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A new NFL season naturally means new head coaches across the league. There will be seven new coaches roaming the sidelines next season, with four of them--Matt Nagy for the Bears, Frank Reich for the Colts, Pat Shurmur for the Giants, and Jon Gruden for the Raiders--coming in with backgrounds as offensive coaches.

We have a good amount of evidence from their past work as head coaches and coordinators that suggests how their new roles will affect the players on their new teams, so let's take a look at how these four coaches will increase the fantasy prospects of their new teams.

Below, you'll find one player from each of these four teams that should see an increase in their fantasy output next season due to their new role. These are players who are already on everyone's fantasy radars but might be worth grabbing a little earlier in drafts after 2017 seasons that might not have been representative of the heights these guys can reach.

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Chicago Bears

Jordan Howard, RB

The Bears hired former Chiefs offensive coordinator Matt Nagy. While the popular opinion would be to say that quarterback Mitchell Trubisky ends up benefiting the most, I want to instead highlight a player who has hyped heading into the 2017 season and then ended up as a bit of a disappointment. Jordan Howard will bounce back in 2018 because of the Nagy hiring.

Nagy handled play calling duties for the last five games of Kansas City's season. In the six games before that, the Chiefs rushed for over a hundred yards just once. Over the five games where Nagy handled those duties, the team rushed for 100 or more yards in all five games. Nagy's background as a quarterbacks coach comes into play here as well; even modest improvement by Trubisky should push more defenders back into pass coverage. Among running backs with 200 or more rushing attempts last season, Howard faced a stacked box on the second most percentage of his runs. It's part of why Howard seemed to always get hit at the line of scrimmage. With Nagy on board, expect Howard to break off big plays more often and to find his yards per carry trend upwards.

 

Indianapolis Colts

Whoever The Colts Quarterback Is

Look, I'm not going to sit here and confidently type something about how Andrew Luck is going to be back in 2018 because last season proved that something is definitely up with the franchise QB. Maybe he'll be back and will be fine. Maybe he won't. Maybe Jacoby Brissett will be the quarterback. Maybe they'll draft someone and throw him into the fire.

Here's what I do know. Reich was either quarterback coach or offensive coordinator for the Chargers for three years. Those years featured Philip Rivers leading the league in completion percentage one time and passing for a career high 4792 yards in 2015. Maybe the most important thing about those years, though, is the fact that in 2012, Rivers passed for his fewest yards and touchdowns since 2007. Reich's presence on the coaching staff helped steady Rivers.

Then there's the story of Carson Wentz, who was an MVP candidate last season before going down with a knee injury, and his replacement, Nick Foles, who looked washed up as a Ram and then went on to be the Super Bowl MVP. Reich doesn't get all the credit for that, but he should get some of it. Whoever winds up as the Colts quarterback should have a strong season under Reich's tutelage. Who knows--maybe Jacoby Brissett learns some of Reich's comeback moves and leads the NFL in fourth quarter passing yards.

 

New York Giants

Evan Engram, TE

Kyle Rudolph caught eight touchdowns in 2017, tying him with Rob Gronkowski for the second most touchdown receptions by a tight end. In fact, let's take a quick look at how tight ends have performed on Shurmur teams in recent years.

2011 (Cleveland): Ben Watson finished with 410 yards and two touchdowns while starting just 11 games and playing in 13. That was good enough for the third most receiving on the team that season.

2012 (Cleveland): Watson again finished third on the team in receiving yards and third in receiving touchdowns.

2013 (Philadelphia): Brent Celek and Zach Ertz combined to catch 68 passes for 971 yards and 10 touchdowns.

2014 (Philadelphia): Ertz had 58 receptions for 702 yards.

2015 (Philadelphia): Ertz had 75 catches for 853 yards.

2016 (Minnesota): Shurmur served as the tight end coach. Kyle Rudolph caught 83 passes for 840 yards and seven touchdowns. Rudolph nearly doubled his yardage total from the previous season.

2017 (Minnesota): Rudolph saw his yardage total drop to 532, but that can partly be blamed on injuries that lowered his effectiveness late in the season. He still caught eight touchdowns.

Important Facts to Know

  1. Pat Shurmur uses his tight ends frequently in the passing game.
  2. Evan Engram looked like a potential top-tier tight end at times during his rookie season.
  3. Engram's target share is likely to benefit greatly with Shurmur in New York.

 

Oakland Raiders

Derek Carr, QB

I don't want to use statistical data from Jon Gruden's last stint as an NFL head coach for this because it came so far back that I'm not sure how well it even applies here, but I will say this: Gruden turned around the career of Rich Gannon. The veteran had never thrown for 20 touchdowns in a season before coming to Oakland in 1999 and did it for four straight seasons, the first three of which came under Gruden's tutelage. He also coached a late-career Brad Johnson to a couple of his best seasons. In 2005, he made Chris Simms and Brian Griese look serviceable. In 2007, he coached a 37-year-old Jeff Garcia and made him into a Pro Bowler. There's something about Gruden and quarterbacks. Maybe it isn't to the level that ESPN hyped it to with their years-long focus on Gruden as a QB whisperer, but he has rejuvenated the careers of veteran quarterbacks multiple times.

Enter Derek Carr, who isn't quite a veteran yet but will enter his fifth year and is coming off a season that saw him a lower completion percentage, fewer yards, fewer touchdowns, and more interceptions than in 2016. That regression is part of what turned the Raiders from a playoff team into a team that missed the playoffs. Gruden should be able to create schemes that help Carr out. The one question mark right now involves who Carr will be throwing the ball to, as the team is likely to move on from veteran Michael Crabtree and has Amari Cooper coming off a disastrous season. The Raiders need to hope Cooper looks more like he did during his first two seasons, especially with him having to be the focal point of the receiving game. The Raiders will also need to grab either a veteran receiver in free agency or spend a draft pick on someone that they think can be a stud next to Cooper.

For what it's worth, I considered Cooper for this spot. I think he'll bounce back next season as the undisputed top receiver on the Raiders, but I think natural regression to the mean and an increase in opportunities will have more to do with that than Gruden's coaching style will.

 

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