The Buffalo Bills have hired Chan Gailey to be their next head coach. While the move might not elicit much excitement on the surface, it should be a positive for the fantasy value of Fred Jackson.
Gailey has been in charge of several offensive attacks in his time in the NFL, and almost all of them put the focus on a running back.
Broncos RB Bobby Humphrey averaged 1,331 scrimmage yards and scored a combined 15 touchdowns under Gailey (1989-1990).
Gailey took over the offense in Pittsburgh in 1996 and RB Jerome Bettis averaged 1,548 rushing yards and scored 18 times over the next two years.
Gailey’s offense also included mobile quarterback Kordell Stewart who rushed for 11 touchdowns in 1997.
Gailey’s next stop was Dallas, where he had arguably the greatest running back of all time, Emmitt Smith. Smith rushed for more than 1,300 yards twice and found the end zone a combined 28 times in two seasons under Gailey.
Gailey next went to Miami to become the offensive coordinator for Dave Wannstedt after being fired in Dallas. From out of his system arose a fantasy sleeper, Lamar Smith, who rushed for over 1,100 yards and scored 16 total touchdowns in 2000.
While his most recent stop as a coordinator didn’t lead to a 1,000-yard rusher, it’s hard to blame Gailey for that lack of success. After all, his featured runner was Larry Johnson.
L.J. posted just 874 yards in 2008, but he missed four games that season and was clearly on the downside of his career.
The same can’t be said of Jackson, who’s coming off a career season and should be considered the favorite to start ahead of the troubled Marshawn Lynch in 2010.
Gailey will no doubt use the strength of his offense, and that strength is without question Jackson and the ground attack.
It seems like a perfect fit for Jackson, both on the field and from a fantasy perspective. Unless Gailey goes to a pure committee situation, I’d consider Jackson a viable No. 2 fantasy back in drafts.