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Matthew Betz
NFC South Line Health

Matthew Betz lets you know how each team’s line will impact your fantasy roster.

Jun 11th

*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 Orleans Saints

Team Record: 13-3

BYE: Week 6

Injuries to starting Offensive Linemen:

  • Terron Armstead missed Weeks 11-15 and Week 17 with a pectoral injury.
  • Andrus Peat missed Week 1 with a quad injury. He also missed Week 3 with an ankle injury and Week 7 with a concussion.
  • Larry Warford missed Week 17 with a knee injury.

In games where all 5 starting offensive linemen played (Weeks 2, 4-5, 8-10, 16) → 7 games

Player Stats

  • Drew Brees was a top 12 QB three times, averaging 15.9 fantasy points/game.
  • Alvin Kamara was a top 12 RB five times, averaging 25.3 fantasy points/game.
  • Michael Thomas was a top 12 WR four times, averaging 22.3 fantasy points/game.

Team Stats

  • Total Pass yards/game: 267.0
  • Total Rush yards/game: 125.4

In games where at least one starting lineman was out (Weeks 1, 3, 7, 11-15, 17) → 9 games

Player Stats

  • Drew Brees was a top 12 QB three times, averaging 22.7 fantasy points/game.
  • Alvin Kamara was a top 12 RB four times, averaging 22.2 fantasy points/game.
  • Michael Thomas was a top 12 WR four times, averaging 17.6 fantasy points/game.

Team Stats

  • Total Pass yards/game: 241.4
  • Total Rush yards/game: 127.4

*Conclusion: The Saints’ offense is easy to predict when it comes to fantasy football and offensive line injuries – it doesn’t matter. Their big 3 – Michael Thomas, Alvin Kamara, and Drew Brees were all fantastic in scenarios where the offensive line was at full health and when a starter was out. The biggest discrepancy was for Drew Brees, who performed significantly better when the offensive line had an injury. His biggest games came with a banged up line, averaging 6 more fantasy points when a starter was out.

Atlanta Falcons

Team Record: 7-9

BYE: Week 8

Injuries to starting Offensive Linemen:

  • Wes Schweitzer missed Week 17 with a back injury.
  • Andy LeVitre was placed on injured reserve in Week 3, missing Weeks 3-17.

In games where all 5 starting offensive linemen played (Weeks 1-2) → 2 games

Player Stats

  • Matt Ryan was a top 12 QB one time, averaging 20.75 fantasy points/game.
  • Tevin Coleman was a top 12 RB one time, averaging 14.0 fantasy points/game.
  • Julio Jones was a top 12 WR one time, averaging 19.7 fantasy points/game.

Team Stats

  • Total Pass yards/game: 248.5
  • Total Rush yards/game: 122.0

In games where at least one starting lineman was out (Weeks 3-17) → 14 games

Player Stats

  • Matt Ryan was a top 12 QB ten times, averaging 22.2 fantasy points/game.
  • Tevin Coleman was a top 12 RB two times, averaging 11.8 fantasy points/game.
  • Julio Jones was a top 12 WR nine times, averaging 20.5 fantasy points/game.

Team Stats

  • Total Pass yards/game: 296.9
  • Total Rush yards/game: 94.9

*Conclusion: It was a small sample size, but the Falcons’ rushing attack was more effective prior to the Andy LeVitre injury. As a result, Tevin Coleman averaged more fantasy points in weeks where the offensive line was at full health. Julio Jones and Matt Ryan were both fantastic regardless of the health of the offensive line.

Carolina Panthers

Team Record: 7-9

BYE: Week 4

Injuries to starting Offensive Linemen:

  • Trai Turner missed Week 2-3 with a concussion. He also missed Week 17 with an ankle injury.

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

Player Stats

  • Cam Newton missed Week 16 with his right shoulder injury. He was a top 12 QB six times, averaging 18.7 fantasy points/game.
  • Christian McCaffrey was a top 12 RB nine times, averaging 25.5 fantasy points/game.
  • D.J. Moore was a top 12 WR one time, averaging 10.1 fantasy points/game.

Team Stats

  • Total Pass yards/game: 239.1
  • Total Rush yards/game: 128.8

In games where at least one starting lineman was out (Weeks 2-3, 17) → 3 games

Player Stats

  • Cam Newton missed Week 17 with his shoulder injury. He was a top 12 QB two times, averaging 29.1 fantasy points/game.
  • Christian McCaffrey was a top 12 RB two times, averaging 18.1 fantasy points/game.
  • D.J. Moore was a top 12 WR zero times, averaging 8.7 fantasy points/game.

Team Stats

  • Total Pass yards/game: 242.7
  • Total Rush yards/game: 154.0

*Conclusion: The Panthers were fortunate to have a relatively healthy offensive line all season. In the limited sample size of when a starter was out due to injury, there didn’t appear to be an effect on the offense. One area that stands out is in the quarterback play, with Cam Newton averaging more fantasy points when a starting lineman was out. Not surprising, Christian McCaffrey was fantastic for fantasy and even better when the starting line was at full strength.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Team Record: 5-11

BYE: Week 5

Injuries to starting Offensive Linemen:

  • Demar Dotson missed Week 13 with a knee injury.

In games where all 5 starting offensive linemen played (Weeks 1-4, 6-12, 14-17) → 15 games

Player Stats

  • The starting QB (Ryan Fitzpatrick and Jameis Winston) was a top 12 QB nine times, averaging 22.6 fantasy points/game.
  • Peyton Barber was a top 12 RB two times, averaging 9.5 fantasy points/game.
  • Mike Evans was a top 12 WR eight times, averaging 18.4 fantasy points/game.

Team Stats

  • Total Pass yards/game: 327.0
  • Total Rush yards/game: 95.2

In games where at least one starting lineman was out (Week 13) → 1 game

Player Stats

  • The starting QB was Jameis Winston, who scored fantasy 22.8 fantasy points.
  • Peyton Barber scored 8.5 fantasy points.
  • Mike Evans scored 8.8 fantasy points.

Team Stats

  • Total Pass yards/game: 220
  • Total Rush yards/game: 95

*Conclusion: There isn’t much to report here. The Bucs were fortunate to have a very healthy season on the offensive line, with only one starter missing one game. Therefore, it’s difficult to read into how their offensive line affected the fantasy production of Mike Evans, Jameis Winston, and Peyton Barber.

Insight by
Matthew Betz
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