The NFL offseason saw a flurry of changes across the league from players finding new homes to franchises welcoming new head coaches. This offseason saw 10 teams announce new head coaching hires, a significant number that matches a league-high record that was first set back in 1978. The right coaching hire can potentially change the culture of a franchise and unlock its potential. A new scheme might elevate certain players on the roster and increase production on the field, which is music to the ears of fantasy managers.
We’re going to break down the biggest coaching changes transactions of the offseason so far and examine how they can impact your fantasy team.
Doug Pederson, Jacksonville Jaguars
Previous team: Philadelphia Eagles, 2020
After the Jacksonville Jaguars’ mess of a season a year ago there really is nowhere to go but up for this team, but having a Super Bowl-winning coach in Pederson at the helm gives extra hope. Pederson has a proven track record of getting the most out of his quarterbacks, just look at his Super Bowl season back in 2017. Carson Wentz threw for a career-high 33 touchdowns and Nick Foles won the Super Bowl MVP in his relief.
Fantasy owners can expect a leap from Trevor Lawrence in his sophomore season and the added talent of Christian Kirk and Zay Jones should also help. Kirk and Jones could be comfortable flex choices and an improvement from Lawrence over last season is already a win for managers with him on the fantasy roster.
Josh McDaniels, Las Vegas Raiders
Previous team: New England Patriots OC, 2021
If McDaniels can take this Las Vegas Raiders offense to the next level then there’s a great chance for multiple top-tier fantasy options on the roster. McDaniels has a smorgasbord of offensive weapons with the addition of Davante Adams next to Darren Waller and Josh Jacobs in the running game. McDaniels’ offensive creativity should allow Derek Carr to spread the ball around effectively which will be even more impactful in the red zone.
The key player to monitor in this situation is Hunter Renfrow. McDaniels has a knack for unlocking the potential of his receivers in the slot, just look back at Wes Welker and Julian Edelman. Carr already has a synergy with Renfrow but if McDaniels gets him open more often than before then Renfrow could potentially vault himself into WR2 territory for fantasy owners.
Kevin O’Connell, Minnesota Vikings
Previous team: Los Angeles Rams OC, 2021
O’Connell reunites with Kirk Cousins after being his quarterback coach back in 2017. While O’Connell and the rest of the team will take time to adjust to the new system, Cousins has that familiarity in his back pocket. That should allow the Vikings quarterback to hit the ground running heading into the new season.
With chemistry in play between O’Connell and Cousins that should also benefit their top receiver in Justin Jefferson. Jefferson increased his receptions, receiving yards, and touchdowns in his sophomore season and should build on that in year three. Given O’Connell comes from the Rams and the Sean McVay coaching tree, one might hope that he has some schemes in mind to get Jefferson open and reap the benefits just as Cooper Kupp did in LA last season.
Mike McDaniel, Miami Dolphins
Previous team: San Francisco 49ers OC, 2021
McDaniel takes over a team with some talented pieces in place, headlined by the addition of Tyreek Hill in the offseason. Hill joins playmakers like Raheem Mostert and Chase Edmonds as new faces alongside established cornerstones such as Jalen Waddle. All of them give McDaniel the chance to be creative in a dynamic scheme of run-pass options that he’s been heralded for.
Fantasy owners should keep an eye on all the aforementioned names, especially if they figure to be involved in the ground game. McDaniel has a knack for using RPOs to open up big play opportunities and the Dolphins roster could be a goldmine of impact players at the flex position.
Nathaniel Hackett, Denver Broncos
Previous team: Green Bay Packers OC, 2021
Hackett is a renowned “quarterback whisperer” who got efficient production out of Blake Bortles during his time in Jacksonville. After serving as the Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator the past two seasons he heads to Denver with Russell Wilson as his quarterback. Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton should be in for a big fantasy season as a result.
Hackett and Aaron Rodgers lead Green Bay to become the league’s highest-scoring offense back in 2020. While that’s a lofty goal to repeat it’s not far-fetched to assume that the Broncos will look to throw it deep in the wild AFC West. Denver will need to put points on the board to keep pace with their divisional opponents, which means that Jeudy and Sutton should see more than their share of targets.