2019 Fantasy Football Draft Kit

2019 Offensive Line Rankings: In The Trenches


As a former offensive lineman in high school, I know all too well the anonymity of the position. If nobody notices you out there, you’re doing your job. That’s not quite the case in the NFL though. A standout lineman or unit will get the ample praise they deserve, as knowledgeable fans understand how important they are to a successful offense.

On the flip side, smart fans also recognize when bad offensive line play is killing an offense. Even the best skill players can have their value tanked by bad o-line play (see David Johnson 2018 or Andrew Luck 2015).

With the NFL season starting, I’ve grouped each NFL team’s offensive line into its own tier, which can also act as a rough ranking. Teams within each tier are roughly similar to each other.

Let’s get started.

2019 Offensive Line Rankings

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Tier 1: Cream of the Crop

These are the offensive lines I have little to no concerns about going into 2019-20. The offensive lines listed in this tier add value to their offense and have no glaring weaknesses. They are balanced across the line and have ample star power to support. It’s no surprise that the teams listed here are also some of the best offenses in the league.

1.  Indianapolis Colts – After giving up 100 sacks total in the 2016 and 2017 season, the Colts have completely revamped their offensive line. Left tackle Anthony Castanzo has long been underrated and he finally got some help with 2018 draftees Quenton “AHHHHHHHHHHH” Nelson and Braden Smith.

This unit dominated after Castanzo’s return from injury in Week 6. From Weeks 7 to 17 they allowed only 8 sacks, culminating in a 4.1% Adjusted Sack Rate (good for second in the league) – courtesy of FantasyOutsiders.com.

They also ranked 4th in Adjusted Line Yards – a statistic that measures an offensive line’s contribution to the run game. They will be returning all five members of this unit in 2019.

2. Dallas Cowboys The Cowboys aren’t the dominant unit they were back in 2016, but they are still a force to be reckoned with. Tyron Smith and Zack Martin continue to be two of the standard-bearers at their position. The return of center Travis Frederick gives Dallas three All-Pros in their prime on the line – something no other team can boast.

If 2018 2nd rounder Connor Williams and La’el Collins (won John Blocker award for best lineman in the SEC in 2014) can continue to improve, this offensive line will be a nightmare for opposing defensive lines to contend with.

3. New England Patriots Informed NFL fans know who Dante Scarnecchia is and how important he has been to the Patriots’ dynasty. The Patriots’ offensive line guru has consistently put together top-5 units in both pass protection and the running attack. This is despite Bill Belichek only drafting three offensive linemen in the first round since 2000.

One of those offensive linemen is 2018 first-rounder Isaiah Wynn. He should easily fill the void left by Trent Brown. The rest of the unit ranked first in Adjusted Sack Rate and 3rd in Adjusted Line Yards in 2018. Shaq Mason is one of the best young guards in the league while Joe Thuney, Dave Andrews, and Marcus Cannon all rank among the top 10 in PFF grading at their positions.

4. Pittsburgh Steelers As their offensive pieces continue to change, the Steelers’ offensive line and Ben Roethlisberger stay constant. Their core four of Alejandro Villaneuva, Ramon Foster, Maurkice Pouncey, and David DeCastro is entering their fourth year playing together – unheard of in today’s NFL.

In 2018, they paved the way for James Conner to fill LeVeon Bell’s shoes admirably. And although they were asked to pass block on the 2nd most pass plays in the league, they allowed the 4th fewest sacks.

5. Green Bay Packers – If you have perhaps the most talented thrower of the football in NFL history, it makes sense to protect him. That’s what the Packers have done, bookending their offensive line with tackles David Bakhtiari and Bryan Bulaga.

Bakhtiari deserves to be singled out as he was rated as the best offensive lineman in the league by PFF and the highest-ranked lineman on the NFL’s yearly top 100 list.

Bulaga is no slouch himself, finishing second in PFF pass-protection grades among right tackles. Center Corey Linsley offers some balance in the middle with the 6th highest PFF grade among centers including the 4th highest pass-blocking grade. Less than stellar guard play is the only thing keeping this unit back from a higher ranking.

6. New Orleans Saints – Similar to the Packers, the Saints are strong on the edges but weak in the middle due to the retirement of All-Pro Max Unger. Terron Armstead was second only to Bakhtiari in PFF grading for left tackles and Ryan Ramczyk was third in PFF grading for right tackles.

The Saints had four “Pro-Bowlers” on their offensive line in 2018, but don’t let the accolades fool you. Larry Warford and Andrus Peat were named as alternates to the Pro Bowl, but they are not Pro Bowl level players. Peat, in particular, turned in the worst PFF grade among qualifying guards in the entire league.

He is a huge question mark for this offense along with rookie Erik McCoy, who will get thrown into the fire at the toughest offensive line position for rookies to play.

7. Los Angeles Rams – The Rams keep the theme of excellent tackle play combined with questionable interior line play going. Andrew Whitworth and Rob Havenstein combined to post the second-highest combined tackle PFF grades behind only the Saints’ pair above. They were part of a group that had FootballOutsider’s highest Adjusted Line Yards grade and finished 6th in Adjusted Sack Rate as well.

Unfortunately, that group is losing 2,539 combined snaps with G Rodger Saffold and C John Sullivan leaving the team. The Rams will fill their shoes with a combination of rookie Bobby Evans and 2018 draftees Brian Allen and Joseph Notebloom, but it’s easy to imagine a dropoff from their dominant 2018.

Tier 2: Close, but No Cigar

If your team’s offensive line falls in this tier, they’re good but not great. There’s some element that separates them from the Tier 1 club, but they are still very good units.

8. Philadelphia EaglesThe Eagles have been among the best offensive lines in the game for nearly a decade thanks to the steady presences of two All-Pro Jasons, Peters and Kelce.

However, it’s fair to wonder if Father Time is catching up to Peters. We can see that in 2018, Peters turned in his worst season since his rookie season 13 years ago.

2019 Offensive Line Rankings

Credit: PFF

On top of that, starting guard Brandon Brooks tore his Achilles in the Divisional Round and could be less than 100% going into the season.

The Eagles took a clear step back in 2018, allowing 102 quarterback hits (10th in the league) and averaging only 3.9 Yards per Carry (3rd worst in the league). A lot of that can be attributed to the inferior talent behind them. They should look better in 2019 with a healthy Carson Wentz. Their reputation as a stellar year-to-year unit lands them here.

9. Baltimore Ravens – It should come as no surprise to anyone that the Ravens are among the league’s best run-blocking units. While they definitely benefit from the threat of Lamar Jackson, they finished top-10 in four out of five of Football Outsiders’ run success metrics. They should return all five starters in 2019 including perennial All-Pro Marshal Yanda.

Where they might surprise people is their pass blocking effectiveness. Baltimore posted the 8th best Adjusted Sack % and allowed the 3rd fewest quarterback hits. Ronnie Stanley (4th among LTs in PFF pass-blocking grade) and Orlando Brown Jr. (47th among tackles in PFF overall rating) is an up and coming tackle pair.

10. Chicago Bears – The Bears were great in pass protection in 2018 (7th in Adjusted Sack Rate and 2nd fewest hits allowed) but a putrid 28th in Football Outsider’s run-blocking grades. A return to health for Kyle Long and sophomore James Daniels returning to his natural position of center should help.

Left tackle Charles Leno Jr. and center (will play guard in 2019) Cody Whitehair are coming off Pro Bowl appearances and should only get better.

11. Kansas City Chiefs – The Chiefs are going into the 2019 season with a poor man’s version of the Packers/Saints/Rams model we discussed above. Mitchell Schwartz is the best right tackle in the game. Pro Bowler Eric Fisher recorded a decent 73.4 PFF grade in 16 games.

Everyone else is at best a question mark. Left guard Cam Erving may be the worst guard in the league with four years straight of sub-50 PFF grades. Former 7th rounder Austin Reiter – five career starts – is expected to step in at center. Projected right guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif is solid but has missed 16 games over the last two seasons due to injury.

All-in-all it might not even matter. Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid are THAT good.

Tier 3: Sky High Upside

Offensive lines that land in this tier are already pretty good and if things fall right, could be great. I’m talking league-winning great.

12. Tennessee TitansIt was only back in 2016 when Taylor Lewan, Jack Conklin, Quinton Spain, Ben Jones, and Josh Kline were billed as the NFL’s next great offensive line. Since then, Kline and Spain have left the team and Conklin has struggled with injuries.

While they deserve some credit for Derrick Henry‘s late-season resurgence, the Titans ultimately finished 17th and 29th in run blocking and pass blocking rating, per FootballOutsiders. The Titans are hoping for more consistency with the addition of Rodger Saffold, PFF’s 4th best run-blocking guard in 2018.

Hard not to root for these guys though.

13. Carolina PanthersIn 2018, the Panthers lost All-Pro tackles Matt Kalil and Daryl Williams to injury before Week 1 even ended. They signed Chris Clark off the street and he started 15 games for them.

Kalil retired, but Williams will be back this year and joined by second-round-pick Greg Little. Matt Paradis solidifies this unit as PFF’s second-highest ranking center. As wounded as they were, they still finished 11th and 10th in FootballOutsider’s Run Blocking and Pass Protection respectively.

14. Denver Broncos – How high will offensive line coach Mike Munchak take them? Munchak has long been known around the league as an offensive line guru from his work with the Steelers the Titans. The Broncos were no slouches in 2018. They finished 3rd in YPC, 6th in Run Blocking, and 11th in Pass Protection according to FootballOutsiders.

The additions of second-round pick Dalton Risner and right tackle Ju’Wuan James should join 2018 first-rounder Garett Bolles as the core of a young offensive line with upside.

15. Atlanta Falcons – The Falcons made a clear commitment to their offensive line this offseason, spending two first-round picks on offensive linemen Chris Lindstrom and Kaleb McGary. They join two studs in Jake Matthews (PFF’s #7 left tackle) and Alex Mack (PFF’s #1 center).

If the two rookies can step in and adjust quickly to the NFL, the Falcons could repeat their 2017 Super Bowl run when their offensive line finished 8th in both Run Blocking and Pass Protection per FootballOutsiders.

16. Oakland RaidersIs left tackle Kolton Miller a bust? If not, he needs to show something, and quick. He played through multiple injuries but still finished 76th out of 80 in PFF rating for eligible tackles. If he can demonstrate he was worthy of the 15th overall pick, the Raiders will have one of the most improved and balanced offensive lines in 2019.

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Rodney Hudson was PFF’s fourth highest-rated center. Right tackle Trent Brown was a steady presence for the Niners and the Patriots for the last four years. Gabe Jackson has been one of the league’s most underrated guards since entering the league in 2014. Last but not least, Richie Incognito might be a trash human being, but he was a more than solid left guard at his peak.

17. San Francisco 49ers – Like all rookies, Mike McGlinchey had his ups and downs his rookie season. Overall, he finished with a respectable 73.2 PFF grade. If he can go to another level in his second year, he and Joe Staley could form yet another uber-talented tackle pair.

Regardless, Kyle Shanahan is going to have this offense humming with our without an improvement from McGlinchey. They finished 10th in Run Blocking per FootballOutsiders and a switch back to Jimmy Garrapolo should have them above 22nd in Adjusted Sack Rate.

Tier 4: Not bad… I Have a Question Though

The tier name says it all. These offensive lines aren’t terrible but need to answer one glaring question before I can bump them up to truly trustworthy.

18. Los Angeles Chargers How are they doing this? The Chargers may have the most confusing offensive line to rank. They finished the 2018 season an impressive 5th in Run Blocking and 13th in Pass Blocking (per FootballOutsiders) – all while only having one lineman with a PFF grade over 62.0 (Russell Okung).

So was 2018 a fluke or is the Chargers’ offensive line actually decent? I’d go with both. Those rankings with those grades won’t be repeatable in 2019, but their players should perform better. Notably, 2018 second-rounder Forest Lamp and former Pro Bowler Mike Pouncey should bounce back after disappointing years.

19. Detroit LionsWill the addition of Darren Bevell complete Matt Patricia’s vision? No team has invested more in their offensive line than the Lions in recent years.

Ricky Wagner was signed to a 5-year, $47.5 million contract to join 2018 and 2016 first-round picks Frank Ragnow and Taylor Decker. Add in 2016 third-rounder Graham Glasgow and 2019 first-rounder T.J. Hockenson (tight end) it seems obvious the Lions are intent on running the ball in 2019.

Unfortunately, even with all those resources, the Lions only finished 20th in Adjusted Line Yards in 2018. Detroit brought in the notoriously run-heavy Bevell to pilot their offense. If he can be the final piece to this offensive line puzzle, Kerryon Johnson may win leagues in 2019.

20. Washington Redskins – Is this situation going to implode? On paper, the Redskins have one of the more talented offensive lines. Trent Williams is one of the best tackles in the league but is reportedly unhappy with his contract. Donald Penn was brought in for either motivation or insurance. Brandon Scherff missed half of 2018 with a torn pectoral. Chase Roullier is a rookie center. Ereck Flowers is Ereck Flowers.

If the dominoes fall correctly, this could be a pretty solid unit in 2019. If they don’t, it could get ugly.

Note: With the recent news surrounding Trent Williams and his trade request, it’s probably safe to assume he won’t be playing for the Redskins in 2019.

21. Minnesota VikingsHow much will rookie Garrett Bradbury help? Bradbury was widely regarded as the best interior lineman in the draft, drawing comparisons to Jason Kelce and Matt Paradis. We’ve seen how much of an impact a rookie center can make (Alex Mack, Travis Frederick). Can Bradbury do the same for an offensive line that ranked an anemic 23rd in Adjusted Line Yards?

It should also be noted that known run-game guru Gary Kubiak has joined the Vikings as well. Wherever Kubiak goes, top-10 rushing attacks follow.

22. Jacksonville Jaguars – Can this unit stay healthy? Cam Robinson, Brandon Linder, and Andrew Norwell combined to miss 26 games in 2018. Robinson is still recovering from a torn ACL and may miss early games. This led to them finishing a tragic 31st in total points for after finishing 5th in 2017 with a healthy offensive line.

Rookie tackle Jawaan Taylor, a projected top-10 pick, fell in the Jaguars’ lap at pick 35 and he should contribute instantly.

23. New York GiantsCan an offense built around a running back succeed? While I don’t necessarily agree with the Giants’ decision to draft Saquon Barkley #2 overall in 2018, his talent is undeniable. So it’s easy to believe GM Dave Gettleman when he says they want to run the ball every play, especially when they trade Odell Beckham Jr.

It’s even easier when they pick up All-Pro guard Kevin Zeitler (3rd highest RG PFF grade) and drafted road-grater Will Hernandez in 2018. EVEN EASIER when they committed to starting Eli Manning and backing him up with Daniel Jones.

All jokes aside the Giants’ offensive line should be much improved in 2019. Zeitler and Hernandez form a nice trio with left tackle Nate Solder. If they can improve on their 29th place finish in Adjusted Line Yards, Barkley should more than pay off his #1 pick price.

Tier 5: Potential Party Pooper

We’re entering shaky territory now. The offensive lines in this tier could easily make or break their team’s (and your fantasy player’s) season. They are surrounded by a talented offense that will often make them look better than they are. But there are still probably going to be times watching these teams where you want to throw your remote at the TV.

24. Seattle SeahawksThe Seahawks headline this category, but honestly I can’t think of a single year recently that they’ve had a good offensive line. Meanwhile, their offenses haven’t been terrible at all. Credit goes to Russell Wilson and Darren Bevell for that.

The league leaders in rushing yards finished a respectable 12th in Adjusted Line Yards but embarrassed themselves again with a 3rd to last finish in Adjusted Sack Rate. Again, Wilson is really bailing these guys out with his escapability and playmaking. Even then he’s getting tortured on nearly every play.

Similar to the Chargers, left tackle Duane Brown turned in a 82.3 PFF grade (4th among left tackles) while nobody else on his team eclipsed 63.0.

To be honest, I’m not even sure it matters. No matter who’s in front of him, Wilson will ball and the Seahawks will be able to run the ball.

25. Cleveland BrownsThe one thing that could put a quick stop to all the hype surrounding the Browns in 2019 is a sneakily depleted offensive line. Trading All-Pro guard Kevin Zeitler hurts, although they do have 2018 second-round pick Austin Corbett to replace him. Joel Bitonio and JC Tretter should continue to bolster the interior of the line, but Greg Robinson and Chris Hubbard are major concerns on the boundaries.

26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – The good: The Bucs are returning all five of their starters in 2019. The bad: those starters finished second to last in Adjusted Line Yards and allowed the 5th most quarterback hits.

The upside: this line does have decent players. Ali Marpet, Donovan Smith, and Demar Dotson all finished with above a 66 PFF grade while Ryan Jensen is only one year removed from a 71.4 graded year with the Ravens.

Bruce Arians is an offensive mastermind but he’s never had this bad of an offensive line. Maybe it’s a chicken or the egg thing and his system improves offensive line play. We’ll see.

27. New York Jets – The one team worse than the Bucs in the run game in 2018 was the Jets. Bringing in guard Kelechi Osemele could help if he gets back to form. He averaged an 82.6 PFF grade between 2014 and 2017 with the Ravens and the Raiders before that plummeted to 53.7 in 2018.

The addition of LeVeon Bell could help as well, as he’s a dynamic offensive talent that can make plays regardless of the offensive line. Fortunately, the Jets are about average in pass protection (18th) so we should still see Sam Darnold develop.

28. Arizona CardinalsA small quarterback behind a shaky offensive line doesn’t sound like a whole lotta fun, but that quarterback is Heisman winner Kyler Murray. On top of that, the Cardinals will be running the Air Raid offense which emphasizes short passes in a spread formation. So while this is definitely one of the worst offensive lines in the league, I find myself not worrying as much.

That being said, a bad offensive line could easily tank Murray’s rookie season and ruin all Kliff Kingsbury‘s best-laid plans. They finished 25th in Adjusted Line Yards and 26 in Adjusted Sack % while making no significant improvements in the offseason.

Tier 6: Yikes

Not a lot of good to say about the units down in this tier. Serious questions about players at more than half the positions on the line and not enough offensive talent (in most cases) to cover up for them.

29. Buffalo Bills – The Bills’ offensive line was terrible in 2018 and it looks like they knew it. After ranking 30th in Adjusted Line Yards and 23rd in Adjusted Sack Percentage, they went out and added 8 new offensive linemen. Unfortunately, the majority of them are career journeymen.

It’s anybody’s guess which combination of them will be starting week-to-week. It’s an uninspiring bunch that lacks cohesion. The lone bright spot might be second-round draft pick tackle Cody Ford.

30. Cincinnati BengalsAndy Dalton and the Bengals are notoriously bad when he doesn’t have an offensive line to protect him. So what have the Bengals been doing these last few years? Shuffling linemen in and out and, not coincidentally, losing a bunch of games.

They made a great move this April drafting tackle Jonah Williams. Unfortunately, he tore his pec and will be out for the season. So that leaves a motley crew of misfits and castoffs to protect the Red Rifle.

31. Miami Dolphins – I feel bad for Josh Rosen. After being thrown into the fire behind a terrible Cardinals’ offensive line, he gets traded to an even worse situation. On top of that, he has an apex job vulture in Ryan Fitzpatrick ahead of him. The 2018 Dolphins finished 14th in Adjusted Line Yards (good!) but 31st in Adjusted Sack Percentage (bad!)

Outside of Laremy Tunsel and his gas mask, the Dolphins employ four of the least inspiring offensive linemen in the league.

32. Houston Texans – And finally we’ve reached the bottom of the barrel.  At this point in his career, Deshaun Watson is basically AFC Russell Wilson. He gets absolutely no help from his offensive line and still makes plays. The Texans were dead last in Adjusted Sack Percentage and allowed the most sacks and quarterback hits.

You might think they might fare better in their rushing attack, but not by much. They finished 27th in Adjusted Line Yards. I’m starting to think Lamar Miller actually isn’t that bad.

They drafted tackle Tytus Howard and guard Max Scharping in the first two rounds, so maybe reinforcements are coming. Probably not though.

Get prepared for the 2019 Fantasy Football season by checking out the rest of our Fantasy Football content.

About Kevin Huo

Kevin is a fantasy football writer for Fantasy Six Pack. He considers every angle - whether statistical or theoretical - when weighing his options and isn't afraid to be a contrarian. You can follow him on Twitter: @KevinMHuo

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