The coaching carousel in the NFL is in full swing and with it, hope springs eternal in the NFL. One team’s trash is another team’s treasure as fans debate between experienced retreads and hot coordinators turned first-time head coaches.
Never mind that this is a player-driven league. One in which success correlates more with the quality of the man under center than it ever does with the man with the headset.
Think of it this way. Who saves the day, the superhuman scoring all the points, or the guy in the chair giving directions?
Whatever you may think, for now, the dust has been settled. While you won’t be able to tell who the actual winners might be among the new hires and teams, we can at least start to unravel who the fantasy football winners are.
New playcallers on offense means new offensive tendencies. If you’re looking to win your dynasty football league next year, these are players to buy before the rest of the league catches up on just what these changes might mean.
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Three Buy Low Candidates to Win Next Year
Jaylen Warren, RB, PIT
Arthur Smith is the new deputy in Steelers country and boy, is there a lot to dissect with his offense. The key gripe, aside of course from his hatred of your fantasy team, is whether he utilizes his star skill positional players correctly.
After all, the Falcons invested in Kyle Pitts, Drake London, and Bijan Robinson in the past several years. Each has flirted with superstardom only to fall short.
While I would expect Robinson to gain more bell-cow work under Atlanta’s new play-caller on offense, Zac Robinson, the run game was a clear focal point for Atlanta under Smith’s tenure.
For a team with no rushing QB, Atlanta was third in rushing percentage behind the Ravens and Eagles. Expect a lot more rushing in Pittsburgh and plenty of RB targets as Robinson was second in the league last year in this measure. Warren himself was fifth in RB targets, so he’s no slouch in the role.
Pitts injured himself badly two years ago. London had Desmond Ridder throwing him the ball. Robinson had a great year minus two duds, one in which he was physically ill. I wouldn’t consider Arthur Smith to be a problem in Pittsburgh. Buy low on Warren while there’s still doubt on who the preferred back will be in Pittsburgh.
Jalen Hurts, QB, PHL
I would imagine you’re thinking one of two things. One, how am I supposed to acquire this man as a buy low when he’s still commanding respect as KeepTradeCut’s 9th-ranked player in dynasty football?
Two, Hurts is overrated having an aberrant 15 rushing touchdowns last year and his interceptions spiked. Philadelphia looked terrible down the stretch and he looked to be a part of it.
To which I say, sure. I would also point to similar criticisms of Lamar Jackson not so long ago before he thrust himself back into the perennial fantasy MVP spotlight. Remarkably, in spite of Hurts being younger and scoring more than Jackson last year, Jackson is actually ranked higher on KeepTradeCut at the moment.
Last year, Hurts had two major problems. He wasn’t targeting the middle of the field as he showed mistrust in that area. And the Eagles were 32nd in designed rollouts, limiting the most dangerous part of his game.
Kellen Moore comes in as the new playcaller having, at one point, designed the 9th most rollouts in the league for Dak Prescott, a man with less than average mobility. Moore also loves 12 personnel given his preferences with the Cowboys and Chargers. Philadelphia will likely add a 2nd tight end this offseason with receiving potential.
Hurts could find some more confidence over the middle with better options. Between that and Devonta Smith’s contract year, you have a recipe for an even more explosive offense under Moore. For Hurts, that could mean MVP consideration, and an even higher ranking next year.
Rhamondre Stevenson, RB, NE
The Patriots have recently announced that the new play-caller for their offense will be Alex Van Pelt. Fired from the Cleveland Browns as their offensive coordinator despite ranking 10th in points per game his performance helping lead a Deshaun Watson-less offense, we know the Browns featured Nick Chubb heavily.
While Kareem Hunt still factored in, it was clear that Chubb had the runway for a lion’s share of carries. This continued even with Jerome Ford who, while displaying below-average talent, was still given great volume.
Still, a lot of offensive design in Cleveland can be traced back to their head coach Kevin Stefanski. This is a lot less about who is coming in for the Patriots and more about who is going out.
It should be no news that New England’s longtime coach Bill Belichick is gone. And it certainly was not news to fantasy football managers over the years that the New England backfield was never to be trusted.
But now, it’s a new era for the Patriots. It’s hard to say whether Stevenson will be the lead back, though he was on quite the roll before hitting IR late last season. The point really is to take advantage of the remaining bias against running backs in New England. Buy low now before people realize everything that Belichick’s departure means for long-standing beliefs in the fantasy community.