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New Coach Preview - Lane Kiffin

Lane Kiffin - Oakland Raiders

Résumé Highlights:
1997 - QB Coach, Fresno State
1999 - Off Line Coach, Colorado State
2001 - TE Coach, USC
2002 - WR Coach, USC
2004 - Off Coord, USC
2007 - Head Coach, Oakland Raiders

Impact: It's a fun drinking game to argue whether or not one of the great USC teams of the past few years could beat the worst NFL team (the answer is "no").  But it's not much fun for Lane Kiffin as he discovers the disaster that is the Oakland Raiders - though it may involve him drinking. While Oakland certainly has talented players in Dominic Rhodes and LaMont Jordan, they have a fraction of the discipline and teamwork Kiffin is used to at USC.  Getting rid of malcontent Randy Moss was a start, but there's still a long way to go. How the Raiders perform for fantasy players will depend mostly on whether or not Kiffin can whip this group into a functioning team.  If you start seeing articles this summer about Raiders holding out, getting arrested, moaning about playing time, etc, it will be a huge warning sign to stay away.  There is nobody on this team with enough fantasy potential to overcome that.

Fantasy Summary:  The Raiders staring QB will end being #1 draft choice JaMarcus Russell, so Kiffin will essentially be coaching a college QB once again.  That's great news for Russell and his long-term development, but his 2007 fantasy production should be underwhelming.  Ronald Curry and the grumpy Jerry Porter will have their fantasy totals restricted by the rookie QB so downgrade them on your draft lists.  The place where Kiffin should make an immediate impact is on the running game.  Kiffin developed the offense that made the most out of having LenDale White and Reggie Bush in the same backfield, so look for similar opportunities for Rhodes and Jordan.  While a running back-by-committee is usually a bad thing for fantasy players, if anybody has the credentials to make it work it's Kiffin.  Both Rhodes and Jordan should have decent fantasy seasons.  Rookie tight end Zach Miller may also have fantasy value.