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Offseason Extra: Grading offensive lines for 2013

Senior Fantasy Writer
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They're the protectors of quarterbacks and gatekeepers for the running backs. They're the unsung heroes on teams that put up a ton of wins and the scapegoats of teams that have bruised and battered quarterbacks (that's after the quarterback himself is a scapegoat).

They're five oversized guys most Fantasy Football players don't care about. But, for the ones that do -- or those who want to know more about them -- we're here for you.

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Rating offensive linemen and offensive lines is something we've done for four years now. The methodology is simple: A grade is given out much like a student would get in school for each lineman. The five grades for the starting line is averaged and a final grade is given to each team. Film study, statistical review and even consultation with ProFootballFocus.com's 2012 offensive lineman grades are the basis of our findings.

What we've learned over the years is that there might be a difference between the best and worst offensive lines in the league, but it's not by much. Last year 15 offensive lines, nearly half of the league's squads, graded out as either a B- or C+ unit. This year that number swelled to 19, which is to say there are a lot of above average offensive lines out there, but not as many great or deplorable ones.

Team GPA '13 Grade '12 Grade Team GPA '13 Grade '12 Grade
1 Patriots 3.396 B+ B 17 Seahawks 2.528 C+ C-
1 Titans 3.396 B+ B- 18 Panthers 2.464 C+ B
3 49ers 3.33 B+ B- 18 Packers 2.464 C+ C+
4 Eagles 3.198 B B- 18 Redskins 2.464 C+ C-
5 Bengals 2.928 B- B- 21 Jaguars 2.332 C+ C
6 Browns 2.862 B- C+ 21 Rams 2.332 C+ C
7 Broncos 2.798 B- C 23 Ravens 2.33 C+ B-
7 Texans 2.798 B- C+ 24 Chargers 2.264 C C
7 Saints 2.798 B- B 25 Cowboys 2.262 C C
7 Jets 2.798 B- B 26 Falcons 2.198 C C+
11 Vikings 2.796 B- C+ 27 Bills 2.196 C C
12 Dolphins 2.794 B- C+ 27 Raiders 2.196 C C
13 Buccaneers 2.664 B- B- 29 Cardinals 2.13 C C-
13 Giants 2.662 B- C- 30 Bears 2.064 C D+
15 Steelers 2.66 B- B- 31 Lions 2.062 C C+
16 Chiefs 2.598 C+ C+ 32 Colts 2.0 C C-

If a team has a camp battle for a starting spot then both players are listed with a combined grade. If a team has four or five returning starters that's also taken into consideration. In the past, the highest grade a rookie could get was a B, but after seeing several rookie linemen up close and coming away impressed the new max-grade on a rookie lineman is a B+.

Use these grades the same way NFL talent evaluators use scouting combine results: as tiebreakers. For instance, if you're debating between Chris Johnson and Maurice Jones-Drew before Draft Day, maybe this will be your tiebreaker. Same thing if you are debating between Russell Wilson and Andrew Luck. These grades are not end-all, be-all ... more like just part of the process in preparing for Daft Day 2013.

Arizona Cardinals
Returning Starters: 3 Last year's grade: 1.8 (C-)
LT LG C RG RT
Levi Brown Jonathan Cooper Lyle Sendlein Earl Watford Bobby Massie
C B+ C- C C-
Cumulative GPA: 2.13 (C)
Atlanta Falcons
Returning Starters: 3 Last year's grade: 2.4 (C+)
LT LG C RG RT
Sam Baker Justin Blalock Peter Konz Garrett Reynolds Lamar Holmes
B C+ C- C C
Cumulative GPA: 2.198 (C)
Baltimore Ravens
Returning Starters: 3 Last year's grade: 2.6 (C+)
LT LG C RG RT
Bryant McKinnie Kelechi Osemele Gino Gradkowski Marshal Yanda Michael Oher
C C+ C- A- C
Cumulative GPA: 2.33 (C+)
Buffalo Bills
Returning Starters: 4 Last year's grade: 2.134 (C)
LT LG C RG RT
Cordy Glenn S. Young/C. Brown Eric Wood Kraig Urbik Erik Pears
B+ D C+ B- C-
Cumulative GPA: 2.196 (C)
Carolina Panthers
Returning Starters: 5 Last year's grade: 2.868 (B-)
LT LG C RG RT
Jordan Gross Amini Silatolu Ryan Kalil Geoff Hangartner Byron Bell
B+ C B+ C+ D+
Cumulative GPA: 2.464 (C+)
Chicago Bears
Returning Starters: 2 Last year's grade: 1.4 (D+)
LT LG C RG RT
Jermon Bushrod Matt Slauson Roberto Garza Kyle Long J'Marcus Webb
B B- C- C D
Cumulative GPA: 2.064 (C)
Cincinnati Bengals
Returning Starters: 4 Last year's grade: 2.6 (C+)
LT LG C RG RT
Andrew Whitworth Travelle Wharton Trevor Robinson Kevin Zeitler Andre Smith
A+ C- C- A- B+
Cumulative GPA: 2.928 (B-)
Cleveland Browns
Returning Starters: 5 Last year's grade: 2.4 (C+)
LT LG C RG RT
Joe Thomas Jason Pinkston Alex Mack S. Lauvao/J. Greco Mitchell Schwartz
A+ C- A C- B-
Cumulative GPA: 2.862 (B-)
Dallas Cowboys
Returning Starters: 4 Last year's grade: 2.134 (C)
LT LG C RG RT
Tyron Smith Nate Livings Travis Frederick P. Costa/M. Bernadeau Doug Free
A- C+ B- D C-
Cumulative GPA: 2.262 (C)
Denver Broncos
Returning Starters: 4 Last year's grade: 2.0 (C)
LT LG C RG RT
Ryan Clady Zane Beadles J.D. Walton Louis Vasquez Orlando Franklin
A B- C B B+
Cumulative GPA: 2.798 (B-)
Detroit Lions
Returning Starters: 5 Last year's grade: 2.4 (C+)
LT LG C RG RT
Riley Reiff Rob Sims Dominic Raiola Larry Warford C. Hillard/J. Fox
C B- B- C+ D-
Cumulative GPA: 2.062 (C)
Green Bay Packers
Returning Starters: 4 Last year's grade: 2.4 (C+)
LT LG C RG RT
Bryan Bulaga Josh Sitton E. Dietrich-Smith T.J. Lang M. Newhouse/ D. Sherrod
B+ B+ C C C-
Cumulative GPA: 2.464 (C+)
Houston Texans
Returning Starters: 5 Last year's grade: 2.532 (C+)
LT LG C RG RT
Duane Brown Wade Smith Chris Myers Ben Jones B. Williams/D. Newton
A+ C+ A C D+
Cumulative GPA: 2.798 (B-)
Indianapolis Colts
Returning Starters: 3 Last year's grade: 1.6 (C-)
LT LG C RG RT
Anthony Castonzo Donald Thomas S. Satele/K. Holmes M. McGlynn/H. Thornton Gosder Cherilus
C+ C C- C- C+
Cumulative GPA: 2.0 (C)
Jacksonville Jaguars
Returning Starters: 4 Last year's grade: 2.2 (C)
LT LG C RG RT
Eugene Monroe Will Rackley Brad Meester Uche Nwaneri Luke Joekel
B+ D C C B+
Cumulative GPA: 2.332 (C+)
Kansas City Chiefs
Returning Starters: 3 Last year's grade: 2.53 (C+)
LT LG C RG RT
Branden Albert J. Allen/G. Schwartz Rodney Hudson Jon Asamoah Eric Fisher
B C+ C C+ B+
Cumulative GPA: 2.598 (C+)
Miami Dolphins
Returning Starters: 3 Last year's grade: 2.33 (C+)
LT LG C RG RT
Jonathan Martin Richie Incognito Mike Pouncey John Jerry Tyson Clabo
C- B- A- C+ A-
Cumulative GPA: 2.794 (B-)
Minnesota Vikings
Returning Starters: 5 Last year's grade: 2.4 (C+)
LT LG C RG RT
Matt Kalil Charlie Johnson John Sullivan Brandon Fusco Phil Loadholt
A C- A D B+
Cumulative GPA: 2.796 (B-)
New England Patriots
Returning Starters: 5 Last year's grade: 2.73 (B-)
LT LG C RG RT
Nate Solder Logan Mankins Ryan Wendell Dan Connolly Sebastian Vollmer
A A- B+ C+ A-
Cumulative GPA: 3.396 (B+)
New Orleans Saints
Returning Starters: 4 Last year's grade: 2.86 (B-)
LT LG C RG RT
Charles Brown Ben Grubbs Brian De La Puente Jahri Evans Zach Strief
C B+ B A C-
Cumulative GPA: 2.798 (B-)
New York Giants
Returning Starters: 4 Last year's grade: 1.6 (C-)
LT LG C RG RT
Will Beatty Kevin Boothe David Baas Chris Snee Justin Pugh
B+ B- C B- B-
Cumulative GPA: 2.662 (B-)
New York Jets
Returning Starters: 3 Last year's grade: 2.8 (B-)
LT LG C RG RT
D'Brickashaw Ferguson Willie Colon Nick Mangold Stephen Peterman Austin Howard
B+ B- A C C
Cumulative GPA: 2.798 (B-)
Oakland Raiders
Returning Starters: 4 Last year's grade: 2.0 (C)
LT LG C RG RT
Jared Veldheer Tony Bergstrom Stefen Wisniewski Mike Brisiel M. Watson/K. Barnes
B+ C- B- D C+
Cumulative GPA: 2.196 (C)
Philadelphia Eagles
Returning Starters: 3 Last year's grade: 2.66 (B-)
LT LG C RG RT
Jason Peters Evan Mathis Jason Kelce Todd Herremans Lane Johnson
B+ A+ C B B+
Cumulative GPA: 3.198 (B)
Pittsburgh Steelers
Returning Starters: 4 Last year's grade: 2.6 (C+)
LT LG C RG RT
Mike Adams Ramon Foster Maurkice Pouncey David DeCastro Marcus Gilbert
C C+ B+ B B-
Cumulative GPA: 2.66 (B-)
San Diego Chargers
Returning Starters: 2 Last year's grade: 2.0 (C)
LT LG C RG RT
Max Starks Chad Rinehart Nick Hardwick Jeromey Clary D.J. Fluker
C+ C+ C C- B
Cumulative GPA: 2.264 (C)
Seattle Seahawks
Returning Starters: 5 Last year's grade: 1.93 (C-)
LT LG C RG RT
Russell Okung James Carpenter Max Unger Paul McQuistan Breno Giacomini
A- C- A C- C-
Cumulative GPA: 2.528 (C+)
San Francisco 49ers
Returning Starters: 5 Last year's grade: 2.66 (B-)
LT LG C RG RT
Joe Staley Mike Iupati Jonathan Goodwin Alex Boone Anthony Davis
A A- B- B B+
Cumulative GPA: 3.33 (B+)
St. Louis Rams
Returning Starters: 3 Last year's grade: 2.0 (C)
LT LG C RG RT
Jake Long Shelley Smith Scott Wells Harvey Dahl Rodger Saffold
B+ D C B C+
Cumulative GPA: 2.332 (C+)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Returning Starters: 4 Last year's grade: 2.6 (B-)
LT LG C RG RT
Donald Penn Carl Nicks Jeremy Zuttah Davin Joseph Demar Dotson
B A- C+ C C+
Cumulative GPA: 2.664 (B-)
Tennessee Titans
Returning Starters: 4 Last year's grade: 2.6 (B-)
LT LG C RG RT
Michael Roos Andy Levitre Fernando Velasco Chance Warmack David Stewart
A- A- B+ B+ B
Cumulative GPA: 3.396 (B+)
Washington Redskins
Returning Starters: 4 Last year's grade: 1.93 (C-)
LT LG C RG RT
Trent Williams Kory Lichtensteiger Will Montgomery Chris Chester J. Trueblood/T. Polumbus
A- C B C+ D+
Cumulative GPA: 2.464 (C+)

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter @CBSFantasyFB . You can also follow Dave at @daverichard and on Facebook .

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Player News
Matt Cassel won't return in Week 3
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(2:33 pm ET) Vikings quarterback Matt Cassel, who was carted off the field early in the second quarter Week 3 at New Orleans with a toe injury, has been ruled out for the rest of the game with turf toe. Cassel was 5 for 10 for 53 yards before leaving. He also had a 5-yard run, the play that resulted in the injury.

Rookie Teddy Bridgewater took Cassel's place under center and could get the start Week 4 against the Falcons if Cassel is unable to go.


Dennis Pitta out with recurrence of hip injury
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(2:15 pm ET) Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta has been carted off the field with an apparent right hip injury sustained in Cleveland.

Pitta had caught a pass and was turning upfield when his knee gave way. It is the same injury that limited him to four games last season.


Big gain off trickery by Johnny Manziel negated by penalty
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(2:09 pm ET) Browns ballyhooed rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel played the lead role in a bit of second-quarter trickery that would have resulted in a 40-yard gain if not for a penalty to running back Terrance West.

Manziel appeared to be arguing with Mike Pettine after coming off the field following one play, but he stayed in-bounds near the sideline when the ball was snapped for the next play. He then gathered in a screen wide open and raced untouched down the sideline before getting tracked down.

The play was negated by the penalty.


Alfred Morris leaves with knee injury, will return
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(2:06 pm ET) Redskins running back Alfred Morris was forced to briefly leave Sunday's game against the Eagles in the second quarter due to a knee injury.

Morris was pass-blocking when quarterback Kirk Cousins was knocked back into his knee. Morris had to be helped to the sidelines, where he was immediately tended to by trainers. Fortunately, the team announced prior to the start of the next drive that he would return.

Morris had 46 yards on 13 carries prior to the injury.


LeSean McCoy returns to game for next drive
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(1:57 pm ET) Eagles running back LeSean McCoy was taken to the locker room for observation after taking a shot to the helmet in the first quarter of Sunday's game against Washington, but was cleared to return shortly after. He returned to the game in the second quarter. 

Rod Streater leaves with foot injury
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(1:57 pm ET) Raiders wide receiver Rod Streater, who was questionable coming into the game with a hip injury, looked good for the first quarter-plus Week 3 at New England, catching three passes for 32 yards, but he limped off the field with a foot injury early in the second quarter and was carted to the locker room. His return is questionable.

Matt Cassel carted off with foot injury
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(1:52 pm ET) Vikings quarterback Matt Cassel ran up the middle for 5 yards on third-and-10 early in the second quarter Week 3 at New Orleans, but even if he had picked up the first down, it wouldn't have been good news for the Vikings. His foot bent awkwardly as he was going down, and he limped off the field with what appeared to be an ankle injury.

The Vikings carted Cassel to the locker room for X-rays on what they called a toe injury. Rookie Teddy Bridgewater took his place under center.


LeSean McCoy taken to locker room after helmet hit
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(1:49 pm ET) Eagles running back LeSean McCoy was forced to leave Sunday's game against Washington in Week 3, after taking a shot to the head.

McCoy was taken to the sidelines where he tried to plead with trainers to let him back in the game. He was taken to the locker room to be examined for a head injury, and at this point, nothing is known on his chances to return. 


Don Carey questionable to return
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(1:44 pm ET) Lions safety Don Carey is questionable to return Week 3 against the Packers.

Carey returned a fumble for a touchdown during the contest, but started having hamstring issues. He's considered questionable to return. 


Stephen Tulloch injures knee during celebration
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(1:42 pm ET) Lions linebacker Stephen Tulloch injured his knee while celebrating Week 3 against the Packers.

After the Lions stopped the Packers offensive drive, Tulloch came up lame while celebrating the stop. He was able to walk off the field under his own power, but was tended to on the sideline. He's questionable to return. 


 
 
 
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