Football thrives on great coaching and a strategic gameplan. If a team buys into a system and finds rhythm their confidence grows and they become hard to beat no matter who the opponent may be. NFL fans understand that a new coach can slow the process of building a championship, but they also know that an offensive or defensive system change can also re-energize a roster.
The follow are four players I think could really come to love their new offensive scheme which will have a solid impact in fantasy this season.
WR | San Francisco 49ers
It’s no secret that the 49ers were one of the worst teams in the NFL last season. With half of their team retiring early on defense, the terrible regression of Colin Kaepernick – which ultimately gave Blaine Gabbert a chance to start- and miscues across the board, it’s any wonder the team decided to hit the reset button in 2016.
While it may be popular to hate Chip Kelly these days, his track record of success should be looked at over his two seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2013 and 2014, not the dreaded dumpster fire of 2015. In a run-first offense that brings a no huddle system to the table, Chip Kelly’s true intentions are getting man-to-man coverage alignments and setup play-action pass opportunities to speedy players like Torrey Smith.
Smith was only able to grab 33 receptions out of his 61 targets, accumulating 663 yards and 4 touchdowns last year. But a new hurry-up offense built on speed could play well in Smith’s favor.
The rest of the wide receiver corps for San Francisco doesn’t look to be as promising at the moment, leaving Torrey to be the lone standout and a solid low risk fantasy target in fantasy this season. Smith is currently being taking in the late 9th, early 10th round and I like his chances as a bounce back player in 2016.
RB Cincinnati Bengals
Entering his 3rd season with the Bengals, Jeremy Hill is now facing new ground without his former Offensive Coordinator Hue Jackson who took the head coaching position with the Cleveland Browns this past offseason. Jackson was a great asset for the likes of Hill, Andy Dalton, A.J. Green and others. In his replacement, the team has promoted QB coach Ken Zampese.
The former halfback from the LSU Tigers has a chance to show off his brute strength and talent in the backfield with Giovanni Bernard his running mate. With less weapons for Dalton to throw to with the departure of Marvin Jones to the Lions, Muhammed Sanu going to the Falcons, and the recent injury of Tyler Eifert that could cost him some playing time in the early going, the Red Rocket has less trusted options to throw to in 2016. This gives Jeremy a possible chance at redemption and getting back to his rookie year where he went off for 1,124 yards rushing compared to just 794 yards this past year. This new scheme propels him to consistency and less doubt after this year’s go of it. Still for fantasy owners, #32 comes with a hefty price as he’s going in most mock drafts in the 4th round. High risk, high reward, but I like his chances as does Gridiron Experts RB projections for 2016.
QB | Miami Dolphins
Ryan Tannehill didn’t have what we call a terrible year in production in 2015, but we can also say it wasn’t a stellar one either. Now with new Head Coach Adam Gase in charge, the mastermind of offense who lead the record breaking Denver Broncos back in 2013, things are starting to look up.
In may, future Hall of Fame and Super Bowl champion Peyton Manning came to Miami to help Tannehill both on and off the field.
“It was really cool,” Tannehill said. “A guy that had his career, the living legend he is, coming off a Super Bowl winning season — it was really cool just to be able to sit and pick his brain about things he’s done in this offense and football things in general: snap counts, things you like, the way you want guys to run routes, little details about the game. We really just got to talk the game, which is something we both love.”
Wherever Gase has gone, quarterbacks have become fantasy relevant. Tannehill finally has a chance to break free from the “streaming QB” label with a new aggressive offense and a solid wide receivers group in Jarvis Landry, DeVante Parker, and new arrival rookie Leonte Carroo.
Currently you can get Tannehill in the 11th and 12th rounds.
QB | San Diego Chargers
Ken Whisenhunt is back at Offensive Coordinator for the San Diego Chargers and this can only spell one word for Rivers, “comfortable.”
Rivers posted 22.5 fantasy points per game under Whisenhunt, his personal best in 2013.
Whisenhunt is reunited with core pieces like Rivers, running back Danny Woodhead, tight end Antonio Gates and wide receiver Keenan Allen. He also has a project to fix in running back Melvin Gordon, and offensive toys to work into his scheme in wide receivers Travis Benjamin and Stevie Johnson.
“Having a season together, you’ve had some big wins. You’ve had some tough losses,” Rivers said. “You know what it’s like to go through it together. I know as a quarterback and a play-caller, you’ve got to be on the same page. You’ve got to be all-in together. If you call something, I’m believing in you, and you’ve got to believe I can execute. And if I make a check — all those things.
Rivers sounds excited to get back to his winning ways. At a pure fantasy bargain, Rivers can be drafted in the 9th round.