NFL Coaching Carousel

The fantasy football fallout from all the coaching changes ahead of the 2024 NFL season.

After only five franchises hired new head coaches in 2023, eight clubs entered the 2024 season with a different man at the helm. Some of these changes were expected, while others were more surprising. That includes the New England Patriots breaking in a new sideline leader for the first time since the 2000 season. FullTime Fantasy‘s NFL Coaching Carousel catches you up on the fantasy impact of these head coaching changes.

Additionally, other teams retained their head coach but hired new offensive coordinators. All of these changes can have serious ramifications on a team’s philosophy and fantasy appeal. The well-prepared fantasy manager needs to know how these new hires will impact players this season.

Here are the notable new hires and how they will affect fantasy football in 2024.

Atlanta Falcons 

Incoming: Raheem Morris

Outgoing: Arthur Smith

For fantasy fans, the dismissal of Arthur Smith was met with overwhelming support. Despite spending three top-10 draft picks on skill position players, Smith refused to feature those assets in any credible manner. Subsequently, the Falcons finished below average in offense in each of Smith’s three seasons.

After sacking Smith, GM Terry Fontenot looked to the defensive side of the ball. The Falcons had two interviews with Bill Belichick but ultimately brought back Raheem Morris to turn things around. Morris previously served as Atlanta’s defensive coordinator and led the team to a 4-7 record as interim head coach in 2020.

Morris was also the head coach in Tampa from 2009-11. He has plenty of experience and is a well-respected defensive schemer and leader. From 2021-23, Morris led a Los Angeles Rams defense that finished inside the top 10 twice and won Super Bowl LVI. In Atlanta, his No. 1 job will be to revitalize an offense that underperformed.

Last season, poor quarterback play doomed the Falcons. Atlanta finished 26th in scoring and had 28 turnovers. Their (-12) turnover ratio was the second-worst in the league. Additionally, Desmond Ridder took far too many sacks behind a stellar offensive line that boasted PFF’s fourth-highest pass-blocking grade.

The arrival of Kirk Cousins will make Morris’s top priority much easier. Cousins has averaged over 4,200 passing yards and 32 touchdowns per season since he became a starter.

Emphasizing the available skill position talent will go a long way. New offensive coordinator Zac Robinson spent three seasons with Morris in LA. Robinson’s offense was top-10 in time of possession, yards per game, and scoring in 2023. His philosophy of pushing the ball downfield should do wonders for underutilized pass catchers Drake London and Kyle Pitts. And if Bijan Robinson is utilized similarly to Kyren Williams, Bijan will contend for overall RB1 numbers.

Carolina Panthers

Incoming: Dave Canales

Outgoing: Frank Reich

It’s a complete overhaul for one of the NFL’s most dysfunctional franchises. Dan Morgan was promoted to president of football operations and GM. His first job was to find the right fit to patrol the sidelines after Frank Reich’s disastrous 1-10 stint that lasted less than one year.

Enter Dave Canales, who had one season as Tampa Bay’s offensive coordinator. Before that, Canales spent 13 seasons in Seattle coaching wide receivers, quarterbacks, and acting as the passing game coordinator.

Bryce Young was abysmal as a rookie. Carolina was last in the league in total offense, yards per play, and ranked 31st in scoring. Canales’s experience with Russell Wilson and resurrecting Geno Smith’s career will play a big role in turning that around.

The club did invest heavily in weapons to improve that lackluster showing. They added target magnet Diontae Johnson from Pittsburgh and traded up into Round One of this year’s draft to select South Carolina WR Xavier Leggette. A pair of Longhorns (RB) Jonathon Brooks and TE JaTavion Sanders) also boosted the supporting cast considerably.

In Tampa, Canales liked to feature his top two wideouts downfield. 48.7% of the Bucaneers’ targets went to Chris Godwin and Mike Evans. Meanwhile, RB Rachaad White ranked ninth at running back with 70 targets.

If that philosophy carries over, Leggette and Johnson should be busy from the perimeter, with Adam Thielen seeing fewer looks. Brooks stood out as a receiver in Austin and is the favorite to emerge as the team’s lead back. After all, this staff chose him as the top back in this draft

Las Vegas Raiders

Incoming: Antonio Pierce

Outgoing: Josh McDaniels

The Raiders averaged 268.2 yards per game with 16 turnovers in eight games with Josh McDaniels. After McDaneils was jettisoned, Antonio Pierce led the Raiders to a 5-4 finish and won over the locker room. Under Pierce, Las Vegas jumped up to 308.4 yards per game and had no turnovers in six of those contests.

Vegas also had no games with 100 rushing yards under McDaniels but eclipsed that mark six times under Pierce. That improvement resulted in Pierce being hired as the full-time head coach in January. A former standout linebacker with the Giants, Pierce brings credibility along with a tough, defensive-minded approach. His teams will try to run the ball to establish the pass while winning the turnover battle.

The priority for the Raiders is to find the right quarterback. Aidan O’Connell went 5-5 as the starter but had his share of rookie moments. The club signed Garnder Minshew to a two-year $25 million deal. Minshew nearly led the Colts to an AFC South title after taking over for the injured Anthony Richardson.

Along with Pierce, Mark Davis hired Tom Telesco as GM and Luke Getsy as offensive coordinator. In two seasons as Chicago’s offensive coordinator, Getsy guided the Bears to first and second in rushing. Granted, much of that was from the quarterback position, but Getsy and Pierce will rely on the rushing attack behind a solid Raiders’ offensive line.

Zamir White will take over for the departed Josh Jacobs. White carried many fantasy managers to a tile last winter, posting overall RB12 numbers in the final four weeks. Alexander Mattison was signed to add depth but White will be given every opportunity to retain the starting job.

Getsy’s Bears utilized two tight ends at the eighth-highest rate in 2023. The club added All-American Georgia TE Brock Bowers with the 13th pick. Bowers and 2023 second-rounder Michael Mayer give the Raiders a formidable duo in ’12’ personnel. Meanwhile, Davante Adams and Jakobi Meyers will benefit with Minshew under center.

Los Angeles Chargers

Incoming: Jim Harbaugh

Outgoing: Brandon Staley

After leading Michigan to an undefeated national championship, Jim Harbaugh returns to the NFL for his second stint on the sidelines. Harbaugh coached the 49ers to a 44-19-1 record from 2011-14, including an NFC title in 2012. While the rest of the league has embraced a faster spread approach, Harbaugh believes in building from the trenches and imploring a strong rushing attack.

TOTAL OFFENSE RUSHING OFFENSE PASSING OFFENSE DEFENSE
Year Yds Pts TO Att Yds TD Y/A Att Yds TD Int Yds Pts
2011 26 11 1 3 8 12 19 31 29 24 1 4 2
2012 11 11 2 7 4 6 3 31 23 16 1 3 2
2013 24 11 2 3 3 4 11 16 32 30 1 5 3
2014 20 25 11 9 4 21 4 29 30 22 5 5 10

Like the Wolverines, Harbaugh attempts to establish the ground game and limit turnovers. Each of his San Francisco teams fielded a top-five defense and also ranked top-five in limiting turnovers. Those Niners squads all ranked inside the top 10 in rushing and three of the four teams were bottom-four in passing.

The mass exodus of pass-catching talent and the results of this year’s draft indicate that Harbaugh’s philosophy hasn’t changed. The Chargers will attempt to build an elite defense and dominant ground game. The hiring of offensive coordinator Greg Roman (top 10 in rushing attempts in all 10 of his seasons) only solidifies that.

However, many of those results were because those San Francisco squads were playing with a second-half lead, so it’s not all bad for Justin Herbert. Herbert is still an elite young passer and a key building block for the Chargers. First-round WR Ladd McConkey is a superb route runner who is in a tremendous position as Keenan Allen’s heir apparent.

In the backfield, the Chargers will employ a committee led by Gus Edwards, who is fresh off a career-best 810 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns. Former teammate J.K. Dobbins (Achilles) was also added to the mix. Keep an eye on sixth-round Troy RB Kimani Vidal, an elite blocker with excellent burst, receiving chops, and 4.46 speed.

New England Patriots

Incoming: Jared Mayo

Outgoing: Bill Belichick

One of the most iconic eras in pro sports history has concluded. But philosophically, Jared Mayo’s roots are deeply indebted to Bill Belichick. Mayo spent eight seasons playing for Belichick before joining the staff as linebackers coach in 2019. He helped guide a New England defense that finished inside the top 10 in four of his five seasons on the staff.

While the defense is in good shape, Mayo’s biggest challenge will be turning around an offense that ranked 30th overall and last in scoring in 2024. Mayo brought in former Cleveland offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt to turn things around. The Browns were top 10 in rushing attempts in each of Van Pelt’s four seasons in Cleveland. Last year’s squad finished 10th in scoring despite starting four different quarterbacks.

Van Pelt will have myriad new faces to implement into his outside zone scheme that will feature a ton of two tight end sets. First and foremost is No. 3 overall pick Drake Maye, who has the athleticism to thrive in this bootleg offense. Second-round WR Ja’Lyn Polk has a chance to emerge as the team’s No. 1 receiver as soon as this year.

In the backfield, expect the committee approach to continue. Rhamondre Stevenson will lead the way but will yield some of his passing down work to Antonio Gibson. 40.4% of Stevenson’s runs last season came in a zone scheme and he posted a solid 52.4% success rate on those attempts. Gibson (42.9% success rate in zone) was less efficient but nearly doubled Stevenson in missed tackles forced per attempt.

With so many new pieces and a new play-caller, this offense will be hard to project. However, things can hardly be worse. The Patriots needed a new voice and looked from within to continue the Patriot Way. Fantasy managers should approach with caution until we see if the new way is the better path forward.

Seattle Seahawks

Incoming: Mike Macdonald

Outgoing: Pete Carroll

Pete Carroll has taken an executive role with the Seahawks, which opens a role for the NFL’s youngest head coach, Mike Macdonald. Yet another defensive coach, Macdonald spent time as a defensive assistant with both Harbaugh brothers in Baltimore and Michigan. He was the Ravens’ defensive coordinator for the past two campaigns, leading the Ravens to consecutive top-10 showing in yards and points allowed.

With a new coach and play-caller, Seattle’s offense will be different. The Seahawks regressed from 12th in offense in 2022 to 21st in 2023. Much of that can be attributed to Geno Smith’s decline after a career season. Sam Howell was acquired in the offseason and could work his way into the mix if Smith can’t revert to his 2022 form.

Running the offense will be another first-year NFL coach, offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb. Grubb was the architect of the prolific Wahington Huskies offenses from 2022 and 2023. A key component of those units was a powerful zone-running scheme that set up play-action passes. Grubb has already said that the new offense will look to run early and often.

That concept suits RB Kenneth Walker well. Walker averaged over four yards per carry and scored six touchdowns last season in zone concept runs. Sophomore Zach Charbonnet was even more effective and gives Grubb new offense a pair of intriguing young runners.

Those Washington offense also utilized a ton of three-wide sets. That makes sense considering the personnel available to Grubb. DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett give the unit a pair of trusted veterans. But getting second-year wideout Jaxon Smith-Njigba more involved is paramount.

Tennessee Titans

Incoming: Brian Callahan

Outgoing: Mike Vrabel

Another first-year head coach, the Titans hired Brian Callahan to succeed Mike Vrabel, who was dismissed after consecutive losing seasons. Callahan was the Bengals’ offensive coordinator for five seasons and was an instrumental part of Cincinnati’s turnaround.

Cincinnati ranked top-seven in passing three times during Callahan’s tenure. The Bengals finished near the top of the league in early-down passing and lined up in 11 personnel 74.2% of the time- fourth-most in the league.

This bodes well for Tenness’s dynamic duo of DeAndre Hopkins and Calvin Ridley. Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins were both able to thrive with Callahan calling plays, so there will be plenty of opportunities for Hopkins and Ridley to approach 1,000 yards. Also,

That is if second-year QB Will Levis is up to the task. Levis faded after a historic debut. Fortunately, Levis will have the entire offseason to learn the offense and the Titans invested heavily in improving a substandard offensive line.

Callahan also funneled most of his running back touches through Joe Mixon. However, with Derrick Herny in Baltimore, expect the Titans to embrace more of a 1-2 punch with Tyjae Spears and newly-singed Tony Pollard.

Washington Commanders

Incoming: Dan Quinn

Outgoing: Ron Rivera

No franchise needed a revamp quite as much as the Commanders. Their new regime includes new management, which is a breath of fresh air out of the nation’s capital. A group led by Josh Harris looks to turn around the fortunes of this once-proud franchise.

Dan Quinn was chosen to lead Washington’s revitalization effort. Quinn led the Falcons to a 43-42 record from 2015-20, including an appearance in Super Bowl LI. Although Quinn is known as a brilliant defensive mind, his teams posted top-10 yardage totals on offense five times. Quinn embraced a potent passing attack and let his offensive coordinator build around their talent.

To run his O in D.C., Quinn tabbed Kliff Kingsbury, the former Arizona Cardinals head coach. Kingsbury has a proven track record of embracing spread offense concepts, resulting in elite fantasy production for quarterbacks like Johnny Manziel at Texas A&M and Kyler Murray in Arizona.

That makes No. 2 overall draft pick Jayden Daniels a potential superstar. Daniels has an accurate cannon for an arm and profiles as one of the most potent rushing threats at the position.

Adaptability is another trait embraced by Kingsbury and Quinn. Expect the Commanders to take what their opponent gives. Some weeks they may go pass-heavy in air-raid attack. Other weeks, they may emphasize the run with multiple backs and tight ends. Whatever the approach, it will be a vast improvement for a team that has been treading water.

New Offensive Coordinators 

Buffalo Bills – Joe Brady

Chicago Bears – Shane Waldron

Cincinnati Bengals – Dan Pitcher

Cleveland Browns – Ken Dorsey

New Orleans Saints – Klint Kubiak

Philadelphia Eagles – Kellen Moore

Pittsburgh Steelers – Arthur Smith

Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Liam Coen


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About Jody Smith 490 Articles
With over a decade of winning experience, Jody is a well-known fixture in the fantasy football community. He was named Fantasy Pros’ **Most Accurate Ranker** previously and was the site’s Top NFL over/under totals picker with a record 65% accuracy in 2020, while also ranking 5th in the country with a 55% against-the-spread hit rate. Jody has written for many sites over the years including Pro Football Focus, FantasyPros, CBS Sportsline, FantasyData, and is a regular contributor to the Fantasy Index magazine expert’s poll, draft, and auction. Jody’s experience ranking and projecting player performance will help prepare the Fulltime Fam for their big draft days as well as answers they can trust on Sunday for those ever crucial Who Do I Start questions.