Analyzing the Impact of Coaching Changes on DFS Performance

Matt Brown
By Matt BrownPublished: February 7, 2024
Analyzing the Impact of Coaching Changes on DFS Performance

Coaching changes are as inevitable as the seasons, no matter which sport we're discussing. Whether due to underperformance, disagreements, or the pursuit of a fresh start, a change at the helm can significantly impact a team's strategy, morale, and, ultimately, performance.

And that's a big deal for your DFS lineups.

The Immediate Effects of a New Coach

When a new coach steps in, the immediate aftermath can be likened to a shockwave through the team's existing dynamics. This period is characterized by adjustments in playing style, which can lead to variable performances from players.

For DFS players, this unpredictability can be both a risk and an opportunity.

Fortunately, these changes come between the seasons, but not all the time.

Adjustments in Playing Time and Roles

One of the first changes a new coach might implement is the redistribution of playing time. This is primarily due to the fact that every coach or manager has a different playing style and philosophies.

Previously underutilized players may find themselves in starting roles, while some starters might see less time on the field or court.

This shift can drastically alter a player's fantasy value overnight.

For example, in the NFL, a coach may be more apt to run the ball; however, when a new coach steps in, they might have a different perspective on the QB and the receiver corps.

For the astute DFS player, keeping a close eye on news from practice sessions and pre-game reports becomes even more crucial during this transitional phase.

Impact on Team Morale and Performance

The psychological impact of a coaching change cannot be understated.

A new coach can invigorate a team, leading to improved performances and unexpected victories. Some coaches just have that level of Charisma.

On the other hand, however, the adjustment period can result in a temporary slump as players adapt to new strategies and leadership styles. Sometimes, it takes a few games before the entire team is on the same page.

Monitoring team morale, player interviews, and insider reports can provide valuable insights into how a team is adjusting, offering DFS players a competitive edge. We find that following individual players' Twitter accounts is a great way to keep your thumb on the pulse.

The Long-Term Strategic Shifts

Beyond the immediate adjustments, coaching changes often result in significant long-term shifts in a team's strategic approach.

A few of the significant shifts you might notice include—

  • Implementation of new tactics and game plans.
  • Reevaluation of the team's core strengths and weaknesses.
  • Shifts in player utilization based on the coach's strategies.
  • Changes in team identity, from defensive to offensive focus or vice versa.
  • Alteration of competitive dynamics within the league.
  • The emergence of previously undervalued players as key contributors.
  • Potential fluctuation in traditional team hierarchies and power rankings.
  • Long-term impact on player statistics and fantasy value.

You might not notice these immediately, but a coaching shift could mean you approach your lineups differently over time.

New Offensive and Defensive Philosophies

A coach's philosophy shapes their team's approach to the game. A shift from a defensive to an offensive mindset, or vice versa, can dramatically affect scoring opportunities for players.

For example, a basketball team moving to a more up-tempo, three-point shooting offense might increase the fantasy value of perimeter players such as the PGs. This might also take away opportunities from the inside players as well, so keep that in mind.

Understanding the new coach's historical strategies and philosophies is essential for predicting which players will benefit the most under their leadership.

Coaching Legend Terry Scotts Giving Advice to a Player

Development of Young Talent

New coaches often shift focus towards developing young talent, especially in rebuilding phases.

This development can lead to breakout seasons for previously overlooked players, making them valuable sleeper picks in DFS competitions.

Keeping tabs on rookies and second-year players receiving increased attention from coaching can uncover hidden gems for your fantasy lineup.

Adapting DFS Strategies to Coaching Changes

Given the impact of coaching changes, DFS players must adapt their strategies to maintain and gain an edge. Here are some ways to adjust.

Stay Informed and Agile

The key to capitalizing on coaching changes is staying informed.

Follow reputable sports news sources, team press releases, and social media accounts for the latest team dynamics and player role updates. Sometimes, these changes don't happen right away once the coach takes the helm, so stay up to date on their interviews to see where their mindset is going.

Flexibility in your DFS strategy allows you to quickly exploit emerging opportunities or avoid potential pitfalls.

Analyze Historical Data and Trends

Looking into the historical performance of teams and players under similar coaching styles can provide clues about future outcomes.

While past performance is not always indicative of future results, patterns that guide smart fantasy picks can emerge.

Typically, the historical trends of a coach or manager will tell you what style they like to play. Are they offense or defense-oriented? Do they shy away from younger players or give them a chance?

Embrace Volatility in the Short Term

The initial games following a coaching change are often the most unpredictable. Of course, this usually doesn't happen mid-season, but it could, and when it does, be ready for the changes.

Embracing this volatility, especially in GPP tournaments, can differentiate your lineup. Taking calculated risks on players who might benefit from the new system before their fantasy prices adjust can result in high rewards.

Focus on Player Skill Sets Aligned with New Strategies

Identify players whose skills align with the new coach's strategies. This is often easier said than done as it takes in-depth analysis and even looking back at the player's collegiate and high school performances to catch on.

For example, a running back known for their pass-catching ability could become more valuable in an offense that favors the passing game. You might not notice this until you realize that the RB1 also played wide receiver in college — or the other way around. Hines Ward was a dominant running back (and even played a bowl game as QB) until he became a wide receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Adjusting your picks to favor these players before their performance peaks can yield significant dividends.

Follow the Coaches!

The impact of coaching changes on DFS performance is both profound and multifaceted.

While these transitions introduce an element of unpredictability and a little disruption to the team, they also create opportunities for those willing to do their homework and adapt their strategies.

By staying informed, analyzing trends, and being flexible in your approach, you can turn the uncertainty of coaching changes into a competitive advantage in your DFS endeavors.

In the ever-changing DFS market, knowledge and adaptability are key to staying ahead of the curve.

Matt Brown

Matt Brown

Head of DFS

Matt's deep-rooted enthusiasm for sports betting and daily fantasy sports infuses the EatWatchDraft team with valuable expertise in football, hockey, and baseball. His forward-thinking perspectives are grounded in a solid academic foundation, including a B.S. in Aeronautical Computer Science and an M.S. in Project Management. This combination of sports passion and technical knowledge fuels Matt's innovative input to the platform.