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Matthew Betz
AFC West Line Health

Matthew Betz tells you how the health of the AFC West’s O-Lines will effect your fantasy teams.

Jun 18th


*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).

Kansas City Chiefs

Team Record: 12-4

BYE: Week 12

Injuries to starting Offensive Linemen:

  • Cameron Erving missed Week 15 with a knee injury.
  • Mitch Morse missed Weeks 7-11 with a concussion.

In games where all 5 starting offensive linemen played (Weeks 1-6, 13-14, 16-17) → 10 games

Player Stats

  • Patrick Mahomes was a top 12 QB eight times, averaging 25.5 fantasy points/game.
  • For the purposes of the RB situation, we will combine the starter’s role (Kareem Hunt Weeks 1-11 and Damien Williams Weeks 13-17). The starting RB was a top 12 RB six times, averaging 17.2 fantasy points/game.
  • Tyreek Hill was a top 12 WR four times, averaging 20.1 fantasy points/game.

Team Stats

  • Total Pass yards/game: 305.7
  • Total Rush yards/game: 119.3

In games where at least one starting lineman was out (Weeks 7-11, 15) → 6 games

Player Stats

  • Patrick Mahomes was a top 12 QB five times, averaging 26.9 fantasy points/game.
  • For the purposes of the RB situation, we will combine the starter’s role (Kareem Hunt Weeks 1-11 and Damien Williams Weeks 13-17). The starting RB was a top 12 RB four times, averaging 25.3 fantasy points/game.
  • Tyreek Hill was a top 12 WR three times, averaging 21.2 fantasy points/game.

Team Stats

  • Total Pass yards/game: 316.3
  • Total Rush yards/game: 110.3

*Conclusion: Overall, the Chiefs’ offense was fantastic in 2018 regardless of the health of their offensive line. In games where a starter was out, Patrick Mahomes threw for a few more yards per game and the rush attack was down by about 10 yards per game, a very small difference. In terms of fantasy, Patrick Mahomes and Tyreek Hill weren’t affected at all, performing very well in both scenarios. The running backs performed better when the offensive line had an injury, averaging 8 more fantasy points per game when a starting lineman was out. In those weeks (7-11, 15), the starting running back averaged about 4.5 targets per game. In weeks were the linemen were all healthy (1-6, 13-14, 16-17), the starting running back averaged 3.0 targets per game.

Los Angeles Chargers

Team Record: 12-4

BYE: Week 8

Injuries to starting Offensive Linemen:

  • Russell Okung missed Week 5 with a groin injury.

In games where all 5 starting offensive linemen played (Weeks 1-4, 6-7, 9-17, 16-17) → 15 games

Player Stats

  • Philip Rivers was a top 12 QB eight times, averaging 17.6 fantasy points/game.
  • Melvin Gordon missed Week 7 with a hamstring injury and Weeks 13-15 with a sprained MCL. He was a top 12 RB eight times, averaging 23.0 fantasy points/game.
  • Keenan Allen was a top 12 WR six times, averaging 16.1 fantasy points/game.

Team Stats

  • Total Pass yards/game: 250.4
  • Total Rush yards/game: 119.6

In games where at least one starting lineman was out (Week 5) → 6 games

Player Stats

  • Philip Rivers was a top 12 QB in Week 5 (QB11), scoring 21.4 fantasy points.
  • Melvin Gordon was a top 12 RB in Week 5 (RB8), scoring 22.0 fantasy points.
  • Keenan Allen was not a top 12 WR in Week 5, scoring 17.5 fantasy points.

Team Stats

  • Total Pass yards/game: 333
  • Total Rush yards/game: 79.0

*Conclusion: This data should be taken lightly, as the Chargers only had one injury to their starting offensive line all season. In that week, they ran the ball for 40 less yards but passed for 83 more yards compared to their season averages. Melvin Gordon and Keenan Allen didn’t seem to be affected by this injury, producing nearly identical fantasy number. Philip Rivers, however, put in a QB1 week, producing about 4 more fantasy points in the week that Russell Okung was injured.

Denver Broncos

Team Record: 6-10

BYE: Week 10

Injuries to starting Offensive Linemen:

  • Jared Veldheer missed Weeks 5-8 with a knee injury.
  • Matt Paradis missed Weeks 11-17 with a shin injury.

In games where all 5 starting offensive linemen played (Weeks 1-4, 9) → 5 games

Player Stats

  • Case Keenum was a top 12 QB one time, averaging 14.1 fantasy points/game.
  • Phillip Lindsay was a top 12 RB one time, averaging 11.7 fantasy points/game.
  • Emmanuel Sanders was a top 12 WR one time, averaging 17.6 fantasy points/game.

Team Stats

  • Total Pass yards/game: 242.6
  • Total Rush yards/game: 133.6

In games where at least one starting lineman was out (Week 5-8, 11-17) → 11 games

Player Stats

  • Case Keenum was a top 12 QB one time, averaging 13.1 fantasy points.
  • Phillip Lindsay missed Week 17 with a wrist injury. He was a top 12 RB three times, averaging 16.4 fantasy points/game.
  • Emmanuel Sanders was placed on IR in Week 14 with a torn Achilles. He a top 12 WR three times, averaging 15.8 fantasy points.

Team Stats

  • Total Pass yards/game: 313.9
  • Total Rush yards/game: 112.6

*Conclusion: In 2018, Case Keenum was the primary beneficiary when an offensive lineman was out with injury. In those weeks, he averaged almost 314 passing yards per game, but when the line was healthy, he only threw for 242 yards per game. There wasn’t a big discrepancy for Emmanuel Sanders in both scenarios, but Phillip Lindsday was much better for fantasy when a starting offensive lineman was out with injury. In those games, he averaged 2.8 receptions per game. When the line was at full strength, he averaged 1.2 receptions per game.

Oakland Raiders

Team Record: 4-12

BYE: Week 7

Injuries to starting Offensive Linemen:

  • Gabe Jackson was placed on IR in Week 15 with an elbow injury. He missed Weeks 15-17.
  • Kelechi Osemele missed Weeks 5-6 and 8-9 with a knee injury. He also missed Weeks 14 and 15 with a toe injury.

In games where all 5 starting offensive linemen played (Weeks 1-4, 10-13) → 8 games

Player Stats

  • Derek Carr was a top 12 QB three times, averaging 16.2 fantasy points/game.
  • The starting running back duties were split between Doug Martin and Marshawn Lynch. Combined, the starter was a top 12 RB zero times, averaging 14.0 fantasy points/game.
  • Jared Cook was a top 12 TE four times, averaging 16.3 fantasy points/game.

Team Stats

  • Total Pass yards/game: 270.1
  • Total Rush yards/game: 117.4

In games where at least one starting lineman was out (Weeks 5-6, 8-9, 14-17) → 8 games

Player Stats

  • Derek Carr was a top 12 QB two times, averaging 11.6 fantasy points/game.
  • The starting running back duties were split between Doug Martin and Marshawn Lynch. Combined, the starter was a top 12 RB one time, averaging 9.2 fantasy points/game.
  • Jared Cook was a top 12 WR three times, averaging 7.9 fantasy points.

Team Stats

  • Total Pass yards/game: 198.8
  • Total Rush yards/game: 86.1

*Conclusion: The rushing attack for Oakland was quite poor in 2018, especially when a starting offensive lineman was out with injury. In those weeks, they averaged just 86.1 rushing yards as a team. Similarly, the passing attack struggled with the line banged up, and Derek Carr threw for more than 70 yards less in weeks without a fully healthy offensive line. When the line was healthy, Derek Carr and the pass catchers performed much better, with Carr averaging about 5 more fantasy points per week in those games. This is likely due to the increased time to sit in the pocket and deliver the ball on time. When rushed throughout his career, Carr has really struggled to push the ball down the field, so in weeks when the line is healthy this season, Tyrell Williams and Antonio Brown could really benefit.

Insight by
Matthew Betz
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