Oct 8, 2007
by Jim Coventry
Coaching changes often sound promising, except when you heard news like ‘Rich Kotite is coming to town.’ We often look at our fantasy players and make assessments on how they will fit into a new scheme. I usually took a really good look at players switching teams and going into a new system, and I usually found that WRs had the hardest time that first year, unless they were an absolute superstar (like Terrell Owens going to either Philly or Dallas.) The lesson that I am really committing to memory right now and for the future is that players (staying with the same team) can be significantly affected by new coaches.
Here are a couple of examples.
When Ken Whisenhunt came to the Cardinals, I knew that he had a huge run-first mentality. Add to that the fact that he brought Russ Grimm with him and it should have been obvious that despite having one of the best WR duos in the league, passing was going to be saved for when the team was behind or when the situation demanded that a pass be thrown. After four weeks, it’s very obvious Whisenhunt will not coach to the team strengths, so Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin are both decent #2 WRs at best. Boldin had the huge game when they were getting killed and Fitzgerald had two nice games when Boldin was out. James has been decent every week. Lesson learned: Coaching can dictate production. (This reminds me of a joke: Who was the only man to ever keep Michael Jordan consistently under 20 ppg? Dean Smith.) Let’s face it- Marty Shottenheimer was never a beloved man in fantasy football circles, but if you’re a LaDainian Tomlinson owner, you sure miss him now. The weird thing, however, is that the new coach is Norv Turner, and Norv has always been the guy who had RBs play out of their minds. Norv coached Tomlinson earlier in LT’s career and now LT is being underused. As Don Henley once sang, “The more I know, the less I understand.” Making a lateral move with the Norv Turner bit- Frank Gore had an outstanding year under Norv last year, and Gore is now a decent RB, that’s it. You can use this knowledge to your advantage this year. If you have underperforming players on your team this year and the NFL team has a new coach/coordinator, you may want to consider trading your talented player while your competitors are waiting for your ‘rusty’ player to shake the ‘rust’ off. You are smarter than them, and you realize there is no rust, just poor coaching. If I could trade Frank Gore away for Edgerrin James and another starting player, I would make a strong consideration.