What Dirk Koetter Means for Tampa Bay

What Dirk Koetter Means for Tampa Bay

By TJ Hernandez (Associate Editor), last updated May 9, 2016

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TJ is a former full-time poker player who has been playing fantasy football for more than a decade. After online poker was outlawed, TJ ended his poker career and dedicated himself to fantasy football. His background in poker statistics and analytics translates to success in both daily and season-long fantasy football.

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Going into 2015, 12 teams will have new coaches leading their offenses, and eight of those new coaches have a significant history calling plays in the NFL. I have already examined seven of the new play callers, bringing us to the final installment of this series with a look at Buccaneers new offensive coordinator, Dirk Koetter. Koetter has spent the last eight seasons as an offensive coordinator, in both Jacksonville and Atlanta. All eight of Koetter's stints as an OC were under a defensive-minded head coach, and the same will be true in Tampa Bay under Lovie Smith, which means we can expect Koetter to have full reign of the offense. 

The Buccaneers will be led by rookie quarterback Jameis Winston. Tampa Bay has two backs that will compete for starter touches in Doug Martin and Charles Sims, and the team boasts a promising receiving corps with Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson and tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins. With a young group of skill players, and a few undefined roles, Koetter has an opportunity to take this offense in many directions. 

A Snapshot of Koetter's History

Overall Rankings
Year Team Yds Pts
2007 JAX 7 6
2008 JAX 20 24
2009 JAX 18 24
2010 JAX 15 18
2011 JAX 32 28
2012 ATL 8 7
2013 ATL 14 20
2014 ATL 8 12
Rushing Rankings
Year Team Att Yds TD
2007 JAX 2 2 4
2008 JAX 18 18 10
2009 JAX 12 10 6
2010 JAX 3 3 9
2011 JAX 4 12 23
2012 ATL 26 29 13
2013 ATL 32 32 21
2014 ATL 27 24 17
Passing Rankings
Year Team Att Yds TD
2007 JAX 27 17 9
2008 JAX 11 15 24
2009 JAX 23 19 27
2010 JAX 31 27 11
2011 JAX 28 32 31
2012 ATL 8 6 5
2013 ATL 3 7 11
2014 ATL 3 5 11

Regardless of the team or roster makeup, Dirk Koetter has rarely ran an offense that struggles to move the ball. Five of his offensive units have ranked in the top half of the league in total yards, with three of those teams in the top 10. Only the Blain Gabbert-led Jaguars in 2011 ranked outside of the top 20. 

Early in his play calling career, Koetter favored a run-heavy approach with three teams that ranked in the top 10 in the league in rushing yards, but those units struggled to move the ball through the air.

After taking over in Atlanta, all of Dirk Koetter's offenses ranked in the top 10 in passing attempts and yards but ranked in the bottom third of the league every year in both rushing attempts and rushing yards. A positional breakdown and a look at Koetter's historical ball distribution can lend some insight into what these past trends mean for fantasy purposes in 2015.

Positional Breakdown

Quarterbacks

QB Per Game Averages
Completions Attempts Yards TD Int FP/G
21.4 34.0 238.3 1.42 0.87 14.9
QB Per Game Averages, 2007-14
Year Team Completions Attempts Yards TD Int FP/G
2007 JAX 18.0 29.3 218.4 1.75 0.50 16.2
2008 JAX 20.9 33.4 226.3 0.94 0.81 13.6
2009 JAX 19.6 32.3 224.8 0.94 0.63 13.6
2010 JAX 18.2 29.3 209.8 1.63 1.25 15.8
2011 JAX 15.0 29.3 156.9 0.75 0.94 7.4
2012 ATL 26.4 38.4 294.9 2.00 0.88 19.0
2013 ATL 27.4 40.7 282.2 1.63 1.06 15.5
2014 ATL 25.9 39.3 293.4 1.75 0.88 17.6

Over his eight seasons as a play caller, Dirk Koetter's quarterbacks have averaged 14.9 fantasy points per game, but if we exclude the abomination of a team that was the Jaguars in 2011, that average jumps a full point to 15.9 FP/G.

Koetter's offenses in Atlanta were much more pass-heavy than his Jacksonville units, but his quarterbacks have always had some level of fantasy success. Both Matt Ryan and David Garrard had two top 12 finishes under Koetter, in terms of fantasy points per game, and six of Koetter's eight seasons as a play caller produced top 15 fantasy quarterbacks. 

 

Running Backs

RB1 Per Game Averages
Touches Receptions Total Yards PPR FP
18.5 2.3 87.9 14.8
RB1 Per Game Averages. 2007-14
Year Player Touches Rec Total Yards PPR FP
2007 Fred Taylor 15.5 0.6 84.0 10.9
2008 Maurice Jones-Drew 16.2 3.9 86.8 17.4
2009 Maurice Jones-Drew 22.8 3.3 110.3 20.2
2010 Maurice Jones-Drew 23.8 2.4 117.2 16.9
2011 Maurice Jones-Drew 24.1 2.7 123.8 19.1
2012 Michael Turner 15.1 1.2 58.0 11.0
2013 Steven Jackson 15.8 2.8 61.2 12.4
2014 Steven Jackson 14.0 1.3 57.0 9.4
Total RB Per Game Averages
Touches Receptions Total Yards PPR FP
28.7 5.4 141.2 25.2
Total RB Per Game Averages. 2007-14
Year Touches Rec Total Yards PPR FP
2007 31.6 3.8 167.8 27.3
2008 27.7 5.9 142.1 26.8
2009 26.9 4.6 131.6 24.0
2010 31.0 4.7 159.9 24.6
2011 30.9 4.1 147.7 23.3
2012 27.4 6.5 123.1 23.8
2013 26.4 7.5 123.7 26.1
2014 27.3 6.3 134.1 25.5

When looking at Dirk Koetter's primary running back, there is the MJD era and everything else. From 2009-2011, Maurice Jones-Drew accounted for 79.8% of all backfield touches on a per game basis. In his other five seasons as a play caller, the lead back in Koetter's system saw just 54.7% of all backfield touches. Over his entire coordinating career, the total running back numbers are what really pop out when breaking down Koetter's past.

As a group, Dirk Koetter's backfields have averaged 28.7 touches per game, which would have ranked 11th among all teams in 2014. And those touches have yielded 25.2 PPR FP/G, a mark that also would have ranked 11th last season. Koetter hasn't been shy about using his backs in the passing game, either. The 5.4 reception per game average among all backs in a Koetter-led offense would have been the 10th most catches by team running backs last year.

Whether leaning on Jones-Drew or going with a committee approach, Koetter's running back totals haven't varied much over his play calling career. The common narrative when discussing the recent Atlanta offenses is that their backfields were a fantasy wasteland, when in fact Koetter was utilizing the running back position just as much with the Falcons as he was when he had Fred Taylor and MJD as his running backs. In Jacksonville, Koetter's backfields averaged 29.6 touches per game for 25.2 PPR FP/G. His Atlanta running backs touched the ball 27.1 times per game and posted 25.1 PPR FP/G, never finishing lower than the 12th most productive backfield, in terms of PPR scoring. 

 

Wide Receivers

WR1 Per Game Averages
Receptions Rec Yards Rec TD PPR FPs
4.9 65.8 0.29 13.2
WR1 Per Game Averages, 2007-14
Year Name Receptions Rec Yards Rec TD PPR FP
2007 Ernest Wilford 2.8 32.4 0.19 7.2
2008 Matt Jones 5.4 63.4 0.17 12.4
2009 Mike Sims-Walker 4.2 57.9 0.47 12.7
2010 Mike Thomas 4.1 51.3 0.25 11.1
2011 Mike Thomas 2.9 27.7 0.07 6.2
2012 Roddy White 5.8 84.4 0.44 16.8
2013 Harry Douglas 5.3 66.7 0.13 12.5
2014 Julio Jones 6.9 106.2 0.40 19.8

Over the course of his play calling career, Dirk Koetter's primary wide receiver has averaged 4.9 catches per game and 13.2 PPR FP/G, numbers that would have ranked 22nd and 29th, respectively, in 2014.

Even though Koetter had a different lead receiver in each of his three seasons in Atlanta, the top target's numbers remained fairly constant, averaging 6 receptions per game for 16.4 PPR FP/G, averages that would have ranked 9th and 13th last season.

Despite much higher overall production in Atlanta, the market share numbers for Koetter's main receiver has stayed rather consistent. Over all eight seasons, Koetter's number one wide receiver accounted for 22.9% of all team receptions, while the Falcons top target has caught 22.1% of all team receptions since 2012. 

WR2 Per Game Averages
Receptions Rec Yards Rec TD PPR FPs
3.8 48.3 0.30 10.3
WR2 Per Game Averages, 2007-14
Year Name Receptions Rec Yards Rec TD PPR FP
2007 Dennis Northcutt 2.9 40.1 0.27 8.7
2008 Dennis Northcutt 3.1 38.9 0.14 7.8
2009 Torry Holt 3.4 48.1 0.00 8.1
2010 Mike Sims-Walker 3.1 40.1 0.50 9.9
2011 Jarett Dillard 2.1 20.9 0.07 4.4
2012 Julio Jones 4.9 74.9 0.63 16.4
2013 Roddy White 4.8 54.7 0.23 11.5
2014 Roddy White 5.7 65.8 0.50 15.2

Just like we've seen in the other passing categories, the overall numbers for the second wide receiver see a spike upon Koetter's arrival in Atlanta, but the distribution tendencies have been steady. On a per game basis, Dirk Koetter's number two wide receiver has averaged 17.6% of all team receptions. In Atlanta, the second wide receiver averaged 17.5% of team receptions with Koetter calling the plays. 

It should be noted that Dirk Koetter's second wide receiver has scored roughly the same number of touchdowns as the primary target, but at a more efficient rate. Koetter's number one receiver has scored on 5.6% of receptions, while his secondary target has found the end zone on 7.9% of catches. In fact, the second wide receiver has scored just as many or more touchdowns than the primary target in every season except for one, under Dirk Koetter. 

 

Tight Ends

TE1 Per Game Averages
Receptions Rec Yards Rec TD PPR FPs
3.3 36.4 0.27 8.5
TE1 Per Game Averages, 2007-14
Year Name Receptions Rec Yards Rec TD PPR FP
2007 Marcedes Lewis 2.3 24.4 0.13 5.5
2008 Marcedes Lewis 2.6 30.6 0.13 6.4
2009 Marcedes Lewis 2.1 34.5 0.13 6.4
2010 Marcedes Lewis 3.6 43.8 0.63 11.5
2011 Marcedes Lewis 2.6 30.7 0.00 5.7
2012 Tony Gonzalez 5.8 58.1 0.50 14.6
2013 Tony Gonzalez 5.2 53.7 0.50 13.4
2014 Tony Gonzalez 1.9 14.9 0.13 4.1

From 2010-2013, the primary tight end under Dirk Koetter caught more passes than the number two wide receiver. Having future Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez as the primary tight end for two years with the Falcons requires no explanation as to why this was the case. In Jacksonville, Marcedes Lewis' overall numbers remained fairly pedestrian, but his market share of receptions increased significantly in 2010 and 2011, most likely because the team lacked a true number two receiver in those seasons.

In the stretch from 2010-2013, Koetter's primary tight end averaged 19.3% of all team receptions. Only six tight ends accounted for a higher percentage of their team receptions in 2014.

What This Means for 2015

Offenses led by rookie quarterbacks are always subject to unexpected outcomes, but there are enough weapons around Jameis Winston to believe that Dirk Koetter won't have to adjust his style too much for the young signal caller. Tampa Bay's auspicious receiving corps coupled with a suspect backfield make it reasonable to assume that Koetter will attempt to run an offense comparable to the units he coordinated in Atlanta.

Koetter's 2012 and 2013 teams are the closest resemblance of the offense that he is inheriting in Tampa Bay. With three respectable receiving targets, Koetter chose to spread the ball around rather evenly, especially in 2012 when Julio Jones was healthy. John Paulsen has Jameis Winston projected for 335 completions and 4083 yard. The common assumption is that the Tampa Bay receiving pecking order will be, in order, Mike Evans, Vincent Jackson, and ASJ. If the targets are spread around similar to Koetter's 2012 offense, Tampa Bay could have three receivers over 60 catches, all with 80+ reception, 1200+ yard upside.

Even if reception totals fall in line with expectation for Tampa Bay, Koetter has shown that he will target his number two receiver in the end zone. A spike in VJax's touchdown total, and probable negative regression for Evans in terms of scoring, could mean similar fantasy value for the two receivers, even if Evans out-catches Jackson by a significant margin. 

The greatest constant in a Dirk Koetter offense has been running back usage. If either Doug Martin or Charles Sims emerge as the bellcow for the Bucs, they will be league winners. The following table shows a range of expected outcomes for the RB1 in Dirk Koetter's offense, based on his historical team backfield production.

% of RB Production Touches/G PPR FP/G Expected FP/G Finish
55% 15.8 13.8 RB16
60% 17.2 15.1 RB11
65% 18.6 16.4 RB9
70% 20.1 17.6 RB7
75% 21.5 18.9 RB6

If Martin or Sims are able to secure just over half of the backfield touches, they should be starters in PPR leagues. Anything over two thirds of the running back pie under Koetter will mean one of the best returns on investment in 2015.

Filed Under: Preseason, 2015

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