Former Titans and Rams coach Jeff Fisher's football approach was so conservative that one of his own running backs, Todd Gurley, called his system a "middle school offense" a day before Fisher was fired.
See, even the players hate when coaches kill their stats. Fantasy football managers share the feeling.
NFL coaches and their offensive philosophies can make or break your fantasy seasons. Fisher isn't the only coach whose face probably has graced a dart board. John Fox and Lovie Smith were just as old-school vanilla about their offenses.
Conversely, some coaches – such as Mike Shanahan, Bruce Arians and Gary Kubiak – have endeared themselves to fantasy fans. So let's look at the 10 most loved and 10 most reviled head coaches from a fantasy perspective.
LOVE TO HATE
1. Jon Gruden, Raiders
Last season the Raiders ranked 17th in average points with 18.8. Since hiring Gruden, they average 17.6, which is 28th. I'm no math genius, Raider Nation, but doesn't that mean your offensive "guru" is moving the team backward? Derek Carr has had a second straight tough schedule (does the NFL have some grudge against him?) but Gruden has done little to help him or Carr's fantasy owners. Getting past-his-prime Jordy Nelson and shipping out Amari Cooper rank among Gruden's list of crimes.
2. Bill Belichick, Patriots
For someone who presides over such a potent offense, Darth Hoodie will have you pulling your hair out when he seems to avoid relying on go-to players defensive coordinators can scheme against. Usually you can count on Tom Brady, because he touches the ball every snap, but even he isn't immune to being Belichick'd if the coach decides the game plan calls for the run. And speaking of the run, the man planned to have a four-man committee with Rex Burkhead, James White, Sony Michel and Jeremy Hill, and only injuries prevented him from doing so. Still, he's managed to get Cordarrelle Patterson, a receiver and kick returner, in the running back mix.
3. Mike McCarthy, Packers
Exhibit A: His insistence on a three-man running back committee has rankled fantasy fans, and it took Ty Montgomery wearing out his welcome in Green Bay to put a halt to that plan. Exhibit B: He can't seem to field a functioning tight end. Exhibit C: In the past he has let marginal players like John Kuhn vulture touchdowns. Exhibit D: Worst of all, there's the perception that his game-day decisions keep Rodgers from reaching his full potential.
4. Any Lions coach
Don't worry, Matt Patricia, you don't share this burden alone. Fantasy fans have been grousing about the Lions' penchant for following up explosive games with no-shows. And how is it that this franchise seems unable or unwilling to field a top 20 fantasy running back?
5. Hue Jackson/Todd Haley, Browns
There's enough blame to go around, and throw the front office in their, too. Leading up to that pair getting fired, the Browns couldn't make up their minds. We want to give Baker Mayfield a redshirt year so he can learn. No, he needs to start him so they don't lose the locker room. We want Josh Gordon to be a focal point. No, he's trouble, let's trade him to the Patriots for peanuts. Let's pay Duke Johnson and not use him. Let's start Carlos Hyde over Nick Chubb then ship Hyde off to Jacksonville. Is it any wonder that only Mayfield ranks in the top 75 players in average fantasy points, according to fantasydata.com.
6. Jason Garrett, Cowboys
That recurring image of him clapping appears as though he's applauding his offense's ineptitude. Ezekiell Elliott played 2017 under a cloud as he tried to fight off a suspension and he still average 3 points per game more than this season.
7. Kyle Shanahan, 49ers
His decision to go with Jerick McKinnon as his lead back was a head-scratcher, but he got injured before the season so we'll never know how that would've panned out. Jimmy Garoppolo looks like he could do wonders in Shanahan's offense late last season but his performance this year was spotty before he, too, was lost for the season. In recent weeks, it has been the musical chairs at running back that has frustrated fantasy general managers.
8. Vance Joseph, Broncos
As a former defensive coordinator, Joseph is not known for his offensive mind, but fantasy GMs who drafted Royce Freeman (and NFL experts, too) felt faked out by the surprise committee role with Phillip Lindsay. What's more, even Demaryius Thomas felt bogged down by how Joseph handled his situation (the Broncos coveted more playing time for the younger receivers) before they traded him to Houston.
9. Doug Marrone, Jaguars
This is a super-talented team that seems restrained by Marrone handing the reins to Blake Bortles. Again. At some point a coach has to stand up to the front office and say, "You're killing me, Smalls."
10. Dirk Koetter, Buccaneers
Depending on the week, he might be on the other list. So why is he here? Because the Bucs are the fantasy equivalent of whack-a-mole. Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson Chris Godwin have taken turns pulling off disappearing acts. Out of nowhere, Adam Humphries scored his first two touchdowns last week, helping no one. Koetter's switch from Ryan Fitzpatrick to Jameis Winston and back to Fitzpatrick have left holes in fantasy rosters. And Koetter's handling of the running game has been miserable. Raise your hand if you started Peyton Barber or Ronald Jones the three games between them that they were useful. If you pulled that off, you must be psychic.
LOVE TO LOVE
1. Andy Reid, Chiefs
Kansas City leads in points per game (36.3) and quarterback Patrick Mahomes leads the NFL with 29 touchdowns and 243.74 fantasy point (NFL.com format). But one of the things fans love most about this veteran innovator is that he cooks enough production for everyone on his team to "eat." Mahomes, Kareem Hunt, Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce all rank in the top three at their positions. That's astonishing.
2. Sean Payton, Saints
Speaking of veteran innovators, since 2006, Payton has made Drew Brees a top 10 lock in fantasy points, according to fantasydata.com – and more often Brees has been top six. And Payton has given us plenty of game-breakers, including Marques Colston and Jimmy Graham. Today it's Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas. Now if Payton somehow can turn back the clock on Dez Bryant, I might consider moving him ahead of Reid.
3. Sean McVay, Rams
Fantasy fans would like to throw McVay a parade just for rescuing Gurley's career from the prison of Fisher's offense. McVay has the Rams sitting at the top of the league in yards per game with 447.1. Jared Goff enters Week 10 as the third-ranked quarterback and Los Angeles boasts a trio of fantasy-start-worthy receivers in Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp and Brandin Cooks.
4. Doug Pederson, Eagles
Philadelphia's offensive stats aren't as robust as last season, but they've had to adjust to injuries since Week 1. Still, Pederson gets respect from fantasy fans for his aggressive approach that usually pays off for his players. It can be somewhat challenging to determine who's going to shine each week – Alshon Jeffery, Wendell Smallwood, etc. – but Pederson is a tight end's best friend. Just ask Zach Ertz and current Bear Trey Burton.
5. Ron Rivera/Norv Turner, Panthers
Riverboat Ron gambles on keeping possessions – he's 4 of 7 on fourth-down conversions this season. He's always maintained a strong running game even before Turner's arrival as offensive coordinator (Carolina's currently second in yards and first in yards per attempt), and fans always have appreciated that. Best of all, Turner has Cam Newton playing at a near-MVP level with 19 total touchdowns and just four interceptions. Newton ranks fourth among quarterbacks in fantasy.
6. Pete Carroll, Seahawks
He'll always get props for "Beast Mode," Marshawn Lynch. But under Carroll, several of Lynch's successor's have also been pretty effective – when they can stay healthy. Let's not forget that last season Russell Wilson was fantasy's top player and he's on the rise again.
7. Matt Nagy, Bears
Mitch Trubisky, Tarik Cohen, Trey Burton, Jordan Howard and Taylor Gabriel. When's the last time the Bears had even three players you felt comfortable starting every week? When is the last time a Bears quarterback knocked on the door of the top 10 in fantasy quarterbacks? Trubisky is 11th (10th if you disqualify Nick Mullens, who has made only one start) and his ceiling could place him in the top five.
8. Jay Gruden, Redskins
Was Gruden the coach in "The Replacement Players"? He has helped make fantasy stars of former backup quarterback Kirk Cousins and retread running back Adrian Peterson. Gruden is not the flashiest coach by fantasy standards but he's far better at this than his brother right now.
9. Mike Tomlin, Steelers
His penchant for 2-point conversions might annoy Chris Boswell owners, but that's their fault for drafting a Heinz Field kicker. Fans also blame Tomlin for the locker-room turmoil that seems to follow his team each season. But you have to hand it to him: The Steelers are fourth in points per game – without Le'Veon Bell. Ben Roethlisberger, James Conner and Antonio Brown are pretty consistent performers (now if he could just get JuJu Smith-Schuster back on track).
10. Anthony Lynn, Chargers
Lynn is the likable coach who some fans don't even know exists: "I love the Chargers! Now what their coach's name again." Lynn likes to be aggressive downfield, back to his Bills days. Philip Rivers has five touchdowns of 40 yards or longer, which is a boost for some scoring formats. Rivers and Melvin Gordon rank among the top 20 overall in fantasy.