Here we are at week five of the NFL's regular season, and it's time to talk about the big guys. This week we have several upgrades and downgrades, as well as the Week 5 Match-up's of note. Let's dive in:
Jacksonville plus 5.
It’s a mixed bag for the Jaguars offensive line this week. They get back left tackle Luke Joeckel, who had been out of action with an ankle injury for two weeks. Sending Sam Young to the bench improves this unit. However they lost guard Brandon Linder for the season with a torn labrum requiring surgery. Linder is one of the league’s better young guards and had been improving his play week to week. Rookie A.J. Cann takes his spot in the lineup. So, if they lost such a great player, why the upgrade? The short answer is that the model emphasizes the left tackle position more than the guard position. Also it’s good that the team has depth at the spot in the form of Cann. Cann won’t be as dominant as Linder but the drop off isn’t as huge as the drop off between Joeckel and Sam Young. The Jaguars rise five spots, to 18th overall in the latest offensive line rankings.
Buffalo plus 4.
This upgrade comes primarily on the performance of left tackle Cordy Glenn. Despite his team’s loss to the New York Giants at home, Glenn was dominant. Glenn left the game with an ankle injury, and missed about 20 snaps, but returned and put in a career best performance. In other news rookie right guard John Miller returned to practice on a limited basis, and could be on track to return to the lineup against Tennessee. The Bills currently check in as a mid-tier group, at 19th, up four spots in the latest offensive line rankings.
New York (N) plus 8.
The Giants offensive line got some good news this week, as rookie left tackle Ereck Flowers returned to the lineup. Flowers had been out previous weeks, and got injured again during the game (ankle sprain). But Flowers only missed ten snaps and refused to leave the lineup. Flowers’ performance earned him praise from his coaches and teammates and with him back in the lineup, players such as Justin Pugh can go back to their normal positions. With the increased toughness, the Giants rise 8 spots, up to 22nd in the latest offensive line rankings.
Minnesota plus 3.
The Vikings’ line had a rough preseason, losing two starters to injury. However of late the line has come back, creating huge holes for star running back Adrian Peterson. A part of this upgrade is due to the stellar performance of left tackle Matt Kalil. Fully healthy, Kalil looks like the dominant player that he was in college. An oft overlooked aspect of offensive line play is the tight end position, and Kyle Rudolph has been acting as a sixth lineman on the field, often staying in with blocking assignments. Rudolph is often parked next to rookie right tackle T.J. Clemmings, who is getting a trial by fire. The Vikings’ line is up three spots, to 26th overall in the offensive line rankings.
New Orleans minus 7.
After missing games the last two weeks, former All-Pro guard Jahri Evans underwent arthroscopic surgery to clean up his knee. The team has not given an exact time frame, but Evans will likely be out several weeks. Senio Kelemete has been starting in his place. In related news, left tackle Terron Armstead has been missing from practice this week, as he suffered an injury in the second quarter in the game against Dallas. Rookie Andrus Peat took Armstead’s place, and most teams don’t have that luxury of going to a first rounder on the bench when their left tackle leaves the game. Armstead returned to the contest but could miss this week’s game at Philadelphia. The team signed journeyman Tony Hills, and that could be a sign that Armstead’s availability is in doubt. In light of all these injuries, the Saints fall four spots to 11th overall in the offensive line rankings.
Denver minus 5.
The Broncos were without the services of rookie offensive tackle Ty Sambrailo (shoulder) last week against Minnesota. In his place, right tackle Ryan Harris flipped sides and Michael Schofield joined the lineup at right tackle. Sambrailo did not practice on Wednesday and his availability for the game against Oakland is in doubt. If another player gets hurt, recently signed swing tackle Tyler Polumbus would be the next man into the lineup. Sambrailo was not perfect but had been playing well for a rookie, especially given the tough task of playing that key position. Despite this issue, the line was able to create some big holes this weekend, especially on toss sweep plays. With an injury, the Broncos lose five spots in the offensive line rankings, and check in at 18th.
Week 5 Matchups Of Note:
POSITIVE MATCH-UPS TO LEAN UPON:
- 5th HOU O-Line vs 29th IND defensive front seven (+24).
- 8th PHI O-Line vs 32nd NO defensive front seven (+24).
- 12th KC O-Line vs 30th CHI defensive front seven (+18).
- 6th BAL O-Line vs 22nd CLE defensive front seven (+18).
- 15th PIT O-Line @ 31st SD defensive front seven (+16).
- 14th WAS O-Line @ 27th ATL defensive front seven (+13).
NEGATIVE MATCH-UPS TO AVOID:
- 29th CHI O-Line @ 3rd KC defensive front seven (-26).
- 23rd TEN O-Line vs 4th BUF defensive front seven (-19).
- 27th IND O-Line @ 10th HOU defensive front seven (-15).
- 31st STL O-Line @ 19th GB defensive front seven (-12).
- 28th SEA O-Line @ 18th CIN defensive front seven (-10).
There is an interesting match-up where 1st DAL O-Line vs 1st NE defensive front seven. This doesn't come with any fantasy recommendations, but fans of the trenches should see a real battle when Dallas’ offense is on the field.
Looking back on Week 4’s Match-ups of Note:
Last week, these predictions were 8-4 with 8 quality insights and 4 that didn’t pan out. In the season thus far, this seems to be the rate of success, over 5 weeks it’s about 2:1 ratio of good predictions to bad. It’s not perfect and will be striving to get better but overall I can be proud of that ratio. Hopefully these predictions are helping players set their lineups and win big.
Philadelphia RT Lane Johnson playing hurt.
The Eagles’ offensive line isn’t downgraded this week but stud right tackle Lane Johnson is gutting out an injury. It’s possible that Jason Peters is in a similar situation, and that would explain the quality of their recent performances.
Chicago C Will Montgomery placed on IR with broken leg.
Without Montgomery, the team turned to Matt Slauson to move over from guard and put Patrick Omameh into the lineup at Slauson’s place. The team also has rookie third round pick Hroniss Grasu, and he could get a shot this week. Because the team has depth, and because Montgomery was not considered an elite player, there is no downgrade at this time. Also the line is at 29th, so there’s not too far to fall. Still, this situation bears further observation.
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.
Week 5 Offensive Line Rankings
|8||PHI||9||1||30.48||B+||B+||A-||Tackles playing hurt.|
|11||NO||4||-7||29.9||B+||B+||B||Evans knee scope.|
|13||JAX||18||5||29.15||B-||B-||B-||Joeckel returns, Linder on IR.|
|19||BUF||23||4||28.4||C+||C+||C-||Glenn playing well.|
|LOW TIER||22||NYG||30||8||28.1||C+||C+||C+||Flowers returns.|
|29||CHI||28||-1||27.4||D+||D+||C-||Montgomery on IR.|
|30||MIA||27||-3||27.3||D+||D+||D+||Albert still out.|
Week 5 Defensive Front Seven Rankings
|6||New York (A)||Richardson returns.|
|17||Dallas||Hardy, McClain return.|
|26||New York (N)|