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Fantasy Football Matchups to Target, Avoid (Week 14) - Offensive Line Champs and Chumps

Josh Jacobs - Fantasy Football Rankings, NFL Injury News, DFS Lineup Picks

For most leagues, Week 14 is the final week before the fantasy playoffs. Fantasy managers are working to secure a first-round bye, a playoff spot, or trying to finish the season strong. Unfortunately, there will be two teams on bye this week as well.

The injuries didn’t stop hitting in Week 13 despite fewer teams in action. There were some potentially significant injuries along the offensive line, with teams like Indianapolis (right tackle Braden Smith), Miami (left tackle Terron Armstead), and Kansas City (left tackle Donovan Smith) feeling the impact of injured linemen.

Identifying good and bad matchups along the offensive lines can be a way to capture an edge in a fantasy matchup, especially with so many injuries this season. Check out the teams to target or avoid in Week 14 below.

Editor's Note: Our incredible team of writers won two writing awards and received 12 award nominations by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. A big congrats to our very own Byron Lindeque (Golf) and Jordan McAbee (NASCAR) for both winning Writer Of The Year awards! Be sure to follow RotoBaller's analysis and advice all year long, and win more. Win More With RotoBaller!

 

Champ of the Week

Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins' offensive line started to return to health in Week 13 (before ultimately getting injured again during the game) and the results were impressive.

Miami finished Week 14 with their primary offensive line averaging a 69.8 pass-blocking grade, a 78.4 run-blocking grade, and a 79.5 average PFF grade against the Washington Commanders. The Dolphins allowed just three pressures (all on the interior, which isn’t surprising) against Washington and had two linemen (Robert Hunt and Austin Jackson) finish with a PFF grade above 87.0.

Miami’s offensive line has struggled to stay healthy throughout the season (both left tackle Terron Armstead and right guard Robert Hunt missed snaps in Week 13), but if they get healthy at the right time, this team will be formidable to close the 2023 season.

 

Chump of the Week

Carolina Panthers

Death, taxes, and the Carolina Panthers offensive line struggling. The Panthers once again find themselves in the “chumps” section, this time against a Buccaneers front that has struggled to generate any consistent pressure this season.

The only Panther offensive lineman who wasn’t credited with at least three pressures against Tampa Bay was center Bradley Bozeman. Both backup guards (Justin McCray and Nash Jensen) have struggled against defensive tackles this year, which has led to pressure on Bryce Young up the middle.

Carolina has a lot of issues on their roster that need to be addressed, but based on 2023, it doesn’t seem like there are many answers, especially in the trenches.

 

Matchups to Target in Week 14

Detroit Lions at Chicago Bears

Detroit bounced back from an uncharacteristic down game against the Green Bay Packers in Week 12 with a strong showing against the New Orleans Saints in Week 13.

The Lions allowed just one sack and five pressures against a solid Saints defense while controlling the game on the ground. Still, Detroit could use more consistency on the left side of the line after the combination of Taylor Decker (55.0 PFF grade) and Jonah Jackson (48.8 PFF grade) struggled once again.

The injury to center Frank Ragnow looms large going forward, but thankfully the Bears don’t provide much punch in the pass-rushing department. Chicago will come off their bye week hoping a defense that has just 197 pressures and 20 sacks can provide some pressure to keep the Bears close to Detroit after Week 11’s close loss.

Denver Broncos at Los Angeles Chargers

Denver’s offensive line continues to play very well as the team makes a push for a playoff spot in the AFC. Unfortunately, the Broncos struggled at times against the Houston Texans, allowing 10 pressures that helped contribute to Russell Wilson’s three interceptions in a close loss in Week 13.

The Broncos should have a much easier time in Week 14 when they face off against a Chargers defensive line that is still without Joey Bosa. The Chargers mustered just two sacks and eight pressures against a New England offensive line that has faced injury struggles this season.

Khalil Mack (60 pressures and 16 sacks) is having a resurgence of sorts, but the team lacks punch outside of him. Additionally, the Chargers have continued to stop the run this season (they have six different interior defensive linemen with over 100 snaps, none of whom have a run defense grade above 55.0) and this game could play right into Denver’s hands.

Expect Javonte Williams to get plenty of work up the middle to set up the play action for Russell Wilson, which is a formula the Broncos have leaned on in Sean Payton’s first season with the team.

Las Vegas Raiders vs. Minnesota Vikings

Both the Vikings and Raiders are coming off a Week 13 bye. Despite the general struggles of the offense, the Raiders’ offensive line has had an excellent season. That should lead to a great matchup in the trenches against the Minnesota Vikings.

The Raiders are ranked top-eight in PFF’s average pass blocking, run blocking, and overall grades this season. Las Vegas has utilized a six-man offensive line (tackles Jermaine Eluemunor and Thayer Munford Jr. rotate when the entire unit is healthy) that has held up in pass protection and started opening up consistent run lanes.

The Vikings have just one pass rusher with more than 32 pressures (Danielle Hunter) and just two players (Hunter and D.J. Wonnum) with 5+ sacks. Expect the Raiders to provide plenty of time for Aidan O'Connell in the pocket in Week 14.

 

Matchups to Avoid in Week 14

Jacksonville Jaguars at Cleveland Browns

The Jaguars had a poor showing against the Bengals on Monday Night Football, surrendering three sacks and 15 pressures in a surprising loss that saw Trevor Lawrence knocked out of the game with a high ankle sprain. There was very little to celebrate outside of left tackle Walker Little (67.4 PFF grade).

If the Jaguars struggled with a slightly above-average Bengals defensive line, then they are in a world of trouble against the Browns' stellar unit. Cleveland features five defensive linemen with at least 16 pressures and at least two sacks. This unit is headlined by Myles Garrett (51 pressures and 14 sacks) but can create problems anywhere along the line. At least five linemen have a run defense grade above 59.0 as well.

Jacksonville’s offense will already get knocked down a peg thanks to Lawrence’s injury (and also Christian Kirk), but things could get ugly in a hurry up front in this matchup.

Chicago Bears vs. Detroit Lions

The Bears will come out of the bye week with a healthy offensive line that will immediately be tested by a Detroit defensive line that features Aidan Hutchinson (70 pressures and five sacks) and a bunch of complementary pieces.

Detroit lacks a secondary stud on their defensive line but features plenty of solid players who can create havoc up front. The loss of Alim McNeill (33 pressures and five sacks) looms large, but this group can still get it done against an offensive line that has failed to gel this season.

Chicago nearly caught Detroit off guard once, but it is hard to believe they will be able to do it twice unless they somehow grow exponentially during the bye week.

Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers

Seattle finally got Abraham Lucas back in Week 13 and was able to get him the majority of the snaps in a rotation with Jason Peters. The results were immediate as the team went toe-to-toe with the Dallas Cowboys before ultimately losing on Thursday night.

The Seahawks offensive line will be tested again in Week 14 against the San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers are led by Nick Bosa (74 pressures and 11 sacks) but feature nine different defensive linemen with double-digit pressures and eight defensive linemen with at least two sacks.

The 49ers can be exploited on the ground, but this is a tough matchup for a Seahawks team trying to claw their way back into the playoff race.



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