It’s official, we are in an, “On any given Sunday”, season. Ignore media narratives about teams, “righting the ship, or, “struggling to find their form”. 60% of the teams in the NFL are going to be at or near .500 for most of the season and the teams that do breakout and put together winning streaks are going to do it late in the season. The reason this column exists is for readers to be able to decide if they trust the weekly point projections their fantasy football platforms are showing them. When selecting your starters it’s important to always remember; pass catchers are QB and O-line dependent and runners are wholly line dependent. If a point projection is over or under a players weekly average that must match up to how the offensive line is playing. If it doesn’t, it’s probably wrong.
Lines That Should Dominate
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs Buffalo Bills) – As of the writing of this column, Jameis Winston was still 50/50 to play on Sunday. Whether it’s Winston or Ryan Fitzpatrick passing it’ll still be Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson catching against a Bills pass D that’s the tenth worst in pass yards against over the last three games. That same D does rank in the top five in interceptions but that’s based more on a good young secondary than on a D line which simply isn’t getting to the QB. Combine that with a solid run defense and this sets up as a big pass blocking game for the Bucs which they do very well.
Philadelphia Eagles (vs Washington Redskins) – As Tony Romo was stressing on Week seven’s Thursday Night Football sometimes football games come down to one player making great plays down after down. Over the last two seasons the Birds are 9-2 with offensive tackle Lane Johnson and 2 – 8 without. Johnson is fully healthy this Sunday and ready for their rematch with division foe Washington. The Redskins defense this season is competent in both run and pass defense. The offense is piling up yards and the same is true of the Eagles. This game comes down to play in the trenches and I go with Jason Peters, Lane Johnson and Philadelphia.
Dallas Cowboys (vs San Francisco 49ers) – The Cowboys offense is ninth best in the league at total yards. Over the last three games, they’re third in average points scored. The 49ers defense is actually better than their record but they are dead last in giving up opponent 3rd down conversions. They don’t make the plays that end drives. Most of those conversions come through the air and the Cowboys are a top-five pass blocking team. Advantage Travis Fredrick and co-workers.
Lines That Should Struggle
Cincinnati Bengals (vs Pittsburgh Steelers) – The Bengals are a terrible run blocking team. They average a league-low three yards per attempt over the last three games. If they score it’s because of Andy Dalton and A.J Green. The Steelers defense is young, hungry, and starting to play a very cohesive brand of football. There’s not one current starter on the Cincinnati offensive line who would be starting for another team. Look forward to watching Dalton run and Joe Mixon not.
New York Jets (vs Miami Dolphins) – Welcome to the 2017 New York Jets where mediocre is used as a compliment. New York’s pass and run games are both surprisingly mediocre. In fact, their rushing attack has at times looked good. That’s the good news, here’s the bad the Dolphins are one of the best run defending teams in the NFL. The Jets are likely to be forced into chucking the ball on Sunday a lot more than their comfortable with. Ay and there’s the rub, the S.O.J are not a good O-line when the opponent is allowed to come after their QB without fear and that’s going to be the scenario over and over.
Baltimore Ravens (vs Minnesota Vikings) – Guess what team has allowed the fewest yards per game over the last three games? The Purple People Eaters are back and bad. Over the same span, the weaponless Ravens have scored the tenth lowest amount of points per game. Ronnie Stanley, Ryan Jensen and friends on the Baltimore O – line have been pretty good in the run game while the kids operating the robot Joe Flacco have really let the city down. Maybe they give up and untie him and let the two time Super Bowl winner take his job back? In any event, the Vikes are too good against the run and will be more than happy to make Flacco beat them.
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