zone Stretch Runs 
Doug Pederson -- HC    Press Taylor -- OC   
Category2020 (PHI)20212022 Category2020 (PHI)2021 (IND)2022
Points26N/A10 PointsPGC/QB COACHOFF. ASST.10
Pass Attempts10N/A10 Pass AttemptsPGC/QB COACHOFF. ASST.10
Passing Yards28N/A10 Passing YardsPGC/QB COACHOFF. ASST.10
Rushing Attempts24N/A17 Rushing AttemptsPGC/QB COACHOFF. ASST.17
Rushing Yards9N/A14 Rushing YardsPGC/QB COACHOFF. ASST.14

Offensive Breakdown

For those of you who listened to me last season when I said the Jaguars were on the rise and it was all because of the coaching and scheme change, congratulations. You probably had shares of Trevor Lawrence, Travis Etienne, Christian Kirk and Evan Engram and strolled right down Easy Street and into the fantasy playoffs. If you didn’t, well, at least in a redraft league, you can pretend like you knew then and justify your reasons for investing now. Better late than never, amirite?

Doug Pederson’s installation of his west coast offense helped create an air of familiarity to the system Lawrence ran back at Clemson and the results were fantastic. Pederson has his offense run primarily out of the shotgun formation, use a heavy RPO scheme and he likes to throw early. He likes to use the short, high-percentage passes on the early downs while also deploying a receiver deep to stretch the field and possibly exploit some single-coverage mismatches. That will keep the defense on its heels and make the RPO work that much more effective. 

Offensive coordinator Press Taylor will continue to run plenty of two-TE sets and the recently re-signed Engram should slot back into his role as a favorite target. But the addition of Calvin Ridley is going to change the wide receiver dynamic in a big way. Ridley gives the Jaguars a bona fide WR1 which allows Kirk to work out of the slot more in three-receiver sets while Zay Jones comes in to handle the work as the Z-receiver. Having four high-end weapons like that will open things up much more downfield for Lawrence. What this receiving corps also does is dash the hopes of those wanting to see Etienne’s role in the passing game increase. He saw just 45 targets last season and if we are going to see more, it’s probably not going to be by all that much. 

As for the ground game, we have to understand that Pederson likes to rotate his running backs. Last year, the team traded away James Robinson which put Etienne as the featured back, but towards the latter part of the season, we saw JaMychal Hasty get worked in a lot more than Etienne’s fantasy owners liked. And now the Jaguars used a third-round pick on Tank Bigsby who profiles much more as a bruising, between-the-tackles kind of guy. The RPO work and outside-zone blocking scheme will continue to favor Etienne’s skill-set, but be conscious of the fact that, in short-yardage situations, Bigsby could be used more, thus keeping Etienne’s touchdown count down where it was last season.

Players Who Best Fit the System: Trevor Lawrence, Travis Etienne, Christian Kirk, Evan Engram

Defensive System: 3-4 with multi-front looks and a Cover-2 Zone

Defensive Breakdown: 

Defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell has his coaching roots stemming from the Tampa tree which means they want to bring a lot of pressure but need strong shutdown corners and even better safeties to allow the front-seven to work its magic. Tyson Campbell enjoyed a breakout campaign last season, so he and Darious Williams should be able to hold down the edges, and based on what we saw last year as well, Rayshawn Jenkins should keep them from being too susceptible to the deeper routes.

The front line held up real nicely last year as the Jaguars allowed the 12th fewest rushing yards all season thanks to strong lay up the middle from DaVon Hamilton and the addition of Folorunso Fatukasi. Their level of play allowed Josh Allen and Trevon Walker to dominate with the pass rush and create havoc in the offensive backfield while Foye Olukon turned into a tackling machine. Should Caldwell’s defensive unit take yet another step forward, they are going to be one of the tougher units to gain yards on throughout the year.

Players Who Best Fit the System: Foye Olukon, Josh Allen, Folorunso Fatukasi, Trevon Walker



Tennessee Titans

Head CoachMike Vrabel6th year
Offensive CoordinatorTim Kelly1st year
Defensive CoordinatorShane Bowen3rd year
Offensive SystemWest Coast Offense 
Blocking SchemePower/Wide Zone Hybrid 
Mike Vrabel -- HC    Tim Kelly -- OC   
Category202020212022 Category2020 (HOU)2021 (HOU)2022 (TEN PGC)
Points41528 Points183028
Pace42730 Pace121930
Pass Attempts302530 Pass Attempts312230
Passing Yards232430 Passing Yards312830
Rushing Attempts2111 Rushing Attempts232311
Rushing Yards2513 Rushing Yards43213

Offensive Breakdown

This is going to be a very interesting year for the Titans as last year, they simply promoted Todd Downing from within to replace Arthur Smith and maintain the same system. But with a massively declining offensive line and injuries to Ryan Tannehill, head coach Mike Vrabel knew he needed someone capable of not only designing an offensive scheme tailored to the team’s strengths, but someone who could also implement it and make adjustments on the fly, if necessary. They now turn to Tim Kelly who spent three years as Bill O’Brien’s offensive coordinator in Houston before coming over to Tennessee last year as a passing game coordinator.

While Kelly liked running the spread offense in Houston, he is well aware that he doesn’t have the talent to do it here in Tennessee. To counter the offensive line’s impending pass-blocking struggles, he will keep the passing very simple with more quick, short throws. However, he will incorporate a lot more vertical work now that he has so much size on the outside in DeAndre Hopkins and Treylon Burks s well as a 6-foot-3 wide-bodied tight end in Chigozeum Okonkwo. Vrabel is all about the heavy run-scheme, but starting out this way, should help allow the pass to set up the run.

Don’t get me wrong, Derrick Henry will always be a featured fantasy asset in this offense and his workload will remain strong. But this is no longer a team that can afford to run the ball 75-percent of the time. The o-line just won’t allow for it, so expect a little but more balance out of this offense than we have seen in the past.

Players Who Best Fit the System: Derrick Henry, DeAndre Hopkins, Chigozeum Okonkwo

Defensive System: 3-4 with multi-front looks and a mix of man and zone coverage

Defensive Breakdown: 

Don’t expect much to change in this defense as Vrabel continues to dictate using the same scheme, he and legendary defensive coordinator Dean Pees installed five years ago. Shane Bowen, who is in his third year as the defensive coordinator was the linebackers coach under Pees so the continuity will be maintained once again. The defense will be based in the 3-4 but we’ll see plenty of multi-front looks as well. The key will be keeping Denico Autry and Jeffrey Simmons on the outside as they are the most versatile on the line, while Monty Rice and Azeez Al-Shaair help plug the gaps up the middle. The Titans don’t like to blitz heavily, so keep that in mind for IDP drafts.

As for the secondary, one of their biggest weaknesses in recent seasons, it’s going to take a lot of patience and a lot of work by Bowen again. Kristian Fulton, Caleb Farley, Roger McCreary and Elijah Molden all have talent, but they just haven’t had the kind of success this team needs and unless one of them has some sort of revelation moment early on, we just might be targeting against this secondary in fantasy once again. 

Players Who Best Fit the System: Denico Autry, Jeffrey Simmons

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Be sure to also check out the Quick Out Fantasy Football Podcast with Andrew Cooper as they break down the AFC South: