Training camps have just picked up and the season is about to kick off. Fantasy lineups are starting to emerge, and everyone is trying to find that one edge over their competition. Instead of doing a fantasy football breakdown of rosters, I’m looking at the most important fantasy football key: the offensive line. The offensive line is the most important position group on the offense and is an integral key in a fantasy football season. The offensive line can make or break a fantasy season, so it is important to keep an eye out for these position groups. These rankings are my own and were formed from a combo of future outlook and last year’s play. Projected lineups are subject to change as camps continue and injuries mount. Depth did not factor into these rankings. Positional value did factor in to these rankings however. For example, if two lines are nearly equal, but one has an above-average left tackle, then that team would get the nod over the other.
Projected lineup: LT Tyron Smith, LG Connor Williams, C Travis Frederick, RG Zach Martin, RT La’el Collins
This Dallas offensive line is intimidating. They have 3 All-Pro players and 2 Pro Bowl caliber players ready to go. I’ve seen some people say Collins struggled at right tackle last season, and that just isn’t true. He truly got better the more comfortable he got in his role down the season, and I think another offseason growing in his role will help him develop even further as a player. This Dallas offensive line is ready to maul the opposition this season.
Projected lineup: LT Jason Peters, LG Stefen Wisniewski, C Jason Kelce, RG Brandon Brooks, RT Lane Johnson
This offensive line was a huge part of the Eagles Super Bowl run last season. Jason Peters is getting up there in years, but he played extremely well last season, and I think he’ll continue that this season. Kelce and Brooks are top 5 players at their position, and Lane Johnson is the best right tackle in the NFL. Wisniewski is probably the weakest link on this line, but he’s still a solid player who had a positive impact on this unit when he played. I fully believe this unit is ready for another Super Bowl run and will help their offense be near the top of the league once again.
Projected lineup: LT Jake Matthews, LG Andy Levitre, C Alex Mack, RG Brandon Fusco, RT Wes Schraeder
I love this Atlanta lineup. Jake Matthews is an up and coming young star at left tackle and can take that next step into becoming one of the league’s best., Alex Mack is one of the best centers in the NFL and was a major part of Atlanta’s offensive success these past two years. Wes Schraeder is one of those quietly top 10 players who never seems to get enough credit for his level of play. Andy Levitre is a solid guard, but adding Brandon Fusco from San Fran is a major coup for Atlanta, as he comes from Shanahan’s scheme and gives them another good player. This group will anchor the Falcons potentially-lethal offense this season.
4-Los Angeles Rams
Projected lineup: LT Andrew Whitworth, LG Rodger Saffold, C John Sullivan, RG Jamon Brown, RT Rob Havenstein
Who wasn’t surprised by the Rams’ success in 2017? This offensive line was a big reason why they led the league in scoring last season. Whitworth at his age played out of his mind all season. Rodger Saffold and John Sullivan both had fantastic seasons as well last year. Rob Havenstein is a star at right tackle who is only getting better. The weakest spot is maybe Jamon Brown at right guard, but that isn’t an indictment of his talent. Aaron Kromer turned this unit into an elite unit that will boost the Rams on their potential Super Bowl run this season.
Projected lineup: LT Cam Robinson, LG Andrew Norwell, C Brandon Linder, RG AJ Cann, RT Jermey Parnell
The Jaguars had a pretty solid offensive line all of last season, but then they added Norwell in free agency. That puts them in this elite category. Cam Robinson had a promising rookie season, and will only grow from here. Andrew Norwell is an All-Pro player and left Carolina to pursue a Super Bowl in Jacksonville. Center Brandon Linder had an outstanding season last year in both the run game and blocking for QB Bortles. This line will once again have an outstanding season and will be the main reason the Jags have success on offense.
6-New Orleans Saints
Projected lineup: LT Terron Armstead, LG Andrus Peat, C Max Unger, RG Larry Warford, RT Ryan Ramczyk
This Saints lineup gets some serious hate, but it’s a good group. Armstead, Unger, and Warford are already established top players at their position, and Ryan Ramczyk had an outstanding rookie year and looks like one of the top right tackles in the NFL already. Andrus Peat gets some hate, but he’s played well enough and will continue to grow forward now that he is settled in at left guard.
Projected lineup: LT Donald Penn, LG Kelechi Osemele, C Rodney Hudson, RG Gabe Jackson, RT Kolton Miller
I could have moved the Raiders down further because I think Miller will be a liability and I do not believe in Tom Cable’s coaching ability at all. However, the rest of the lineup is full of Pro Bowl to All-Pro players, and they won’t take that much of a dip this season no matter how questionable Cable is. Now if only the rest of their offense could matc the strength of the line.
8-New England Patriots
Projected lineup: LT Isaiah Wynn/Trent Brown, LG Joe Thuney, C David Andrews, RG Shaq Mason, RT Trent Brown/Marcus Cannon
This offensive line has the potential to leap up into the elite category. Thuney, Andrews, and Mason are one of the best interior offensive line group in the league, and then the Pats traded for Trent Brown, who is one of the best right tackles in the NFL, and then added highly touted rookie out of UGA Isaiah Wynn, who will more than likely take over at left tackle at some point during this season. This offensive line will help Brady stay upright all season. OL Coach Dante Scarnecchia is a mastermind and he’s got some quality pieces to work with this season.
Projected lineup: LT Alejandro Villanueva, LG Ramon Foster, C Maurkice Pouncey, RG David DeCastro, RT Marcus Gilbert
Villanueva had a breakout season last year and has developed into one of the better left tackles in the NFL. I expect him to have another great year forward in 2018. These guys are well coached, and their offense relies on them for protection. Good luck trying to beat the right side of Pouncey, DeCastro, and Gilbert when they are fully healthy. I have no problems placing them atop the AFC North. This group is one of the best at what they do. While the Steelers have all these explosive weapons on their offense, they wouldn’t be the same without the outstanding offensive line play this team has.
Projected lineup: LT Taylor Decker, LG Frank Ragnow, C Graham Glasgow, RG TJ Lang, RT Ricky Wagner
This Detroit offensive line was banged up for most of last season, with stud left tackle Taylor Decker missing significant time. However, they are back fully healthy while adding Frank the Tank at left guard. Graham Glasgow played very well down the stretch and looks to have a breakout season in 2018. Lang and Wagner give Detroit one of the best right sides in the league. I’m fully expecting this unit to help Detroit’s run game and keep Stafford upright in the passing game.
Projected lineup: LT Taylor Lewan, LG Josh Kline, C Ben Jones, RG Quinton Spain, RT Jack Conklin
Tennessee is primed for offensive success this year, and their offensive line is going to be a big reason why. They have one of the best tackle duos in the NFL with Taylor Lewan and Jack Conklin that anchor the outside of the offensive line. Their guards of Kline and Spain took a step back last season, but both are very solid players on their interior. Ben Jones is one of the strongest run blockers who fit in very well with the “exotic smashmouth” fit of Tennessee but has his struggles in mental awareness required to be an elite center.
Projected lineup: LT Charles Leno, LG James Daniels, C Cody Whitehair, RG Kyle Long, RT Bobby Massie
This Chicago offensive line is criminally underrated, especially at the tackle position. Leno is one of the most rock solid left tackles in the NFL, and he’s still growing at the position. Bobby Massie is such a violent monster and showed that off last year down the stretch. The interior of this line can be special though. Daniels was one of the best interior offensive linemen in this past draft class, and pairing him with established high-level starters in Whitehair and Long makes Chicago’s interior a potentially elite group.
Projected lineup: LT Trent Williams, LG Shawn Lauvao, C Chase Roullier, RG Brandon Scherff, RT Morgan Moses
I could move Washington up higher because of the Williams, Scherff, and Moses combo. This unit battled injuries all season long, but when they were fully healthy, they were downright dominant. The injuries allowed rookie Chase Roullier to start, and I was pleasantly surprised. He had his ups and downs as expected of a fifth-round player, but he certainly showed enough to indicate that he can play at a high level as he grows. Lauvao is the biggest weakness here at left guard, but the rest of the line is good enough to make up for him. If they can stay healthy, that is.
Projected lineup: LT Joel Bitonio*, LG Austin Corbett, C JC Tretter, RG Kevin Zeitler, RT Chris Hubbard
The left tackle spot is wide open right now, but that does not negate the talent on the rest of the line. Joel Bitonio and Kevin Zeitler form one of the best offensive guard combinations in the NFL. JC Tretter and Chris Hubbard are above-average players at their respective positions. Whether the left tackle is Shon Coleman or Austin Corbett, this offensive line is still one of the best around. The Cleveland Browns’ offense will improve in 2018, and the offensive line will be a big reason why.
*Recently, the Browns have announced that Joel Bitonio will move over from left guard to left tackle and presumably rookie Austin Corbett will take over his old spot. I actually kind of like this move upon further review and it can provide some stability to a position that would have been unstable otherwise. Corbett can be better used at guard as well.
15-Green Bay Packers
Projected lineup: LT David Bakhtiari, LG Lane Taylor, C Corey Linsley, RG Justin McCray, RT Bryan Bulaga
The Packers boast the NFL’s best tackle duo in David Bakhtiari and Bryan Bulaga. It’s rare to find one guy who is top 5 at his position, but two is incredible, especially at the tackle spots. Those two are a big reason Aaron Rodgers has had time in the pocket to make his incredible throws. The rest of the line is a question mark though. Linsley just wasn’t great at center last season and had trouble in pass protection. Lane Taylor was iffy at best but has almost no functional strength in his body to be a consistent starter. McCray was downright terrible at right guard last season and is in dire need of replacement. The two tackles make up for it, however, and that is why they are up so high.
16-Los Angeles Chargers
Projected lineup: LT Russell Okung, LG Dan Feeney, C Mike Pouncey, RG Forrest Lamp, RT Joe Barksdale
This Chargers offensive line just has to stay healthy, and they can be something great this year. Okung played fantastic last season and was a huge upgrade at left tackle. Feeney got much better and more comfortable as the season went on and looks primed to become a young stud at the position. They added center Mike Pouncey from Miami, who has struggled to stay healthy in recent years, but is a force when he is healthy. Lamp missed last season with a torn ACL, but he was a very talented prospect coming out and should give the Chargers a fantastic young guard duo for the future. Barksdale is probably the weakest link, but even he is an average player at his position. This unit will help the Chargers offense become elite this season.
17-San Francisco 49ers
Projected lineup: LT Joe Staley, LG Laken Tomlinson/Jonathan Cooper, C Weston Richburg, RG Joshua Garnett/Jonathan Cooper, RT Mike McGlinchey
San Francisco looks bound for a playoff run this season. However, I still have some questions about this offensive line, specifically the two guard spots. Joe Staley is an elite player at left tackle, and Mike McGlinchey will quickly become one of the game’s best right tackles. Richburg played very well when he was on the field, but got injured early in the season for the Giants. Returning healthy will give the 49ers a great centerpiece anchor. The two guards, however, don’t fill me with much confidence. Tomlinson has struggled to play at a consistently good level, and Garnett was an over-drafted player coming off an injury. Jonathan Cooper might end up starting at one spot over either of those guys, which might give San Fran some much-needed power in the running game.
18-Kansas City Chiefs
Projected lineup: LT Eric Fisher, LG Parker Ehinger, C Mitch Morse, RG Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, RT Mitchell Schwartz
The Chiefs offense is going to be lethal this year with Mahomes slinging the rock all over the place and Kareem Hunt running the football, but this offensive line has some questions. Eric Fisher has never lived up to his billing as the #1 pick and likely won’t anytime soon. Ehinger is a complete unknown as he spent almost the entire season rehabbing and getting healthy from a previous ACL, but showed some promise playing Week 17. He’ll take over Witzmann’s spot at left guard. Morse, LDT, and Schwartz are a great group of players. Schwartz is one of the best right tackles in the NFL, and right guard Duvernay-Tardif is right there with him. Morse has played great in the past but struggled all season with injuries. He should be good to go this season.
Projected lineup: LT Garrett Bolles, LG Ronald Leary, C Matt Paradis, RG Connor McGovern, RT Jared Veldheer
The Broncos are another example of a pretty good unit that somehow has a bad reputation. Garrett Bolles showed enough to me last year that he can play at a high level as long as he can develop his feet and sets enough to match his physicality when blocking. Leary and Paradis were excellent last year, and both played like top 10 players at their position. Connor McGovern is another flashy player who hasn’t put it all together technique-wise. I think McGovern will grow forward as he gets more settled in at right guard. The Broncos traded for Veldheer to man that right tackle spot that struggled with Menelik Watson playing there last year. I don’t think he’ll be that much of an upgrade over Watson however.
20-Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Projected lineup: LT Donovan Smith, LG Ali Marpet, C Ryan Jensen, RG Caleb Benenoch/Alex Cappa, RT Demar Dotson
Tampa quietly has some very good players on their offensive line. Ali Marpet has played center and guard at a high level, and Demar Dotson can make a case for a Top 5 right tackle spot. Adding Ryan Jensen in free agency at center gives them another fantastic player. It’s the left tackle and right guard spots that moved them down for me. Donovan Smith isn’t anything more than a mediocre at best player, which is damaging considering he plays the most valuable spot on the line. Caleb Benenoch is nothing more than a serviceable at best stopgap player who might end up being replaced by rookie Alex Cappa as the season moves on.
Projected lineup: LT Laremy Tunsil, LG Josh Sitton, C Daniel Kilgore, RG Jesse Davis, RT Ja’wuan James
Miami’s offensive line could finish much higher on this list by season’s end if they all develop and play like I am projecting them to do so. Tunsil has shown flashes, and he looks to be ready to go as he’s finally settled in at left tackle. Miami added an outstanding player in Josh Sitton who gives this offensive line an elite veteran to rely upon and help develop other players on this line. The RG-RT duo is an interesting group to monitor in the future. Jesse Davis has massive potential and showed enough to make me convinced his transition from tackle to guard will pay off. Ja’wuan James is one of the games best right tackles when he’s healthy, but went down with a hamstring injury Week 9 last year. Kilgore at center is a massive downgrade from Pouncey, but at least Kilgore isn’t a health risk.
Projected lineup: LT Ronnie Stanley, LG James Hurst, C Bradley Bozeman/Matt Skura, RG Marshal Yanda, RT Orlando Brown Jr
Ronnie Stanley has developed into a fantastic left tackle and can move into the top 10 at his position with another strong season. Marshal Yanda is an elite player at right guard. Hurst is a solid player, but nothing special as a starter. I think the two rookies will more than likely earn the starting spot early. I’m a huge fan of Ronnie Stanley and Marshal Yanda, and I am a big believer in Orlando Brown’s potential growth. However, the group as a whole is yet unproven and losing stalwart center Ryan Jensen will hurt.
Projected lineup: LT Anthony Castonzo, LG Quenton Nelson, C Ryan Kelly, RG Matt Slauson/Braden Smith, RT Austin Howard
Indy’s offensive line gets a bad rep, but this unit was banged up all last season and upgraded across the board. Castonzo isn’t the same player he used to be, but he’s more than adequate to play the left tackle spot, at least for this season. Ryan Kelly played very well last year, but it was obvious he was limited by his injuries all season. The additions of Matt Slauson and Austin Howard in free agency gives Indy some capable veteran starters. The biggest coup was adding star Quenton Nelson in the draft. He provides an All-Pro caliber player near immediately for Indy. This unit should help Luck stay upright all season.
Projected lineup: LT Riley Reiff, LG Nick Easton, C Pat Elflein, RG Mike Remmers, RT Rashod Hill
This Vikings offensive line is the biggest weakness on their whole roster, but they honestly are not as bad as their ranking suggests. They just have some question marks right now. Reiff and Remmers are a solid tackle duo, and Elflein is a Pro-Bowl caliber center, but the two guard spots are the weakness. Easton was not good at left guard last season and needs to be replaced. From what I’ve gathered, Remmers will remain at right guard, and Rashod Hill will stay at right tackle. That’s questionable, but I trust Mike Zimmer’s judgement.
Projected lineup: LT Cordy Glenn, LG Clint Boling, C Billy Price, RG Trey Hopkins/Christian Westerman, RT Jake Fisher
Adding Cordy Glenn and Billy Price is great for this offensive line. Clint Boling is one of the moves the Bengals took to improve their offensive line, but the right side is completely unproven, and Billy Price is still only a rookie. Frank Pollack inherits some intriguing options, but this group will have its struggles in 2018. There is great potential towards the future with this group, but it is missing a truly elite guy to separate it from the bottom of the AFC North.
Projected lineup: LT DJ Humphries, LG Mike Iupati, C Mason Cole/A.Q. Shipley, RG Justin Pugh, RT Andre Smith
This Cardinals offensive line isn’t terrible, but there are too many injury questions for me to feel comfortable putting them higher. Humphries, Iupati, and Pugh are all coming off of injuries. Mason Cole is a rookie, and Andre Smith is a solid, but not great or elite at right tackle. If this unit can stay healthy, they can be great. Humphries hasn’t quite lived up to the 1st round bill, but he has steadily improved throughout his career. Iupati and Pugh are both solid, but unspectacular players. Smith at RT is a decent pickup, as he brings some serious power with him, but isn’t quite the same in pass protection.
27-New York Jets:
Projected lineup: LT Kelvin Beachum, LG James Carpenter, C Spencer Long, RG Brian Winters, RT Brandon Shell
This Jets offensive line was good a couple seasons ago. However, Carpenter and Winters have regressed with injuries and time and make the two guard spots rather questionable. Spencer Long isn’t good at center either, but he’s certainly better than Wesley Johnson who played last year. Their two tackles in Beachum and Shell are pretty solid too. Beachum is one of the best technical tackles when his injuries have hurt his athleticism, and Shell has incredible length, power, and potential to become great.
28-New York Giants
Projected lineup: LT Nate Solder, LG Will Hernandez, C Brett Jones, RG Patrick Omameh, RT Chad Wheeler/Ereck Flowers
This offensive line for New York is just one giant question mark. Solder and Hernandez can be a very good left side, but the rest of this line is so questionable. Brett Jones was good, but only played in limited time last season so he remains unproven. Omameh is a solid player, but is still struggling to get his feet and hands correct. I know people have penciled Flowers in at right tackle, but Wheeler actually played at right tackle last season and showed some promise at the spot. Both guys will need to learn the fundamental techniques to grow further, but at least Wheeler is used to playing the spot and actually showed some sort of potential at the spot. It is a unit that *can* grow and be better this season, but until I see it I won’t believe it.
Projected lineup: LT Duane Brown, LG Ethan Pocic, C Justin Britt, RG DJ Fluker, RT Germain Ifedi/George Fant
“Bold” prediction alert: Seattle’s offensive line will be their biggest problem in 2018. However, this Seattle team can develop better now that Tom Cable is gone. However, it’s still questionable. Duane Brown is a solid player veteran anchor at the left tackle spot for this offensive line. Pocic struggled last year at guard, but he was transitioning into that role all season. Justin Britt is still a Top-15 center, but took a step back last year as the rest of that offensive line went. Fluker is a hit and miss player that is too inconsistent to be relied upon as a future starter. And those right tackles…well. Ifedi is probably the worst offensive tackle period, and Fant is a former UDFA coming off a season-ending injury. Coaches believe there is some upside with him however, so there could finally be an actual stopgap at right tackle for Seattle.
Projected lineup: LT Matt Kalil, LG Jeremiah Sirles/Amini Silatolu, C Ryan Kalil, RG Trai Turner, RT Taylor Moton
The only player on this Carolina offensive lineman who impressed me was Second-team All-Pro RT Daryl Williams. Trai Turner is a guy who is just too inconsistent to show he can be a great guard. Ryan Kalil is still a solid player but had another injury which makes me concerned about his future. We all know that Matt Kalil is probably the worst starting left tackle in the league. That left guard spot will face a massive downgrade from Andrew Norwell no matter who plays there. None of the options for left guard fill me with much confidence. Unfortunately, Daryl Williams was just hurt, which leaves Moton playing RT for him. That brings their line down significantly in these rankings.
Projected lineup: LT Julien Davenport, LG Zach Fulton, C Nick Martin, RG Senio Kelemete, RT Martinas Rankin/Seantrel Henderson
This line is just dreadful, and it will be the biggest weakness of Houston all season long. There aren’t any real standout players on this line at all. Nick Martin had an absolutely dreadful season last year, but can hopefully bounce back and play more towards his 2016 season. Davenport is a physically gifted player but is still incredibly raw at the position. Rankin should take over that right tackle spot over Seantrel Henderson. Fulton is an upgrade over Xavier Su’a-Filo at left guard and should offer some consistently solid play after coming off his best season. Kelemete is a versatile depth piece, but shouldn’t be a starter.
Projected lineup: LT Dion Dawkins, LG Vladimir Ducasse, C Russell Bodine/Ryan Groy, RG John Miller, RT Jordan Mills
Whew. The Bills went from Cordy Glenn, Richie Incognito, and Eric Wood to this. Dawkins struggled almost all season long with his sets and hand usage, but has that “upside” people like to think makes him a better player. DuCasse, Bodine, and Miller has to be the worst interior of an offensive line out there. Ducasse is probably the best, but he isn’t anything better than average. Bodine was probably the worst center in football last year and couldn’t block a wet piece of paper if it tried hard enough. Mills has been a physical player, but isn’t a consistent pass protector, which makes him a liability. This whole unit has limited upside and a very low floor. Groy is probably the most intriguing of everyone, but he’s hardly played and it’s extremely difficult to replace a top 10 cener’s level of play.