In recent years, the National Football League has been shifting more and more toward high-octane, pass-happy offenses. This evolution has the 2013 season shaping up to be an awesome season for fantasy football. Gone are the days of Chan Gailey, Cam Cameron and Lovie Smith, and in comes a wave of play-callers that should bolster fantasy football lineups across the board. Let's take a look at some of those regimes and examine what can be expected of them this season.
Buffalo Bills: Doug Marrone and Nathaniel Hackett
Fantasy football players already love Doug Marrone because he is committed to using one of the game's most exciting and previously underutilized backs, C.J. Spiller. Previously, the Spiller situation reeked of similar stenches to what was going on in Kansas City, where Thomas Jones gobbled-up potential Jamaal Charles reps. Charles eventually got his chance to shine, and 2013 appears to be Spiller's true coming out party.
Even with a good quarterback in Ryan Nassib at Syracuse, Marrone was committed to running the football, as evidenced by the team running the ball 52 percent of the time in 2012. With E.J. Manuel or Kevin Kolb under center, Marrone will have to lean heavily on his running backs if he wants to move the sticks. Spiller averaged just over 12 touches a game under Chan Gailey, and eclipsed the 20-touch plateau just four times in 2012 despite Fred Jackson's struggles. With three of Spiller's 20-touch games happening only after Jackson was sidelined with a knee injury, it's safe to say that Marrone will be more generous when divvying out his assignments. Speaking of which, there should be plenty more assignments at that. The Bills were No. 28 in the NFL in average offensive snaps per game (61.4), which is a ranking that a fast-paced offense like Marrone's and Hackett's should easily eclipse.
It has even been speculated that Spiller could see 30 touches per game under the new regime, but let's pump the brakes on that a little bit. That pace would mean Spiller sees 480 touches on the season, which would be second only to James Wilder's NFL record of 492 set in 1984. Too many things would have to go exactly right to warrant that many touches, and it is too extreme of a number to bank on. But what can be drawn, is that this new regime is committed to giving its best player the football, which is something all fantasy footballers can celebrate. Unless of course, you're the guy facing Spiller in a given week.
Chicago Bears: Marc Trestman, Aaron Kromer
Lovie Smith is out of town, and the Bears have replaced him with an offensive-minded innovator in Marc Trestman. Most recently, Trestman coached the CFL's Montreal Alouettes and tinkered with all different types of formations and motions that will make their way into the Windy City. He brings a fast-paced spread attack to the table, and there are indications that he would like to get athletic quarterback Jay Cutler out of the pocket more. When Cutler was in Denver with Mike Shanahan, he was on the move a lot, rolling out and making more simplified reads. It's also the system in which he's had the most success over the course of his career. It is safe to say Brandon Marshall is salivating over the possibilities.
Trestman will also vie to get Matt Forte in space more, which is something he loved to do with Charlie Garner as the offensive coordinator of the 2002 Oakland Raiders. Garner caught 91 passes that season and registered over 1,900 yards from scrimmage. Forte won't catch 91 passes, but he is every bit as formidable a weapon as Garner was in his hey-day. And with talk of Trestman possibly implementing elements of the pistol and zone-read option, Forte could be in line for a career year.
Arizona Cardinals: Bruce Arians, Harold Goodwin
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11) talks with head coach Bruce Arians during training camp at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
Larry Fitzgerald owners, rejoice. There's a new coach in town who is committed to throwing the football, and he has a quarterback who can actually do so in Carson Palmer. Arians is coming off of a season as offensive coordinator for the Indianapolis Colts, a team that threw the ball 628 times in 2012. As a result, we saw a resurgence of Reggie Wayne, who caught 21 more passes for 395 more yards than when he did with Kerry Collins/Curtis Painter/Dan Orlovsky.
Fitzgerald had a similar quarterback predicament in 2012, and in 2013, he has a head coach who is just as committed to getting him the football as he was with Wayne. While Wayne is a great NFL receiver, Fitzgerald is a cut above, and capable of putting up monster numbers with ample opportunities. There should be plenty of those on the horizon.
Michael Floyd is another receiver who should emerge from the system that Arians brings to town. His new coach's vertical, pass-happy assault that made young studs like T.Y Hilton fantasy relevant should also have big things in store for a guy with the rare size-speed combo Floyd possesses. Floyd could see similar yardage and touchdown numbers as Hilton a season ago, but don't be surprised if his big frame reels in 60 or 70 catches.
Cleveland Browns: Rob Chudzinski, Norv Turner
The talent on the 2012 Cleveland Browns offense was more than it had seen in years. That's not such a bold statement given the recent state of Browns' offenses, but big things are in store for a team that houses talent like Trent Richardson and Josh Gordon. Richardson produced 1,317 yards from scrimmage and 12 touchdowns despite battling a rib injury, and will continue to have a coaching regime that believes in a bell-cow running back. Having that kind of production in an injury-riddled season does nothing to refute opinions of Richardson's elite potential.
The aggressive philosophy of head coach Rod Chudzinski produced no shortage of big plays in Carolina, and it ought to in Cleveland as well. The Browns have a fearsome deep threat in Josh Gordon and enough talent on the offensive line to keep quarterback Brandon Weeden upright long enough to take the tops off of defenses. Furthermore, it should give tight end Jordan Cameron opportunities along the seams as it did with Gregg Olsen in Carolina. Cameron isn't just a place filler, but an athletic pass-catcher who has the benefit of two coaches who know how to get tight ends into soft coverages underneath. With that said, and also because tight end is such a thin position this season, Cameron could finish the season high on his positional ranking.
Kansas City Chiefs: Andy Reid, Doug Pederson
Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid (center) talks to quarterbacks Ricky Stanzi (12) and Alex Smith (11) during training camp at Missouri Western State University. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports
Just about anything would be an upgrade over the recent regimes of Todd Haley and Romeo Crennel, but don't let that diminish the impact Andy Reid will have on this offense. He inherits a team that has plenty of raw talent in Jamaal Charles, Dwayne Bowe, Tony Moeaki, Dexter McCluster and Jon Baldwin, and Reid also added a versatile piece in Travis Kelce in the draft. Kelce's immediate impact remains to be seen, but incumbent starters like Bowe and Charles should benefit immediately. Reid's west-coast approach will send plenty of high-percentage passes their way, and once the ball is in either of their sets of hands, good things tend to happen.
Reid at times, would make fantasy footballers rip the hair out of their heads from week-to-week, but over the course of the season, his philosophies have had more benefits than drawbacks. Look no further than his history of fantasy studs like LeSean McCoy and Brian Westbrook, and we can expect similar results with Charles this season.
Reid has always utilized his running backs in the passing game, so despite a pass-heavy playbook, don't expect Charles' production to taper off. In fact, he could even see room for a fantasy uptick despite setting career highs in carries and rushing yards a season ago. Where the improvement will come is in the receiving game, where the Chiefs expect big things out of him. A 60-catch season could be in Charles' near future, and if that's the case, he could be a top-five fantasy back in PPR leagues.