College Fantasy Football: Five coordinators that may add value
Head-coaching changes are important for the entire culture of a program but nearly equally important are new coordinators who could spark an offense. Here is a look at five offensive coordinators that could bring tremendous value to their new teams from a fantasy perspective.
KENDAL BRILES, FLORIDA STATE
There is a lot of good news when it comes to bringing in Briles but also some questions as well that will need to be sorted out before we can get too excited about Florida State’s offense. This is a team that didn’t even score 22 points per game last season, so how much life can Briles pump into the offense immediately? Maybe a lot, and there are big-time skill players in running back Cam Akers and receivers D.J. Matthews and Tamorrion Terry (who had eight TDs last season), but this group will be learning another new offense that could slow things down a little.
Briles has put up numbers, but he's been at Baylor, FAU and Houston. Boise State, Virginia, Clemson, Miami, Florida and other defenses are much better than what Briles has faced. There is reason for optimism, but it should be guarded at this point.
JIM CHANEY, TENNESSEE
Chaney comes to Tennessee surrounded by talented playmakers but still tremendous questions when it comes to the Vols’ offensive line and how it will hold up in the brutal SEC. Protecting quarterback Jarrett Guarantano will be of utmost importance, so that leads me to believe the offense will have a lot of quick throws, which are fine for getting fantasy points but it might lack the deep-ball threat until the offensive line is figured out.
It could be worth the risk to load up on Tennessee offensive players early in the season in what should be blowouts against Georgia State and Chattanooga, but a brutal stretch in September and October (Florida, Georgia, Mississippi State and Alabama) means stay far away and look for better opportunities.
JOSH GATTIS, MICHIGAN
Michigan scored more than 35 points per game last season (great for fantasy owners) and the Wolverines scored 38 or more points seven times (also great for fantasy owners). And now Gattis is in Ann Arbor to get the offense moving even faster, be a no-huddle team and get even more points on the board. That has to be excellent news for fantasy owners of quarterback Shea Patterson and the receiving corps led by Donovan Peoples-Jones, Nico Collins, Tarik Black and others.
The early-season schedule shapes up nicely as well with Middle Tennessee, Army and Rutgers in three of the first four weeks. If coach Jim Harbaugh lets go of the reins and Gattis has complete control, then 40 points a game might not be out of the question.
GRAHAM HARRELL, USC
USC has all the skill players in the world to get the offense jump-started. JT Daniels should win the quarterback job, the Trojans are loaded at running back and Tyler Vaughns, Michael Pittman, Amon-Ra St. Brown and others could form one of the best receiving corps in the country. The ball should move down the field, as Harrell employs a fast-paced, spread offense that should make USC’s offense look like a 7-on-7 game. The offensive line might remain a weakness, which is definitely a concern, but not if the ball comes out quickly.
Here’s one major issue: The schedule is rough, with an opener against a good Fresno State team, then Stanford (which allowed just three points to USC last season), BYU, Utah, Washington and Notre Dame before it loosens up a little bit. Who knows, by that time coach Clay Helton might be gone and motivation could be gone, also. There could be some major bang-for-your-buck here, but also some serious risks.
RICH RODRIGUEZ, OLE MISS
Rodriguez likes spread offenses and has shown a propensity to run out of those formations, so picking up running back Scottie Phillips in fantasy leagues earlier than usual should be considered. He would’ve rushed for 1,000 yards last season if he played the entire way.
Quarterback Matt Corral is a dynamic playmaker and can also pick up big chunks on the ground. It’s going to be interesting to see how the passing game comes along because almost the entire receiving corps has to be replenished.
Early in the season Elijah Moore could be an option for fantasy owners, but we will see if Corral finds another favorite target. There could be some shootouts early in the season, so don’t shy away from the players mentioned above.