Fantasy Football: Offensive Line Rankings for 2018

Offensive lines can often be the key to finding over- and undervalued pieces in fantasy football. Which teams have the best offensive lines entering the 2018 season?

In fantasy football, the offensive line is almost always an afterthought. We may factor in the units on the extremes, but every other team is just lumped into one grouping: they physically have five large men up front who will attempt to block other large men.

In reality, it's much more complex than that. There are top-tier offensive lines that will get no love nationally, and there are poor ones that can drag down their respective offenses without anybody batting an eye. If we don't factor those situations into our process for fantasy football -- whether it's season-long, daily, or dynasty -- we'll be completely overlooking a key factor.

The goal here is to try to combat that by taking a look at all 32 offensive lines, dissecting their strengths and weaknesses, and breaking down what that means for fantasy. If we account for this and others do not, we can give ourselves a leg up on the competition.

Below is a ranking of the league's lines entering the 2018 season. There is certainly some subjectivity in this (there will be in any rankings list), but the rankings were compiled based on data, investment at the position, and other factors, as well.

Specifically, we'll be talking a good chunk about numberFire's Net Expected Points (NEP), which shows the expected points a team gains (or loses) on each play throughout the season. The two biggest factors will be Rushing Success Rate (the percentage of carries that lead to an increase in expected points) and Sack NEP (the expected points lost due to sacks throughout the season). You can never fully separate an offensive line from the other pieces in the offense, but simply ignoring data when doing an exercise like this would be foolish.

Below, we'll go through the justifications for why each team is ranked where it is. Those sections will also include discussions of which teams have higher upside than their rankings suggests and the fantasy implications, which is the broader point behind this endeavor. But in case you need a quick cheat sheet while completing a draft, here's the classification and ranking for each team.

Rank Team Overall Tier Pass Blocking Run Blocking
1 New Orleans Saints Elite Elite Elite
2 Dallas Cowboys Elite Elite Elite
3 Philadelphia Eagles Elite Elite Above average
4 Pittsburgh Steelers Elite Elite Above average
5 Atlanta Falcons Elite Above average Above average
6 Oakland Raiders Above average Above average Above average
7 Los Angeles Rams Above average Above average Above average
8 Jacksonville Jaguars Above average Above average Above average
9 New England Patriots Above average Neutral Elite
10 Los Angeles Chargers Above average Elite Below average
11 Cleveland Browns Above average Neutral Above average
12 Baltimore Ravens Above average Above average Neutral
13 Green Bay Packers Above average Neutral Above average
14 Tennessee Titans Middle Tier Neutral Neutral
15 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Middle Tier Neutral Neutral
16 Detroit Lions Middle Tier Neutral Neutral
17 Kansas City Chiefs Middle Tier Neutral Neutral
18 San Francisco 49ers Middle Tier Neutral Neutral
19 Washington Middle Tier Above average Below average
20 Cincinnati Bengals Middle Tier Neutral Neutral
21 Chicago Bears Middle Tier Below average Above average
22 Indianapolis Colts Middle Tier Below average Above average
23 Miami Dolphins Middle Tier Neutral Below average
24 New York Giants Middle Tier Neutral Neutral
25 Minnesota Vikings Slight Liability Neutral Below average
26 Seattle Seahawks Slight Liability Neutral Below average
27 Carolina Panthers Poor Below average Below average
28 Denver Broncos Poor Poor Neutral
29 New York Jets Poor Below average Below average
30 Arizona Cardinals Poor Below average Below average
31 Buffalo Bills Poor Below average Poor
32 Houston Texans Poor Poor Below Average

With those rankings in hand, let's get to the more important issue in discussing why each team is ranked where they are and what that means for fantasy. Which offensive lines actively make their teams better, and which present causes for concern?

Let's check it out.

The Elites

1. New Orleans Saints

Pass Blocking: Elite | Run Blocking: Elite

Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram didn't just pop up out of nowhere. The New Orleans Saints have been building this line for a while, and all their hard work finally turned into disgusting results last year.

The Saints finished 2017 ranked second in both Sack NEP per drop back and sack rate. On top of that, they were eighth or better in Rushing Success Rate going to the left, up the middle, or to the right. There were no flaws in this line.

The depth here isn't as good was it was entering 2017, with Swiss-army knife Senio Kelemete gone in free agency and underappreciated stud Zach Strief retiring back in March. But as long as both Terron Armstead and Ryan Ramczyk stay healthy, it'll be hard to top this line.

2. Dallas Cowboys

Pass Blocking: Elite | Run Blocking: Elite

Public opinion on the Dallas Cowboys' offensive line seems to have soured a bit from where it was in Ezekiel Elliott's big rookie campaign. But when the Cowboys were healthy last year, they were still phenomenal.

Specifically, we're talking about left tackle Tyron Smith, who missed three games completely and played just three snaps in another. Check out the Cowboys' splits in those four games compared to the rest of the season.

Cowboys in 2017 Sacks Allowed Sack NEP Lost
With Smith (12 Games) 15 18.44
Without Smith (4 Games) 17 40.08

They were arguably the best pass-blocking team in the league with Smith, and they may have been the worst without him. Now that he's back to full health, we can go back to gushing about the Cowboys' line again.

This offensive line is the main reason you can still have some semblance of faith in Dak Prescott, who had his pass-catching core gutted in the offseason. The overall passing efficiency should go down, but the floor is high if the team won't be giving up free yardage due to sacks. Don't go overboard on Prescott, because the talent around him is suspect, but we shouldn't cross him off our lists completely.

3. Philadelphia Eagles

Pass Blocking: Elite | Run Blocking: Above average

Just like the Cowboys, the Philadelphia Eagles lost their left tackle last year with Jason Peters tearing his ACL and MCL in Week 7. But, unlike their NFC East counterparts, that loss didn't crater their season.

Somehow, the Eagles' sack rate allowed actually got better after Peters' injury, dipping to 4.9% from 7.6%. And it wasn't necessarily because fill-in Halapoulivaati Vaiti was lights out at the position; this coaching staff just knows what it's doing.

If we're assured that Peters will be healthy for the full season, this could be the best unit in the league. But this will be Peters' age-36 season, and he's coming off of a major knee injury, so that's far from a sure thing. Regardless, all players in this offense can be efficient, so wherever you find a trustworthy workload, feel free to invest.

4. Pittsburgh Steelers

Pass Blocking: Elite | Run Blocking: Above average

It's hard to run with Le'Veon Bell's style if you don't have some maulers up front. The skill-position players aren't the only stars on this team.

Right tackle Marcus Gilbert played just seven games last year due to both an early-season injury and a four-game suspension for performance-enhancing drugs. Even with that, they ranked 10th in Success Rate rushing in that direction, 6th up the middle, and 14th going left. Add on the third-best sack rate in the league, and you've got a great unit.

The one issue with the Steelers is that they no longer have their security blanket should Gilbert or someone else miss time. Backup Chris Hubbard signed a fat contract with the Cleveland Browns this offseason, and the team hasn't taken an offensive lineman within the first two rounds of the draft since 2012. Depth is a bit of a concern, but at full health, this is a unit that improves the outlook of all pieces around it.

5. Atlanta Falcons

Pass Blocking: Above average | Run Blocking: Above average

If we were basing this list just off of 2017, the Atlanta Falcons likely would have been one tier lower. Wes Schweitzer struggled at right guard after the offseason retirement of Chris Chester. But they filled that one hole in the offseason, and it could help put them back up with the elites.

Because both left guard Andy Levitre and center Alex Mack are pure animals, the Falcons ranked second in Rushing Success Rate on runs up the middle. But when running right, they ranked just 21st in Success Rate after sitting 9th in 2016. Brandon Fusco could help there.

Coming over from the San Francisco 49ers, Fusco signed a three-year deal in free agency. He operated in Kyle Shanahan's offense while with the 49ers, and the Falcons' offense still bears some resemblance to the scheme run by their former offensive coordinator. Devonta Freeman was already efficient last year, sitting fourth in Success Rate among running backs with at least 100 carries, but he could get a boost with Fusco potentially replacing Schweitzer.

Comfortably Solid

6. Oakland Raiders

Pass Blocking: Above average | Run Blocking: Above average

It's entirely possible that all of Jordy Nelson, Marshawn Lynch, and Doug Martin are completely washed up. And some of the Oakland Raiders' moves this offseason have been complete head-scratchers. But there's still some reason to believe they'll bounce back a bit from last year.

The big reason there is the offensive line. Despite the overall issues on offense last year, they still ranked 3rd in Sack NEP per drop back and were in the top 12 in Rushing Success Rate to each direction. The guys up front did their jobs.

On top of that, they invested in the position during the draft, taking Kolton Miller 15th overall and Brandon Parker 65th. There are legitimate reasons to be skeptical of Miller's talent, but he's a freak athlete, sitting in the 85th percentile or higher in height, hand size, 40-yard dash, vertical, broad jump, 3-cone drill, and 20-yard shuttle among tackles, according to MockDraftable.

Miller helps provide insurance for left tackle Donald Penn. Penn's season was cut short due to foot surgery, and he was later investigated for domestic violence, though no charges were brought due to insufficient evidence.

The Raiders' non-Amari Cooper skill-position players are not overly talented, but the offensive line is solid when healthy, and Miller can either start at right tackle or be waiting in the wings in case of emergency. If you are able to determine who will get volume, you may want to dig deeper and see if they're going too late in drafts.

7. Los Angeles Rams

Pass Blocking: Above average | Run Blocking: Above average

Jared Goff, Todd Gurley, and Sean McVay all deserve credit for the Los Angeles Rams' turnaround last year. But whoever assembled that offensive line needs to be in that same discussion.

With left tackle Andrew Whitworth and center John Sullivan in the fold, the Rams ranked 9th in sack rate after finishing 29th the year before. They were also 7th in Rushing Success Rate when going left and 3rd going right after ranking 31st and 32nd, respectively, the previous year. They were superb in all aspects of the game.

So, why aren't the Rams higher on this list, then? That's largely because they're due for some injury regression. Prior to Week 17 -- when most of the starters rested -- the team hadn't had a start missed the entire season due to injury on the offensive line. That just doesn't happen. They did add depth in the draft by taking three linemen in the first six rounds, but we likely saw the ceiling from this unit last year.

8. Jacksonville Jaguars

Pass Blocking: Above average | Run Blocking: Above average

From an efficiency standpoint, the Jacksonville Jaguars were not a good rushing team last year. Even with Leonard Fournette there, the team ranked outside the top 12 in Rushing Success Rate to each direction. But bringing in guard Andrew Norwell has the potential to change that.

Norwell signed a 5-year, $66.5 million deal in the offseason with $30 million guaranteed, showing you how much they value his services. The team struggled rushing left last year, sitting 26th in Rushing Success Rate. The Carolina Panthers -- Norwell's old squad -- were 17th rushing left despite not having a back like Fournette.

Norwell should help the ground game, and they were already decent at protecting the passer, sitting sixth in both sack rate and Sack NEP per drop back. Assuming they get full seasons from center Brandon Linder and right tackle Jermey Parnell (who missed four and three games, respectively, last year), this offensive line could be poised for a leap.

Fournette is currently the ninth overall pick in PPR drafts, according to Fantasy Football Calculator, so it's hard for him to climb much higher despite the gains up front. But the addition of Norwell helps solidify that Fournette is worth that cost even if Blake Bortles does regress.

9. New England Patriots

Pass Blocking: Neutral | Run Blocking: Elite

Because the New England Patriots lost left tackle Nate Solder in free agency, it's hard to put their pass-blocking grade at higher than neutral. They have a legit question mark at left tackle. But if they figure out that slot, they'll be sitting much higher than this by season's end.

The Patriots did take Georgia's Isaiah Wynn in the first round, and it looks like he'll get a shot to lock down that role.

Wynn's top six physical comps on MockDraftable are all interior offensive linemen due to lower-than-desirable arm length. But, as Scarnecchia mentioned, Wynn was great at left tackle at Georgia, landing first-team all-conference honors in 2017 as part of one of the nation's best offensive lines. He deserves a shot to play left tackle.

The other option is newly-acquired tackle Trent Brown, who came over via trade from the 49ers during the draft. He's the polar opposite of Wynn, checking in at 6'8", 380 pounds, though that weight may have been a factor in his being shipped out of San Francisco. They're two very different players, but if one of them can step up at left tackle, the Patriots will be sitting pretty.

The run blocking is not in question at all. The Patriots were sixth or better in Rushing Success Rate to each direction, so Sony Michel or anybody else who gets carries should be efficient. There's plenty of value in this offense already, and that's even accounting for the concerns around the most important position.

10. Los Angeles Chargers

Pass Blocking: Elite | Run Blocking: Below average

How you view the Los Angeles Chargers' offensive line will partly depend on your philosophy. If you're looking for a unit that will open gaping holes for Melvin Gordon, that's far from a guarantee. But because passing efficiency is so important in today's NFL, it's hard to put this group outside the top 10.

The Chargers struggled with pass protection in 2016, finishing 16th in sack rate. But they brought in Russell Okung to play left tackle and invested heavily in the interior during the draft, leading to a massive turnaround. They led the entire league in both Sack NEP per drop back and sack rate last year, justifying the elite tag on their pass blocking.

The run blocking remains suspect after they ranked 25th in Success Rate rushing left, 14th up the middle, and 1st going right. But there's reason for hope there, too.

Last year's third-round pick, guard Dan Feeney, entered the starting lineup in Week 8 after left guard Matt Slauson went down with a season-ending injury. From Week 8 on, the Chargers' Success Rate going left was 36.1%; it was just 34.0% before that.

Additionally, the Chargers essentially bring in two new faces to the interior this year. They signed Mike Pouncey in free agency after the Miami Dolphins released him, and 2017 second-round pick Forrest Lamp rejoins the team after tearing his ACL in training camp. Lamp had a "minor procedure" done on his knee this offseason, which does add a bit of fogginess to his timeline for 2018. But if both Pouncey and Lamp perform well, we could be talking about the Chargers as being one of the biggest surprise units this fall.

11. Cleveland Browns

Pass Blocking: Neutral | Run Blocking: Above average

The Browns are the discount version of the Patriots; if they can figure out their left tackle slot, they could be awesome. That's just not the position where you want to have question marks.

Also like the Patriots, they have an interesting candidate to potentially fill that role. They took Austin Corbett with the first pick in the second round, and although many viewed Corbett as a guard in the draft, he did play left tackle at Nevada. The team has already said that Corbett will get a shot to win the left tackle spot in training camp.

As mentioned before, the Browns also signed former Steelers tackle Chris Hubbard in free agency, giving him a five-year deal with $18 million guaranteed. Toss in Shon Coleman -- last year's starter at right tackle -- and the Browns have three guys competing for two tackle spots. The interior is already great, and locking up the tackle positions would only push them higher.

This configuration is a positive for Tyrod Taylor, Baker Mayfield, and the three-headed monster at running back. Once you get a good read on which players will receive the most volume, feel free to invest thanks to the offseason upgrades at quarterback and continued investments in the offensive line.

12. Baltimore Ravens

Pass Blocking: Above average | Run Blocking: Neutral

The Baltimore Ravens took a big hit this offseason, losing stud center Ryan Jensen in free agency to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. But with all the injuries the Ravens endured last year, they may be equipped to handle that departure.

Almost the entire interior of the Baltimore line was gone before hitting the quarter pole of the season. Left guard Alex Lewis missed the entire season due to a shoulder injury, and right guard Marshal Yanda sustained a season-ending ankle injury in Week 3. Even with that, the team managed to finish 2nd in Success Rate rushing left, 10th up the middle, and 11th going right.

Additionally, the team kept Joe Flacco upright. They ranked seventh in sack rate and fourth in Sack NEP per drop back after ranking eighth and ninth, respectively, the year before. This is a good pass-blocking unit even when they're down some bodies.

So, yes, losing Jensen will hurt. But Alex Collins flashed high efficiency last year even though he didn't emerge until after the Lewis and Yanda injuries. Assuming he's able to fend off a healthy Kenneth Dixon, there's plenty of reason to believe in Collins this year.

13. Green Bay Packers

Pass Blocking: Neutral | Run Blocking: Above average

Because of all of the injuries the Green Bay Packers endured last season, you could make a case for having them higher on this list. But they also have not signed right guard Jahri Evans (and seem unlikely to do so), leaving some question marks up front.

There's no question that the injuries were the main reason the Packers finished 27th in sack rate last year. Tackles David Bakhtiari and Bryan Bulaga missed 4 and 11 games, respectively. But Bulaga is coming off a torn ACL in November, so his health is no guarantee, and the Packers didn't address the offensive line until the fifth round, taking guard Cole Madison there.

The team had one of the best run-blocking lines in the league last year, ranking first in Success Rate on runs up the middle. But with Evans gone and Bulaga's health less than guaranteed, the Packers have a few question marks entering 2018. They may be one of the more volatile units in this upper grouping.

Middle Tier

14. Tennessee Titans

Pass Blocking: Neutral | Run Blocking: Neutral

Looking at season-long sack metrics for the Tennessee Titans is going to be unfair. Almost one-third (31.3%) of their Sack NEP lost for the season came from when Matt Cassel was forced into action in Weeks 4 and 5. But there were some other causes for concern that may force them a bit lower than their public perception.

The first is the health of right tackle Jack Conklin. Conklin tore his ACL in the team's playoff loss to the Patriots, meaning he'll be up against the clock to play once the regular season begins, and a clean bill of health at the start of training camp seems out of the question. Conklin was the team's first-round pick in 2016 and a big key to their offensive turnaround.

Second, the Titans were another team -- like the Rams -- that benefitted from great injury luck prior to Conklin's injury. They had just two games missed due to injury during the regular season with left guard Quinton Spain sitting in Weeks 9 and 10. That was it. And yet the performance was still a bit underwhelming.

Ever since the Conklin pick, the offensive line has been an afterthought in the draft. They took a pair of linemen in the last two rounds of 2017 but did not address the line at all in 2018. Even in adding Kevin Pamphile and Xavier Su'a-Filo for depth in the offseason, this team isn't positioned to handle injuries well, and Conklin's progression will be a major story to watch through the preseason.

15. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Pass Blocking: Neutral | Run Blocking: Neutral

The Buccaneers' offensive line hasn't been a strength for a while now. But with Jensen in the fold at center, that could change in a hurry.

As mentioned before, despite two big injuries, the Ravens ranked 10th in Success Rate on runs up the middle thanks to Jensen's exploits last year. The Buccaneers ranked 31st in that department. This is a huge signing.

This also allows them to upgrade at another slot as 2017 center Ali Marpet will slide to left guard to take the place of the departed Kevin Pamphile. Marpet -- and right tackle Demar Dotson -- missed five games last year.

There's no question that the Buccaneers will be better in both aspects of blocking than they were last year. The only mystery is how much better. They'll be a team to watch early in the season to see if they can provide a boost to Ronald Jones and Peyton Barber in the run game.

16. Detroit Lions

Pass Blocking: Neutral | Run Blocking: Neutral

Last year was a poor one for the Detroit Lions' offensive line, as they ranked 32nd in Rushing Success Rate up the middle and 30th going right. They were also 29th in Sack NEP per drop back. But those numbers are misleading, and this unit is right in the middle of the pack entering 2018.

The biggest reason for those struggles was the early-season absence of left tackle Taylor Decker. He missed the first eight games due to shoulder surgery, and they were a different team when he was healthy.

Lions in 2017 Sack Rate RB Success Rate Going Left
With Decker 7.3% 43.8%
Without Decker 7.9% 29.6%

Getting a full year of Decker is essentially like adding a big-ticket free agent. Then, the team went ahead and took center Frank Ragnow in the first round. They're a lot better than they were last year.

As with the Buccaneers, we still have to see just how much better the Lions will be. They had a long way to go to be competent after last season, so it's not a guarantee that they'll suddenly be an above-average unit. But placing them right in the middle while mentioning there's upside for something more feels right.

17. Kansas City Chiefs

Pass Blocking: Neutral | Run Blocking: Neutral

The Kansas City Chiefs' outlook for 2018 may hinge on center Mitch Morse. Morse missed nine games due to injury last year, and it seemed to have a big effect on the team. Although he's healthy now, there's still a bit of shakiness up front.

The biggest reason for that is the team lost Zach Fulton to the Houston Texans in free agency. Fulton started 12 games last year, 8 of them coming at center in place of Morse. If anything were to happen to Morse or any of the team's other interior linemen, things could get dicey in a hurry.

That said, the line still performed well even with Morse missing all that time. They were in the top half of the league in Success Rate to each direction, and they were 16th in sack rate. Right now, they're neither a positive nor a negative for the offense as a whole. The concern would be that this could change if they were to sustain an injury or two early in the season.

18. San Francisco 49ers

Pass Blocking: Neutral | Run Blocking: Neutral

This 49ers line is going to look a whole heck of a lot different than it did in 2017. They lost some talent, but they also brought plenty in. They'll be one of the bigger mysteries as we head to training camp.

The whole right side of the line -- right tackle Trenton Brown, right guard Brandon Fusco, and center Daniel Kilgore -- is now off playing elsewhere. Considering they ranked 24th in Success Rate up the middle and 29th to the right, it's possible that's not the end of the world.

The team signed center Weston Richburg and guard Jonathan Cooper in free agency and took tackle Mike McGlinchey ninth overall in the draft. The performance of those three could dictate how well this team transitions in its new state.

One wild card here is 2016 first-round pick Joshua Garnett. Garnett missed all of last season due to knee surgery but was healthy enough to return later in the year had the team elected to bring him back. Since then, Garnett has lost more than 20 pounds in an attempt to better fit head coach Kyle Shanahan's offense.

Garnett will likely compete with Cooper for the starting spot at right guard. We'll see how this all shakes out, but the 49ers are a line with a wide range of outcomes for 2018.

19. Washington

Pass Blocking: Above average | Run Blocking: Below average

Arguably no team had worse injury luck last year than Washington. They were healthy for the first six games before the brown stuff hit the fan in a hurry. But they weren't without flaws as a rushing offense even before all the injuries hit.

The table below shows the team's splits when they were healthy (through Week 7) compared to what they were for the rest of the season. The pass blocking completely tanked, but the rush blocking stayed nearly equal.

Washington in 2017 Sack Rate RB Success Rate
First 6 Games 5.7% 35.2%
Final 10 Games 7.8% 34.3%

The team should be able to protect Alex Smith well now that Trent Williams is healthy. But with the questionable run blocking and Spencer Long gone in free agency, it's hard to expect them to open tons of lanes for the rushers.

There's no question that Derrius Guice will get volume on the ground. But head coach Jay Gruden has already said that Guice's role will largely be contained to first and second down, keeping Chris Thompson in his pass-catching role. At least for the short term, Guice could struggle to produce efficiently unless the group up front improves.

20. Cincinnati Bengals

Pass Blocking: Neutral | Run Blocking: Neutral

The Cincinnati Bengals had one of the worst offensive lines in the league at the beginning of last year. They're likely part of the reason offensive coordinator Ken Zampese got canned after just two games. But they improved as the season went along, and some new offseason additions have things looking up.

First, let's look at the in-season improvements. The Rushing Success Rates below encompass rushes to each direction by only running backs. They were a whole new team in the second half.

Bengals in 2017 Rushing Success Rate
First 8 Games 33.5%
Final 8 Games 42.3%

Both Joe Mixon and Giovani Bernard had a Success Rate above 40.0% in the second half of the year, so this wasn't just a single-player effort. The line just seemed to finally click.

Now, they've added new faces at the two most important positions on the line, center and left tackle. They brought in Cordy Glenn from Buffalo to anchor Andy Dalton's blindside and took center Billy Price with the 21st overall pick. Those were the two biggest weak spots up front last year, and it should give us more confidence in taking Mixon at his current ADP.

From Week 3 through Week 11, Mixon averaged 14.8 carries and 2.8 targets per game, netting at least 3 targets in 7 of 9 games. Now that he has had an offseason to recover from late-season injuries and has a new-look offensive line, it's easy to justify selecting him in the middle of the third round.

21. Chicago Bears

Pass Blocking: Below average | Run Blocking: Above average

The Chicago Bears had some bad injury luck last year with stud guard Kyle Long missing a heavy chunk of time. Long figures to enter 2018 with a clean bill of help, inspiring some hope for Jordan Howard and Mitchell Trubisky. It's possible, though, that the optimism is a bit too ambitious.

Last year, the Bears ranked 26th in Sack NEP per drop back and 23rd in sack rate. These issues were especially apparent after Trubisky took over. In the games that Long played, their sack rate was 8.2%. It was actually 7.2% in the games that he missed. They struggled even when Long was healthy.

There's no question, though, that Long helped the ground game. Running backs had a 40.3% Success Rate with Long out there compared to 36.2% when he was on the sidelines. And the team was pretty solid going left, ranking ninth in Success Rate for the full season. But they lost left guard Josh Sitton in free agency, potentially replacing him with second-round rookie James Daniels. There's more uncertainty here than you may think.

If Long comes back healthy and Daniels lives up to his draft cost, they should be a good run-blocking team from the jump. But Long has played just 18 games the past two years and is entering his age-30 season, so that's far from a lock. On top of that, the pass blocking was suspect last year and remains a mystery entering 2018. It's wise to approach this team with caution if the offseason hype carries ADPs higher as we approach the season.

22. Indianapolis Colts

Pass Blocking: Below average | Run Blocking: Above average

Even though the Bears and Indianapolis Colts are ranked consecutively here, they're likely to be viewed quite differently by the public. That could lead to some undervaluing of the assets tied to this team -- assuming Andrew Luck is healthy, that is.

This line wasn't great last year, ranking dead last in sack rate and finishing in the top half of the league in Rushing Success Rate only up the middle. But this isn't the same unit they had last year.

The big addition is obviously Quenton Nelson, the sixth overall pick in the draft. His top combine comp is a souped-up dump truck (don't fact check that), and he immediately upgrades the team's interior. They also selected Braden Smith 37th overall, and he could potentially start at the other guard spot.

Just like the Bears, the Colts also had some bad injury luck last year. Center Ryan Kelly -- their first-round pick in 2016 -- got hurt before the season and again later on, playing in just seven games. Guard Jack Mewhort played just five games and will now battle with Smith to regain a starting spot. Those were two decently big losses to deal with during the season.

To top it all off, the Colts added depth in signing Austin Howard and Matt Slauson in free agency. Indianapolis may not have the league's best line, but there's no doubt they're better than what they were, and they're likely better than their perception. With only one player going within the first eight rounds of PPR drafts, we can potentially start to buy up pieces here even without assurance that Luck will be healthy.

23. Miami Dolphins

Pass Blocking: Neutral | Run Blocking: Below average

The Dolphins' offensive line was already pretty skilled last year at keeping Jay Cutler and Matt Moore upright, ranking 10th in sack rate. The rushing offense, though, was pretty terrible, necessitating offseason changes. Those came in the form of Josh Sitton and Daniel Kilgore.

Sitton signed in free agency for $8.45 million as part of a two-year deal, giving the team an upgrade at left guard. Then they swapped seventh-round picks with the 49ers to acquire Kilgore, replacing Pouncey at center. After the Dolphins ranked 30th in Rushing Success Rate to the left and 28th at the middle, some sort of change was absolutely necessary.

Sitton should help push the team forward, and having a healthy Ja'Wuan James at right tackle will help. The Dolphins will -- at the very least -- be better than they were last year, though that's not saying much.

24. New York Giants

Pass Blocking: Neutral | Run Blocking: Neutral

There are three offensive lines that enter 2018 being neutral assets after being liabilities in 2017. The first two were the already-discussed Bengals and Colts. The third is the New York Giants. They still find themselves ranked 24th, though, because there's just so much turnover to sort through.

You likely know about the additions the team made, signing left tackle Nate Solder in free agency and drafting guard Will Hernandez 34th overall. There could be another upgrade on the way if Ereck Flowers can successfully transition to right tackle. Those are all solid, and they're why the Giants are better now than they were before.

But we also can't overlook the losses. Both center Weston Richburg and left guard Justin Pugh left in free agency, and those are far from being insignificant departures. They brought in Patrick Omameh to fill the other guard slot, but the Jaguars ranked 26th in Success Rate when rushing his direction last year. Potential starting center Brett Jones started 12 games in place of Richburg last year, but he is a former undrafted free agent with just 14 career starts under his belt as he enters his age-27 season. That brings a good amount of uncertainty to this situation.

If everything works out well here, the Giants have the potential to be an above-average unit. But the range of outcomes here is fairly large, necessitating some continued caution despite the improvements.

Slight Liability

25. Minnesota Vikings

Pass Blocking: Neutral | Run Blocking: Below average

There's no doubt that the Minnesota Vikings are better now than they were in 2016. That's not a high bar to set. But they're still far from being a plus, and they're the biggest weakness on an otherwise-stout offense.

Last year, the Vikings ranked 27th in Rushing Success Rate going left, 15th up the middle, and 14th going right. Considering the late-season injuries to Nick Easton, Pat Elflein, and Mike Remmers, that may make sense. But they're also not necessarily better now than they were.

Right guard Joe Berger retired, meaning it's possible that Remmers slides to right guard as he did in the playoffs last year. That would leave right tackle open for either Rashod Hill or their 2018 second-round pick, Bryan O'Neill.

The pass blocking here is less of a concern. They were eighth in sack rate last year, and Kirk Cousins has certainly seen worse offensive lines after the injuries to Washington's front last year. The line isn't a reason to divest from what should be a very good offense, but it is something to keep in mind while buying Dalvin Cook, Stefon Diggs, and Adam Thielen.

26. Seattle Seahawks

Pass Blocking: Neutral | Run Blocking: Below average

It is a bit strange for a team to be ranked as the 26th-best offensive line while simultaneously being "underrated." But that may be the case for the Seattle Seahawks.

The biggest reason for hope here is left tackle Duane Brown. He came over via trade last year and started from Week 9 on. His impact here is undeniable.

Before joining the Seahawks, Brown was with the Houston Texans. He missed time in 2016, as well, due to injury, meaning we have pretty decent samples for both the Texans and Seahawks with and without Brown. Let's combine those into one and see what the two teams have done based on Brown's availability the past two season.

Past Two Seasons Sack Rate RB Success Rate RB Success Rate to Left
Seahawks/Texans With Brown 7.0% 36.3% 39.7%
Seahawks/Texans Without Brown 7.2% 34.5% 36.8%

He improves both the pass blocking and the run blocking for the entire team. That's why the Seahawks are a bit underrated entering this year. But there are still plenty of question marks.

The Seahawks did not address the offensive line until the fifth round in this year's draft, largely due to a lack of overall picks. Their lone offseason signing was bringing in guard D.J. Fluker for $1.5 million. For a team that had this many issues in 2017, that seems misguided.

However, that may not be enough to justify avoiding someone like Rashaad Penny. Penny's ADP has risen, but he's still just a sixth-round pick in PPR leagues. Penny figures to get volume, and he carried a heavy load in college. Both he and Tyler Lockett can still be draft-day bargains even with the Seahawks' offensive line being sub-par.

Bottom of the Barrel

27. Carolina Panthers

Pass Blocking: Below average | Run Blocking: Below average

The Panthers' offensive line was nothing special last year. They were 17th in Success Rate going left, 9th up the middle, and 22nd going right, and they were just 17th in sack rate. Now that Norwell is in Jacksonville, there's no reason to think this team will be any better in 2018.

The one positive for the Panthers is that center Ryan Kalil figures to be healthy entering the year. He played just six games last year due to neck injuries, and he was a big difference-maker in 2016. Kalil's presence allows his former fill-in, Tyler Larsen, to potentially shift to guard and fill Norwell's absence.

But Kalil plans to retire after this season, and the team's depth should his neck injury flare up again is highly suspect. They have selected just one offensive lineman in the draft over the past three seasons. Things could go south in a hurry.

The biggest loser here is new arrival C.J. Anderson. Unlike Christian McCaffrey, Anderson is dependent on efficient rushing volume to return fantasy value, and that's far from a lock behind this line. With the potential for struggles up front and the additions of D.J. Moore, Jarius Wright, and Torrey Smith, don't be surprised if the Panthers become a bit more pass-happy in 2018.

28. Denver Broncos

Pass Blocking: Poor | Run Blocking: Neutral

Case Keenum did a solid job of avoiding sacks despite a lackluster line last year in Minnesota. Unfortunately, he's going to have to do it again with the Denver Broncos.

Denver finished 2017 ranked 29th in sack rate and 28th in Sack NEP. You can blame that on the quarterbacks if you want, but they were in the middle of the pack in both categories in 2016 with Trevor Siemian starting 14 games.

That's a major issue with how important passing efficiency is to overall offensive efficiency in today's game. The run blocking can salvage a bit of hope, though.

Right guard Ronald Leary missed the final five games last year due to a back injury. Now, they get him back, and he'll shift back to left guard, where he was previously dominant with the Cowboys. They also signed Jared Veldheer in free agency, and he figures to be an upgrade over the revolving door they had at right tackle.

That said, even with potentially neutral run blocking, the offensive line is still a liability for all pieces tied to this offense. If they can't keep Keenum upright, any drive is at risk of ending immediately thanks to a big loss. Keenum has experience in these situations, and he's going to need to be on his game to keep the rest of the pieces afloat.

29. New York Jets

Pass Blocking: Below average | Run Blocking: Below average

In the days of Nick Mangold and D'Brickashaw Ferguson, the New York Jets were among the best offensive lines in the league. Just like those two icons, though, the Jets' days of having an elite unit up front are simply a memory.

The Jets' ground game was putrid last year, ranking 29th or lower in Success Rate to each direction. They did partially address this in free agency, signing center Spencer Long to a four-year deal, but the interior still is not where it needs to be.

The pass blocking also slid in the wrong direction as they fell to 28th in sack rate from 21st the previous season. That's not an ideal situation for a rookie quarterback should they hand the reins over to Sam Darnold.

The backfield is clogged here with Isaiah Crowell and Thomas Rawls joining holdovers Bilal Powell and Elijah McGuire, putting a cap on any volume expectations. And any volume players do get will likely be inefficient thanks to the offensive line. This is a backfield to avoid until you're taking dart throws late.

As for the passing game, guys like Robby Anderson, Terrelle Pryor, and Quincy Enunwa are cheap enough where you can buy them, and they will be able to avoid the ills of a poor offensive line better than Darnold or the backs will. But once Darnold takes over, it's fair to view him with a good deal of skepticism because the conditions here are less than ideal.

30. Arizona Cardinals

Pass Blocking: Below average | Run Blocking: Below average

Darnold isn't the only rookie quarterback entering a scary situation. The same honor belongs to Josh Rosen as he joins the Arizona Cardinals. But at least the Cardinals can use injuries as an excuse for poor play last year.

All in all, the Cardinals used four different players at left tackle in 2017, three at left guard, two at right guard, and two at right tackle. It was a bloodpath from the jump.

The big injury was to left tackle D.J. Humphries, and it sounds like he'll be healthy for Week 1. That's a big gain for the offense. They also signed Justin Pugh in free agency, which is another slight upgrade.

The name to keep an eye on here is Mason Cole. The Cardinals drafted Cole in the third round after he started 51 consecutive games for Michigan in college. He played both center and left tackle with the Wolverines. He could start early on at one of the guard spots or by subplanting A.Q. Shipley at center.

If Cole comes in and plays well, and Pugh and Humphries play to their fullest level, the Cardinals will be much better than this. But that's a lot of "ifs" revolving around a third-round rookie, a guy coming off a serious injury, and another let go by a team that needed help on the offensive line. There are more questions than answers here, so although there's some reason for hope, it's hard to enter the season with overflowing optimism around this unit.

31. Buffalo Bills

Pass Blocking: Below average | Run Blocking: Poor

As recently as 2016, the Buffalo Bills had one of the best offensive lines in the league. But after just one offseason of major change, they're suddenly among the worst.

Left tackle Cordy Glenn was traded to the Bengals. Left guard Richie Incognito retired and then unretired and was released. Center Eric Wood retired due to a neck injury. Not many teams can lose their starters at the two most important positions and their best player and still be functional. The Bills will need to be an exception.

Even though the Bills entered the draft with a boatload of picks, they didn't address the offensive line until the fifth round. Their one signing in free agency was center Russell Bodine, who struggled with the Bengals last year. They're relying on last year's backups to be starters this year.

Left tackle Dion Dawkins was a second-round pick in 2017, and he did start 11 games as a rookie with Glenn banged up. There are reasons to think this guy could be talented. But even with Dawkins filling in for Glenn, the team ranked 30th in sack rate, and he'll no longer have Incognito to his right to help clean up messes. Dawkins will need to live up to all of the hype to make this line anything close to competent.

32. Houston Texans

Pass Blocking: Poor | Run Blocking: Below average

There were a lot of things at play when the Texans traded Duane Brown to the Seahawks. He was locked in a contract dispute that led to his sitting out the first six games, so there was some bad blood between him and the team. But losing such a good player when you need to protect Deshaun Watson is still mind-boggling.

With Brown playing just one game last year, the Texans ranked dead last in Sack NEP per drop back and 31st in sack rate. And you can't pin all of that on Tom Savage as their sack rate in the games Watson started would have ranked 25th in the league.

They did bring in interior linemen Zach Fulton and Senio Kelemete via free agency, but their potential starting tackles -- Julie'n Davenport and free-agent signing Seantrel Henderson -- played a combined 282 snaps last year. And this is for a team whose potential franchise quarterback is coming off of a major knee surgery. This is negligence.

The run blocking is less egregious, especially with Fulton in town, but this team will likely flirt with a league-worst sack rate again in 2018. They had better hope Watson's knee is fully healthy by Week 1 because he's going to need every ounce of explosion he can muster.