Offensive Line Rankings: NFL's best, worst protection units

Get ready for your season with theScore's 2020 Fantasy Football Draft Kit and subscribe to push notifications in the NFL Fantasy News section.

Fantasy football might be powered by skill-position stars, but offensive lines are the driving force behind most week-winning efforts.

So, as you prepare for your fantasy drafts, it's crucial to consider how O-lines across the league have changed this offseason, and how those changes will impact the players they're blocking for.

Below, we've ranked all 32 offensive lines, taking into account past performances, roster upgrades, overall depth, and the very underrated element of continuity. Given the lack of offseason practices and preseason games, continuity will have an even bigger impact on offensive line play in 2020.

Starting lineups are projections and will be updated throughout training camp.

Offensive Line Rankings
32-21 | 20-11 | 10-1

32. Cincinnati Bengals

Pos. Starter
LT Jonah Williams
LG Michael Jordan
C Trey Hopkins
RG Xavier Su'a-Filo
RT Bobby Hart

Depth: Billy Price, Fred Johnson, Alex Redmond, Hakeem Adeniji (R), O'Shea Dugas

  • Last year's first-round pick Jonah Williams missed his entire rookie year due to a shoulder injury, and though his delayed debut provides hope at left tackle, the rest of the line is a mess.
  • Projected starters Michael Jordan, Xavier Su'a-Filo, and Bobby Hart all earned subpar grades from PFF in 2019, while 2018 first-rounder Billy Price hasn't made an impact. Joe Burrow's escapability will be put to the test behind this group.
  • It's a testament to Joe Mixon's talent that he's been able to produce behind a struggling line, tallying over 1,100 rushing yards in each of the last two seasons. Even with the line in flux, Mixon is poised for another big fantasy campaign.

31. Miami Dolphins

Pos. Starter
LT Austin Jackson (R)
LG Ereck Flowers
C Ted Karras
RG Robert Hunt (R)
RT Jesse Davis

Depth: Michael Deiter, Julien Davenport, Solomon Kindley (R), Shaq Calhoun, Keaton Sutherland

  • The Dolphins were by far the worst offensive line in 2019, leading the league in sacks allowed (58) and ranking a distant 32nd in Football Outsiders' adjusted line yards.
  • Recognizing their glaring weakness, the front office went to work, using a first-, second-, and fourth-round pick (Austin Jackson, Robert Hunt, and Solomon Kindley, respectively) on blockers. Miami also signed veterans Ereck Flowers and Ted Karras to improve the overall talent level. It's a positive step, but establishing chemistry without normal offseason practices will take time, which is another reason why the Dolphins might be cautious about putting Tua Tagovailoa on the field before he's ready.
  • Upgrades on the line combined with the additions of running backs Jordan Howard and Matt Breida will kick-start the rushing attack. The team certainly wants to avoid having Ryan Fitzpatrick (243 yards) as its leading rusher for a second straight year. At their current cost, Howard and Breida are intriguing fantasy options, going off the board outside the top 100.

30. New York Jets

Pos. Starter
LT Mekhi Becton (R)
LG Alex Lewis
C Connor McGovern
RG Greg Van Roten
RT Chuma Edoga

Depth: George Fant, Cameron Clark, Jonotthan Harrison, Josh Andrews, Conor McDermott

  • The Jets joined the Dolphins near the bottom of most offensive line metrics in 2019 and, in similar fashion, took measures to revamp the unit, including drafting tackle Mekhi Becton in the first round and Cameron Clark in the fourth, as well as signing Connor McGovern, George Fant, and Greg Van Roten. The new additions should stabilize the line to an extent, but this crew has a long way to go before it starts climbing our list.
  • Having Sam Darnold under center for a complete season would also help the offense coalesce. The 23-year-old has missed stretches the last two years due to a foot sprain and mononucleosis, respectively. While Adam Gase's unimaginative attack deserves plenty of criticism, it's difficult to project Darnold's long-term outlook until we see him healthy behind some adequate blocking.
  • Though Le'Veon Bell might have been a little rusty after an extended layoff, he still finished 18th in PFF's elusiveness rating in 2019. The real problem was a lack of room to maneuver behind a collapsing line -leading to a career-low 3.2 yards per carry. If the starting five can do a better job this season, a return to RB1 status isn't out of the question for the 28-year-old Bell.

29. Washington Football Team

Pos. Starter
LT Cornelius Lucas
LG Wes Schweitzer
C Chase Roullier
RG Brandon Scherff
RT Morgan Moses

Depth: Geron Christian, Wes Martin, Saahdiq Charles (R), Keith Ismael (R), Timon Parris

  • Replacing seven-time Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams is a near-impossible task. Last year's fill-in Donald Penn, who provided average results, expressed interest in returning to the club. If that doesn't happen, the team will be left with an underwhelming position battle between Cornelius Lucas and third-rounder Saahdiq Charles. As it stands, the left side of the line could be a problem.
  • The strength of this group lies on the right, where guard Brandon Scherff has emerged as a top-10 player at his position. However, durability concerns might be delaying a potential long-term contract, since he missed 15 games over the last three seasons. He'll play under the franchise tag in 2020, providing plenty of motivation as he hopes to earn a big-money deal next offseason.
  • Injuries have been an issue across this line in recent years. If the inconsistent blocking continues, it could hinder the development of sophomore passer Dwayne Haskins, which would cap the fantasy ceilings for all of Washington's skill-position players.

28. Seattle Seahawks

Pos. Starter
LT Duane Brown
LG Mike Iupati
C B.J. Finney
RG Damien Lewis (R)
RT Brandon Shell

Depth: Ethan Pocic, Cedric Ogbuehi, Phil Haynes, Jamarco Jones, Jordan Simmons

  • Duane Brown is a solid left tackle, but the rest of the Seahawks' line is up in the air heading into the 2020 season. Mike Iupati has dealt with a variety of injuries in recent years, and at 33 years old, it's safe to question whether he'll ever repeat his early-career success. Meanwhile, the other three spots are likely to be manned by new and unproven starters.
  • Rookie guard Damien Lewis fits the mold of what this offense is looking for as a strong run-blocker. It's just hard to put your faith in a third-round selection who won't have the advantage of a normal offseason.
  • Russell Wilson's ability to make magic behind an unstable line is impressive considering Seattle has been in the top 10 for most sacks allowed each of the last five campaigns. Even though Wilson has the skill and weaponry to remain an elite fantasy player, imagine what he'd be capable of in an offense with quality blocking.

27. Jacksonville Jaguars

 Pos. Starter
LT Cam Robinson
LG Andrew Norwell
C Brandon Linder
RG A.J. Cann
RT Jawaan Taylor

Depth: Will Richardson, Ben Bartch (R), Tyler Shatley, Blake Hance, Austen Pleasants (R)

  • Despite investing heavily in their offensive line over the last few seasons - making free agent Andrew Norwell the highest-paid guard in the NFL and drafting a pair of young tackles with top-35 picks in Cam Robinson and Jawaan Taylor - the Jaguars' blocking continues to be a work in progress.
  • Injuries held this unit back in 2018, but it stayed relatively healthy in 2019 and the results were disappointing. Jacksonville's line failed to excel in any area and led the league in penalties, with Robinson, Taylor, and center Brandon Linder all finishing among the 15 most penalized linemen. Though returning all five starters is a plus, this group's ceiling will keep it in the bottom tier until more changes are made.
  • Gardner Minshew rushed for 344 yards as a rookie - placing him fifth among quarterbacks and giving him sneaky upside as a fantasy asset. However, his work as a runner was rarely by design and rather a byproduct of weak protection. The scrambling ability that helped him survive his debut season will once again be called upon, making Minshew an intriguing late-round QB in fantasy drafts.

26. Los Angeles Rams

Pos. Starter
LT Andrew Whitworth
LG Austin Corbett
C Austin Blythe
RG David Edwards
RT Rob Havenstein

Depth: Joe Noteboom, Brian Allen, Bobby Evans, Jamil Demby, Coleman Shelton

  • The Rams' revamped line deserved plenty of credit for the offense's turnaround during Sean McVay's first two seasons as head coach, which included a pair of NFC West titles and an appearance in Super Bowl LIII. Unfortunately, their young talent hasn't developed as planned, and what was once a strength is quickly becoming a liability.
  • Los Angeles came in as the second-worst blocking unit in PFF's end-of-year rankings in 2019 and it hasn't made one notable addition to the group. Relying on 38-year-old Andrew Whitworth to anchor the line is a dangerous proposition with his skills declining while the risk of injury increases. Outside of Whitworth, there isn't a trusted starter on this depth chart.
  • Jared Goff has proven he can execute McVay's offense at a high level when the conditions are ideal, but as this line deteriorates around him, Goff's efficiency is starting to come into question. Despite getting the ball out of his hands faster this past season, Goff faced even more pressure than in previous years, according to Football Outsiders. Unsurprisingly, his completion percentage, yards per attempt, and touchdowns all dropped significantly in 2019 while he posted a career-high 16 interceptions. Without cleaner pockets, Goff will be an inconsistent fantasy option.

25. Arizona Cardinals

Pos. Starter
LT D.J. Humphries
LG Justin Pugh
C Mason Cole
RG J.R. Sweezy
RT Justin Murray

Depth: Kelvin Beachum, Josh Jones (R), Max Garcia, Sam Jones, Lamont Gaillard

  • This line might not look that impressive on paper, but it showed signs of improvement last year, aided by the arrival of Kliff Kingsbury's new offensive scheme. The Cardinals led all teams in yards before contact per attempt on running back carries, according to Jeff Ratcliffe. They were also top 10 in four different Football Outsiders' run-blocking rankings, representing a major upgrade from the previous season.
  • Their 50 sacks allowed is also misleading, since nearly half of those could be charged to their rookie quarterback, Kyler Murray. As he becomes more comfortable in the pros, he'll learn to avoid some of those situations.
  • Though right tackle Marcus Gilbert opted out, the Cardinals are well-equipped to replace him after he missed last season with a torn ACL. Justin Murray, who started 12 games at the position last year, will compete with veteran Kelvin Beachum and underrated third-rounder Josh Jones.

24. Chicago Bears

Pos. Starter
LT Charles Leno Jr.
LG James Daniels
C Cody Whitehair
RG Germain Ifedi
RT Bobby Massie

Depth: Jason Spriggs, Rashaad Coward, Alex Bars, Arlington Hambright (R), Lachavious Simmons (R)

  • Whether it was the injury and ultimate retirement of Kyle Long, their erratic quarterback, or a lack of overall talent, something caused the Bears' blocking to fall apart in 2019. James Daniels and Cody Whitehair answered the bell on the interior, but the tackle play left a lot to be desired.
  • Normally, you'd expect a general manager to address such an uncertain aspect of the roster. Not Ryan Pace. His lone starting-caliber acquisition was former Seahawk Germain Ifedi, a subpar tackle who'll be hoping a shift to guard can kick-start his career entering his fifth season. That'll put a lot of pressure on new offensive line coach Juan Castillo to elicit a bounce-back from this group. Castillo has had success in each of his stops (Eagles, Ravens, Bills) over the course of his 25-year career.
  • The Bears also face one of the more favorable schedules this season after being at the opposite end of that spectrum a year ago. If you combine that with the possibility of Nick Foles bringing more stability to the quarterback room - either as a starter or a mentor to Mitch Trubisky - there's potential for this line to return to form in 2020.

23. Carolina Panthers

Pos. Starter
LT Russell Okung
LG John Miller
C Matt Paradis
RG Dennis Daley
RT Taylor Moton

Depth: Michael Schofield, Tyler Larsen, Greg Little, Matt Kaskey, Branden Bowen

  • If you're concerned about the Panthers' offensive line ... you should be. The franchise lost a lot of depth with Trai Turner, Daryl Williams, and Greg Van Roten departing in the offseason. Veteran Russell Okung is a solid addition at left tackle, but his presence in Carolina is far from a sure thing.
  • Even with the opt-out deadline passed, Okung is reportedly still mulling retirement, according to ESPN's Jeremy Fowler. The 31-year-old was limited to six games in 2019 due to a pulmonary embolism from blood clots and a groin injury. If he doesn't feel confident in the precautions the organization and league are taking in response to COVID-19, we might see Okung leave the team at any moment - creating a massive hole on the left side. With all the weaponry at the skill positions, this offense could be very exciting for fantasy. We just need the line to hold up.
  • Assuming Okung continues to play, there's more than enough here for the Panthers' blockers to succeed, and the upgrade at quarterback from career backup Kyle Allen to former first-rounder Teddy Bridgewater can't be undersold. Not only does Bridgewater possess more ability than last year's starter, he comes complete with knowledge of new offensive coordinator Joe Brady's system dating back to their time together in New Orleans. Bridgewater's quick release should also help cut down on sacks after Carolina tied for the league lead with 58 last season.

22. New York Giants

Pos. Starter
LT Andrew Thomas (R)
LG Will Hernandez
C Spencer Pulley
RG Kevin Zeitler
RT Nate Gates

Depth: Cam Fleming, Matt Peart (R), Shane Lemieux, Chad Slade, Kyle Murphy

  • Nate Solder was one of the bigger names to opt out of the season - an understandable decision since he and one of his sons have both dealt with cancer. Solder hasn't exactly played up to the sizeable contract he signed with the Giants, but he would have formed a nice bookend duo with first-round rookie Andrew Thomas. Solder staying home clears a path for Thomas to assume left tackle duties, a spot the Giants hope he can occupy for the next decade.
  • Kevin Zeitler is the only proven player on this line, earning a top-seven guard grade from PFF each of the last two seasons. Though his teammate Nick Gates only took the field for 290 offensive snaps in 2019, he also graded out among the top 10 guards. Now Gates will compete with Cam Fleming and third-rounder Matt Peart for the starting right tackle job.
  • With several moving pieces, including a new coaching staff, this might be a year of transition for the Giants' line. Offensive coordinator Jason Garrett and line coach Mark Colombo will be in tough installing their outside zone system while also preparing three new starters. That shouldn't cause you to downgrade any of the Giants' fantasy options, but with target competition already a concern, you might want to factor in the uncertainty on their line when breaking a tie between two players you're considering in a draft.

21. Detroit Lions

Pos. Starter
LT Taylor Decker
LG Joe Dahl
C Frank Ragnow
RG Jonah Jackson (R)
RT Halapoulivaati Vaitai

Depth: Oday Aboushi, Kenny Wiggins, Logan Stenberg (R), Tyrell Crosby, Dan Skipper

  • Just as the Lions were jelling and making a strong case to be a top-15 unit built around young first-round talents Taylor Decker and Frank Ragnow, they lost two key starters in the offseason and now have to rebuild the right side of their line.
  • Gone are veterans Graham Glasgow and Ricky Wagner. They'll be replaced by Halapoulivaati Vaitai at right tackle and either rookie Jonah Jackson or journeyman Oday Aboushi at right guard. Vaitai has been a quality swing starter for the Eagles and should be able to stand his ground taking over for Wagner. Replacing Glasgow won't be as easy and Detroit needs to hope Jackson is ready to step in immediately.
  • Matthew Stafford was playing some of the best football of his life last year before fracturing his back and being lost for the season. Through Week 9, Stafford was a top-six fantasy quarterback on pace for almost 5,000 yards and 38 touchdowns, the latter of which would have led the NFL. He was also heading toward 48 sacks, a less favorable number that would have put him near the top of the league as well. Back injuries can linger and keeping Stafford healthy is the Lions' top priority; they didn't win a single game after he went down.

* - Suspended to start season
INJ - Injury that may affect Week 1 availability
R - Rookie

Offensive Line Rankings
32-21 | 20-11 | 10-1

Offensive Line Rankings: NFL's best, worst protection units
  Got something to say? Leave a comment below!
Daily Newsletter
Get the latest trending sports news daily in your inbox