Fantasy Football: 8 Offensive Line Takeaways From 2016

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The Dolphins Could Be Dominant

Sunday wasn't too great, Bob, for fans of the Miami Dolphins. They got throttled in the playoffs by the Pittsburgh Steelers, but that doesn't mean the Dolphins' future is bleak, and a lot of that optimism should derive from the offensive line.

The Dolphins suffered through a boatload of injuries up front this season, starting with center Mike Pouncey missing the first four games with a hip injury before re-injuring the hip later in the year. All in all, there were just four games in which all three of Pouncey, left guard Laremy Tunsil, and left tackle Branden Albert were healthy, but whew doggies, were those four games spicy.

The table below shows how the offense performed in those four games compared to the other 12. "Passing NEP/P" is the expected points added on each drop back (meaning sacks are included), Rushing NEP/P is the expected points added on each rush, and "Success Rate" is the percentage of plays that increased the team's expected points for the drive.

Split Passing NEP/P Pass Succes Rate Rushing NEP/P Rush Success Rate
With All Three 0.29 46.43% 0.14 40.30%
Missing At Least One 0.07 44.92% -0.06 38.01%

Not shockingly, this four-week span of health just-so-happened to coincide with when Jay Ajayi went off the heezy with back-to-back 200-yard rushing performances. He averaged 152 rushing yards per game and 6.27 yards per carry before the brown stuff hit the fan again with Pouncey's re-injury, but this was an indication of what Ajayi could do with a fully healthy stable in front of him.

As you can see, their health was also huge for Ryan Tannehill. He averaged just 0.09 Passing NEP per drop back for the entire season, ranking 22nd out of 39 quarterbacks with at least 100 drop backs. His 0.29 Passing NEP per drop back with Pouncey, Tunsil, and Albert, though, would have ranked fourth in the league behind Matt Ryan, Tom Brady, and Dak Prescott if he had done it the whole year.

That has a trickle-down effect for the entire team, and this efficiency out of Tannehill would be another boost for Ajayi's viability.

More likely than not, the Dolphins' true abilities on offense lie somewhere beneath where they were with all three healthy simply because it's hard to sustain that type of production for an entire season. But it should also tell us that this is an offense we want to buy for fantasy heading into 2017 when the trio up front should be locked and ready to rumble.