For those lucky few to be alive in traditional fantasy leagues, best of luck in your finals. For those eliminated already, there's always DFS to turn a Sunday interesting. Week 16, the big dudes, #offensivelines, let's get after it!
Chicago plus fourteen.
This upgrade is based on the return of left guard Josh Sitton to full strength. Sitton had been rehabbing from an injury but has been a fixture in the last two games. The Bears' running attack has improved since his return. Sitton is not just an outstanding blocker, he also helps the young players such as rookie center Cody Whitehair, adjust to life in the league. Although they still miss Kyle Long, most teams have injuries this time of the season, and the Chicago offensive line grades out as a top-tier unit heading into the final two games of the regular season.
San Diego plus seven.
Left guard Orlando Franklin got himself active before last weekend's game and he was productive as a blocker during the contest against Oakland. Franklin's return is the big driver of this upgrade, as he can be an impact performer when healthy. Left tackle King Dunlap injured his knee during the contest last weekend, but he was able to return to the contest. Dunlap was held out of Wednesday's practice, so be sure to monitor his status as we approach game time. Dunlap remains in the rankings for now. Assuming both Franklin and Dunlap play, the Chargers' line nears top-tier status.
Houston plus seven.
Right guard Jeff Allen had missed last week's game with a concussion, but he has returned to practice this week. While he is not officially out of the league's concussion protocol, all signs point to Allen starting this weekend's contest against Cincinnati. Unlike several teams they still have their left tackle Duane Brown going strong and overall the line is getting healthier as the season progresses. Allen's return brings the Texans' line to the mid-tier of the rankings.
Tampa Bay plus one.
Right tackle Demar Dotson is still in the league's concussion protocol, but he also participated in practice this Wednesday. Dotson is rushing to beat a deadline this week, as the Bucs play on Saturday. Swing tackle Gosder Cherilus is fighting both groin and ankle injuries and seems unlikely to play this week. These rankings predict that Dotson will pass his tests and be in the lineup this weekend at New Orleans. Still, despite the upgrade, Tampa Bay's offensive line remains in the low tier of the rankings.
Carolina plus three.
Right tackle Daryl Williams was a welcome sight when he returned to Panthers' practice this Wednesday. Trai Turner especially was grateful, as he was able to shift back to his more natural guard position from right tackle. It is a testament to Turner's talent that he could sub in at tackle but he is far more effective as a guard. With Williams back in the lineup, the Panthers' line ticks up slightly going into their divisional matchup against Atlanta. However, with their left tackle and center on injured reserve, they are still a low tier line.
NYJ - RG Winters to IR
Dakota Dozier starts in place of Winters. Dozier actually helped out rookie right tackle Brandon Shell as an extra lineman last weekend and this is a chance for him to possibly audition for a job.
OAK - RG Osemele injured but probably will play.
Kelechi Osemele has been held out of practice but all signs point to him playing through the injury this weekend against Indianapolis.
PHI - Barbre, Vaitai and Seumalo return to health.
Allen Barbre will return to his starting left guard spot. Vaitai to his right tackle spot. The rankings don't change as the subs grade out very similarly to the starters in this situation. In other news, left tackle Jason Peters had a dominant performance last weekend.
SF - Martin and Staley remain out.
Zane Beadles, who had been subbing at left tackle, slid to center this weekend as Marcus Martin suffered an injury. With Joe Staley still out with a severe hamstring injury, John Theus took the left tackle spot and will likely get a start this weekend at Los Angeles. Either way, the Niners' line remains the worst in the rankings.
Week 16 Matchups of Note
- 4th OAK offensive line vs. 30th IND defensive front seven (+26)
- 5th BAL offensive line @ 27th PIT defensive front seven (+22)
- 8th CHI offensive line vs. 29th WAS defensive front seven (+21)
- 12th SD offensive line @ 32nd CLE defensive front seven (+20)
- 29th AZ offensive line @ 3rd SEA defensive front seven (-26)
- 32nd SF offensive line @ 7th LA defensive front seven (-25)
- 19th HOU offensive line vs. 4th CIN defensive front seven (-15)
Week 16 Offensive Line Rankings
|8||CHI||22||14||29.65||B+||A-||B||J. Sitton full strength.|
|MID TIER||12||SD||19||7||29.4||B+||A-||B||O. Franklin returned.|
|19||HOU||26||7||28.85||B-||B||C+||J. Allen returns.|
|24||TB||25||1||28.4||C+||C||B-||D. Dotson returns.|
|26||CAR||29||3||28.35||C||C||C||D. Williams returns.|
|31||NYJ||31||0||26.73||D+||C-||D||Winters to IR.|
|32||SF||32||0||25.85||D||D+||D||Martin and Staley likely out.|
Week 16 Defensive Front Seven Rankings
|15||New York (A)|
|16||New York (N)|
As usual, if you have a question about a team not specifically talked about in this article, please feel free to contact me via twitter or in the Shark Pool.
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