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Offseason Extra: Grading offensive lines for 2013

Senior Fantasy Writer
  •  

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
Tom Brady has out-of-character performance
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10:52 pm ET) The Patriots have played some weird games against Jets in recent years, including a 27-25 squeaker when they were at their hottest back in Week 7. So perhaps it's not surprising quarterback Tom Brady wasn't at his best Week 16 at the Jets as the Patriots eked out another victory, this time by just one point.

He completed 23 of 35 passes for 182 yards with one touchdown and one interception. He was coming off a streak of 10 games with both 200-plus passing yards and two-plus touchdowns.

Brady was playing without his top target, wide receiver Julian Edelman, who was out with a concussion. But with Rob Gronkowski and Brandon LaFell still at his disposal and Danny Amendola filling in capably, that likely wasn't the reason for his struggles. The matchup shouldn't have been either given where the Jets rank against the pass, but in three of his last four games against the division rival, Brady has thrown for less than two scores. And in all four, he's thrown for less than 300 yards.

Maybe it's just a matter of them being too familiar with each other. In any case, you shouldn't let this performance discourage you from starting Brady Week 17 against Buffalo unless of course the Patriots have already secured homefield advantage throughout the playoffs by that point.


Seahawks' Cooper Helfet able to return Week 16
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(10:27 pm ET) Seahawks tight end Cooper Helfet was able to return Week 16 against the Cardinals.

Helfet was carted off in the first half with a rib injury. He was initially ruled questionable to return to the contest, but was cleared to return after half time. Helfet returned at the start of the third quarter. 


Patriots' backfield remains an enigma
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10:17 pm ET) LeGarrette Blount was out for Week 16 at the Jets with a shoulder injury, which meant surely the Patriots would make Jonas Gray their go-to running back. After all, he had a 200-yard, four-touchdown game earlier this season and finally got out of coach Bill Belichick's doghouse with 11 carries for 62 yards last week.

Wrong again.

Gray was the Patriots' only running back to score a touchdown in Week 16, plunging in from 1 yard out in the fourth quarter, but to say he was the go-to back would be disingenuous. He and Shane Vereen tied for the team lead in carries with six, but Brandon Bolden also had five. And Vereen and Bolden were both more productive with their carries, averaging 6.3 yards and 6.4 yards, respectively, than Gray was with his, averaging 0.8 yards.

And then there's the fact that Vereen is far and away the best pass-catcher of the three, but he was hardly involved in the passing game on a quiet day for quarterback Tom Brady.

So basically, you wouldn't have gone right with any of Blount's three replacements, and considering they were all equally involved, you have to wonder how they'll impact Blount's role if he returns Week 17 against Buffalo. Given that it's a tough matchup anyway, you might just want to avoid every Patriots running back.


Field goals down Ravens in loss to Texans
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(10:01 pm ET) Coming off their best performance of the season, the Ravens DST unit failed to live up to expectations in Week 16's 25-13 loss to the Texans.

The Ravens mostly held the Texans offense in check, limiting them to 313 yards of total offense. However, the Texans had the ball in the red zone seven times, and were able to rack up a solid scoring day despite being held to just one touchdown, as they kicked six field goals in the win. The Ravens forced just one turnover, and failed to sack Case Keenum in the loss.

The Ravens finished Sunday's game with just 5 Fantasy points, one week after dropping 26 against the Jaguars. They will look to bounce back in Week 17, as they face the Browns in the season finale.


Seahawks' Jermaine Kearse ruled out with hamstring injury
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(9:59 pm ET) Seahawks wide receiver Jermaine Kearse has been ruled out Week 16 against the Cardinals.

Kearse is dealing with a hamstring injury. He caught one pass for 8 yards before leaving the contest. 


Seahawks' Cooper Helfet gets carted off Week 16
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(9:57 pm ET) Seahawks tight end Cooper Helfet was carted off the field Week 16 against the Seahawks.

Helfet came into the game with an ankle injury, but was carted off with a rib injury. He is questionable to return to the contest. Helfet caught two passes for 9 yards before leaving. 


Texans DST keeps on rolling in win
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(9:56 pm ET) The Texans defense dominated in Week 16, in a 25-13 win over the Ravens.

The Ravens managed just 211 yards of total offense in the game, despite running 68 plays. The Texans pass rush got home for just two sacks in the game, but they forced Joe Flacco into three interceptions anyways, as they finished the game with 18 Fantasy points, their second in a row with that total.

The Texans DST unit enters the final week of the season riding a eight-game streak with at least 10 Fantasy points, and they should have no trouble keeping it going with a matchup on the way against the Jaguars. 


Greg Zuerlein drills a 51-yarder
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(9:54 pm ET) Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein nailed a 51-yard field goal against the Giants, making him 4 of 6 from 50-plus yards this season. He also hit a 20-yard field goal and three PATS for nine points.

Zuerlein wraps up the season at Seattle.


Steelers pass rush dominates in victory
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(9:51 pm ET) The Steelers DST unit continued its solid play in Week 16, in a 20-12 win over the Chiefs.

The Chiefs racked up 327 yards of total offense in the win, but did little to take advantage of that. They made four trips to the red zone and failed to come away with a single touchdown, settling for four field goals in the loss. The Steelers forced one turnover and sacked Alex Smith six times, en route to 14 Fantasy points.  

The Steelers have at least 9 Fantasy points in eight of their last nine games, including 9 against the Bengals in Week 14. They will look to pull that feat again in Week 17, with the Bengals on the schedule again to close the season out. 


Don't lose faith in Mark Ingram
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(9:50 pm ET) Though Saints running back Mark Ingram scored a touchdown Week 16 against Atlanta, plunging in from 1 yard out in the first quarter, he didn't have the most productive afternoon, rushing 13 times for 38 yards and catching three passes for 17. He's now run for less than 60 yards in three straight games, averaging 46.7 during that stretch compared to 101.3 in his previous six.

It's not like the Saints have turned to other options, though, which was Ingram's problem in previous seasons. Khiry Robinson was the only other running back to get any carries in Week 16, and he had just two. It's just that the Saints haven't been in a position to run the ball in recent weeks, losing big in both Week 14 and, of course, Week 16.

So what about Week 15? That's partly on Ingram. He got the carries, finishing with 17, and didn't do much with him.

The good news is that the Saints should be able to win handily Week 17 at Tampa Bay, which should mean plenty of garbage-time opportunities against a so-so run defense. Outside of maybe PPR leagues, you'll want to keep Ingram active in Fantasy.


 
 
 
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