Fantasy Football Maniaxs

January 12, 2010 10:29 AM

Fantasy Football Impact: The Hiring of Mike Shanahan in Washington

By Ryan Sitzmann, fantasy analyst at Fantasy Football Maniaxs.

portis-shanahan.jpgThe Washington Redskins wasted no time in finding a replacement for recently fired head coach Jim Zorn. On Monday, the same day the team fired Zorn, the team flew in Mike Shanahan, and he was hired by the end of the day.

The hiring of Shanahan (five-year $35 Million) didn't come as a surprise to many football fans. Shanahan fits the mold of what owner Daniel Snyder and general manager Bruce Allen were looking for in a head coach, and he brings a winning attitude to a team that has severely underperformed the last two seasons going 12-20.

He boasts a career regular-season record of 146-98, including 138-86 with the Broncos from 1995 to 2008, a playoff record of 8-5 and two Super Bowl championships.

Snyder has given Shanahan "ultimate authority" concerning football decisions. One of Shanahan's first orders of business will be assembling a coaching staff, but first he will interview Washington's assistant coaches to see which ones he would like to retain, if any.

Shanahan's son, former Houston Texans offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, who helped WR Andre' Johnson post career highs in yardage (1,575-1,569 and 8-9TDs) the past two sesons will be the Redskins' new offensive coordinator, and there's a lot of speculation that Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer will become the new Redskins defensive coordinator. Kyle was also esponsible for QB Matt Schaub's career highs in passing yards (4,770) and TDs (29) this past season.

Shanahan must seriously address issues with Washington's offensive line. The Redskins' best offensive lineman, Chris Samuels, may retire due to a chronic neck injury, and most of the veteran offensive linemen severely underperformed this year. General manager Allen needs to give some serious thought to drafting a left tackle with the No. 4 overall pick in the upcoming draft. Having a solid offensive line is crucial to having success in the NFL.

From a fantasy football perspective, it will be interesting to see how Shanahan handles the quarterback situation in Washington. Statistically, Jason Campbell had the best season of his career (327-for-507, 64.5% completion,3,618 Yds and 20 TDs--all career-bests--) behind a porous offensive line, and Coach Shanahan has had pretty good success working with quarterbacks throughout his career (John Elway, Jake Plummer and Jay Cutler).

If Campbell heads into next year as the starting quarterback (which I think he should), he could be one of the best fantasy football quarterback sleepers.

The hiring of Shanahan raises some interesting questions concerning the possible fantasy value of Redskins running back Clinton Portis. Portis thrived while running in coach Shanahan's zone-blocking running scheme during the first two years of his career, when he posted two consecutive 1500 plus-yards seasons (1,508 and 1,591) while scoring 29 touchdowns. He was equally spectacular and efficient in the passing game hauling in 71 receptions for 778 yards with two TDs.

If Portis can stay healthy and stop whining so much, he could reemerge as a top 12 fantasy running back provided Shanahan can partially correct some of the Redskins' offensive line issues.

Tight end Chris Cooley's fantasy value should remain relatively consistent with what it has been in years past.

Wide receiver Santana Moss may see a slight bump in value if Shanahan can manage to right the ship in Washington.

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