Offensive line play has a major impact on individual player production in Fantasy Football. While a lot changes from year to year, identifying last season's best and worst units can go a long way in helping select the right players in your upcoming draft.
New York Jets
The highest graded offensive line in 2010 will make one minor adjustment, replacing right tackle Damien Woody with last year's second-round pick Vladimir Ducasse. Don't expect there to be much of a transition or reduction in quality of play.
The group scored as the most consistent line, finishing fourth in run blocking and third in pass protection, for the top overall score.
All signs point to this wall, one of the youngest in the league, once again being a top-flight unit in 2011.
New York Giants
The Giants tied for the second strongest combined score, ranking second in pass protection and 10th as run blockers.
James Brewer was a value pick in the fourth round and could battle veteran Kareem McKenzie for the starting right tackle gig. The rest of the line returns intact although age is starting to become a concern.
With capable depth and a seemingly healthy outlook, New York's front five should rank highly for Fantasy owners in 2011.
New England Patriots
Tackle Nate Solder, their 6-8 first-round pick, is best suited to play on the left side, which means Tom Brady would have a rookie protecting his blind side if Matt Light doesn't return.
Left guard Logan Mankins was given the franchise tag; the rest of the line returns to bring continuity to the group.
Right tackle Sebastian Vollmer could play left tackle, like he did as a rookie when Light was hurt, if the Pats are comfortable with Solder playing out of position. In 2009 they allowed Vollmer, then a rookie, to protect Brady.
Fifth-round steal guard/tackle Marcus Cannon gives the Pats versatile depth. Their overall reserve corps is solid enough to get by in a pinch.
New England scored the eighth best rating as run blockers and was fourth in terms of pass protection. Their cumulative rating was tied for second overall in 2010.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Bucs could have to choose between re-signing linebacker Barrett Ruud and right guard Davin Joseph. Right tackles James Lee and Jeremy Trueblood may also be free agents.
This group came in as the fourth-best overall rated team sitting pretty at No. 5 in run blocking and a respectable 13th as pass blockers. Their 2011 outlook could turn south if the right side struggles to find consistency.
Athletic first-round right tackle Tyron Smith should start from the onset. Doug Free should man Tony Romo's blind side; he could be a free agent but figures to return with a new deal.
Left guard Montrae Holland could see competition from rookie fourth-round pick David Arkin although the veteran should fend off the newcomer for 2011.
Left guard Leonard Davis turns 33 before the season starts and will be paid $6 million this year which leads to speculation that he could be released.
One of the most consistent lines in the league last year, they finished ninth in run blocking and 11th in pass protection in our rankings. The group was given the fifth-best composite score and could improve in 2011 with the addition of Smith.
After allowing the most average sacks per game (4.4) through Week 8 last season, the Bears were the ninth worst (2.8) in the second half of the year. Their composite score rated as the worst in the league, though. They were the second worst pass protectors and ranked 28th as run blockers.
Adding offensive tackle Gabe Carimi in the first round should help their run blocking, but Chicago may have to do some shuffling at the tackle positions. Fantasy owners should brace for another rocky start until this group gels.
Washington scored a three-way tie for the second worst overall score in 2010. They were 22nd as run blockers and 27th protecting the quarterback.
Changes for 2011 will likely come through free agency after spending just a seventh-round pick on the line in the draft. Veteran center Casey Rabach is a free agent and may not return to the club.
Their 2011 Fantasy prospects are not appealing and this could be another long year for the Redskins' offense.
Injuries and quarterback Joe Flacco holding the ball too long could be blamed for the Ravens' pass-blocking woes last year, but their push in the running game was severely lacking as well.
Rookie Jah Reid could start at right tackle this year and Jared Gaither is likely to be dealt in the offseason. Gaither missed most of the 2010 season with a neck injury.
Baltimore graded out tied for the second-worst composite score; they finished 25th as run blockers and 24th as pass protectors. There is potential for improvement in 2011, but Flacco will have to do his part to get rid of the ball quicker.
St. Louis Rams
The Rams' pass-protecting stats were acceptable for a team starting a rookie quarterback. They finished 20th in the league. Paving lanes for Steven Jackson didn't come easily as they were the fourth worst group in the league, partly due to having a rookie passer.
St. Louis has a talented front five and, if healthy, there is upside to be found. Josh McDaniels calling the shots on offense is the wild card; the Denver Broncos' line finished with a composite score that was 19th best in 2010, for what it's worth. Growing pains can be expected, but the group fits the system well on paper.
Carolina was dealt a huge blow by losing right tackle Jeff Otah (knee) for all of last year. Rookie quarterback Jimmy Clausen struggled mightily helping this group to the worst pass-blocking rating in 2010. Carolina registered the No. 14 run-blocking score last year.
There is hope for the running game if Otah returns at a high level, but Cam Newton's style of play begs for a high sack total.
| Team || Grade |
| Dallas Cowboys || A |
| New England Patriots || A |
| New York Jets || A |
| New York Giants || A- |
| Tampa Bay Buccaneers || A- |
| Detroit Lions || B |
| Green Bay Packers || B |
| Kansas City Chiefs || B |
| New Orleans Saints || B |
| Atlanta Falcons || B- |
| Jacksonville Jaguars || B- |
| Houston Texans || B+ |
| Philadelphia Eagles || B+ |
| Tennessee Titans || B+ |
| Chicago Bears || C |
| Denver Broncos || C |
| Minnesota Vikings || C |
| San Francisco 49ers || C |
| Baltimore Ravens || C- |
| Buffalo Bills || C- |
| Cincinnati Bengals || C- |
| Miami Dolphins || C- |
| Cleveland Browns || C+ |
| Indianapolis Colts || C+ |
| Oakland Raiders || C+ |
| Pittsburgh Steelers || C+ |
| San Diego Chargers || C+ |
| Washington Redskins || D- |
| Arizona Cardinals || D+ |
| Carolina Panthers || D+ |
| Seattle Seahawks || D+ |
| St. Louis Rams || D+ |