Don't have an account?
Join the Best Live Fantasy Chat Community!

Lost password? [X]

Receive free daily analysis:

NFL    NBA    MLB

Already have an account? Log in here.

[X]

Forgot Password


[X]

Offensive Line Rankings Analysis: Week 7


In Week 6, we once again saw some great football, starting with the New England Patriots continuing their undefeated start to the season and ending with one of the most controversial games of the week as the Green Bay Packers overcame the Detroit Lions. The London games continued with Jameis Winston struggling once again, this time throwing five interceptions against the Panthers. Meanwhile, the Steelers were able to surprise the Los Angeles Chargers and claim the win despite having to start their third choice quarterback. A big part of the reason for their victory came thanks to the impressive play of the offensive line, which allowed their quarterback time to breathe and make good decisions.

Good offensive line play gives a team the best chance to be effective. However, a lot of fantasy owners completely overlook its importance to identify the reasons behind a player's struggles. Is he being handicapped by the protection ahead of him and actually performing as well as they can, or are they struggling despite effective play from their offensive line?

Using PFF's player grading tool, each week I will identify an offensive line that has been trending up, and one trending down. More importantly, I will analyze how those trends might be affecting, or might be about to affect your fantasy roster over the next few weeks. If you want to look at the raw data and my applied method, feel free to message me on Twitter @RichKingFF - I'm happy to share!

Editor's Note: Get any full-season NFL Premium Pass for 50% off. Our exclusive In-Season Lineup Tools, Lineup Optimizer and over 150 days of Premium DFS Research. Sign Up Now!

 

Offensive Line to Watch - Pittsburgh Steelers

Pass Blocking

We are all aware that the Steelers have an issue at quarterback. Ben Roethlisberger is on the injured reserve with an elbow injury and a hard hit to Mason Rudolph has forced him to miss time. However, one thing third-string quarterback Devlin Hodges has in his favor is the play of his team's offensive line.

The group actually ranks ninth-best in the league when it comes to their pass-blocking grading (taking into account the ability of the whole line). This ranking comes from their ability to protect the fringes of the pocket, with both of the team's starting tackles ranking in the top-32 among all tackles (with RT Matt Feller ranked fifth in the league).

The interior line is equally impressive with David DeCastro ranking eighth at the position. The issue the Steelers still have is that the left guard and center positions have been exposed, with Ramon Foster and Maurice Pouncey ranking in the bottom half of the league at their respective positions.

Run Blocking

Run blocking has always been a traditional strength of the Steelers, and that protection allowed previous back Le'Veon Bell to take time before hitting a hole and make defenses suffer if they could not lay a hand on him. This season, however, the team rank just fractionally above average (13th) in run blocking ths season.

As I mentioned above, the Steelers have needed to rely on their backup quarterback options. That has led to teams choosing to try and force the Steelers to pass the ball to win the game, limiting the time that James Conner has had in the backfield to pick his gaps. This has led to Conner failing to deliver the yardage totals that his touches would normally allow. However, he has been able to recoup his fantasy value with touchdowns. Once again it is the right side of the line that has been impressive, with the left-side being the issue. That can also be seen in looking at the running back's running charts on NFL's Next Gen Stats.

 

Fantasy Impact

Trust: James Conner

The Steelers running back has been given plenty of opportunity out of the backfield, and while the blocking isn't at the level it was historically, the line should improve and allow Conner the space to increase his yardage totals to match the touchdown numbers this season.

Conner also represents a fantastic outlet for the quarterback out of the backfield, especially with Jaylen Samuels currently sidelined.

Cause for Concern: JuJu Smith-Schuster

Given where owners were forced to select him, Smith-Schuster has disappointed. However, that doesn't seem to be an issue with the protection being afforded to the team- it's a quarterback issue. The Steelers have had to dig deep into their depth chart this season, something that won't change in 2019 with Roethlisberger missing the rest of the year. The team is entering their bye week before a great matchup against the Miami Dolphins. If he impresses in that matchup, it might be best to try and shift him for value before his stock take a downturn again.

 

Offensive Line to Avoid - Atlanta Falcons

The Atlanta Falcons had a clear objective this season; to invest in their offensive line. Unfortunately, the additions that they have made are yet to have the impact they would have hoped for. Currently, the Falcons rank as one of the worst offensive line units in the NFL.

Pass Blocking

The Falcons problems start with their struggle in pass blocking. Jake Matthews ranks 22nd in the league among tackles, barely making it into starting consideration.

Unfortunately, he is the team's highest-ranked offensive lineman according to PFF's metrics, narrowly beating Center Alex Mack. The inability of the team to be able to set the edge (as the Steelers are able to) with effective tackle play then, in turn, puts more pressure on the guards to perform, which they have not been able to do this season.

Run Blocking

Just a handful of seasons ago there were two running back options that worked in perfect tandem, behind a line that allowed them to punish defenders. Now the Atlanta Falcons are barely able to get anything moving on the ground, with Devonta Freeman logging just two games where he was able to get over 30 rushing yards (albeit those two were 88-yard performances).

There isn't a single player who stands out as the main culprit for the struggles that there have been in previous weeks because the entire unit is struggling. Frankly, the running game of the Atlanta Falcons isn't performing and this group needs to make a big improvement before we can rely on anyone in that backfield.

 

Fantasy Impact

Trust: Austin Hooper

When most teams start to struggle to protect their quarterback they do one of two things. They either keep their tight end in to help block defenders, or they target them on short routes when the pocket collapses and the quarterback is looking for a big target with safe hands.

It seems the Falcons have opted to target their tight end, with Hooper having caught 42 passes already this season. With the current tight end landscape, the floor Hooper offers, combined with the opportunity is massive. If you are able to pick him up in trade at a reasonable price still then you really should.

Cause for Concern: Devonta Freeman/ Calvin Ridley

I opted for a double pick here, with the obvious struggles of the offensive line limiting the ability of Freeman to get fully involved in games on the ground, which massively limits his floor and makes him inconsistent.

The other selection of Ridley is around the target share he is receiving and will receive going forward. Julio Jones is the team's first option in the passing game, and unlike last season Hooper has regularly been the second look this season. With the time that Matt Ryan is given in the pocket, he does not often get to his third read before facing significant pressure. That is bad news for Ridley, who until he proves he can be safe outlet, will continue to remain buried in the progressions on most plays.

 

Top Five Offensive Lines

1) Dallas Cowboys
2) Indianapolis Colts
3) Philadelphia Eagles
4) Baltimore Ravens
5) Detroit Lions

 

Bottom Five Offensive Lines

32) Miami Dolphins
31) Los Angeles Rams
30) Cincinnati Bengals
29) Atlanta Falcons
28) New York Jets

More Fantasy Football Analysis




More Recent Articles

 

Week 12 Tight End Waiver Wire Picks and Streamers

With fantasy football leagues only a couple weeks away from their playoffs, this is not the time for teams to be short a tight end. Not only do fantasy footballers have no Travis Kelce or Hunter Henry during this crucial week in their fantasy seasons, they do not get to take advantage of using a... Read More


Wide Receiver Waiver Wire Pickups - Week 12

Week 11 is behind us and we're getting closer and closer to the end of the fantasy regular season. For some of us, Week 12 represents the final chance to get into the postseason, while for others we have another week or two left. Here, to help you get ready for the playoffs, is a... Read More


Quarterback Waiver Wire Pickups and Streamers - Week 12

We saw some monster weeks at the quarterbacks position, with four quarterbacks topping 37 points, and ten scoring over 25 points. These weren't all big names putting up these points either, as low-owned quarterbacks like Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, and even Jeff Driskel had some big numbers in Week 11. That means we've got plenty... Read More


Week 12 Waiver Wire Pickups & Adds

This could be the most exciting installment of waiver wire adds in a while. Not that any of these choices are necessarily league-winners but at least we have a bunch of new names to ponder. Bye weeks are nearly over but this one will be particularly tough with the high-scoring Chiefs, Vikings, Chargers, and Cardinals... Read More


Waiver Wire Express - Week 12 Lightning Round

We're onto Week 12, which means the last of the bye weeks approaches. The Cardinals, Chargers, Chiefs and Vikings hit the hammocks as we can finally start to look at players without worrying about future offweeks. To help you look towards those precious playoff weeks, here is the waiver wire lightning round heading into Week... Read More


Fantasy Football News and Injuries - Running Updates

Below is a quick-hit list of running notes on relevant injuries and player news, including pre-game reports and live in-game updates. Stay tuned for updates all throughout the week and on Sunday morning game day:   Week 11 Marlon Mack has a hand injury and has been ruled out for the game. Emmanuel Sanders (ribs) will... Read More


Week 11 Chat - Live Fantasy Football Game Day Q&A

It's Sunday Morning Week 11... Do You Know Who to Start? Each Sunday morning of the NFL season, RotoBaller's experts will be moderating the industry's leading live chat room and answering a bunch of your fantasy football questions, from around 10:30 AM to 1:00 PM ET. Come join in on the fun, and get your... Read More


Fantasy Football Starts and Sits: Matchups Analysis for Week 11

Welcome to our Week 11 matchup analysis and start/sit column for fantasy football. We'll be covering every single contest from the Sunday slate in one convenient location, helping you make the best decisions for your fantasy lineups. Be sure to check back regularly because this article will be updated as news comes in regarding injuries and other... Read More


Week 11 Start/Sit: Monday Night Football Matchups Analysis

Welcome back to Mexico City. Last season, the Chiefs were supposed to take on the Rams in this game before field conditions moved the game to Los Angeles. Even though the game was moved, the fantasy output was amazing as both teams scored over 50 points and there was not an unhappy fan among us.... Read More


Wide Receiver / Cornerback Matchups To Target in Week 11

In Week 10, the Buccaneers defeated the Cardinals in a game that featured a whopping 57 points scored between the two teams. Christian Kirk was expected to exploit the Buccaneers weak secondary, and he exceeded all expectations by catching three touchdowns, finishing as the No. 1 wide receiver on the week. On the other side... Read More


Holiday Shopping - Who To Buy For The Playoffs Run

As the fantasy football season nears the home stretch, most owners should begin turning their eyes towards the remaining six weeks of the fantasy schedule. Either you're comfortably in the playoffs and need to see who you should be rostering in order to get the best matchups or you need that extra boost to qualify... Read More


Updated Week 11 PPR Rankings (Top 300)

Welcome to Week 11 RotoBallers. Below are our updated consensus Week 11 PPR rankings for fantasy football, including some running notes on relevant injuries, player news and rankings updates: Emmanuel Sanders is officially active. George Kittle (ankle, knee) has officially been ruled out. Matt Breida will not play in Week 11. Jay Ajayi was signed by the... Read More


The King's Key Starters and Tough Calls - Lineup Spotlights for Week 11

Welcome to Week 11, RotoBallers! Below you will find some of my spotlight plays and tough lineup decisions for the upcoming week of the fantasy football season. These player selections are based on my Premium Weekly Lineup Rankings, available as part of the RotoBaller's NFL Premium Pass. Enter promo code KING at checkout for a... Read More


Woos and Boos - Starts and Sits for Week 11 Lineups

If we learned anything from the fantasy scoring in Week 10 is that hitting on the right quarterback can make or break your week. Sure, the household names like Lamar Jackson (35.65 FP) and Patrick Mahomes (34.30 FP) paced the field, but it was the play from lesser QBs like Daniel Jones (33.40 FP) and... Read More


Week 11 Fantasy Football Staff Rankings

Below you will find all of RotoBaller's fantasy football weekly rankings, tiers, player news and stats for the 2019 NFL season. Our Ranking Wizard displays our staff's rankings for various league formats, all in one easy place. Here's what you'll find: Weekly PPR Rankings Weekly Half-PPR Rankings Weekly Standard Rankings Dynasty League Rankings     Fantasy... Read More