2018 NFL Offensive Line Rankings and Fantasy Impact
There are things constantly changing in the NFL, and although you have access to all player news, TV updates, and radio coverage, there are still things that go under the rug, almost completely unnoticed. For instance, did you know that Cody Latimer is no longer on the Broncos, but has now latched on with the Giants? While you may have heard about that, you may not have heard about a signing that will actually impact fantasy football.
We’re here to talk about those signings today, as we discuss each of the 32 offensive lines in football. Just because the Bengals couldn’t block in 2017, it doesn’t automatically mean they won’t be able to in 2018. And on the flip-side of that, offensive lines can deteriorate rather quickly if they lose a few star players. The offensive line has a massive impact on fantasy players, as they’re the ones blocking for your running back, or keeping your quarterback upright. Are there players you should move down in your rankings because of this? Absolutely, and we’re going to do our best to let you know why.
1. Philadelphia Eagles – After seeing Lane Johnson remain healthy, you saw what this unit was capable of in 2017. Jason Peters may be aging, but he’s still a force to be reckoned with at left tackle. Jason Kelce might be the best center in the game, and Brandon Brooks is a superstar at right guard. Even right guard Stefen Wisniewski, the weakest link, would be starting on most NFL teams. While both Deshaun Watson and Carson Wentz fight back from torn ACLs, Wentz is the one who has the best shot to remain upright.
2. Dallas Cowboys – Not only do the Cowboys have their starters solidified, they drafted Connor Williams, who I had ranked as the No. 2 tackle in this year’s draft for depth. Tyron Smith is likely the best left tackle in the game, while center Travis Fredrick, and guard Zack Martin are studs in their own right. They signed Cameron Fleming from the Patriots in free agency, so he’s likely to fill the right tackle position with La’el Collins going back to guard. For those who missed it, Collins struggled mightily at right tackle last year after trying to make the move from guard. Who knows, the Cowboys may try to move Williams into that guard slot if he beats out Collins. They don’t have any real glaring weaknesses on their offensive line, which is why Ezekiel Elliott is so highly coveted.
3. Atlanta Falcons – One of the premier offensive lines in football, highlighted by left tackle Jake Matthews and center Alex Mack, who are Pro Bowl talents. Ryan Schraeder has played phenomenal at right tackle, so they have both anchor positions in place, and then added Brandon Fusco in free agency this offseason to upgrade the right guard position. They don’t have a glaring weakness on the entire line and with the weapons they have in the passing-game, it’s unlikely they’ll have a lot of pressure, either.
4. Tennessee Titans – Having your offensive line feature two first-round tackles who have lived up to their draft spots is never a bad thing, right Titans fans? Meanwhile, formerly undrafted guards Josh Kline and Quinton Spain have been better because of them, and fourth-round center Ben Jones has proven to be starting-caliber. The best thing about this offensive line is that nothing has changed from the last two years, meaning they’re only going to improve on last season, as continuity is a huge thing with offensive line play.
5. Oakland Raiders – The Raiders front office realized that left tackle Donald Penn is nearing the end, so they snagged tackle Kolton Miller in the first-round, and then reached for another tackle, Brandon Parker, in the third-round. I’d expect Miller to start at right tackle, giving them a much-needed upgrade over Marshall Newhouse, who is no longer with the team. You then add Kelechi Osemele and Rodney Hudson in with those two, and you have a top-notch unit. When your weak point is Gabe Jackson, a former third-round pick who is starter-worthy, you’re doing something right. Doug Martin never played behind an offensive line this good while in Tampa Bay.
6. Pittsburgh Steelers – They lost a piece of their line this offseason when right tackle Chris Hubbard went to the Browns, but Marcus Gilbert has proven to be more than capable of filling that spot. David DeCastro is among the best left guards in the game, and although center Maurkice Pouncey may have taken a step back in his career, he’s still above-replacement value. I’d say that the thing the Steelers offensive line does better than any other, is gel together, and likely because they’ve been together for a few years now, which allows them to know each other’s weaknesses very well.
7. Detroit Lions – They are one of the teams who is expected to see an improvement on the offensive line with the addition of center Frank Ragnow, who they snagged in the first-round of the NFL Draft. He may slide to guard because Graham Glasgow played really well there last year, but one way or another, they’re both starting. Taylor Decker was somewhat disappointing at left tackle last year, but he was returning from a shoulder injury that could have hampered him. The Lions did draft tackle Tyrell Crosby, who can provide some great depth at the position. T.J. Lang and Rick Wagner held down the right side of the line last year, so all will remain status quo there. If Decker gets back to form, this might be one of the better offensive lines in football.
8. New Orleans Saints – What a turnaround it’s been for the Saints offensive line, as Ryan Ramczyk joined Terron Armstead to form one of the best 1-2 tackle combos in the NFL. The lone weak point on the line is former first-round pick Andrus Peat, whose play has seemingly declined every year. But putting him in-between Armstead and Max Unger has been enough to mask his inefficiencies. They also added some depth through the draft and free agency, so it’s fair to say that the Saints skill-position players benefit from their rank.
9. Washington Redskins – Can we get Trent Williams to stay healthy? He’s the cornerstone of this offensive line and the glue that holds it together. With him and Morgan Moses on the field together, they have one of the better tackle combos in the league. 2015 first-round pick Brandon Scherff has lived up to expectations at left guard, while right guard Arie Kouandjio is likely the weakest link on the line. Losing Spencer Long hurts a bit, but last year’s sixth-round pick Chase Roullier did a decent job filling in while Long was hurt last year. There’s definitely enough talent on this offensive line to be considered top-10 in the league.
10. Indianapolis Colts – After dealing with an Andrew Luck injury, the Colts front office decided it was time to revamp the offensive line. After snagging Matt Slausen in free agency, they re-signed the versatile Jack Mewhort, and then drafted guards Quenton Nelson at No. 6 overall and Braden Smith at No. 37 overall. With Anthony Castonzo at left tackle, Nelson and Slausen at guard, and Ryan Kelly at center, the Colts have what looks to be a strong offensive line. While right tackle is still a question mark, they did sign Austin Howard, who started 16 games for the Ravens overachieving offensive line last year. I’d be shocked to see anyone complain about their offensive line in 2018.
11. Los Angeles Rams – The overhaul of the roster is nearing completion, and the offensive line received some more man-power through the NFL Draft. They drafted a both a tackle and center with their first two picks in the draft, though they weren’t until the third- and fourth-round. Neither are expected to start, but with multiple linemen in contract years, it made sense. Andrew Whitworth and Rob Havenstein hold down the anchors, while John Sullivan is a solid presence up the middle. The lone weakness on the line is right guard Jamon Brown, so you shouldn’t let the offensive line concern you when selecting Rams skill-position players.
12. Chicago Bears – It was somewhat surprising to see the Bears select James Daniels in the second-round of the draft, as Cody Whitehair had been one of the best centers in the game over the last few years. They cleared up the confusion and said Daniels will play guard alongside Kyle Long, which could pay dividends, but it doesn’t come without risk. Long himself needs to stay on the field to make an impact, as he’s now missed 14 games over the last two seasons. Most assume the Bears are okay with Charles Leto at left tackle, but he’s far from a superstar. Bobby Massie has been a competent starter at right tackle, but with average players at both tackle positions hurts their rank overall.
13. San Francisco 49ers – After taking a step in the right direction in 2017, the 49ers decided they needed to address the offensive line a bit more, selecting tackle Mike McGlinchey with the No. 9 overall pick in the draft, and signing free agent center Weston Richburg. With Joe Staley and McGlinchey on the edges, it should help make life easier on former first-round pick Laken Tomlinson, who showed improvement at left guard last year. The right guard position is the true weakness on the offensive line, as it appears that 2016 bust Josh Garnett and veteran Mike Person will fight for that spot. Still, the 49ers offensive line is moving in the right direction.
14. Green Bay Packers – For a team with an asset like Aaron Rodgers, you’d think they’d try to surround him with great blockers, but that’s not really the case. Yes, David Bakhtiari and Bryan Bulaga are solid anchors on the edges, but the interior of their line has some serious question marks. With Jahri Evans retiring, they’ll be forced to start former undrafted free agents Lane Taylor and Justin McCray at the guard spots, and former fifth-round pick Corey Linsley at center. Linsley showed signs of weakness last year, which could open up a whole can of worms up the middle of the line. Their tackles make them adequate, but this is not an elite offensive line.
15. Cleveland Browns – Losing Joe Thomas at left tackle is not going to be a good thing for an offensive line that severely underperformed last year, allowing 50 sacks on the year. Granted, Thomas did miss part of the season, but they didn’t make any huge additions to replace him. They signed Chris Hubbard from the Steelers to take over at right tackle, which is a help for the run-game, but the left tackle spot is up for grabs at the moment with Shon Coleman (who was terrible last year), rookie Austin Corbett, and undrafted rookie Desmond Harrison competing for it. The interior of the line is rock-solid, but with left tackle being such a big question mark, it hurts their overall potential. I suppose it’s a good thing they have a couple mobile quarterbacks.
16. Denver Broncos – They severely underperformed as a unit last year, especially when you consider the resources that went into it. First-round pick Garett Bolles was disappointing at left tackle, while Menelik Watson couldn’t stop anything at right tackle. While Bolles is young, they decided to go out and sign Jared Veldheer to take over at right tackle, who is an upgrade over Watson, when healthy. The signing of Ron Leary allowed C.J. Anderson to rush for his first 1,000-yard season, though Connor McGovern struggled opposite him. Center Matt Paradis has been relatively stable since coming into the league, so this unit should play better than it did in 2017, though Bolles needs to take a step forward. If they do, the run-game should score quite a few more touchdowns.
17. Baltimore Ravens – This is a unit that overperformed what anyone expected last year, but they will have some players shifting around in 2018. Pro Bowl guard Marshal Yanda will return, shifting Matt Skura back to center, though it’s possible that sixth-round pick Bradley Bozeman supplants him. Whatever the case, center is the biggest question mark. Ronnie Stanley took a big step forward at left tackle last year, but the Ravens have questions at the right tackle position, as it appears to be Alex Lewis‘ job to start training camp. They drafted Orlando Brown, but he shouldn’t be on the field as a starter this year. While the Ravens line overperformed in 2017, they may not have the star-power for a repeat performance.
18. Jacksonville Jaguars – Going from what was considered to be one of the worst offensive lines a few years ago to where they are now, the Jaguars are trending in the right direction. The addition of Andrew Norwell is the biggest change to the offensive line, as he gives them a Pro Bowler alongside Brandon Linder, who has been one of the better centers in the league. While last year’s second-round pick Cam Robinson looks like he may be a bust at left tackle, he did seem to get better as the year went on. The other question mark is at right guard, as A.J. Cann will start there despite struggling in each of the last three seasons. As a former third-round pick, it’s unlikely that he’s supplanted easily. There are definitely some nice pieces in place, though Robinson needs to step up if they want a top-end unit.
19. Kansas City Chiefs – It’s no secret that Eric Fisher has been a bust as a former No. 1 overall pick, but he’s made his way back to average over the last couple seasons. Him and Mitchell Schwartz aren’t a bad combo on the edges, especially if Fisher continues to trend in the right direction. The issues lie up the middle with center Mitch Morse and guard Bryan Witzmann, as they were both relatively bad in 2017. The Chiefs also lost versatile Zach Fulton this season, which hurts matters. Having two decent anchors is never a bad thing, but Patrick Mahomes‘ left side doesn’t have as much talent as you’d like. But still, with Andy Reid calling plays, he’ll make it work.
20. New England Patriots – After losing two tackles this offseason, you had to expect the Patriots to draft an offensive tackle with one of their two first-round picks, right? Well, not exactly. Isaiah Wynn played tackle in college, but projects at a guard at the NFL level at just 6-foot-2 and 313 pounds. If he starts at left tackle, don’t expect Tom Brady to throw nearly as much as he did with Nate Solder protecting his blindside. It seems that Trent Brown may play left tackle, but coming over from a different team, he’s still a major question mark. If there’s a strength to this team, it’s the guard position where both Shaq Mason and Joe Thuney held their ground last year, especially in the run-game. There’s so many ifs about this line, and particularly at the tackle positions, that it’s hard to feel comfortable saying they’re above average.
21. Los Angeles Chargers – It was somewhat surprising to see the Chargers offensive line play so well in 2017, especially after they lost second-round pick Forrest Lamp prior to the start of the season. Philip Rivers was sacked on just 3.0 percent of his dropbacks, which ranked as the lowest mark in the NFL. Russell Okung played much better at left tackle than anyone expected, though Joe Barksdale continued to struggle at right tackle. With the exit of Matt Slausen in free agency, both Lamp and second-year guard Dan Feeney will start, as will newly-acquired Mike Pouncey, so there could be an adjustment period. In the end, there’s just not enough elite talent on the roster to expect them to continue the way they did last year.
22. Cincinnati Bengals – One of the teams who acknowledged they had big problems on the offensive line, so they addressed them. After having turnstile Cedric Ogbuehi at left tackle last year, they traded for Cordy Glenn, who was considered an elite left tackle prior to the 2017 season where he dealt with some foot injuries. They also went out and drafted center/guard Billy Price in the first-round, which gives them a huge upgrade over 2014 draft bust Russell Bodine. If former second-round pick Jake Fisher can take a step in the right direction at right tackle, the Bengals offensive line suddenly doesn’t look so bad. Still, it may take some time for them to gel together with all the moving parts.
23. New York Giants – A team who looked to change their future this offseason, investing in free agent left tackle Nate Solder, as well as guard Will Hernandez in the second-round of the NFL Draft. Their left side of the line is now in place for the future, and it appears that Pat Shurmur is happy with Jon Halapio at center, though Brett Jones was competent in a replacement role last year. Ereck Flowers is going over to right tackle, and that’s a problem for all parties, as he’s been one of the worst tackles since coming into the league, though the right side should be a bit easier. I’d say that the passing-game is safe to upgrade from last year due to the Solder/Hernandez duo on the blind side.
24. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – While the Bucs rebuilt their front-seven on defense this year, my guess is that they attempt to do the same with the offensive line next year. Well, at least at the left tackle and right guard positions, as Donovan Smith has been awful since being drafted in the second-round of 2015, and backup talent Caleb Benenoch hasn’t shown anything to suggest he should be starting anywhere. They did add center Ryan Jensen from the Ravens this offseason, which should help solidify things up the middle alongside Ali Marpet, but as stated, there are a few glaring weaknesses.
25. Minnesota Vikings – The signing of Riley Reiff last offseason didn’t pay any dividends last year, as he wasn’t very good. It’s just one year, but they need him to play up to the contract they gave him. They’re weak up the middle with Pat Elfein at center (who looks like he might be a third-round bust from last year’s draft), formerly undrafted Nick Easton at left guard, and former tackle Mike Remmers at left guard. They are likely hoping that second-round pick Brian O’Neill can win the starting right tackle spot over Rashod Hill, as he wasn’t very good last year. The offensive line is not a strength of this team and could very well hold them back unless someone steps up.
26. Arizona Cardinals – They have quite a few issues on their offensive line, starting with question marks at left tackle with former first-round pick D.J. Humphries, who is recovering from knee surgery and far from a sturdy presence on the blind side. They drafted Mason Cole in the third-round, but early reports are that A.Q. Shipley will start at center again, which is far from ideal for David Johnson, as he’s one of the worst run-blocking centers in the game. Signing right tackle Andre Smith won’t bode well, either, just ask any Bengals fan. The addition of Justin Pugh was a good one, but there’s no real standouts on this offensive line.
27. Miami Dolphins – The move for Laremy Tunsil to left tackle didn’t go as well as planned, but he’s going to stay there for better or worse. The Dolphins did add some support alongside him with free agent Josh Sitton, so that could be what was needed. They also needed to trade for Daniel Kilgore (who hasn’t been very good) after center Mike Pouncey asked for his release, so there’s multiple moving parts up the middle of this offensive line. There’s also a big gap at right guard, as Jesse Davis proved to be incapable last season. It’s hard to imagine this unit gelling together right from the get-go, or at all. While Sitton is talented, he’s aging and they need to add talent to the roster sooner rather than later.
28. Carolina Panthers – The biggest offensive lineman to hit the open market came from the Panthers, which is obviously not a good thing. Last year’s second-round pick Taylor Moton could slide in to fill their open guard position that Andrew Norwell left, though they didn’t play him much last year. With Matt Kalil at left tackle, you can argue that their pass-blocking will never be ideal, so why not capitalize up the middle putting Moton alongside Ryan Kalil? If not, it could be a duo of Trai Turner and Amini Silatolu at guard. The combination of Andrew Norwell and Ryan Kalil used to be one of the best, but with Norwell gone and Kalil getting older (and dealing with some injuries), you have some real question marks with the offensive line.
29. Buffalo Bills – This is an offensive line that went from one of the best in the league to one of the worst in just two years. They lost three starters this offseason, including center Eric Wood, guard Richie Incognito, and tackle Cordy Glenn. Fortunately, last year’s first-round pick Dion Dawkins showed promise at the left tackle position, but starting Jordan Mills at right tackle isn’t a good thing. Backup center Russell Bodine showed promise in a backup role, but it’s a limited sample size. Meanwhile, Vlad Ducasse and Ryan Groy/John Miller will try to man the guard positions. With limited weapons in the passing game, this line is likely to struggle run-blocking, especially when you consider their lack of continuity.
30. Seattle Seahawks – The best thing the Seahawks did last year was trade for Duane Brown, as he solidified their left tackle position, one that was a turnstile for quite some time. Now if only they could do that for each of the other positions, as I’d call them all less than NFL starting talent. The Seahawks used a second-round pick on Ethan Pocic last year, but he was brutal at both left and right guard. They added D.J. Fluker, but he’s going to simply be a big body at guard, as he struggles in pass-protection. You have to wonder if fifth-round pick Jamarco Jones could potentially take the starting right tackle spot from 2016 first-round pick Germain Ifedi, as he’s been one of the worst tackles in the league over the last two years. This offensive line isn’t going to do Russell Wilson any favors, but we’re used to that by now.
31. New York Jets – Earlier this offseason, I said that the Jets could use big upgrades at four of the five offensive line positions, and I still feel that way. Kelvin Beachum was semi-competent at left tackle last year, which helped the passing-game look better than it should’ve. Brandon Shell at right tackle is below-average, the guards James Carpenter and Brian Winters might be the worst duo in the league, and the newly-added center Spencer Long might be an upgrade over last year’s Wesley Johnson, but he’s far from ideal. This offensive line has no bright spots, and if Beachum falls back to his career-norm, they could contend for worst in the league.
32. Houston Texans – You have to wonder if the Texans realize just how bad their offensive line looks on paper, because it might just be the worst in the NFL. After trading away Duane Brown last year, they resorted to Julie’n Davenport at left tackle, their fourth-round pick from last year. He didn’t work out so well, as the Texans quarterbacks were sacked 54 times, the second-most in the NFL. They signed Zach Fulton from the Chiefs, who plays both guard and center, but it’s rumored that he’s taking over at center for Nick Martin, the Texans second-round bust from the 2016 draft, who is recovering from an ankle injury. Fulton might be the only player who is at least average on this entire offensive line, as newly-signed guard Senio Kelemete hasn’t been anything above replacement-level, and the same goes for right tackle Seantrel Henderson, who played just 81 snaps over the last two seasons with the Bills. The line is bad enough where it should affect how you value the skill-position players.