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Matthew Betz
AFC East Line Health

Matthew Betz lets you know which players’ fantasy numbers will be impacted by their offensive line.

May 29th

*For the purposes of this article series, the positional players listed below are the team’s top scoring fantasy players from the QB, RB, and pass catcher position (WR/TE).

New York Jets

Team Record: 4-12

BYE: Week 11

Injuries to starting Offensive Linemen:

  • James Carpenter sent to IR in Week 12
  • Brandon Shell sent to IR in Week 16
  • Spencer Long missed 2 games (Week 8 and 10) with a knee injury

In games where all 5 starting offensive linemen played (Weeks 1-7, 9) → 8 games

Player Stats

  • Sam Darnold was a top 12 QB zero times, averaging 12.8 fantasy points/game.
  • Isaiah Crowell was a top 12 RB three times, averaging 12.4 fantasy points/game.
  • Robby Anderson was a top 12 WR one time, averaging 8.9 fantasy points/game.

Team Stats

  • Total Pass yards/game: 206.9
  • Total Rush yards/game: 116.6

In games where at least one starting lineman was out (Weeks 8, 10, 12-17) → 8 games

Player Stats

  • Sam Darnold missed Weeks 10, 12 and 13 with a foot sprain. In Weeks 8 and 14-17, he was a top 12 QB two times, averaging 15.44 fantasy points/game.
  • Isaiah Crowell missed Weeks 15-17 with a foot injury. In Weeks 8, 10, and 12-14, he was a top 12 RB zero times, averaging 8.4 fantasy points/game.
  • Robby Anderson missed Weeks 8 and 10 with an ankle injury. In Weeks 12-17, he was a top 12 WR two times, averaging 14.6 fantasy points/game.

Team Stats

  • Total Pass yards/game: 188.8
  • Total Rush yards/game: 86.1

*Conclusion: The New York Jets were able to move the ball more effectively on the ground and in the air when all five starting linemen were healthy and in the lineup. They averaged about 18 more pass yards/game and about 30 more rush yards/game. Isaiah Crowell was the biggest beneficiary, averaging 4 more fantasy points/game when the starting linemen were in the lineup. On the other hand, Robby Anderson benefited from the Jets being short handed on the offensive line, likely because the team was more ineffective at moving the ball on the ground.

New England Patriots

Team Record: 11-5

BYE: Week 11

Interesting Note: All 5 starters (Trent Brown, Marcus Cannon, Joe Thuney, David Andrews, Shaq Mason) finished inside PFF’s top-75 ranked offensive linemen.

Injuries to starting Offensive Linemen:

  • Shaq Mason missed Weeks 9 and 10 with a calf injury.
  • Marcus Cannon missed Week 2 with a calf injury and Weeks 7 and 8 with a concussion.

In games where all 5 starting offensive linemen played (Weeks 1, 3-6, 12-17) → 11 games

Player Stats

  • Tom Brady was a top 12 QB five times, averaging 16.93 fantasy points/game
  • Sony Michel missed Week 1 with a knee injury. He was a top 12 RB three times, averaging 12.8 fantasy points/game.
  • Julian Edelman missed Weeks 1-4 with a suspension. In Weeks 5-6 and 12-17, he was a top 12 WR two times, averaging 16.9 fantasy points/game.

Team Stats

  • Team Rush Yards/Game: 146.2
  • Total Pass Yards/Game: 263.6

In games where a starting lineman was out (Weeks 2, 7-10) → 5 games

Player Stats

  • Tom Brady was a top 12 QB just one time, averaging 16.1 fantasy points/game.
  • Sony Michel missed Weeks 8 and 9 with knee injury. He was a top 12 RB zero times, averaging 3.9 fantasy points/game.
  • Julian Edelman was a top 12 WR two times, averaging 18.1 fantasy points/game.

Team Stats

  • Total Rush Yards/Game: 85.8
  • Total Pass Yards/Game: 276.6

*Conclusion: Sony Michel was a huge beneficiary of the Patriots having a healthy starting offensive line. He only produced his RB1 weeks when the Pats O-line was at full strength. When the line was fully intact, the Patriots rushed for an astrounding 60.4 yards/game more compared to when an offensive lineman was out of the lineup. The passing game didn’t seem to be effective one way or the other. Both Brady and Edelman thrived in all situations and were consistent throughout, regardless of the starting linemen.

Buffalo Bills

Team Record: 6-10

BYE: Week 11

Injuries to starting Offensive Linemen:

  • Russell Bodine was placed on injured reserve with a fractured fibula in Week 14. He missed Weeks 14-17.
  • John Miller missed Week 13 with an oblique injury.

In games where all 5 starting offensive linemen played (Weeks 1-10, 12) → 11 games

Player Stats

  • Josh Allen missed Weeks 7-10 with a sprained ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. He was a top 12 QB two times, averaging 13.6 fantasy points/game.
  • LeSean McCoy missed Week 3 with broken ribs. He was a top 12 RB zero times, averaging 9.9 fantasy points/game.
  • Zay Jones was a top 12 WR one time, averaging 8.0 fantasy points/game.

Team Stats

  • Total Rush Yards/Game: 114.1
  • Total Pass Yards/Game: 159.8

In games where a starting lineman was out (Weeks 13-17) → 5 games

Player Stats

  • Josh Allen was a top 12 QB three times, averaging 23.4 fantasy points/game.
  • LeSean McCoy missed Week 15 with hamstring injury. He was a top 12 RB zero times, averaging 6.95 fantasy points/game.
  • Zay Jones was a top 12 WR two times, averaging 15.0 fantasy points/game.

Team Stats

  • Total Rush Yards/Game: 145.8
  • Total Pass Yards/Game: 207.2

*Conclusion: The Buffalo Bills’ offense was actually much better and more productive when one of their starting linemen was out of the lineup. In these weeks, the team averaged more rushing and passing yards per game on the back of Josh Allen’s hot streak. Allen averaged nearly 10 more fantasy points each week without a starting offensive lineman in the lineup. It’s possible that this lead to plays breaking down, allowing Allen to rush for a whopping 377 yards and 4 TD. Offensive line play didn’t seem to affect Shady McCoy much, but Zay Jones benefitted, averaging 7 more fantasy points/game without one of the starting linemen in the lineup.

Miami Dolphins

Team Record: 7-9

BYE: Week 11

Injuries to starting Offensive Linemen:

  • Ja’Wuan James missed Week 10 with a knee injury.
  • Laremy Tunsil missed Week 10 with a knee injury.
  • Ted Larsen missed Week 10 with a neck injury.
  • Travis Swanson missed Week 13 with an ankle injury.

In games where all 5 starting offensive linemen played (Weeks 1-9, 12, 14-17) → 14 games

Player Stats

  • Ryan Tannehill missed Weeks 6-10 with torn labrum in his shoulder. He finished as a top 12 QB two times, averaging 9.5 fantasy points/game.
  • Kenyan Drake finished as a top 12 RB six times, averaging 13.1 fantasy points/game.
  • Kenny Stills missed Week 8 with a groin injury. He finished as a top 12 WR two times, averaging 8.2 fantasy points/game.

Team Stats

  • Team Rush Yards/Game: 119.9
  • Total Pass Yards/Game: 187.3

In games where a starting lineman was out (Weeks 10, 13) → 2 games

Player Stats

  • Ryan Tannehill missed Week 10 with the shoulder injury. He scored 15 fantasy points in Week 13.
  • Kenyan Drake finished as a top 12 RB zero times, averaging 9.1 fantasy points/game.
  • Kenny Stills finished as a top 12 WR zero times, averaging 9.2 fantasy points/game.

Team Stats

  • Total Rush Yards/Game: 95.5
  • Total Pass Yards/Game: 139.0

*Conclusion: Not surprisingly, the Dolphins were able to produce better offensive numbers when all of their offensive linemen were healthy. In general, their offensive line remained very healhty for the majority of the season, so it’s difficult to read into the ‘injured’ weeks. Nonetheless, the biggest beneficiary was Kenyan Drake, who was an RB1 for fantasy 6 times with all of his linemen healthy. He also averaged 4 more fantasy points per game, and the team rushed for more than 20 more yards per game with all 5 starters in the lineup.

Insight by
Matthew Betz
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