Fantasy implications of Rex Ryan in Buffalo

The Buffalo Billsannounced on Monday that they have officially hired Rex Ryan as their new head coach. Whenever a coaching change is made in the NFL, fantasy implications are sure to follow. So what does Ryan's hiring mean for the fantasy value of Bills players for next season?

For starters, defense comes first.

It's universally known that Ryan is a defensive mastermind. In three of his six seasons with the Jets, Gang Green's defense ranked among some of the top scoring units in fantasy football. In 2009 the team boasted the third-highest scoring fantasy defense, in 2010 they were sixth and in 2011 the unit finished fifth overall in terms of fantasy points.

Ryan now takes over a Bills squad that with the help of Pro Bowl selections Mario Williams, Marcell Dareus and Kyle Williams, finished the 2014 season as the second-highest scoring fantasy defense and led the NFL with 54 sacks, had 19 interceptions and recovered 11 fumbles. There's a good chance that Buffalo will be a popular pick in the late rounds of fantasy drafts next summer with Ryan at the helm.

A big question that remains is who will Buffalo's defensive coordinator be? Ryan will likely bring Dennis Thurman over from the Jets since Jim Schwartz was officially sent on his way by Buffalo on Tuesday.

On the offensive side, Buffalo's most obvious weakness is at the quarterback position -- a situation Ryan is used to from his time in New York. With Kyle Ortonnow retired, it looks like Ryan and company will have to work things out with third-year signal-caller EJ Manuel who was pulled last season after four games due to inconsistent play. Ryan has a proven track record of being able to win with young quarterbacks in Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith (in 2013, at least) but it hasn't always translated to fantasy production.

For the sake of wideout Sammy Watkins, fantasy enthusiasts will have to have faith that something positive pans out here. Just keep in mind that Ryan isn't known to run the most prolific offenses in his time as a head coach.

The Bills also announced on Tuesday that former San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman was officially hired for the same position under Ryan in Buffalo. We all know how frustrating San Francisco's players were last season from a fantasy perspective, especially in terms of the run game. One week Frank Gore would have a pathetic six rush attempts and the next he'd get 24 carries on your bench. So hopefully something more consistent develops if Roman does indeed take over to run the Buffalo offense.

Buffalo's backfield is also a huge question mark with C.J. Spiller a free agent and the aging Fred Jackson set to turn 34 next month. With the lack of talent at quarterback, it's not out of the question for Ryan and Roman to implement a ground-and-pound philosophy out of the backfield if they can put the right personnel together. Don't forget about Boobie Dixon or Bryce Brown either. But as mere fantasy bystanders this offseason, we can only wait and see what develops in Buffalo.

-- Follow Matt on Twitter @m_franciscovich.

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