As you continue your education of NFL Coaching Systems series here in the Fantasy Alarm Fantasy Football Draft Guide, we hope you are taking notes and making the proper adjustments to your fantasy football draft strategy. That list of potential draft targets too. Match-ups are key in the NFL and knowing who is running what system can lead you a better understanding of which teams are expected to score the most points. If you know who is scoring more, then you know which players make for better targets. This is what I do every year when setting up my fantasy football player rankings and with NFL training camps now open, I receive more clarity on certain roles within a team and I make my adjustments accordingly.

This is what you should be doing as well. Read the information, digest it, make your own notes and then maybe head into a fantasy football mock draft or something and test it out. We still have a month before the 2023 NFL season starts up, so take your time and be thorough. The payoff at the end of the season is worth it.

In case you missed the previous divisions:



AFC West Coaching Systems

Denver Broncos

Head CoachSean Payton1st year
Offensive CoordinatorJoe Lombardi1st year
Defensive CoordinatorVance Joseph1st year
Offensive SystemAir Coryell 
Blocking SchemeOutside Zone/Power Gap Hybrid 
Sean Payton -- HC    Joe Lombardi -- OC   
Category2020 (NO)2021 (NO)2022 Category2020 (NO)2021 (LAC OC)2022 (LAC OC)
Points519N/A PointsQB COACH513
Pace2925N/A PaceQB COACH15
Pass Attempts2530N/A Pass AttemptsQB COACH32
Passing Yards1932N/A Passing YardsQB COACH23
Rushing Attempts54N/A Rushing AttemptsQB COACH2228
Rushing Yards615N/A Rushing YardsQB COACH2130

Offensive Breakdown

Fresh start, right? We should be calling the Denver BroncosThe Febreze Brothers” with Will Ferrell as the team and Mark Wahlberg as the fans. Of course, they tried this last year and failed miserably. People who drafted the Broncos in fantasy are probably suffering from PTSD just reading this article, but, believe it or not, we’ve got hope on the horizon. Welcome to the Mile High City, Sean Payton and Joe Lombardi. The duo bring their offensive scheme to Denver and if they can get even half as much out of the team this year than that buffoon Nathaniel Hackett brought out last season, 2023 will be a win.

Let’s start with the scheme. If you have been following football and/or subscribing here at Fantasy Alarm for a while, then you should be familiar. Payton and Lombardi run their system out of an Air Coryell scheme which means they like to use a power-running game to help set up the pass which is a timing-based/vertical attack where the quarterback throws to a spot on the field rather than directly to the receiver. Effectively pulling this off means the pass-catchers get hit in stride and pick up big yards after the catch.

The blocking scheme is interesting because Payton prefers to use power/gap blocking, but during his last three years in New Orleans, he used a mix of that and outside zone. He’ll blend it again here in Denver based on his offensive line personnel as well as his running backs. We know there are concerns regarding Javonte Williams’ knee, but having Samaje Perine will allow Denver to take their time with their start second-year runner. We know Williams thrives in outside zone and Perine can handle both early on. The major appeal here is that both will be heavily used in the passing attack. We’ve watched Lombardi with both Alvin Kamara and Austin Ekeler over the last several seasons and should expect to see similar game plans built around Williams and Perine, so much so that both should have standalone value.

As for the passing attack, this is where it gets tricky for the fantasy folks. Whether you like it or not, Lombardi’s system features a boatload of targets to the X-receiver. We watched it with Marques Colston and then Michael Thomas in New Orleans and then we saw it again with Mike Williams in Los Angeles. That’s not to say Jerry Jeudy is going to struggle. We watched Keenan Allen continue to dominate as Justin Herbert’s security blanket and we’ve seen a variety of Saints receivers have solid years working primarily out of the slot in this system. You are fine to draft Jeudy as he will probably dominate a lot of those sideline routes and help move the chains, but taking Sutton five rounds later will be a revelation.

We’ll see a fairly even split between 11 and 12-personnel packages, so look for Tim Patrick to play opposite Sutton with Jeudy in the slot. And if the recent trade rumors of Denver sending Courtland Sutton to New England come to fruition, just know that Sutton will end up the No. 1 target over there and you’ll want Patrick here as the new X. So long as Wilson and his receivers are on the same page, though, this team is going to eat for fantasy.  

Players Who Best Fit the System: Russell Wilson, Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, Javonte Williams

Defensive System: 3-4 base with multi-front looks and man-coverage

Defensive Breakdown: 

Remember Vance Joseph? Broncos fans do as he led them to an 11-21 record over a two-year span as their head coach during the 2017-18 seasons. Well, he’s back but only as a defensive coordinator which is much more in his proverbial wheelhouse. His specialty is the secondary and he loves to use man-coverage so the personnel in Denver, with Pat Surtain, Damari Mathis and rookie Riley Moss will make things a lot easier for the coach. With such strong corners, he’ll be able to do a lot more with his safeties and disguise other coverage schemes and from where the pressure will come.

The front seven is going to be the key for Denver. Joseph likes for his defensive line to line up in “wide nine” which is usually a problem in stopping the run. You need big bodies to help plug the gaps and stretching them out horizontally puts them at risk. Joseph has some strong assets up front and will use Alex Singleton and Josey Jewell to help plug the middle, but patient runners who can find the right holes will hurt them and no matter how solid the edge rushers are, they will be rendered ineffective against a power-run scheme that has big-bodied linemen throwing defenders around. On the other hand, if the middle can hold its own, then guys like Frank Clark, Randy Gregory and Baron Browning are going to wreak havoc in the offensive backfield.  

Players Who Best Fit the System: D.J. Jones, Randy Gregory, Justin Simmons, Patrick Surtain

Kansas City Chiefs

Head CoachAndy Reid11th year
Offensive CoordinatorMatt Nagy1st year
Defensive CoordinatorSteve Spagnuolo5th year
Offensive SystemWest Coast Offense 
Blocking SchemeInside & Stretch Zone 
Andy Reid -- HC    Matt Nagy -- OC   
Category202020212022 Category2020 (CHI)2021 (CHI)2022 (KC)
Points641 Points2227QB COACH
Pace13911 Pace1421QB COACH
Pass Attempts325 Pass Attempts2723QB COACH
Passing Yards141 Passing Yards2530QB COACH
Rushing Attempts232025 Rushing Attempts811QB COACH
Rushing Yards161620 Rushing Yards2214QB COACH

Offensive Breakdown

The Chiefs said goodbye to offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy who left to take the same job in Washington and prove he could be successful without Andy Reid. Funny enough, they brought back prodigal son Matt Nagy who left the Chiefs OC job back in 2018 to do the same thing Bieniemy is doing now. That, obviously, didn’t work out so well for him and now he’s back running Reid’s offense and leaning on Patrick Mahomes. So, while there’s a new coordinator, it’s still the same old scheme. This is Andy Reid’s offense and it is a proven winner.

The base of Reid’s offense is actually quite simple. He likes a high-volume ground game with your typical West Coast-style passing (short, quick routes) that set up play-action and larger plays downfield. Where it gets confusing for the opposition is in all the pre-snap motion they like to use to keep the defense on its heels and looking in multiple directions.

From a fantasy perspective, this is exactly the type of offense you want to buy into. Over the years, we’ve watched Reid develop some amazing fantasy players from Jamaal Charles and Priest Holmes to Kareem Hunt and Damien Williams. Even Spencer Ware flashed some talent inside this system. Reid’s offensive line is usually versatile and can open up plenty of running lanes as well as pull to the outside and block downfield. The line has been revamped with the departures of Orlando Brown and Andrew Wylie, but with Joe Thuney and Creed Humphrey still locked in and the addition of Jawaan Taylor, the Chiefs shouldn’t miss a beat. Now the only issue is figuring out which running back you want to draft in fantasy.

While in years past, Reid has vaulted the value of one running back, we could be looking at a committee situation again due to the personnel. Clyde Edwards-Helaire hasn’t proven to be the back the Chiefs thought they drafted, but the combination of Isaiah Pacheco and Jerick McKinnon have kept them strong. It’s rough for fantasy owners because you want an every-down back in this system, but the ADP numbers of both Pacheco and McKinnon allow you to draft them as flex plays and depth backs instead of your RB1 or 2. Not ideal, but still very playable.

As far as the passing attack goes, Reid is a big fan of the short, high-percentage throws of a west cost system, but expects his quarterback to lead his receivers and for his receivers to gain enough separation that they can pick up extra yardage after the catch. From there, the deep shots downfield tend to open up. Though aDOT numbers over the past few seasons have shown fewer shots downfield, Patrick Mahomes has excelled in both departments. Travis Kelce should continue to dominate, but the variety of interchangeable pass-catching cogs in the machine continues with Skyy Moore, Kadarius Toney and Marquez Valdes-Scantling remains. But keep an eye out for rookie Rashee Rice who could be a nice breath of fresh air for Mahomes as he’s got the speed you want for deeper routes and slants.

Players Who Best Fit the System: Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, Rashee Rice

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

Defensive Breakdown: 

Steve Spagnuolo is locked in for his fifth year with the Chiefs and we will see the same 4-3 base up front. You’ll get some different looks but a lot is going to hinge on how well these pass-rushers do. While Chris Jones remains a fixture on the defensive line, Frank Clark is gone which means second-year DE George Karlaftis needs to step up in a big way. He’s got talent, but he doesn’t create havoc like Clark did. They did bring in Charles Omenihu from San Francisco, but that means the offenses will likely target the left side more, this shifting the game plan with the linebackers. We’re not going to dismiss this group. They just need to prove themselves.

The same goes for the secondary. L’Jarius Sneed can hold his own, but second-year corner Trent McDuffie needs to sharpen his skills. And with no Tyrann Matthieu in the middle anymore, the secondary has a lot of work to do if they want to keep from every game turning into a track meet. Spags traditionally does a great job with his secondary, but this will be a work in progress during the early weeks of the season.

Players Who Best Fit the System: Chris Jones, George Karlaftis



Las Vegas Raiders

Head CoachJosh McDaniels2nd year
Offensive CoordinatorMick Lombardi2nd year
Defensive CoordinatorPatrick Graham2nd year
Offensive SystemErhardt-Perkins 
Blocking SchemeZone/Power Gap Hybrid 
Josh McDaniels -- HC    Mick Lombardi -- OC   
Category2020 (NE OC)2021 (NE OC)2022 Category2020 (NE)2021 (NE)2022
Points27612 PointsWR COACHWR COACH12
Pace182424 PaceWR COACHWR COACH24
Pass Attempts312612 Pass AttemptsWR COACHWR COACH12
Passing Yards30611 Passing YardsWR COACHWR COACH11
Rushing Attempts32621 Rushing AttemptsWR COACHWR COACH21
Rushing Yards42817 Rushing YardsWR COACHWR COACH17

Offensive Breakdown

Last season I doled out some high praise to Josh McDaniels for designing a system that would likely be copied over the next several years as his assistants were gobbled up for coaching jobs around the league. But it is a very complex system and just one offseason was not enough to get everyone on the same page. The ground game developed beautifully as the Raiders leaned heavily on Josh Jacobs. His between-the-tackles work was solid, but were things started to develop was his work in some of the outside zone. With the use of a fullback, Jacobs was able to follow his lead-blockers and really put forth a tremendous showing. We truly hope Jacobs signs his tender and returns to camp with enough time to get ready for the season because Zamir White just doesn’t run with the same power.

The passing attack features some spread offense looks as well as some west coast passing elements. Where it starts to get tricky is in the fact that McDaniels likes to use a variety of personnel packages which will then feature a ton of pre-snap motion to force the defense to tip its hand. Once that happens, McDaniels has it set up where the quarterback can call on multiple interpretations of the play while the receivers have multiple routes to run per play and can choose which one to run based on the variation called by the quarterback and what they see from the defensive coverage. Clear as mud? I thought so. This is the ultimate match-up scheme where defenses are going to be doing a whole lot of guessing, but so much is going to be determined, not just how well Jimmy Garoppolo can read defenses, but how much he and his pass-catchers are on the same page. Davante Adams will remain the targets-leader while the rest – Jakobie Myers, Hunter Renfrow and the tight ends – should be interchangeable cogs in a machine, much like McDaniels developed in New England. If they can pull this off, fantasy owners will want to be invested.

Players Who Best Fit the System: Jimmy Garoppolo, Josh Jacobs, Davante Adams

Defensive System: 3-4 base with some multi-fronts and a Cover-4 zone

Defensive Breakdown: 

Patrick Graham locks in again as the Raiders defensive coordinator and he, like McDaniels, maneuvers players around based on situational moments and week-to-week, play-to-play match-ups. The multi-front looks will be interesting to watch as the current personnel is being moved all around and asked to do different things from which they have been used to doing. The key for Graham is to always have five defensive backs in the secondary as that gives him incredible flexibility with his safeties while also finding a variety of ways to match up against different passing schemes. It is an innovative system, to say the least, but if they can take a step forward from where things were last season, then we should see a much better version of this unit than we saw last season. 

Players Who Best Fit the System: Maxx Crosby, Byron Young, Tyree Wilson

Los Angeles Chargers

Head CoachBrandon Staley3rd year
Offensive CoordinatorKellen Moore1st year
Defensive CoordinatorDerrick Ansley1st year
Offensive SystemAir Coryell 
Blocking SchemeZone/Power Gap Hybrid 
Brandon Staley -- HC    Kellen Moore -- OC   
Category2020 (LAR)20212022 Category2020 (DAL OC)2021 (DAL OC)2022 (DAL OC)
PointsDC513 Points1714
PaceDC15 Pace124
Pass AttemptsDC32 Pass Attempts2619
Passing YardsDC33 Passing Yards8214
Rushing AttemptsDC2228 Rushing Attempts15126
Rushing YardsDC2130 Rushing Yards1799

Offensive Breakdown

Though only in his third season as the Chargers head coach, Brandon Staley is sitting on one of the hottest hot-seats there is in the NFL. His team has an outstanding arsenal of weapons but neither he nor Joe Lombardi were able to take them to the heights we dreamed of two years ago. Some are willing to give Staley a mulligan from last year, given the Justin Herbert rib and shoulder injury, but the cries for his head were loud enough to put him in a make-or-break situation with new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore. If this team doesn’t light it up this season, heads are going to roll.

Let’s start with the system. You can expect a blend of the Air Coryell system Moore used to run along with the West Coast system he worked on with Mike McCarthy over the last two seasons. A combination of spread packages and pre-snap motion will be used to stretch the defense horizontally and we will see plenty of shorter, underneath routes used to help set up the deeper shots downfield. Guys like Mike Williams and Quentin Johnston should benefit greatly from extended downfield action, but what it also means is that we are going to see fewer passes to running backs. Joe Lombardi’s running backs averaged 9.5 targets and 7.1 receptions per game. Under Moore, those numbers dropped to 6.1 and 4.4 respectively.

As far as the ground game goes, you are also likely to see more of a rotation of running backs than you would like, especially if you are investing in Austin Ekeler. We still expect the Chargers to bring in another between-the-tackles guy (rumor mill still throwing Ezekiel Elliott’s name out there) and the team is going to use a combination of both zone and gap blocking. That means some of the scheme fits Ekeler while the power/gap runs are likely to be handled by a combination of him and someone else. Kellen Moore loves to build off a heavy-volume rushing attack, but this passing attack is likely to be the more explosive for fantasy.

Players Who Best Fit the System: Justin Herbert, Mike Williams, Keenan Allen

Defensive System: 3-4 base with multi-front looks and a mix of Cover-2 and man

Defensive Breakdown: 

This is where Staley makes his mark regarding schemes in Los Angeles. He calls the plays on defense and this is his scheme. New defensive coordinator Derrick Ansley’s primary function will be to work with the secondary, as he served as the defensive backs coach for the past two seasons. Staley likes versatility in his defenders and may shift around his linebackers at times to get them on the line to help stop the run or add an extra pass-rusher. The key will be to clog the middle enough to free up the edge rushers, as everyone loves watching what the tandem of Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack, and if this front-seven is successful, they’re going to be a force.

As for the secondary, it is going to be all about how the safeties play. Staley likes using two-high safeties depending on the match-ups and will put a lot of coverage-reading into the hands of Derwin James who will direct traffic in the zones. They will also shift to man coverage a lot as well with Asante Samuel and J.C. Jackson being strong options on the outside. Watch how teams try to attack the Chargers early in the season. They might be most vulnerable over the middle if the pass-rushers overcommit, but this unit is stacked with strong personnel.

Players Who Best Fit the System: Joey Bosa, Sebastian Joseph-Day, Derwin James

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Don't forget to check out the Quick Outs Podcast with Andrew Cooper and Jon Impemba as they break down the AFC West