While it’s easy to measure the best coaches (Super Bowl wins, appearances) and the worst (Nathanial Hackett, hello), the coaches most conducive to scoring points and, in turn, fantasy success can be a little trickier. Below is our list of the best head coaches for fantasy purposes heading into the 2023 season.
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NFL Head Coach Rankings
1. Andy Reid (Kansas City Chiefs)
Reid would probably be at the top of this list just for his tenure in Kansas City. Not only is there the record-setting career of Patrick Mahomes II but keep in mind that Kansas City finished in the top 10 of scoring in two of Reid’s four pre-Mahomes seasons in Kansas City. Additionally, there’s Reid’s whole other career in Philadelphia. In 14 seasons there, his teams finished in the top 10 of scoring in more than half his time there (eight seasons). Between his performance and longevity, Reid is an easy choice.
2. Sean Payton (Denver Broncos)
Sean Payton had a prolific career when it came to fantasy points in New Orleans. His Saints teams were a top-five scoring offense an incredible nine times in 15 seasons. He did have Drew Brees for 14 of those 15 seasons and in the one he didn’t, Payton’s Saints team finished 19th in scoring and just 28th in yardage. So his upcoming pairing with quarterback Russell Wilson will be the ultimate test of whether it was Payton or Brees that was responsible for the Saints’ success.
3. Sean McVay (Los Angeles Rams)
No recency bias here as Sean McVay is still considered one of the best offensive minds in the game, despite the disaster that was the 2022 season. He burst on the scene to lead the Rams to the top of the NFL in scoring his first year as a head coach then followed that up by placing second in his sophomore year. He added another top-10 finish since then and, more importantly, a Super Bowl ring which should solidify his place at the top.
4. Sean McDermott (Buffalo Bills)
Our third Sean in a row, Sean McDermott didn’t have an immediate offensive pedigree to speak of when he was hired by the Bills. While it took three seasons for the stars to align in Buffalo, the last three for Buffalo and McDermott have been highly successful. Led by Pro Bowler Josh Allen, the Bills have had a top-five offense in each of the last three campaigns. Allen is in his prime so don’t expect a dropoff anytime soon with or without Stefon Diggs.
5. Pete Carroll (Seattle Seahawks)
One of the longer-tenured coaches in the NFL, the 2022 season might have been Carroll’s most impressive. While most of the league wrote off Seattle after they traded Russell Wilson, Carroll rode Geno Smith at quarterback to a playoff berth and top-10 finish in scoring. What will he do for an encore? Seattle added this year’s top receiver Jaxon Smith-Ngiba and added potential three-down back Zach Charbonnet to pair with second-year back Kenneth Walker III. The future is bright in Seattle.
6. Mike McCarthy (Dallas Cowboys)
While it may be a surprise to some to see Mike McCarthy this high on a list of the best coaches in the NFL, consider the facts. His offenses in Green Bay finished in the top 10 nine times. He also has a Super Bowl ring to show for it. In his three seasons in Dallas, the Cowboys finished fourth and first in scoring in the last two seasons. Yes, a lot of that could be attributed to Kellen Moore but between McCarthy’s successful track record in both locations, he’s the common denominator. His game management may be suspect but he knows how to coach an offense.
7. Kyle Shanahan (San Francisco 49ers)
If this list went to the most innovative coach, Kyle Shanahan might have won. After leading offenses in four different cities as a coordinator, Shanahan found his forever home in San Francisco where he led a resurgence in 49er prestige. Not only has he led the team to three NFC Championship games in just the last four seasons but he’s managed to generate a lot of points using different parts. From turning Deebo Samuel into an All-Pro to molding George Kittle into a potential Hall of Famer, Shanahan has his best roster yet now led by running back Christian McCaffrey.
8. Matt LaFleur (Green Bay Packers)
Any coach who wins 47 games in their first four seasons as a head coach is doing something right. It’s an even better sign when they lead their quarterback to, not one but, two Most Valuable Player Awards which is what Aaron Rodgers did in 2020 and 2021. That resume alone was enough to put LaFleur in the top 10. However, his next assignment will be decidedly harder as he hands the offense over to fourth-year quarterback Jordan Love. The owner of just 83 pass attempts in four seasons, Love is a former first-round pick but gave the Packers zero reason to move from Aaron Rodgers before now. It wasn’t until Rodgers forced his way out that Love was given the opportunity. This leads us back to LaFleur whose job performance will now be tied to the untested Love. Time will tell.
9. Doug Pederson (Jacksonville Jaguars)
It’s debatable whether Doug Pederson caught lightning in a bottle in his Super Bowl-winning season in Philadelphia. After all, he guided one of the most unexpected quarterbacks – Nick Foles – to a championship, and against Tom Brady, no less. Outside of that one season, his Eagles teams never finished higher than 12th in points or 14th in yards.
However, you can’t argue that he wasn’t a stabilizing force in Jacksonville last season after the trainwreck that was Urban Meyer’s lone season. The team finished 10th in the league in scoring and even led the team to a playoff victory in his first season. The future, specifically quarterback Trevor Lawrence, is looking up this year.
10. Nick Sirianni (Philadelphia Eagles)
The least tenured head coach that is still ranked this high, Nick Sirianni managed that by accomplishing a lot in his brief time in Philly. Not only did he lead the team to a Super Bowl appearance in just his second season as a head coach (in Philly or otherwise) but he molded former second-round pick Jalen Hurts into a legitimate MVP candidate. Sirianni used the material he had and not only hammered Jalen Hurts’ body into opposing defenses but turned him into an accomplished passer who completed 2/3 of his attempts and only threw six interceptions all year. It’s hard to duplicate that kind of success annually but, if Sirianni can do it, he’ll move up even higher on this list.
11. John Harbaugh (Baltimore Ravens)
Whatever your opinion is on John Harbaugh as a coach, you can’t argue that he’s provided the Ravens with success in his 15 years in Baltimore. Leading the team to 10 playoff appearances in those 15 seasons, his teams have been led more by a stellar defense than a potent offense. That is until the team drafted Lamar Jackson. In their four seasons together, Harbaugh and Jackson have led the Ravens’ offense to two top-10 finishes or one less than Harbaugh accumulated with former quarterback Joe Flacco. Now, with Jackson re-signed, look for the good times to continue to roll in Baltimore.
12. Zac Taylor (Cincinnati Bengals)
Of course, it helps to have Joe Burrow as your quarterback but even Patrick Mahomes II needs Andy Reid to guide him. That’s the job of Zac Taylor who has led the Bengals further than Cincinnati has been in 25 seasons. In just the last two seasons, Taylor has led the Bengals to top-seven finishes in scoring in each of them while also making it to the AFC Championship game in both 2021 and 2022. With very little change expected in Cincinnati, Taylor (and Burrow) should continue to lead one of the league’s better offenses.
13. Frank Reich (Carolina Panthers)
If the Panthers were going for an experienced and successful coach to lead their rebuild, they couldn’t do much better than Reich. In his five years as head coach of the Colts, he led three top-10 scoring offenses. What’s even more impressive is he had five different quarterbacks in those five seasons. Needless to say, 2023 first overall pick Bryce Young should give Reich the continuity he never had in Indy. However, he’ll need time as there isn’t much surrounding Young, at least for his rookie year.
14. Kevin O’Connell (Minnesota Vikings)
Change can be scary. For Justin Jefferson or Dalvin Cook managers, the switch to new head coach Kevin O’Connell in 2022 meant hoping their production would continue. Luckily for both, it did and, in Jefferson’s case, meant new career highs. Who knew that replacing defensive-minded, old-school Mike Zimmer with Sean McVay disciple O’Connell would lead to an even more explosive offense, one that finished in the top 10 in both yards and scoring?
15. Brandon Staley (Los Angeles Chargers)
Brandon Staley doesn’t have a long resume when it comes to coaching in the NFL but his brief time has been productive. After serving one year as the Rams’ defensive coordinator, Staley was hired across town to lead the Chargers and, specifically, Justin Herbert. Herbert has kept producing under Staley, becoming a bona fide QB1 while the Chargers’ offense has finished fifth and 13th in scoring the last two seasons respectively. There are some questions around fantasy stud Austin Ekeler and the running game but Herbert, and the Chargers, should still produce no matter who is in the backfield.
16. Mike McDaniel (Miami Dolphins)
It’s only one season but what a debut for Mike McDaniel. He blew into Miami and immediately added nearly four points per game to the offense and had the team finish 11th in scoring. For fantasy purposes, he managed to get receivers Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle to total over 3,000 receiving yards and 15 touchdowns between them. That was even with quarterback Tua Tagovailoa manning the helm for most of the season despite his reputation for a weak arm. Here’s to hoping McDaniel can keep the good times rolling for the Miami passing attack.
17. Dan Campbell (Detroit Lions)
There weren’t many people that had Dan Campbell being the head coach of a top-five offense but that’s what happened in 2022. Led by quarterback Jared Goff, who himself had one of the best seasons of his career, the Lions were downright explosive and could be even better in 2023. They’ll have a healthy Jameson Williams, their 2022 first-round pick (after he serves a suspension for gambling) and they’ll add their 2023 first-round pick, Jahmyr Gibbs. Add those two to fantasy stud Amon-Ra St. Brown and the Lions are in a position to be a top-five offense again.
18. Arthur Smith (Atlanta Falcons)
After leading the Titans’ offense to two top-10 finishes, Arthur is slowly, but surely, improving the Falcons’ offense as head coach. Finishing just 26th in scoring his first year, Atlanta improved to 15th in scoring during the 2022 season. Already stocked with high-end talents Kyle Pitts and Drake London, the Falcons added running back Bijan Robinson in the draft. Robinson, the most touted running back prospect since Saquon Barkley, is expected to be the engine that makes the Falcons’ offense run and could be the last piece to a high-scoring Atlanta offense.
19. Bill Belichick (New England Patriots)
I know, it’s weird seeing Bill Belichick this far down any ‘best coaches’ list but we have to separate real-life results from fantasy ones. In the three seasons since Tom Brady left New England, the Patriots’ offense has finished 27th, 15th, and 26th respectively. More of a concern was Mac Jones taking a step back from his rookie season. Of course, New England had a defensive coach in Matt Patricia calling the plays last year. BB corrected that mistake by bringing back Bill O’Brien as offensive coordinator which should bump the Patriots’ offense back up.
20. Brian Daboll (New York Giants)
After heading up the turnaround in Buffalo’s offense as their coordinator, Brian Daboll’s presence was immediately felt in New York. He took an offense that finished second-to-last in 2021 and shot them up to 18th. That was largely using the same personnel and, most importantly, quarterback Daniel Jones. Jones still isn’t a great passer but he did have career-highs in yards (3,205), completion percentage (67.2), and YPA (6.8). Daboll also took the training wheels off and let Jones run wild to the tune of 708 yards and seven touchdowns, both well beyond Jones’ previous highs.
21. Josh McDaniel (Las Vegas Raiders)
The Las Vegas Raiders are still waiting for Josh McDaniels to work his magic on offense after his highly successful run in New England. In his 13 years as part of Bill Belichick’s staff, McDaniel oversaw an offense that finished OUTSIDE the top 10 just once. That’s a tough resume to duplicate anywhere but McDaniel is working on it. He improved the Raiders’ scoring offense from 18th to 13th in 2022. Trading for Davante Adams certainly helped but he’ll need more than that this year after the Raiders swapped out Derek Carr for Jimmy Garoppolo at quarterback. Never known as a gunslinger, Garoppolo (and McDaniels) will be tasked with getting their best player the ball downfield. That will be the biggest factor if the Raiders’ offense is to keep improving.
22. Mike Tomlin (Pittsburgh Steelers)
Outside of a five-year stretch where Pittsburgh’s offense finished in the top 10 in scoring every year between 2014-2018, Mike Tomlin’s offense hasn’t been anything to write home about. It got even dicier last year when the Steelers rolled with rookie Kenny Pickett. Unfortunately, the Steelers didn’t do a whole lot by way of additions to the offense so the team, and Tomlin’s future will be dictated by the development of Pickett.
23. Mike Vrabel (Tennessee Titans)
In another case of a better coach in real life than for fantasy purposes, Mike Vrabel will have his work cut out for him on both fronts this year. He has a legitimate quarterback battle between veteran Ryan Tannehill and second-round pick Will Levis. Vrabel also has an aging Derrick Henry and a receiving corps still trying to replace AJ Brown.
24. Kevin Stefanski (Cleveland Browns)
Treading water would probably be the term to best describe Kevin Stefanski’s time in Cleveland. Brought in after one year as an offensive coordinator, Stefanski first worked with Baker Mayfield at quarterback until the latter took a step back statistically and Cleveland moved on. The Browns then traded for Deshaun Watson but had to wait out his suspension and turned to Jacoby Brissett for most of the 2022 season.
2023 will be a make-or-break year for Stefanski as he’ll have Watson for the entire season (barring injury) and will need to improve upon the 18th highest-scoring offense if he wants to stick around.
25. Robert Saleh (New York Jets)
You’d be forgiven if you gave Robert Saleh an incomplete for his first two seasons. After being hired by the Jets in 2021, New York strapped his future to Zach Wilson‘s, which turned out to be a mistake. But the front office corrected that mistake by trading for Aaron Rodgers while giving Saleh one more chance to prove he knows what he’s doing.
26. Matt Eberflus (Chicago Bears)
Outside of Justin Fields‘ record-setting rushing numbers, the Chicago Bears offense was a disaster. The team ranked 31st in yards and 28th in points while having no viable fantasy options outside of Fields. That’s not on Matt Eberflus but after the additions of receiver DJ Moore via trade and the drafting of running backs, wide receivers, offensive linemen, and more, there will be no more excuses.
27. Todd Bowles (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
It’s always a tough act to follow a Super Bowl-winning coach and it will probably be a tougher act to follow the GOAT, Tom Brady. Alas, that’s the job ahead for Todd Bowles who’s tasked with guiding the suddenly shallow Tampa Bay offense. With either Kyle Trask or Baker Mayfield starting under center, Bowles will be asked to lead the team to a better-than-25th finish in scoring this year. Don’t hold your breath as Bowles managed to finish better than 22nd just once in his four-year stint with the Jets, his only other head coaching gig.
28. Dennis Allen (New Orleans Saints)
Make no mistake, these aren’t the Sean Payton-led Saints we’re used to. After unprecedented success on offense which consistently finished in the top 10, the Saints finished 19th in yards and 22nd in points in 2022 – their first without Payton at the helm.
Unfortunately, 2023 doesn’t look much better. Yes, the Saints acquired veteran Derek Carr at quarterback but no one would mistake him for Drew Brees. Alvin Kamara is on the decline and, outside of Chris Olave, the options on offense are limited.
29. Ron Rivera (Washington Commanders)
A defensive coach at heart, Ron Rivera has not been a force for good for his offenses over the years. In his 12 years as a head coach, he’s had exactly two offenses finish better than 12th in scoring and that includes Cam Newton‘s MVP year when he led the Panthers to the Super Bowl. There’s no doubt Rivera has been lucky to last this long as a head coach but his time may be over soon. Washington enters the 2023 season with fifth-round pick Sam Howell at quarterback. It’s not exactly an inspiring choice and reeks of Washington punting on this year to enter the Caleb Williams sweepstakes next year.
- Jonathan Gannon – Arizona Cardinals
- DeMeco Ryans – Houston Texans
- Shane Steichen – Indianapolis Colts
These three have no track record so they’ll get an incomplete for this exercise.
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