Let’s give the big fellas some love. “It all starts up front.” This is a phrase you’ve probably heard before. That’s because it’s absolutely true. I’m talking about the big heavies of course. Offensive lineman, the unsung heroes of the gridiron. This piece is a ranking of all 32 offensive lines entering the 2016 season, and their Fantasy implications. I’ve used three stats from the 2015 season to help compile these rankings.
The first stat is Yards Per Carry (YPC). This is a pretty accurate way of analyzing the run blocking of an offensive line. Few running backs have ever been able to overcome poor run blocking. Barry Sanders and Walter Payton are a couple. The only back in today’s game talented enough to do this is Todd Gurley. Effective scrambling QBs such as Tyrod Taylor, Marcus Mariota, Cam Newton, Russell Wilson, Blake Bortles, and Colin Kaepernick can inflate this number a bit.
According to this metric, the Buccaneers and the Bills had the best two run blocking offensive lines with a 4.8 YPC. Although, Tyrod Taylor’s 558 yards at 5.5 YPC slightly inflated the Bill’s overall YPC. Marcus Mariota’s 7.4 YPC had the biggest inflation effect on his team’s YPC. The Titans overall YPC was 4.0, but Titans RBs only averaged 3.4 YPC.
The second stat is QB Hit or Sack Percentage (QHSP). This stat is the percentage of drop backs in which a QB takes a hit or a sack. I believe this is a more accurate way to judge pass blocking than simply looking at sacks alone. Sacks are often as much the QB’s fault as they are the fault of the offensive line. A good QB will often be able to get rid of the ball before taking a sack, however they will still take a hit. This also takes into account the overall number of drop backs per team.
The league average QHSP is about 20%. The Steelers, Raiders, Ravens, and Jets were the best pass blocking teams, all with a QHSP of 15%. The Seahawks were the worst team with a 30% QHSP, allowing 160 QB hits or sacks in 535 drop backs.
The last stat is penalty ranking (PR). The Cowboys ranked first, being the least penalized. The Jaguars ranked 32nd, being the most penalized. I will also project future performance based on offseason additions and loses to each offensive line. The most improved lines look to be the Titans and Vikings. While the lines that suffered the biggest loses in the offseason were the Browns and Texans.
2016 Offensive Line Rankings
Elite Offensive Lines
- Dallas Cowboys – 4.6 YPC, 18% QHSP, 1 PR, No Changes
- Pittsburgh Steelers – 4.4 YPC, 15% QHSP, 5 PR, Added T Ryan Harris, Lost T Kelvin Beachum
- Oakland Raiders – 3.9 YPC, 15% QHSP, 3 PR, Added G Kelechi Osemele, Lost T/G J’Marcus Webb
Good Offensive Lines
- Carolina Panthers – 4.3 YPC, 18% QHSP, 25 PR, No Changes
- New York Jets – 4.2 YPC, 15% QHSP, 13 PR, Added T Ryan Clady, Lost T D’Brickishaw Ferguson
- Cincinnati Bengals – 3.9 YPC, 17% QHSP, 9 PR, Lost T Andre Smith
- Baltimore Ravens – 3.9 YPC, 15% QHSP, 19 PR, Added T/G Ronnie Stanley, Lost G Kelechi Osemele
- New Orleans Saints – 3.9 YPC, 16% QHSP, 22 PR, No Changes
- Buffalo Bills – 4.8 YPC, 24% QHSP, 18 PR, Added T Jordan Mills
- Philadelphia Eagles – 3.9 YPC, 20% QHSP, 6 PR, Added G Brandon Brooks
Average Offensive Lines
- Chicago Bears – 4.0 YPC, 20% QHSP, 12 PR, Added T Bobbie Massie and G Cody Whitehair, Lost T Jordan Mills and G Matt Slausen
- New York Giants – 4.0 YPC, 16% QHSP, 28 PR, Added T Ereck Flowers
- Washington Redskins – 3.7 YPC, 19% QHSP, 20 PR, No Changes
- Atlanta Falcons – 3.8 YPC, 19% QHSP, 30 PR, Added C/G Alex Mack
- Minnesota Vikings – 4.7 YPC, 28% QHSP, 21 PR, Added T Andre Smith and G Alex Boone
- New England Patriots – 3.7 YPC, 20% QHSP, 17 PR, Added G Jonathan Cooper
- Green Bay Packers – 4.2 YPC, 24% QHSP, 8 PR, No Changes
- Los Angeles Rams – 4.6 YPC, 23% QHSP, 10 PR, No Changes
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 4.8 YPC, 29% QHSP, 2 PR Added G J.R. Sweezy
- Arizona Cardinals – 4.2 YPC, 22% QHSP, 24 PR, Added T D.J Humphries and G Evan Mathis, Lost T Bobbie Massie and G Jonathan Cooper
Below Average Offensive Lines
- Kansas City Chiefs – 4.7 YPC, 24% QHSP, 14 PR, Added T Mitchell Schwartz, Lost T Donald Stephanson and G Jack Allen
- Indianapolis Colts – 3.6 YPC, 24% QHSP, 16 PR, Added C Ryan Kelly
- Denver Broncos – 4.2 YPC, 22% QHSP, 31 PR, Added T Russell Okung and T Donald Stephanson, Lost T Ryan Harris and G Evan Mathis
- Miami Dolphins – 4.3 YPC, 24% QHSP, 7 PR, Added T/G Laremy Tunsil
- Tennessee Titans – 4.0 YPC, 26% QHSP, 27 PR, Added T Jeff Conklin and C/G Barrett Jones
- Jacksonville Jaguars – 4.2 YPC, 21% QHSP, 32 PR, Added T Kelvin Beechum and G Mackenzy Bernadeau
- Houston Texans – 3.7 YPC, 19% QHSP, 11 PR, Added G Jack Allen, Lost G Brandon Brooks and C/G Barrett Jones
- San Diego Chargers – 3.5 YPC, 21% QHSP, 4 PR, Added G Matt Slausen
- Detroit Lions – 3.8 YPC, 22% QHSP, 23 PR, Added T Taylor Decker
Bad Offensive Lines
- San Francisco 49ers – 4.0 YPC, 25% QHSP, 26 PR, Lost G Alex Boone
- Seattle Seahawks – 4.5 YPC, 30% QHSP, 5 PR, Added T/G J’Marcus Webb and T/G Germain Ifedi, Lost T Russell Okung and G J.R. Sweezy
- Cleveland Browns – 4.0 YPC, 26 % QHSP, 15 PR, Lost T Mitchell Schwartz and C/G Alex Mack
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