Coaching Time: Best And Worst Play-Callers For Each Skill-Position

Eli Grabanski looks at offensive-minded head coaches and offensive coordinators that could have a significant impact on fantasy value.

Best Coaches for Running Backs (Run Game)

 

Rank RB Room Carries RB Room Rushing Yards RB Room Rushing TDs % Of Carries For RB1
1 Kevin Stefanski – CLE HC Kevin Stefanski – CLE HC Kevin Stefanski – CLE HC Scott Turner – WAS OC
2 Brian Schottenheimer – SEA OC Kellen Moore – DAL OC Arthur Smith – TEN OC Brian Callahan – CIN OC
3 Gary Kubiak – MIN OC Gary Kubiak – MIN OC Matt LaFleur – GB HC Arthur Smith – TEN OC
4 Bill O’Brien – HOU HC Arthur Smith – TEN OC Anthony Lynn – LAC HC Zac Taylor – CIN HC
5 Chan Gailey – MIA OC Shane Steichen – LAC OC Kellen Moore – DAL OC

Kliff Kingsbury – AZ HC

Shane Steichen – LAC OC

Kellen Moore – DAL OC

 

Most RB Room Carries Per Game

 

 

Most RB Room Rushing Yards Per Game

 

 

Most RB Room Rushing Touchdowns Per Game

 

 

Highest % Of Carries For RB1

 

Takeaways

 

  • Kevin Stefanski has been the best in the business at utilizing and getting production out of his running backs on the ground in his 19 games as an offensive coordinator…the Browns head coach will be a huge positive for Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt‘s fantasy ceiling.
  • Seahawks Brian Schottenheimer is pretty reliable at providing his running backs with a big workload. No guarantees on top-tier production, but the opportunity will be there for Chris Carson & company.
  • Seeing Kevin Stefanski leave the Minnesota Vikings may seem concerning for Dalvin Cook‘s fantasy value…at least until you see that Gary Kubiak is a great coach at utilizing his running backs as well. Cook should remain a top-tier bell cow.
  • In Houston, Bill O’Brien does give his running backs opportunities on the ground, but much like Seahawks Brian Schottenheimer, it doesn’t necessarily translate to premier rushing production.
  • Miami is going to make a point to utilize the running game more this year with Chan Gailey at the helm in place of Chad O’Shea. If the offensive line is better than papier-mâché, Jordan Howard and Matt Breida will be draft steals.
  • Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore and Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith ranked in the top five in RB rushing yards and rushing touchdowns…star running backs Ezekiel Elliott and Derrick Henry play a big factor in that as evidenced by their ranking in the “% of Carries For RB1” tab.
  • Chargers’ head coach Anthony Lynn and offensive coordinator Shane Steichen both make an appearance in the top 5 of a few of these stats and show that the Chargers running backs – Austin Ekeler, Joshua Kelley, and Justin Jackson – could be good values in drafts
  • Packers head coach Matt LaFleur and Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury score more rushing touchdowns than the average coach. Great for now considering they both should have great offenses that get in the red zone frequently, but if there’s a dip in those red zone rushing opportunities there will be a bigger falloff in running back fantasy production than many other teams would experience. Aaron Jones and Kenyan Drake will be two of the biggest boom or bust players in drafts because of this.
  • The last category of “% of Carries For RB1” seems to be skewed towards coaches who have a small sample size (all coached 21 games or fewer as an OC/HC) and a star running back…not sure how much stock we should put into the top 5 because of it.

Worst Coaches for Running Backs (Run Game)

 

Rank RB Room Carries RB Room Rushing Yards RB Room Rushing TDs % Of Carries For RB1
1 Scott Turner – WAS OC Scott Turner – WAS OC Alex Van Pelt – CLE OC Kliff Kingsbury – AZ HC
2 Kliff Kingsbury – AZ HC Byron Leftwich – TB OC Brian Callahan – CIN OC Pete Carmichael – NOR OC
3 Eric Bieniemy – KC OC Kliff Kingsbury – AZ HC Brian Daboll – BUF OC Nathaniel Hackett – GB OC
4 Bill Lazor – CHI OC Randy Fichtner – PIT OC Zac Taylor – CIN HC Eric Bieniemy – KC OC
5 Kevin O’Connell – LAR OC Zac Taylor – CIN HC Kevin O’Connell – LAR OC Doug Pederson – PHI HC

 

Least RB Room Carries Per Game

 

 

Least RB Room Rushing Yards Per Game

 

 

Least RB Room Rushing Touchdowns Per Game

 

 

Lowest % Of Carries For RB1

 

 

Takeaways

 

  • At first look, a majority of the coaches on these lists have coached fewer than 2 seasons (32 games), so there could be a fair amount of growth/change from these coaches in the future.
  • Washington’s Scott Turner was willing to completely abandon the run in his four games calling plays for the Carolina Panthers. While it’s only four games, considering that he won’t have a star runner like Christian McCaffrey in Washington it makes it difficult to get excited in investing in Washington running backs like Bryce Love or Adrian Peterson.
  • Kliff Kingsbury surprisingly appeared on these lowest ranks a few times…seems Kyler Murray‘s ability to run the ball masked how little the running back room was utilized and produced on the ground last year.
  • The Chiefs really haven’t utilized their running backs on the ground during the Eric Bieniemy’s (and Patrick Mahomes’) time with the team.
  • For the Bears running backs they gotta be happy that Matt Nagy calls the plays and not Bill Lazor
  • ^ Same situation for the Rams running backs and offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell
  • Buccaneers play-caller Byron Leftwich’s running back room has been one of the worst at getting rushing yards in his 25 games calling plays for the Arizona Cardinals and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
  • ^ Steelers offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner and Bengals head coach Zac Taylor are also in a similar boat.
  • Regarding the Steelers, Buccaneers, and Bengals’ low running back room rush yardage, considering their offensive play-callers didn’t rank in the bottom five of rushing attempts one could also look at this as a potential opportunity for value if there’s any improvement efficiency-wise.
  • Browns offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt has struggled at getting his running backs touchdowns in his young career. Kevin Stefanski should help with this during the season.
  • Brian Daboll of the Buffalo Bills has also struggled at getting his running backs touchdowns in his 96 games as an offensive coordinator…and with Josh Allen still around to vulture touchdowns it could be a frustrating year in the red zone for Zack Moss and Devin Singletary owners.
  • Kliff Kingsbury’s “% of Carries for RB1” is a little misleading. The stat is the season’s leader in running back carries divided by the total number of carries in the RB room. And because Kliff Kingsbury only had season carry leader Kenyan Drake on his roster for 8 games, his numbers in this category will appear much worse than they actually are. If you are going to take one stat category with a grain of salt in this article, it should probably be that one.
  • I would still say Doug Pederson’s “% of Carries for RB1” is slightly concerning as he’s had 112 games as an offensive coordinator or head coach. Miles Sanders is the most talented back he’s had since Jamaal Charles and will get a higher percentage of carries than any back he’s had for the Eagles, but it’s important to keep this information in the back of your mind when considering where to take Sanders in drafts.

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