Fantasy football: NFL offensive system changes

by Tim Heaney on August 9, 2013 @ 08:45:26 PDT


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Thirteen teams named a new offensive coordinator this offseason, and knowing how those systems drive can identify fantasy green lights and warning signs. Head coaches often dictate the offense. Such cases are reflected appropriately.

Arizona Cardinals

Bruce Arians and Harold Goodwin replace Ken Whisenhunt

Expect more precise vertical elements, with a QB that throws more than 10 yards comfortably. Carson Palmer's protection, of course, will set the table. Arians will move Larry Fitzgerald around ala Reggie Wayne last year, so Fitz should rediscover his elite production. Rashard Mendenhall shined for Arians in Pittsburgh with coach's emphasis on and Mendy's preference for outside stretch runs. "Move TE" Rob Housler could become the new Dwayne Allen.

Buffalo Bills

Doug Marrone and Nathaniel Hackett replace Chan Gailey and Curtis Modkins

Top-shelf back C.J. Spiller will own this go-go-go plan, which contains pro-style passing spliced with West Coast tenets and spread formations, with plenty of no-huddles designed to maximize speedsters. Marrone, a Sean Payton disciple, hopes Spiller will replicate Reggie Bush's explosiveness ... and that EJ Manuel will learn quickly. How long can this quick-release makeup hide Kevin Kolb's flaws and harness the potential held by shifty T.J. Graham and polished rookie Robert Woods, the wideout growth will depend on the snap-takers?

Andrew Luck, QB, Indianapolis Colts

Carolina Panthers

Mike Shula replaces Rob Chudzinski

QB coach the last two years, Shula will lean on a power-rushing attack and a sometimes up-tempo passing plan. He'll ease up on zone-read plays that befuddled Cam Newton last year. Outside of Steve Smith and Greg Olsen, will anyone step forward to help Newton's pocket passing? Maybe Shula will target fullback Mike Tolbert as much as he did Mike Alstott in Tampa Bay's heyday. The backfield mess will continue, despite the improved team outlook.

Chicago Bears

Marc Trestman and Aaron Kromer replace Mike Tice

Trestman cultivated Rich Gannon's elite Oakland years and led a supercharged Montreal Alouettes offense. Mission: Keep Jay Cutler upright with more three- and five-step drops, more quickly developing routes and new blocking schemes. Kromer's experience with Drew Brees will also help. Matt Forte and Martellus Bennett should see boosts in receptions if Cutler buys into checkdowns and rapider releases. Alshon Jeffery's sleeper value shoots up. This improves Cutler more than any one skills piece, though.

Cleveland Browns

Norv Turner replaces Brad Childress

He's fine when he focuses on the O: Air Coryell elements that require downfield execution and lengthy time for play development. Brandon Weeden, for all his flaws, has the arm for it, and the O-line was surprisingly solid in pass protection. Without an injury interruption, Trent Richardson (shin) may be Norv's next elite tailback. Following a suspension, Josh Gordon could shine downfield. Greg Little could take another step forward. Turner's latest promising TE? The athletic Jordan Cameron.

Denver Broncos

Adam Gase replaces Mike McCoy

Wait, it's not Peyton Manning? Gase was his QB coach last year, and they'll work to turn up the speed. Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker and new arrival Wes Welker form a lethal group but will most likely frustrate on a weekly fantasy basis. Fundamentally, it'll resemble 2012 with more apparent callbacks to Mike Martz and Don Coryell. The mishmash of running backs will make noise in the aerial game but might rotate frequently.

Indianapolis Colts

Pep Hamilton replaces Bruce Arians

Hamilton's history with Andrew Luck (and Coby Fleener, among others) at Stanford prompts flashbacks in the "No Coast" offense, which will center on West Coast principles. Luck's completion percentage and arm (following 627 attempts) will thank him. Don't discount Reggie Wayne more than you already should based on simple regression. Expect Fleener and Dwayne Allen to cancel each other out and hurt T.Y. Hilton, but help Luck's numbers. An Ahmad Bradshaw-Vick Ballard combo could produce more catches, PPR players.


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About Tim Heaney

Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum, who competes in the prestigious LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.

He appears frequently, including every Sunday, on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, as well as every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.

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