The Detroit Lions announced today that Scott Linehan was hired as their new offensive coordinator.
The move should benefit the team’s two top fantasy players, RB Kevin Smith and WR Calvin Johnson.
While Linehan was the head man in St. Louis, Rams RB Steven Jackson had the best season of his NFL career in 2006 with 90 receptions, 2,334 yards from scrimmage and 16 total touchdowns.
Of course, Smith would be hard-pressed to duplicate those numbers. But he’s versatile enough to record better than 1,500 scrimmage yards and 8 to 10 touchdowns under Linehan’s watch. Those are solid numbers from a runner in a time when backfield committees have become the norm.
Based on a solid finish in his rookie season, Smith could take the next step in his development into a solid fantasy starter in 2009.
Linehan’s presence also will be a positive for Johnson (aka Megatron), who broke out with over 1,300 yards and 12 touchdowns this season despite being on a winless team that had a carousel of quarterbacks. While he was in Minnesota, Linehan’s offenses helped then-Vikings WR Randy Moss achieve enormous statistical success and emerge into a superstar in fantasy land.
Johnson has Moss-caliber talent, and he’ll no doubt be one of the first wide receivers selected in all fantasy drafts.