Fantasy: Winners and losers from recent coaching hires
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As the conference championships approach, we've already had six of the eight vacant head coaching jobs filled around the NFL, while the Dolphins and Bengals are reportedly waiting on assistants who are still in the playoffs.

For anyone who hasn't followed all the news on theScore app, here's who ended up where:

  • Packers - Matt LaFleur
  • Buccaneers - Bruce Arians
  • Browns - Freddie Kitchens
  • Cardinals - Kliff Kingsbury
  • Broncos - Vic Fangio
  • Jets - Adam Gase
  • Dolphins - Brian Flores*
  • Bengals - Zac Taylor*

*Lead candidate based on reports

While we wait on the Dolphins and Bengals, let's break down the biggest winners and losers for 2019 from a fantasy perspective based on the new hires.

Winner: Starting QBs

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Not only were teams looking for the next Sean McVay - or anyone even remotely associated with him - but most front offices seemed focused on finding a coach who can help their quarterback excel.

In Green Bay, Aaron Rodgers gets to move on from Mike McCarthy's uninspired system in favor of a more modern offense with LaFleur, who worked with McVay in Los Angeles and Washington. This should give owners hope that Rodgers can bounce back as an elite fantasy option.

Jameis Winston, who put up some lofty numbers with far too many turnovers this past season, will benefit from Arians' ability to mix easy completions with well-timed deep shots. Winston will be an upside fantasy pick in the late rounds.

Kitchens already has an excellent relationship with Baker Mayfield and offers the Browns an opportunity to maintain their momentum from the second half of 2018. Mayfield was a top-10 fantasy QB after Kitchens took over the offense and should get another boost from new offensive coordinator Todd Monken - Tampa Bay's OC in 2018 - although Kitchens will remain the play-caller.

The Cardinals will be hoping that Kingsbury can develop Josh Rosen the way McVay salvaged Jared Goff's career after an awful rookie season. But for that to happen, Arizona also needs to follow Los Angeles' blueprint by investing in the offensive line. At this point, volume's the only thing that can make Rosen remotely intriguing as a fantasy streamer in 2019.

And in New York, the Jets were skewered for bringing in Gase, who was just fired by the division-rival Dolphins, though one could argue he got the most out of the quarterbacks he was given. Gase's most noticeable struggles came when trying to manage personalities in the locker room, but that shouldn't be an issue with Sam Darnold, who's a deeper breakout candidate. On the other hand, it could be a problem for the Jets' top receiver ...

Loser: Robby Anderson

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Now 25 years old, Anderson was the WR8 over the final five games of 2018, which included three monster performances in the fantasy playoffs (4-76-1, 7-96-1, 9-140-1). The key was an uptick in targets, as he saw at least seven in every game during that stretch.

Anderson also made noise in 2017 - finishing as a top-20 fantasy wideout - so why should you be concerned about this rising player?

The reason is Gase, who had tumultuous relationships with many of the Dolphins' top skill-position players, including Jay Ajayi, Jarvis Landry, DeVante Parker, and Kenyan Drake. In some instances, their playing time was reduced, while others were run out of town.

Anderson, a restricted free agent, hasn't exactly been a model NFL player while being involved in multiple off-field incidents, so there's a chance he won't mesh well with Gase.

The situation adds risk to a fantasy player who already let us down after his breakout season. At this point, Anderson's a high-ceiling, low-floor gamble for 2019.

Winner: Nick Chubb

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Mayfield excelled once Kitchens took over as OC - a big reason the latter got the head coaching job - but let's not forget about the improvements in the Browns' backfield during that time.

Chubb's fantasy explosion was ignited by the Carlos Hyde trade and fueled by Cleveland's advancements on offense. The rookie went from being barely used early in the season to averaging 19.6 touches per game over his final 10 outings.

With Kitchens at the helm, Chubb was a top-six fantasy running back in all formats. The second-rounder even improved as a pass-catcher, hauling in 20 receptions on the year despite not catching a ball until Week 8.

Chubb's currently the RB7 in my early 2019 rankings, and don't be surprised if he sneaks into the first round of fantasy drafts.

Loser: Peyton Barber

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This one might be cheating since Barber's hold on the starting job likely would've been in jeopardy regardless of the new coach, but Arians doesn't help his 2019 projection.

Barber's a restricted free agent and has seen his yards per carry drop over the past two seasons. He's a volume-dependent rusher and a limited pass-catcher who's capable of getting what's blocked, but not much more.

Over Arians' five seasons as the Cardinals' head coach, his rushing attack was only strong when David Johnson was on the roster and healthy. During the coach's first two years in Arizona (without Johnson), the team was one of the league's worst at running the ball and returned to that level in 2017 when Johnson missed all but one contest due to injury.

Arians' offense is designed around pushing the ball downfield - not generating yards on the ground - which makes sense for today's NFL, but doesn't help a back like Barber who lacks game-breaking ability.

Additionally, expect the Buccaneers to bring in new blood at running back. One name to watch is Le'Veon Bell, as Tampa Bay's been given the third-best odds of landing him on the free-agent market. Either way, this won't be Barber's backfield in 2019.

Winner: David Johnson

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After a lost 2017 campaign, Johnson was tasked with learning a new offensive system and playing alongside a rookie quarterback.

Things didn't go well in Arizona.

The offense in place at the start of the season wasn't tailored to the roster's strengths. Josh Rosen struggled throughout his first pro season - as many young passers do when forced to play behind a weak offensive line - while Arizona managed just 241.6 yards of offense per game and possessed the ball for an average of 26 minutes, 33 seconds. For context, the second-worst NFL offense managed 48 more yards and almost a full minute more of possession time per game.

Through it all, Johnson finished with 1,386 yards from scrimmage and 10 total touchdowns, well below his usual elite production after being one of the first three picks off the board in most fantasy drafts.

However, adding an offensive mind like Kingsbury is a complete turnaround from the defensive approach the Cardinals took when they hired former head coach Steve Wilks a year ago. Kingsbury won't make the same mistake the previous regime did when it failed to deploy Johnson in the passing game.

Johnson's a dual-threat back and someone with a legitimate chance at 1,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards in the same season, a goal he's discussed on many occasions. Kingsbury has a history of running pass-heavy offenses in college, and with Larry Fitzgerald likely heading toward retirement, Johnson and Christian Kirk will be the focus of Rosen's attempts.

The public perception of Johnson is down, but considering he finished as a top-10 fantasy running back while the wheels fell off in Arizona, there's a high chance for a rebound in 2019. He'll be a bargain in fantasy drafts as a second-round pick with top-five upside.

Loser: Bears' DST

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Fangio's a welcome addition for a formerly fierce Broncos defense that's fallen off in recent seasons.

Unfortunately, there's a flip side to that coin in Chicago, where the Bears are losing the mastermind who helped make them the league's best defense in 2018, according to Football Outsiders' DVOA.

The 60-year-old Fangio spent 15 years coordinating NFL defenses before getting his first crack at a head coaching job. And while it may be long overdue, Bears players were disappointed to see him go, expressing their sadness on social media.

Before joining the Bears, whose defense improved significantly during his four-year tenure, Fangio also enjoyed a successful spell with the 49ers from 2011-14. As Mark Potash of the Chicago Sun-Times pointed out, six San Francisco defenders reached their first Pro Bowl under Fangio, while none of them returned to the star-studded game after he left for Chicago.

This time, Fangio's replacement in Chicago will be former Colts head coach Chuck Pagano, who made a name for himself coordinating a strong Ravens defense in 2011, which featured multiple Hall of Famers. However, Pagano couldn't replicate that defensive success during his six seasons leading the Colts.

Khalil Mack and Co. aren't about to crumble without Fangio, but they'll certainly lose some of their high-end upside as a fantasy defense.

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Fantasy: Winners and losers from recent coaching hires
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