Fantasy Football

NFC East Breakdown of Coaching and Offensive Line

Dak Prescott

NFL BREAKDOWN OF COACHING AND OFFENSIVE LINE 2023 SERIES

Hey all and welcome to the final installment of these breakdowns. I’m just about done putting my draft book together and identifying the players I will consider in each round.

The road I’ve taken to becoming someone who gets to write about fake football has been fun. There are probably too many people to thank, but before we begin I did want to take a quick second to point out a few.

First of all, to these folks at Gridiron Experts who have brought me along in 2023, thank you very much for the opportunity. I hope for big things this season and beyond.

To Kev, DJ, my wife, and my mom, you were each integral to developing my confidence as both a writer and/or a fantasy football player. I simply wouldn’t be doing this without you, so thank you.

On to the teams!!

OL and Coaching Series Quick Links

Dallas Cowboys

NFL Futures: Regular Season Win Odds: 9.5

  • HC: Mike McCarthy
  • OC: Brian Schottenheimer
  • DC: Dan Quinn

Mike McCarthy is entering his 4th year with the Boys, and with former OC Kellen Moore and many of the offensive assistants now gone, McCarthy is going to be the offensive play caller. What does that mean? Well, it means this offense is about to turn into a much more pass heavy offense than we have seen in some time.

Schottenheimer was brought on board as a consultant last year. Given his resume, it makes a ton of sense that he is now the OC. Schottenheimer’s job is going to be to install the vertical offense that McCarthy wants. When McCarthy worked with Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay, this offense was highly successful in terms of fantasy points and team wins because Rodgers was a fit for 3 and 4 WR sets with the goal of chucking the ball down the field. Will Dak Prescott and this group of receivers be good in that role? It will be interesting to see.

Dan Quinn is returning for year three as DC. Quinn has had a very nice career as a defensive coach. He was DC for the Seahawks when they won their SuperBowl, and he was head coach for the Falcons as they revamped their defense and made a SuperBowl appearance as well.

The Cowboys defense under Quinn has been quite good too. They vary their fronts from 4 to 5 and sometimes 6 linemen. Quinn wants to generate pressure in whatever ways he can, whilst giving his secondary the means to cover the opposing team’s best receivers. Having both Stephon Giilmore and Trevon Diggs should really help and provide versatility in that regard.

Offensive Line

Projected Starters

  • LT: Tyron Smith
  • LG: Tyler Smith
  • C: Tyler Biadasz
  • RG: Zack Martin
  • RT: Terrence Steele

For years, this unit has been one of the best offensive lines in football. Even last year, despite injuries to Tyron Smith, this line was still one of the tops in the league.

This year they have a new O-line coach in Mike Solari. He has been around the league in numerous roles since 1992. He’s had varying successes but the experience is there for sure.

By now, the reports of Zack Martin’s dissatisfaction with his contract are well known, and that’s likely because his best years are behind him, so he’s hoping to cash in big one last time. He’s still an excellent linemen, but his overall play has been on the decline.

All of these starters, except for Tyron Smith, are rated in the top half of the league at their positions. Tyron would probably be higher if it weren’t for his recent injuries.

This unit does not have much depth, so an injury or two, or someone sitting out due to contract issues, could really change the effectiveness of this offense.

Verdict

This is going to be an interesting team to watch. They are going to be passing more which is why they made moves like letting Zeke Elliott go and bringing in someone like Brandin Cooks. It will likely be Gallup’s and Cooks’ job to take the top off the defense, while Lamb, Ferguson, Pollard and maybe Tolbert look to get open in areas where they can run after the catch. When the opportunity is there, deep balls to Cooks could be a thing for the Boys in 2023.

I think we have to entertain the idea that this offense could be a massive failure. Between an offensive line that is aging, lacks depth, and is not as good as it once was, and a brand new scheme, it could get ugly. However, fantasy points should be had.

Ceedee Lamb is going at the end of round 1. One good part about this offense is that it’s going to leave the TE, the slot WR, and perhaps the RB with opportunities for yards after the catch. Lamb is quite good at this and should continue to thrive in this environment.

Ferguson interests me as well. There is no more Dalton Schultz, yet the new TE1 isn’t being drafted until the mid 200s.

Cooks and Gallup should have some spike weeks, but call me skeptical on both. Cooks is going in the 9th round. I suppose that’s accurate. I really want to play the age card with Cooks, but he’s only 29. Is it me or does it feel like he’s been in the NFL for 20 years? Gallup is going in round 14. I’ve read the Gallup story too many times, please don’t make me read it again.

Tolbert couldn’t work his way onto the field last season, so I’m going to wait until I see it from him. He is going around pick (checks notes)…he isn’t getting drafted.

Tony Pollard is getting a lot of hype this offseason, and our man Will Holtz makes a solid case for him, but at 22nd overall I would rather have others. I am not going to fault anyone for taking him there. The starting 5 linemen can hold their own, there’s basically no one behind Pollard on the depth chart, and he should be active in the passing game.

When I gaze into the crystal ball, I actually see this Dallas offense performing well initially. When I look further, I see injuries and teams figuring out the Boys’ offense and adjusting as the season goes on.

On defense I actually see a potential juggernaut of sacks and turnovers. This unit is going to win a few games for the Cowboys this season and mask the deficiencies of the offense.

 

New York Giants

NFL Futures: Regular Season Win Odds: 8.5

  • HC: Brian Daboll
  • OC: Mike Kafka
  • DC: Don “Wink” Martindale

After a successful first year and an “upset” playoff win against Minnesota, all three of these guys are returning for year two with the Gmen.

Dabboll and Kaftka run a Spread offense that has a few wrinkles to suit the skill set of Saquon Barkley. This offense will line up in 11 and 12 personnel sets (3 and 4 WRs) with Daniel Jones in the shotgun, and they will utilize play action and RPOs. All of those things are designed to give Daniel Jones time to identify the right coverage, call the right play, and deliver the ball to the player who is most likely to gain the most yards either after the catch, or after handing the ball off.

Martindale is a blitz heavy, multifront kind of defensive coach. He’ll blitz with any of his defensive players from anywhere on the field. He’ll also disguise his coverages in the secondary. The blitzing and disguised coverages are directly intended to take the ball away from opposing offenses. Martindale defenses typically can be run on, but it’s quite difficult to throw down the field on them.

Offensive Line

Projected Starters

  • LT: Andrew Thomas
  • LG: Ben Bredeson / Josh Ezeudu
  • C: John Michael Schmitz
  • RG: Mark Glowinski
  • RT: Evan Neal

Andrew Thomas just inked a huge 5 year extension worth over $100 million. He is one of the best tackles in football and the shining star on this offensive line.

Evan Neal was a rookie last year, and he was highly touted after the draft capital the Giants spent on him at the 2022 Draft. However, he comes with a rank of 100 at the tackle position, which is much less than ideal.

Bredeson and Glowinski are solid at the guard position, but both are better pass blockers than run blockers.

Schmitz is likely to start at center, he’s a 2023 second-round draft pick out of Minnesota where he was an All-American. He should be solid, but then again Neal was supposed to be as well.

Line coach Bobby Johnson is here for his second season. The line should improve overall, but there isn’t much behind any of these guys should some of them get injured.

Verdict

Saquon will be fine here as long as he stays healthy.

Daniel Jones makes for a decent backup QB.

Figuring out which WR to draft is going to pose a challenge, so I might avoid guessing at that altogether. The slot WR in this offense should see plenty of volume, but who plays the slot regularly is not clear. It could be Parris Campbell, it might be Wan’Dale Robinson, heck Sterling Shepard is still on this team too. Both Hodgins and Slayton will have their days, which will hopefully be the days I use them in DFS, but I doubt I’ll sign them up for seasonal.

Darren Waller has been brought in as well, destroying my Daniel Bellinger hype train I was planning on steering. Waller goes in round 6. If he stays on the field, he could pay that off, but he’s been dealing with repetitive issues that make me inclined to look elsewhere.

I’m totally okay with this DST on my roster.

 

Philadelphia Eagles

NFL Futures: Regular Season Win Odds: 10.5

  • HC: Nick Sirianni
  • OC: Brian Johnson
  • DC: Sean Desai

Jalen Hurts is yet another example of the recent trends in the NFL. Surprise, surprise we have another West Coast offense that employs the shotgun, RPOs, and pre-snap motion. When you have a QB that can expose a defense on the ground and in the air, the defense has to respect it and will hopefully freeze on those RPOs to determine what the QB will do.

Brian Johnson is the new OC after the departure of Shane Steichen, but not much should change in Philly. They will use their advanced scouting to focus on how they attack the opposing defense, which will determine their preferred method of attack in a given week.

Desai is also entering year 1 as DC. He will use a 4-3 base setup and press coverage in the secondary. Last year this defense was the best against the pass, so many attempted to run the ball with varying successes. This group has extremely nice luxury of two CBs (Bradberry and Slay) who can play man coverage extremely well, and the addition of first round pick Jalen Carter to help the pass rush just might make this defense even better in 2023.

Offensive Line

Projected Starters

  • LT: Jordan Mailata
  • LG: Landon Dickerson
  • C: Jason Kelce / Cam Jurgens
  • RG: Tyler Steen / Jack Driscoll
  • RT: Lane Johnson

This is an elite unit. Johnson, Kelce, and Mailata are all top 10 at their positions, while Dickerson is top 20. Not only are most of these players ranked quite highly, they are all versatile in terms of both run and pass blocking as well as blocking in different schemes, which is good because line coach Jeff Stoutland employs many. Steen is a third round rookie who is currently slated to start at RG.

The Eagles did well to avoid the injury bug last season, and they did lose both Isaac Seumalo and Andre Dillard so some adjustments will be required. One cool thing is that the 2nd ranked center in the NFL Kelce, who at age 35 could be in one of his last seasons, helped to pick his successor in Cam Jurgens. Jurgens can play at guard too if need be.

Verdict

It’s hard not to like pretty much everyone on this team. That being said, I may not have anyone in seasonal. Everyone here is talented, the WRs, the RBs, the QB, and even Dallas Goedert. Draft them at your heart’s content. However, no one other than Hurts is going to be that consistent from week to week. One week it will be AJ Brown with 3 catches for 100 yards and 2 TDs, the next it will be Skinny Batman DeVonta Smith with over 100 yards and a score. They’re also going to use all three RBs every week, and Hurts is going to run a few TDs in himself. I mean, if AJ Brown is sitting there in the 3rd round for some reason, I’m taking him. Otherwise I’m looking for more week-to-week consistency in seasonal.

One “fantasy player” I will gladly have is the DST though.

 

Washington Commanders

NFL Futures: Regular Season Win Odds: 6.5

  • HC: Ron Rivera
  • OC: Eric Bienemy
  • DC: Jack Del Rio

And to conclude this exercise, we have the Washington Commanders and their brand new ownership group. New ownership groups, in recent history, like to win right away. If that doesn’t happen, I would expect things to be shook up here real soon. To that end, Ron Rivera will need to produce results, i.e. wins, or he may be looking for new employment in 2024. Rivera leaves play calling to his coordinators.

Eric Bienemy is fresh off a Super Bowl win as OC for the Chiefs, but the chances of him replicating that success here is not high. With a young QB with mobile upside, we can expect another West Coast offense in Washington. If the coaches are smart (big if), there will be a ton of pre snap motion to identify coverage and RPOs to freeze linebackers. This will be the best route to help Howell identify coverages and make correct decisions. Since he’s unlikely to have a lot of time to throw the ball, short and quick passes will be the likely way to go.

DC Jack Del Rio has been here as long as Rivera, four years. The defense is where the bread and butter is for the Commanders. They have arguably the most talented group of defensive linemen in football. Del Rio will use different fronts and disguise blitzes by showing the QB one thing, but then hitting him with something else. The secondary is largely cover 1, and that seems to suit this halfway decent group, but everything here is predicated on Washington being able to stop the run and succeed in getting pressure on the QB.

Offensive Line

Projected Starters

  • LT: Charles Leno
  • LG: Chris Paul / Ricky Stromberg
  • C: Nick Gates / Ricky Stromberg
  • RG: Sam Cosmi / Ricky Stromberg
  • RT: Andrew Wylie

This line has had some significant changes to it. Chase Rouillier, Andrew Norwell, Wes Schweitzer, and Trai Turner are all gone. This is perhaps a good thing considering how poor the Commander offensive line play was in 2022. However, on paper this does not look like much of an improvement.

The best ones here are Cosmi and Leno, but Cosmi is transitioning to guard from tackle after the Commanders brought in Wylie.

Paul was a 7th round pick a few years ago and is largely untested, so Stromberg who was drafted in the 3rd round this past year may end up as the LG.

Gates is moving to center after the retirement of Chase Rouillier. Gates is not ranked particularly high.

It will be line coach Travelle Wharton’s job to get this group to protect Sam Howell and block for Brian Robinson and Atonio Gibson. I’m not too optimistic about that. Wharton has been involved on this coaching staff for the same four years as Rivera and Del Rio. Again, all may not be back unless some winning starts happening. Good luck to them, I have the Commanders finishing last in the NFC East.

Verdict

Big meh for me here. McLaurin is going at pick 50. There’s other players I want at that spot.

I’m a big Jahan Dotson guy, but his ADP of 90 is a bit much.

Curtis Samuel is likely to continue to be super annoying.

Both Brian Robinson and Antonio Gibson should get a lot of work in this offense, but this isn’t the best blocking unit. The good news about both is that they are going in the later rounds, 8th and 9th respectively, and they should have plenty of volume.

The TE position is not of interest to me.

I just don’t see much of a reason to go in on this offense from a seasonal perspective. There are more sure things out there in 2023.

 

As always, thank you for reading. If you’re looking for easy access to content, have questions, or want to be updated on information during the season, consider joining my Discord.

Good luck in your drafts and in the 2023 fantasy season!

 

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