Offensive Line Rankings: NFL's best, worst protection units
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Skill-position stars might power fantasy football, 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 that will impact the players they're blocking for and protecting.
We've ranked all 32 offensive lines, taking into account past performances, roster upgrades, overall depth, and the very underrated element of continuity.
Offensive Line Rankings
32-21 | 20-11 | 10-1
32. Chicago Bears
|LT||Braxton Jones (R)|
|C||Lucas Patrick (INJ)|
- The Bears' line was already expected to be one of the more questionable units in the league, but a hand injury to new center Lucas Patrick (no timetable for return) adds even more uncertainty to this group. Guard Sam Mustipher has moved over to fill in during Patrick's absence.
- Though the coaching staff said it isn't close to solidifying the team's starting five, the table above represents the most common recent lineup. It includes fifth-round rookie Braxton Jones at left tackle and last-minute addition Riley Reiff on the right side - as trade rumors swirl around the team's 2021 second-rounder Teven Jenkins. While Reiff is a steady veteran, his presence isn't enough to lift this line out of the last place in our rankings.
- Everyone's focused on the front office's inability to bring in quality pass-catching options for Justin Fields. The bigger issue could end up being the lack of competent protection in front of him. Although the Bears have some of the easiest fantasy schedules across all positions - including the best slate for running backs - the line might ultimately cap their offensive production.
31. Seattle Seahawks
|LT||Charles Cross (R)|
- The Seahawks finally began investing in their offensive line in the draft, spending a first-round pick on left tackle Charles Cross and a third-round selection on Abraham Lucas in hopes he can lock down the right side. For now, Lucas is running with the backups, while Jake Curhan and Stone Forsythe fight for the starting job.
- During Gabe Jackson's first five NFL campaigns, he ranked inside Pro Football Focus' list of top 40 guards. However, his grades have dropped off the last few seasons, culminating in a career-low ranking of 51st out of 82 qualified guards in 2021.
- Seattle's quarterback battle between Geno Smith and Drew Lock is already concerning enough to depreciate the fantasy values of the skill-position players. And that's before you factor in the unproven nature of the blocking they'll be trying to perform behind. You should be cautious about selecting anyone on this roster for your squad - when in doubt, break ties against them.
30. Pittsburgh Steelers
|LT||Dan Moore Jr.|
- Once a strength of the Steelers' offense, their line has been declining for several years. Free-agent addition James Daniels is the only starter drafted before the third round and immediately becomes the best blocker on the team.
- If sophomore tackle Dan Moore Jr. and third-year guard Kevin Dotson fail to make notable strides, pass protection will be a serious problem in Pittsburgh this year.
- Late-career Ben Roethlisberger was a shadow of his former self, but the lack of uninterrupted time in the pocket did him no favors. If Mitch Trubisky ends up being the Week 1 starter, he'll likely have a hard time peeling off the "bust" label while trying to make plays behind this group. It's a shame, given the incredible playmaking talent Pittsburgh has across the lineup in Diontae Johnson, George Pickens, Chase Claypool, Najee Harris, and Pat Freiermuth.
29. Las Vegas Raiders
|RG||Lester Cotton Sr.|
- Left tackle Kolton Miller has developed into a strong protector for Derek Carr, and Andre James is an above-average center. But after that, the Raiders' line is an unpredictable group. Not an ideal scenario for a team aiming to make a deep playoff run.
- The Raiders miscast Alex Leatherwood, last year's first-round pick, as a guard during his rookie campaign. If he can settle in at right tackle, it'll go a long way toward stabilizing this unit. Third-rounder Dylan Parham could also turn into an upgrade at guard if he can prove himself over the course of the preseason and take over one of the starting jobs on the inside.
- The Raiders pushed their chips to the middle with the big-ticket acquisitions of Davante Adams and Chandler Jones, as well as the arrival of head coach Josh McDaniels. Unfortunately, their offensive line remains one of the bigger unknowns left on the roster. It's not enough to downgrade any of their fantasy options, just something to keep in mind if they aren't performing up to expectations early in the season.
28. Atlanta Falcons
- The Falcons' decision to essentially roll with the same starting lineup they used in 2021 is a curious one. While this unit boasts three former first-round picks, Jake Matthews and Chris Lindstrom are the only two who've established themselves as trustworthy blockers. The third - right tackle Kaleb McGary - hasn't found the same success and didn't get his fifth-year option picked up because of it. He'll have to fend off journeyman Germain Ifedi to keep his starting spot.
- There's also competition elsewhere, with Drew Dalman challenging Matt Hennessy at center, and last year's starting left guard Jalen Mayfield trying to win back his job. Regardless of how those battles play out, it's unlikely to have a major impact on the final product.
- Cordarrelle Patterson is the type of explosive weapon who can overcome a subpar line and still make plays. If you have doubts about whether a 31-year-old Patterson can repeat what he did last season and are looking for sleepers in Atlanta's backfield, be careful. The inconsistent blocking won't create much running room for the rest of the team's more pedestrian grinders like Tyler Allgeier, Damien Williams, or Qadree Ollison.
27. Tennessee Titans
- Two seasons removed from the ACL tear that cost him most of the 2020 campaign, left tackle Taylor Lewan will look to recapture the elite form that often eluded him last year.
- The real key for the Titans' line will be finding adequate replacements for left guard Rodger Saffold and right tackle David Quessenberry, who both left in free agency. Former backups Aaron Brewer and Dillon Radunz will get the first shot at those roles, but they'll face competition from Jamarco Jones and Nicholas Petit-Frere, respectively.
- The departure of the 34-year-old Saffold could be particularly felt in the run-blocking department. Even when Derrick Henry missed time with a foot injury last season, Tennessee maintained a high level of rushing production. D'Onta Foreman and Dontrell Hilliard combined for four 100-yard rushing games in the second half of the season, and some of that credit goes to the line and their punishing mentality. Whether Brewer and Radunz can keep that going remains to be seen.
26. Carolina Panthers
- This ranking is more about potential than anything, since the Panthers' line was by far one of the worst units in the NFL last season. The front office addressed the team's needs by drafting Ikem Ekwonu sixth overall in April and signing a pair of free agents in Bradley Bozeman and Austin Corbett.
- When you combine those new faces with stalwart right tackle Taylor Moton, who's signed until 2025, Carolina has the makings of a capable crew in front of Baker Mayfield. If everything comes together, don't be surprised to see the Panthers much higher on this list by season's end.
- No fantasy running back offers the kind of 30-point per game average Christian McCaffrey has been able to post in past seasons. While durability concerns are understandable, injuries are hard to predict. When healthy, CMC is the undisputed 1.01 in fantasy. The upgrades to the line are yet another reason to move him back to the top of your board.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars
|C||Luke Fortner (R)|
- Don't underestimate what a difference professional coaching will make in Jacksonville this season. Gone is Urban Meyer's chaotic mismanagement, and the team now has former Eagles head coach Doug Pederson and his staff guiding them.
- In the opening week of training camp, left tackle Cam Robinson and newly acquired All-Pro guard Brandon Scherff were the only blockers offensive line coach Phil Rauscher was willing to commit to as starters for the upcoming season. However, third-round rookie Luke Fortner is confidently running with the first-team offense.
- The real position battle to watch will be three-year starter Jawaan Taylor squaring off with last year's second-round choice Walker Little at right tackle. Though Taylor is the incumbent and a decent pass-blocker, he graded out 67th out of 83 qualified tackles last year, according to PFF.
24. Houston Texans
|LG||Kenyon Green (R)|
- The Texans are another team hoping their offseason pickups can overhaul an offensive line marred by injuries and ineffectiveness in 2021. Getting left tackle Laremy Tunsil back will be a massive boon after a thumb ailment cost him 12 games last year. Returning Tytus Howard to his more natural position of tackle should give Houston a nice set of bookends up front.
- Rookie first-rounder Kenyon Green is a very exciting new piece on the interior and could eventually develop into an impact guard in the pros. Veteran A.J. Cann joins the team after following offensive line coach George Warhop from the Jaguars. That guard duo, combined with reliable center Justin Britt, gives the Texans a shot to move inside the top 20 this season.
- If you weren't sufficiently impressed by third-round quarterback Davis Mills emerging as a starter during his rookie season, know that he accomplished the feat behind a banged-up set of blockers that was constantly in flux. Though it's still a long shot for Mills to turn into a franchise passer, he'll have a much better chance of succeeding behind this year's line.
23. New York Giants
|RT||Evan Neal (R)|
- It's nice to see so many organizations with weaker offensive lines doing something about it. Not only have the Giants spent two top-seven picks on tackles Andrew Thomas and Evan Neal over the last three years, but they also signed two seasoned veterans in Jon Feliciano and Mark Glowinski to help re-establish a presence inside.
- As we know, investing in a position doesn't always solve the problem right away. Continuity is very important, and it may take time for all the new members of this line to gel. But if the new regime led by Joe Schoen and Brian Daboll can follow the blueprint they were a part of in Buffalo -where the team created greater competition with underrated veteran signings - we should begin to see results on the line sooner rather than later.
- This year will likely be Daniel Jones' final opportunity to prove himself as the Giants' starting quarterback. Upgrades to the coaching staff and line will help, but he'll need to do his part in reducing turnovers (29 interceptions and 20 fumbles lost in three seasons). Having a healthy Saquon Barkley back should make things easier and lift the offense, especially if Feliciano and Glowinski can bring a newfound toughness in the run game.
22. Arizona Cardinals
- The Cardinals have benefited from having a veteran line that's stayed mostly intact over the last couple seasons. The only new projected starter is right guard Will Hernandez, who came over from the Giants and immediately became the youngest member of this aging group.
- Justin Pugh, Rodney Hudson, and Kelvin Beachum will all be 32 or older when the season kicks off. That kind of veteran experience is meaningful, as long as they can stay healthy and avoid sharp declines in their play.
- James Conner's outstanding first season in Arizona (12th most fantasy points per game among running backs) happened in spite of the team's blocking - not because of it. Though the Cardinals were solid in pass protection, their run-blocking left a lot to be desired. Humphries was the only Cardinals starter to grade out as an above-average run-blocker, according to PFF.
21. Minnesota Vikings
|RG||Ed Ingram (R)|
- The Vikings have looked to the draft to solve their problems on the offensive line, but it remains a work in progress. Tackles Christian Darrisaw and Brian O'Neill have established themselves as skilled tackles. Unfortunately, we haven't seen enough from the interior linemen to know if they'll follow suit. Center Garrett Bradbury is running out of time to show he was worth the first-round pick spent on him back in 2019.
- Meanwhile, there's a competition brewing at right guard. Veteran Jesse Davis has been getting most of the first team reps in camp, with rookie Ed Ingram mixing in occasionally. Ingram was Minnesota's second-round pick and should get plenty of opportunities to usurp Davis before the season. If he does, the Vikings will have three first-rounders and two second-rounders starting on their line.
- The Vikings are an intriguing offense for fantasy this year with the arrival of new head coach Kevin O'Connell and talk of a more modern pass-heavy offensive scheme. We'll be monitoring closely to see how the young offensive line adapts to the new system, especially the unproven players in the middle.
INJ - Injury that may affect Week 1 availability
R - Rookie
Offensive Line Rankings: NFL's best, worst protection units
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