Good offensive line play is a true luxury in today’s NFL, and more Fantasy Football players should take notice. It seems there are fewer and fewer decent options, and defenses are getting more complex.
Find a great running back, and you’ve likely found a good offensive line to go with it. Ezekiel Elliott is a great back, but the offensive line play made him stand out that much more.
The offensive line is equally important to quarterbacks, just ask Russell Wilson. He’s been running for his life since day one.
So what does a good offensive line do for you, the Fantasy Football manager? They provide stability, as a mediocre running back will look startable, and great running backs are unstoppable. The Top 10 offensive lines are going to open holes and make life easier for any running back. The opposite works the same, a bad offensive line makes everyone’s life much more difficult.
So to give some glory to the unsung heroes of your Fantasy teams, I present to you all 32 teams, from first to worst.
2017 Offensive Line Rankings
Best of the Best: The Top 5
1. Philadelphia Eagles
Consistency and talent across the board get the Eagles the top spot. The ferocious front five in Philly have opened Carson Wentz to be one of our breakout candidates this year. Lane Johnson is an animal at the right tackle position, Jason Kelce is rock-solid, and Jason Peters will be above average, even at the ripe age of 35. There are no real weaknesses for this group, though they might want to start finding an heir to Peters.
2. Tennessee Titans
The Titans have spent a lot of time and effort to protect Marcus Mariota and open up the run game. As a result of all the draft picks, last season it started to pay dividends. Jack Conklin and Taylor Lewan are young bookends at the tackle position that excel in the run and passing game.
3. Pittsburgh Steelers
The Top 3 offensive lines round out with Pittsburgh. The Steelers have a solid foundation up front, and last year Alejandro Villanueva stepped up big time to help this unit reach the next level. Look for more growth with David DeCastro entering year two and Maurkice Pouncey will be great.
4. Dallas Cowboys
What was the crown jewel of NFL offensive lines, the Cowboys have taken a bit of a slip. With losses at left guard and right tackle, Big D has some work to do. Of course, Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick, and Zack Martin will be stellar as usual. But will La’el Collins and Jonathan Cooper be up to the challenge?
5. Oakland Raiders
If the Raiders could play nine-man football, they would have the most well-rounded offense in the NFL. Unfortunately, they do need to stick someone at the right tackle position. It has been a void that’s plagued them for a while, and they are hoping that Marshall Newhouse or David Sharpe can unseat Austin Howard. The Raiders are much better pass blockers than run blockers, and Derek Carr will definitely be benefiting more from this unit.
Best of the Rest: 6-10
6. Atlanta Falcons
Truly an underrated unit, the Falcons’ offense shines through all positions that we almost forget the offensive line exists. Make no mistake, Alex Mack and company will be the silent protectors of Matt Ryan and the dangerous running game. A powerhouse Fantasy offense is quietly driven by very good line play.
7. Cleveland Browns
Oh how the times change. The Browns, seemingly on the up and up with a very busy offseason have landed a couple of very strong pieces to their lineup. Joe Thomas has been one of, if not the best left tackle in all of football since he was drafted in 2007. But adding All-Pro Kevin Zeitler and J.C. Tretter should be huge.
8. Green Bay Packers
Pass blocking for the very elusive Aaron Rodgers is one of the best jobs in sports. He makes everyone look better, but Bryan Bulaga and David Bakhtiari are fantastic pass blockers in their own right. The interior is having a reshuffle, and run blocking hasn’t been a strength in a while. There is some upside, and the addition of Jahri Evans should help stabilize any real concerns.
9. Washington Redskins
Washington has seen some serious consistency over the last few years with Trent Williams and Brandon Scherff holding down the fort. There’s no major holes, and offensive line coach Bill Callahan has done an excellent job cultivating and maintaining over the last three years. Fantasy teams will benefit from the extra time that Kirk Cousins gets, and the running game will be solid as ever. Top three tight end Jordan Reed benefits as a receiver by not having to stay in and help this unit thrive.
10. Buffalo Bills
A healthy Cordy Glenn will be a great start for the Bills. When he isn’t plagued by injuries, Glenn is outstanding. Eric Wood at center is another solid piece. Much like the Raiders, right tackle seems to plague Buffalo, and there isn’t much relief in sight. LeSean McCoy is a great back that is able to cover up the deficiencies, and Tyrod Taylor is very, very mobile.
Ready for Greatness 11-14
11. Chicago Bears
Da Bears have added former rival Josh Sitton to the dynamic Cody Whitehair and Kyle Long. Chicago will be a triumphant threesome on the interior, but the two tackles leave something to be desired. Another year in the system should help Bobbie Massie and Charles Leno Jr., but there is some growth needed to make this an “elite” group.
12. New England Patriots
This might be too low, but much like the rest of the Patriots’ team, they are better than they look on paper. The embodiments of the “lunch pail” cliche, Shaq Mason and Marcus Cannon are not big names, but both are now solid starters. Tom Brady makes all offensive positions look better than they really are.
13. Kansas City Chiefs
The eldest member is Mitchell Schwartz at the ripe age of 28. The story of the summer for the Chiefs’ line has been consistency. It may not be the best unit in the league, but Mitch Morse and Eric Fischer are above average starters. Much like the rest of the offense, they will be good, but not great.
14. New Orleans Saints
The offseason certainly hasn’t been kind to the Saints. With Max Unger and Terran Armstead facing injuries, there’s growing concern. Rookie Ryan Ramczyk will fill in for Armstead, but left tackle is not a forgiving position. All this being said, there is still quite a bit of talent and depth across the unit. Zach Strief is very good out on the right tackle.
Good Enough: 15-20
15. Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings have struggled mightily over the last few seasons, but there might be better times to come. Pat Elflein was a steal in the third round of the NFL Draft, and Tackles Riley Reiff and Mike Remmers are major upgrades. A year ago, this was a dumpster fire. Things change quickly in the NFL, and the Vikings should be much improved from a year ago.
16. Carolina Panthers
The Panthers are hedging their bets on the Kalil family, adding the oft-injured Matt Kalil to the mix. His brother, Ryan Kalil, has been a stalwart at center for the Panthers for several years now. Matt had some serious troubles in Minnesota, and never returned to Pro Bowl form after his rookie year. He and the Panthers are hoping that the change of scenery will pay dividends, but your Fantasy team might not appreciate repeatedly having Cam Newton being forced out of the pocket.
17. Arizona Cardinals
The Cardinals are going to have a busy camp ahead. Mike Iupati and A.Q. Shipley are pretty good, especially if they stay healthy. But questions with potential left tackle D.J. Humphries will make or break this starting lineup. The real strength of the Cards’ line is the depth, as they run eight or nine deep.
18. Los Angeles Rams
Addition by subtraction. Greg Robinson was miserable at left tackle, and that still might be putting it kindly. Pro Bowler Andrew Whitworth will make Todd Gurley’s life much, much easier. John Sullivan has a ton of experience, and will make a positive impact. There’s a lot of turnover here, look for them to go through some lumps to start the season.
19. New York Jets
Brandon Shell had a great close to the 2016 season, but he needs to prove he can play at a high level for 16 games. On the other side, Kelvin Beachum is a high-risk, high-reward option at left tackle. Pairing him with the adequate James Carpenter should open some space for Matt Forte and Bilal Powell. At the end of the day, youth is their strength. The Jets should see improvement with more experience.
20. Baltimore Ravens
MIT picking key backup John Urschel off the squad doesn’t exactly help an already thin unit. Marshall Yanda is a mainstay, Ronnie Stanley is solid, as is Alex Lewis. It seems like there are a ton of question marks after that.
Below Average: 21-30
21. Jacksonville Jaguars
I was a believer in the resurgence of Branden Albert, but his retirement puts the Jags in an incredibly awkward place. Cam Robinson should be solid wherever he ends up on the line. Brandon Linder is a very good center. If A.J. Cann and Jermey Parnell can get some more consistent play, this could be an above average squad.
22. Indianapolis Colts
Ryan Kelly was a great surprise last season and I’d imagine that there’s still room for growth. Anthony Castonzo has been effective, but not awe-inspiring. Andrew Luck still takes way too many hits to be successful. If Joe Haeg and Le’Raven Clark improve, the Colts might put together a sneaky good unit.
23. Los Angeles Chargers
I don’t see Russell Okung as any kind of improvement. But Forrest Lamp and Dan Feeney were great additions. Rookies need time to adjust to the more intense playbooks of the NFL, so Rivers and co. should keep their expectations in check. Another potentially underrated team on paper, but the Bolts need the rookies to step up in order to avoid mediocrity once more.
24. Miami Dolphins
Laremy Tunsil’s transition back to tackle will make or break this spot. Tunsil showed some potential at guard, and left tackle is his natural position. Mike Pouncey needs to stay healthy at center, and Ja’Wuan James’ growth are both needed in order for this unit to improve. Finally, they made the now brilliant move of trading Branden Albert before he retired.
25. Detroit Lions
Swapping out Taylor Decker for Greg Robinson is not going to pay any dividends, but the Lions were desperate once Decker was injured. Rick Wagner is an above average tackle and is comparable to Riley Reiff. Right guard T.J. Lang provides stability and more leadership, but it doesn’t make up for complete draft misses in Laken Tomlinson or Graham Glasgow. Matthew Stafford’s Fantasy prospects can’t afford another injury on the line.
26. Denver Broncos
There’s several fresh faces in Denver, including Ron Leary, Allen Barbre, and Menelik Watson. But there’s something to be said about having a unified and cohesive offensive line, and Denver likely won’t fix their offensive woes by throwing money at their problems. Poor line play has been their weakness for years, and look for that to continue into 2017.
27. San Francisco 49ers
One of the worst offenses in professional football conveniently has one of the worst offensive lines. This unit is one of the reasons why we have Carlos Hyde as one of our five potential busts at running back. Joshua Garnett needs more development to even be considered average and Zane Beadles is marginal. Yet, tackles Joe Staley and Trent Brown are the only saving graces of this otherwise putrid unit.
Worst of the Worst: 28-32
28. New York Giants
Giants fans everywhere curse the name Ereck Flowers. Justin Pugh and Weston Richburg aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, they are just good enough to be considered the foundation of the line. Eli Manning will take his fair share of hits again, but will the starting five up front be able to save him? Not likely.
29. Cincinnati Bengals
Losing one high-quality starter is reason for concern, so losing their two talented tackles must be devastating for the Bengals. Andrew Whitworth and Kevin Zeitler both became very rich men, yet there’s not much left to be excited about. Now playing guard, Andre Smith had a four game vacation in Minnesota before getting injured and sent back to Cincinnati. Jake Fisher might cause Joe Mixon to have some serious rookie struggles, and Cedric Ogbuehi is not to be trusted.
30. Houston Texans
There haven’t been many seasons in the Texans’ brief history where offensive line play has been a strength. Look for that trend to continue. Duane Brown is strictly okay, and even he is having some doubts. Not much else is worth noting up front.
31.Tampa Bay Buccaneers
J.R. Sweezy and Donovan Smith are terrible, and make life difficult for Doug Martin and Jameis Winston. Without massive improvement, the rest of the offense constantly will be at odds with the line.
32. Seattle Seahawks
The running gag of the NFL, somehow one of the most successful teams in the NFC has the absolute worst offensive line in football. Russell Wilson has been running for his life since day one, and Eddie Lacy might learn how good he had it back in Wisconsin. It’s the only thing the Seahawks have standing between them and a Lombardi trophy, and the abysmal unit might make your Fantasy team struggle too.
|2017 Fantasy Football Draft Kit|
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