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NFL Coordinator Changes/Impact (2021 Fantasy Football)

by Zachary Hanshew | @ZaktheMonster | Featured Writer
Feb 17, 2021

Just over a week ago, we evaluated head coaching changes across the NFL and what they might mean for fantasy football. Now, it’s time to dig a bit deeper into notable coordinator changes. Let’s analyze the impact of seven coordinator changes. Here we go!

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Anthony Lynn – OC Detroit Lions
Resume: Jaguars RBs Coach (2003-04), Cowboys RBs Coach (2005-06), Browns RBs Coach (2007-08), Jets RBs Coach (2009-14), Bills RBs Coach (2015-16), Bills OC (2016), Chargers HC (2017-20)

Is it officially D’Andre Swift season? If not, the arrival of new OC Anthony Lynn should certainly usher it in. Lynn made his bones in the NFL for better than a decade as a running backs coach with five different teams. After his stint as Chargers HC ran its course, he’s ready to bring a fresh offensive gameplan to Detroit.

According to an article in the Detroit Free Press, Lynn said Swift can be even more involved in the passing game than he was as a rookie, when he tied for third on the Lions with 46 catches, though he said the Lions need to ‘find someone else to go with him.’ And [RBs coach Duce] Staley said Swift has “special traits” that should allow him to be a 25-touch-a-game back.” After a tremendous rookie campaign, Swift was primed for an increase in usage and production in 2021, though the arrival of Jared Goff and a new coaching staff all but cement him as a high-floor RB1.

Stock Up: D’Andre Swift

Darrell Bevell – OC Jacksonville Jaguars
Resume: Vikings OC (2006-10), Seattle Seahawks (2011-17), Lions OC (2019-20)

Bevell presided over some elite run games throughout his career, and in 14 seasons as an OC, his teams ranked top-10 in rushing attempts seven times. He most notably called plays for Marshawn Lynch while “Beast Mode” was in his prime, and he got Adrian Peterson from 2007-10. To say the man has coached some top-notch talent would be an understatement. Is then next man up James Robinson? Robinson will likely get the Bevell treatment as the Jags head into 2021 under new head coach Urban Meyer – a coach who went run-heavy throughout his collegiate career. Bevell and Meyer will in no way diminish the usage and/or talent of likely No. 1 overall pick Trevor Lawrence, but the player who stands to benefit most in the offense right now is J-Rob.

Stock Up: James Robinson

Dave Ragone – OC Atlanta Falcons
Resume: Titans WRs Coach (2011-12), Titans QBs Coach (2013), Bears QBs Coach (2016-19), Bears Passing Game Coordinator (2020)

It will be interesting to see how Ragone calls plays with run-minded Arthur Smith as HC, but if Ragone will be left to call the majority of plays, it’s worth noting that he’s going from coordinating passing plays for Mitchell Trubisky and Nick Foles to Matt Ryan with Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, and Hayden Hurst in the receiving corps. Atlanta’s run game as currently constructed will feature Ito Smith, and the strength of the offense is clearly in the passing game. After what had to have been a frustrating year of play-calling, it wouldn’t be crazy to imagine Ragone opening up the offense and taking advantage of a much better situation.

Stock Up: Matt Ryan

Shane Steichen – OC Philadelphia Eagles
Resume: Chargers QBs Coach (2016-19), Chargers OC (2020)

Steichen’s impact is admittedly difficult to predict, but in his final season with the Bolts, Steichen (as OC) led his team to the fifth-most pass attempts in the league. What’s more, the Chargers finished fourth in the NFL with 25.1 percent of passes going to running backs. If we can draw conclusions from Steichen’s only season as an OC, it looks like Jalen Hurts and Miles Sanders are ready to see a boost in usage and production in 2021. Sanders is an excellent receiver out of the backfield, and Hurts is a solid runner out of the backfield. Steichen will look to take advantage of Hurts’ strengths and use him in the best way possible while getting the ball to Miles Sanders in space as much as possible.

Stock Up: Miles Sanders, Jalen Hurts

Joe Lombardi – OC Los Angeles Chargers
Resume: Saints QBs Coach (2009-13, 2016-20), Lions OC (2014-15)

Lombardi has been a key coach for a stable and winning franchise in New Orleans for eight years, working with Drew Brees for some of his best years – including a Super Bowl victory. Now, he’ll get the chance to work with one of the best quarterbacks of the next generation. Fresh off a ROY win, Justin Herbert is ready to take off in 2021 with Lombardi leading the way.

Stock Up: Justin Herbert

Shane Waldron – OC Seattle Seahawks
Resume: Rams TEs Coach (2017), Rams Passing Game Coordinator (2018-20)

Waldron replaces Brian Schottenheimer as Seahawks OC, and it could mean good news for the Seahawks’ pass catchers. Schotty finally began to unleash Russell Wilson in 2020, as the QB had the best season of his career, which included career highs in pass attempts (558) and passing touchdowns (40). After a hot start to the season, Wilson fell back to earth in a big way for the second half of the campaign.

As Rams’ passing coordinator, Waldron’s teams ranked fifth, sixth, and eighth in highest percentage of targets thrown to WRs during his tenure. Even more notably, his teams ranked in the bottom-10 in RB targets. That emphasis on a team’s primary receiving corps favors D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, especially since the team has no real tight end to speak of and a running back in Chris Carson who is likely out the door in 2021.

Stock Up: Tyler Lockett, D.K. Metcalf

Todd Downing – Tennessee Titans
Resume: Lions QBs Coach (2012-13), Bills QBs Coach (2014), Raiders QBs Coach (2015-16), Raiders OC (2017), Vikings TEs Coach (2018), Titans TEs Coach (2019-20)

Downing has worked for multiple teams in a variety of capacities, so it’s not clear exactly what to expect while he’s at the helm of the offense in 2021. Given his experience as a QBs and TEs coach on the teams he worked for, it would make sense that Ryan Tannehill and A.J. Brown could see their respective stocks rise. With the Lions, Bills, and Raiders, Downing’s teams relied more on the pass game than the run. He was with Matthew Stafford for two pass-happy seasons and Derek Carr for two Pro Bowl campaigns. With former OC Arthur Smith departed for Atlanta, Downing may opt to balance Tennessee’s offensive game-plan with more emphasis on the production of Tannehill and Brown.

Stock Up: Ryan Tannehill, A.J. Brown

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Zachary Hanshew is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Zachary, check out his archive and follow him @zakthemonster.

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