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NFL Offensive Line/Defensive Line Rankings & Matchups: Week 12 (Fantasy Football)

NFL Offensive Line/Defensive Line Rankings & Matchups: Week 12 (Fantasy Football)

Winning in the trenches on an NFL field is the key to every game’s outcome. In fantasy football, understanding how teams matchup against each other at the line of scrimmage provides a huge edge in determining which players to put into lineups and which ones to fade. Ultimately, maximizing points and reducing volatility is key to winning fantasy football matchups and championships.

There’s a full NFL slate awaiting us in Week 12. No Byes during Thanksgiving means we’re getting all available players, barring injuries, at our disposal. While this is a good thing, it also creates tough start/sit decisions due to the number of prospects available. That’s where we come in to help.

NFL fantasy analyst Matt MacKay is back to share his latest offensive and defensive line rankings and honing in on key matchups to give as much context as possible when it comes to setting fantasy football lineups. We’re down to the final three weeks of the regular fantasy football season in most leagues, so don’t be afraid to take chances, especially if your playoff outlook is currently bleak. Let’s find out which offensive and defensive line units remain in the top-five before assessing several key matchups to target or avoid in fantasy football during a 16-game Week 12 slate.

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Offensive Line Rankings & Matchups

1. Detroit Lions

2. Kansas City Chiefs

3. Miami Dolphins

4. Buffalo Bills

5. Dallas Cowboys

Key Week 12 Matchups

Detroit Lions vs. Green Bay Packers
The Lions’ offensive line is built to dominate the run game and pass blocking alike. Studs can be found all across their offensive line unit, led by Penei Sewell (OT – Lions) at right tackle. Green Bay’s defensive line isn’t a pushover though, ranking sixth in hurry rate and top-12 in pressure rate.

Expect another big outing from Jahmyr Gibbs (RB – Lions) and David Montgomery (RB – Lions), as the Packers allow 4.3 yards per attempt and nine rushing touchdowns this season. We could see the Lions’ passing attack tabled a bit in favor of a ground game, but Amon-Ra St. Brown (WR – Lions) should continue putting up WR1 numbers despite a tougher matchup against the Packers’ pass rushing unit.

Washington Commanders vs. Dallas Cowboys
It’s going to be a long day on Thanksgiving for Sam Howell (QB – Commanders), who plays behind a bottom-five offensive line. The Commanders have allowed 51 sacks this season, second behind the New York Giants. Washington turns to its passing attack early and often due to game script, so expect Howell and the Commanders’ passing options to continue churning out volume in a much less effective capacity.

Brian Robinson Jr. (RB – Commanders) and Antonio Gibson (RB – Commanders) could wind up with decent outings, especially Robinson, facing a Cowboys run defense allowing 4.1 YPC and seven rushing touchdowns this season, making him an RB2 in Week 12.

New York Jets vs. Miami Dolphins
The Jets’ turmoil on offense will get exposed by Miami’s defensive line in Week 12. The Dolphins are the healthiest they’ve been up front, while the Jets’ offensive line is decimated with injuries and getting beat on nearly every snap.

Jaelan Phillips (LB/EDGE – Dolphins), Christian Wilkins (DT – Dolphins), and the rest of the Dolphins’ defensive front should feast early and often, so Breece Hall (RB – Jets) and Garrett Wilson (WR – Jets) remain stuck in RB3 and WR3 territory during this Black Friday matchup. Tim Boyle (QB – Jets) under center won’t make things any better for the Jets’ offense, but the Dolphins’ D/ST is a great streaming option in Week 12.

Defensive Line Rankings & Matchups

1. Cleveland Browns

2. New York Jets

3. Detroit Lions

4. Miami Dolphins

5. Kansas City Chiefs

Key Week 12 Matchups

Cleveland Browns vs. Denver Broncos
Myles Garrett (DE – Browns) should be in the mix for the NFL MVP odds. He’s been a tear off the edge for the Browns, while the rest of Cleveland’s defensive line unit is rallying around him, making plays in the backfield and disrupting opposing passing attacks. Denver’s offensive line is allowing a 9.7 percent sack rate, ranked fifth-most in the league this season.

Cleveland should be able to create pressure easily, ranking 2nd in pressure rate (27.6%) this season. Javonte Williams (RB – Broncos) and Jerry Jeudy (WR – Broncos) both should be downgraded into RB2 and WR4 value, while Courtland Sutton’s (WR – Broncos) ability to score touchdowns keeps him at low-end WR2 value.

Philadelphia Eagles vs. Buffalo Bills
Jalen Carter (DT – Eagles), Montez Sweat (DE – Eagles), Haason Reddick (DE/LB – Eagles), and Fletcher Cox (DT – Eagles) are going to be a huge problem for Buffalo’s offensive line to contain. Yes, the Bills are playing well along their offensive line, giving up only 14 sacks, second-lowest in the league. However, a lot of this is due to Josh Allen’s (QB – Bills) mobility to extend plays.

The Eagles’ relentless pressure and disruption against the pass and run makes them a difficult matchup for even a sound offensive line like Buffalo’s in Week 12. James Cook (RB – Bills) should be downgraded to low-end RB2 production, while the Bills’ passing attack should get most of the volume due to exploit the Eagles’ weakness defending the pass. Bump up Stefon Diggs (WR – Bills) and Dalton Kincaid (TE – Bills), while Gabriel Davis (WR – Bills) remains a volatile, high-risk WR3.

Houston Texans vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
A huge AFC South showdown between Houston and Jacksonville will be a fun game to watch on the Sunday slate. Houston’s defensive line is quietly performing at a high-level, benefitting from No. 3 overall draft pick Will Anderson Jr. (DE/LB – Texans) on the edge. The Texans are top-eight in pressure rate (25.5%), top-ten in quarterback knock down rate (10.4%) and fourth in hurry rate (10.25) this season.

Jacksonville lost badly to Houston at home in Week 3, so Trevor Lawrence (QB – Jaguars) and the rest of the Jaguars’ passing attack should return to modest production, including Calvin Ridley (WR – Jaguars) and Christian Kirk (WR – Jaguars), taking a hit in Week 12. Travis Etienne (RB – Jaguars), however, draws a great matchup against a porous Houston run defense allowing 12 rushing touchdowns this season, keeping Etienne in fringe RB1 territory.

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Matthew MacKay is a featured writer for FantasyPros. For more from Matthew, check out his archive and follow him @Matt_MacKay_.

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