The following rankings are based on an average Pro Football Focus’ run-block grades for the five projected starters on each team’s offensive line.
1: LA Rams – 70,76
The Rams posted the leagues two best run-blocking tackles in 2018, complemented by an above-average interior line, paving the way for Gurley to have another dominant season. Gurley might be the most important running back to handcuff in 2019. When CJ Anderson took over towards the end of 2018, he posted big time numbers after he basically walked in off the street – that’s how good this O-line (and their running attack in general) is. As of this moment it’s hard to say who to draft as Gurleys handcuff. CJ Anderson has not been resigned, so Malcolm Brown would be the primary backup at the moment, but if Anderson returns to the Rams he looks like the best pick.
2: New England Patriots – 70,43
For the second year in a row, the Patriots left tackle left in free agency and set a new standard for how much tackles can be paid. Isaiah Wynn looks the most likely to take over after Trent Brown after the rookie missed his first season to a torn ACL. The rest of the starters remain, so the Patriots should remain a dominant blocking unit in 2019. Sony Michel figures to play the majority of 1st and 2nd downs, while James White will be the primary threat on passing downs. Both should be drafted among the first 50 players in 2019 redrafts.
3: Indianapolis Colts – 68,68
I was not surprised to see that the Colts’ offensive line was ranking really well, but I did not expect to see them in 3rd place. Their entire like remains from 2018, and Quinten Nelson (3rd best guard in the league) and right tackle Braden Smith could easily become even better in their second year in the league. The fact that they did not target any new running backs in free agency makes me very excited about Marlon Mack this year (I do not think they are likely to draft one either). He was very productive when he was healthy in 2018, and he should remain the lead back. Nyheim Hines is a nice option late in PPR drafts.
4: Philadelphia Eagles – 68,16
For a number of years now the Philadelphia Eagles has had ones of the best offensive lines in football, but they have not managed to create any elite fantasy running backs since they traded LeSean McCoy. A few members of this line are getting older and will need replacing very soon, so I hope the Eagles will get a clear lead back while this line is still in place. I don’t see any of their current backs being worthy of high draft picks, so I hope they will target Josh Jacobs in the draft (he might not fall all the way to the 25th pick though). He’s a 3-down back who excels as a receiver, so he would be an instant top 5 pick if he’s drafted by the Eagles.
5: Kansas City Chiefs – 66,92
Except for Mitchell Schwartz there are no stand-outs on this line, but it’s producing at a top 5 level nonetheless. In an offence full of stars, this unit is often the least talked about. It was evident in 2018 that every running back who played in that offence was productive. Kareem Hunt was giving elite production before his release, Spencer Ware filled in admirably until he got hurt and Damien Williams can hopefully continue his production from the playoffs in 2019. Neither Hunt nor Ware are on the roster at the moment, so Carlos Hyde seems like the only threat to carries for Williams, who should be a very solid fantasy option this year.