As I get ready for another year of fantasy football (my 25th), I am reflecting on how things have changed over the past years. No doubt, I am old school when it comes to fantasy football. I believe and only play in standard leagues. No PPR, no daily leagues, none of that crap. I will this year, like I do every year LOAD UP ON RUNNING BACKS… Never enough!
I have a little trick I have used over the years. What I do, that most people don’t do, I watch the offensive line play in the preseason. I also watch for key o-line injuries too. My theory is… AS GOES THE O-LINE, SO GOES YOUR BACKS! Below are my top offensive lines heading into the 2017 season.
#5 Atlanta Falcons – Biggest concern is the Falcons coming off the Super Bowl fail. Will they have a hangover? This offensive line was top 2-3 in the NFL most of last season. The biggest weakness in 2016 was right guard Chris Chester. This brings us the question; will Wes Schweitzer or Ben Garland prove to be an upgrade? I say it has to be! GRADE B
#4 Pittsburgh Steelers – Think about this for a minute. The second half of 2016, the Steelers had the best line in the NFL! Left tackle Alejandro Villanueva dominated the second half last season. For you Big Ben fans, this stat should be music to your ears… the o-line allowed only 12 pressures on the QB in the last 9 games of 2016. The line keeps this up, BIG numbers for Big Ben and Brown this season! GRADE B+
#3 Philadelphia Eagles – On paper this line appears to be a very solid unit. Several people are ranking the Eagles line as best in NFL. I need to see this first before I go that far. One question mark is right in the middle with center, Jason Kelce. It has been at least (3) seasons since he was a dominant center. The Eagles best lineman is right tackle Lane Johnson, who was a beast last year and is among the top right tackles in the league. GRADE A-
#2 Dallas Cowboys – This unit dominated just about every game they played in last year. However, an offensive line can only survive so many hits. Smith, Frederick, and Martin have their spots locked down for a while now. There are truly only two spots to think about, and that’s the right tackle and left guard positions. The big question is La’el Collins moving to right tackle. Tackle was his more natural college position, but his below-average performance at guard isn’t too encouraging. GRADE A
#1 Tennessee Titans – Looks like this group is about to become dominant and over take the much more publicized Dallas Cowboys. The Titans have (2) of the top (5) tackles in the league right now with first-round tackles Taylor Lewan and Jack Conklin. Both tackles have the NASTY in them that I love in an offensive line. Quinton Spain has also become a top guard in the league. GRADE A+
Load up on offensive talent on these five teams. Barring major injuries, they will be among the best all season long. Which means solid run games to rely on for your fantasy football leagues.
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