Coaching has a greater box-score impact on NFL games than any other sport.
Since the action is not free-flowing like basketball/hockey or supremely individual like baseball, the coaches can control who they want to get the ball and how. Deciphering how these coaches like to scheme – and which ones are successful at it – is a huge part of NFL projections.
So as this year’s coaching carousel grinds to a halt, these are your biggest winners.
C.J. All Day
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As a Mike Shanahan disciple, Gary Kubiak teams are going to run the ball successfully using a zone scheme and a one-cut running back. We’ve seen it time and time again, as Kubiak has been involved with big seasons for Clinton Portis, Reuben Droughns, Mike Anderson, Steve Slaton and Arian Foster. Just last year, Kubiak coaxed a massive Pro Bowl season out of 29-year-old journeyman Justin Forsett. Now he takes his playbook to Denver, where C.J. Anderson is a perfect one-cut back that has already proved he’s feature material. CJA has first-round fantasy upside in 2015.
Everyone knows about the Bucs’ two stud wideouts, Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson. But it would be a mistake to sleep on Austin Seferian-Jenkins, a speedy 6-foot-5, 262-pound mountain of a man who will give Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariota a massive catch radius. New offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter has a history of squeezing big seasons out of tight ends, highlighted by Marcedes Lewis’ outlier season in 2010 and a featured role for Zach Miller at Arizona State. Of course, Koetter also oversaw the final two years of Tony Gonzalez’s career, when he destroyed the league despite being 36 and 37 years old.
In Marc we trust
Yes, it went bad down the stretch for MarcTrestman in Chicago as Jay Cutler melted down. But let’s not forget this is one of the game’s sharpest offensive minds, one that turned Josh McCown into a weekly top-5 fantasy option in 2013. Now Trestman, a pass-first playcaller, has landed as Gary Kubiak’s replacement in Baltimore and immediately makes Joe Flacco a very intriguing QB2. Free agents Justin Forsett and Torrey Smith would also be major beneficiaries if they re-sign with Baltimore, as Trestman’s running backs catch a ton of passes and his primary receivers see serious volume.
NBA Pickups of the Week
D.J. Augustin, G, Pistons – Will be a top-50 player now that Brandon Jennings is done for the year. Augustin has the faith of Stan Van Gundy.
Jordan Clarkson, G, Lakers – An athletic point guard with excellent size, Clarkson is getting an extended chance as a starter.
Brian Roberts, G, Bobcats — Kemba Walker’s knee surgery opens up big minutes for Roberts, who is now good for 12-14 points and 3-5 assists nightly.
Duron Carter, son of Cris, was a four-star WR recruit to Ohio State in 2009. But off-field issues ruined his entire college career and he ended up in the CFL, where he’s been a standout for the last two seasons. Now the 6’5/205 talent is getting his big chance as he’s been signed by the Colts. Carter needs to develop physically, but eventually pairing him on the outside with Donte Moncrief and moving T.Y. Hilton inside would be a freakishly talented trio for generational QB Andrew Luck.