With the Houston Texans hiring David Culley to fill their head coaching position, all seven head coach openings from this offseason have been filled. There’s a lot of unknown with these new hires, but it’s not too early to think about how this affects the fantasy football values of some of the players on the teams that made coaching changes.
Falcons QB Matt Ryan
Matt Ryan is one of the best play-action quarterbacks in football, and new Falcons head coach Arthur Smith had plenty of success with the play-action game when he was the offensive coordinator for the Titans. Now, the Falcons don’t have Derrick Henry to carry the ball 25 times per game in the backfield, which makes things more difficult; but expect Atlanta to still get the run game going under Smith, allowing Matty Ice to distribute the ball to game breakers like Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley off of play-action. With a stronger run game completing the passing attack, don’t be surprised if Ryan gets back to putting up numbers similar to 2018 and his MVP 2016 campaign.
Chargers QB Justin Herbert
Justin Herbert was initially going to be a stock down after the Chargers fired Anthony Lynn because he played so well and broken records in Lynn’s offense as a rookie. However, it was refreshing to hear that new hire Brandon Staley promises to tailor the offense to fit the skillset of an “elite” quarterback like Herbert. Despite the defensive background, Staley is a former quarterback himself and should have no problem letting Herbert sling the ball around.
Lions RB D’Andre Swift
If there was one thing to take away from new Lions head coach Dan Campbell’s press conference, it’s that Detroit is going to play tough football. That means running the ball often. 2020 second-round pick D’Andre Swift showed major flashes as a rookie, and the Lions added two former running backs (the aforementioned Anthony Lynn as offensive coordinator and running backs and assistant head coach Duce Staley) to the coaching staff—you can bet they are going to want to pound the rock. Assuming the Lions don’t add even more to a backfield that also includes Kerryon Johnson, Swift might be a force in 2021.
Eagles RB Miles Sanders
Losing Duce Staley might hurt Sanders a bit, but new head coach Nick Sirianni is probably going to want to run the ball like the Colts offense did this season, and no Staley could mean less of a running back rotation. If Philadelphia commits to Sanders more consistently each week, the Penn State product could be set for his first 1,000-yard rushing season. Replacing a championship head coach, Sirianni is going to be under major pressure to win games early to avoid the fans getting on him, so he may want to give one of his best players (Sanders) the ball more than he’s ever gotten it.
Eagles QB Jalen Hurts
New Eagles quarterbacks coach Brian Johnson has known Jalen Hurts since he was four years old, so Hurts could have somewhat of an advantage in any potential open quarterback competition with Carson Wentz. But the prevailing thought is that the Eagles’ opinion of Wentz is a big reason Doug Pederson, who apparently did not get along with Wentz, was fired. Perhaps Hurts will be too good to leave off the field, but it feels like the tide has turned in favor of Wentz since the season ended, so there may not be a legitimate competition, and Hurts may not even be a starting quarterback in 2021 despite impressing as a rookie.
Chargers WR Keenan Allen
For those that watched HBO’s Hard Knocks last summer, you heard Anthony Lynn say that every week he would walk into offensive coordinator Shane Steichen’s office and say “feed Keenan Allen”. That’s certainly happened over the past four years, with Allen recording reception totals of 102, 97, 104, and 100 in those seasons. Allen is an exceptional player, but his stock may drop because there’s no guarantee his role will be at that level under the new regime in Los Angeles.
Lions WR Kenny Golladay
Kenny Golladay is set to become a free agent this offseason, so this may not matter when the season kicks off next September. But if Golladay is franchise tagged and/or remains in Detroit, he’ll be playing in a run-heavy offense that lost Matthew Stafford at quarterback. Golladay is a big-play threat that doesn’t need a ton of targets to do damage, but not having Stafford in the mix paired with the change in offense means it’s stock down for the young receiver… at least for now.
Texans WR Brandin Cooks
Similarly, Brandin Cooks is almost certainly losing his quarterback in Deshaun Watson, who has officially requested a trade from the Texans. Cooks is under contract for big money, and Houston may want to still get a lot out of him in 2021 and beyond, but he’ll be adjusting to a new offense with an uncertain quarterback situation. Things can change quickly (Cooks himself may even be traded again, or the Texans might add a promising starter to make up for the loss of Watson get Cooks the ball as a focal point of the offense), but his stock is down with Watson going out the door.