Articles by Ilango Villoth

A listing of all the articles written by Ilango Villoth for the RotoWire Blog.

NFL O-line Overview: Offseason Observations

With training camp underway and preseason games around the corner, football is officially back. In other words, it’s finally time for our extra-early look at how the NFL’s offensive lines have fared through free agency and the draft. Without further ado, let’s kick off the 2019 Offensive Line Overview series.

Risers:

Indianapolis Colts

The Colts sold out to improve their offensive front last season and did so to great success. After boasting a perennially poor unit for much of the last decade, Andrew Luck now benefits from one of the best O-lines in the league – a unit so good that worries of Luck’s shoulder, which dominated last year’s offseason storylines in Indianapolis, have all but entirely vanished from the NFL zeitgeist. After hitting big on two starters in the 2018 NFL Draft in Quenton Nelson (No. 6 overall) and Branden Smith (No. 37 overall), the team didn’t make notable splashes on the unit this offseason – yet they manage to earn a spot in our “Risers” section. That’s because the Colts’ line could realistically improve upon last year’s performance, a rare feat to manage for an already top-ranked O-line. Usually, from the top there’s nowhere to go but down. The O-line’s strong 2018 performance came in spite of some struggles with injury, and both Nelson and Smith will benefit from a full year of experience at the NFL level at positions which are notoriously difficult for rookies to adapt to. If everything breaks right for Indianapolis, it’s conceivable that the 2019 season could conclude with their offensive line as the consensus best group in the league. If that’s the case, Marlon Mack (ADP 38) could end up being a premier steal in fantasy drafts.

Atlanta Falcons

The Falcons took a page out of Indianapolis’ book in the 2019 NFL Draft, utilizing both of their first-round picks to bolster the trenches with Chris Lindstrom (No. 14 overall) and Kaleb McGary (No. 31 overall), both of whom are strong candidates to start in 2019. Penciling rookies who have yet to play an NFL snap in as improvements is always risky business, but the 2018 Colts serve as a fresh example of just how strong an impact such moves can make if they work out – and Atlanta’s line can’t be much worse than it was last year. In 2018 the unit allowed 42 sacks and struggled mightily in the run blocking game (Atlanta averaging less than 100 yards on the ground per game). The veterans surrounding the team’s rookies inspire confidence as well: Alex Mack and Jake Matthews each performed at an outstanding level last season, and Ryan Schraeder will likely exit the starting lineup in favor of McGary. All Atlanta’s skill positions stand to benefit from a marked improvement, especially the oft-injured Devonta Freeman.

Fallers

Cincinnati Bengals:

For much of the offseason, all signs pointed towards the debut of an improved Cincinnati O-line in 2019. That all came tumbling down when Jonah Williams, the 11th overall pick of the 2019 NFL draft and a plug-and-play prospect, suffered a season-ending torn labrum. The additional retirement of Clint Boling, who was projected to start at left guard, vacates the entire left side of the line. Barring any surprise moves, that leaves Cordy Glenn at left tackle and one of John Jerry or Christian Westerman to start at left guard. Glenn was a serviceable if not average option in 2018, who had hoped to transition to guard in 2019 but will be forced to resume his usual role. Bobby Hart is set to resume his usual starting right tackle role, despite having proven himself a below-average option, rounding out a wholly uninspiring unit. The Bengals’ lackluster O-line could put a significant damper on the prospects of the team’s skill position players, to the point that even such standout players as A.J. Green, Joe Mixon and Tyler Boyd could suffer.

Miami Dolphins:

The Dolphins’ offensive line was one of the league’s worst in 2018, and the group appears quantifiably worse on paper as 2019 approaches. The departure of Ja’Waun James leaves Jordan Mills, a lackluster but inoffensive option, as the team’s top right tackle, and Josh Sitton’s retirement leaves the Dolphins with little in the form of reliable depth. Rookie third-round pick Michael Deiter is being counted to make an immediate impact and could be thrust into an early role at left guard. Laremy Tunsil is certainly a bright spot at left tackle, but one solid starter does not a reliable offensive front make. It’s difficult to a imagine a scenario in which Miami’s offense manages to achieve success behind a line that has the possibility of finishing as the league’s worst group — which casts an especially dark shadow over the prospects of second-year quarterback Josh Rosen, and his hopes to earn Miami’s confidence as a franchise quarterback.

NFL Offensive Line Overview: Championship Edition

From pass protection to run blocking, every aspect of the modern NFL offense runs through the O-line. Aside from skill position players themselves, nothing has a larger impact on the outcome of a play call than the battle up front. In the Offensive Line Overview series, we look at which of the league’s 32 offensive lines are trending up and down.

It’s win or go home, all or nothing: the fantasy championship begins this Saturday. Let’s cut to the chase, and discuss the state of offensive lines around the league.

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NFL Offensive Line Overview: Fantasy Playoffs Pt. 2

From pass protection to run blocking, every aspect of the modern NFL offense runs through the O-line. Aside from skill position players themselves, nothing has a larger impact on the outcome of a play call than the battle up front. In the Offensive Line Overview series, we look at which of the league’s 32 offensive lines are trending up and down.

Heading into the second week of the fantasy playoffs, lineup decisions become more tense than ever. The difference between a safe play and a smart one can determine everything about a matchup, especially when a league’s top teams go head to head. Information remains the key to victory, with savvy owners diving behind start-sit lists and projected points. In the interest of closing out the year strong, when things count most, let’s take a look at the state of offensive lines around the league.

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NFL Offensive Line Overview: Fantasy Playoffs Pt. 1

From pass protection to run blocking, every aspect of the modern NFL offense runs through the O-line. Aside from skill position players themselves, nothing has a larger impact on the outcome of a play call than the battle up front. In the Offensive Line Overview series, we look at which of the league’s 32 offensive lines are trending up and down.

For many of us, the fantasy football season is over. For some of us, the playoffs have only just begun. For some unfortunate souls whose playoffs stretch through Week 17, the final stretch is in sight. Without further ado, let’s go through which offensive lines are trending up and down across the league — and how that influences out lineup decisions.

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NFL Offensive Line Overview: Week 13 Edition

From pass protection to run blocking, every aspect of the modern NFL offense runs through the O-line. Aside from skill position players themselves, nothing has a larger impact on the outcome of a play call than the battle up front. In the Offensive Line Overview series, we look at which of the league’s 32 offensive lines are trending up and down.

With fantasy football playoffs fast approaching, informed lineup decisions are key now more than ever — but tabulating projected points and playing matchups can only go so far. One of the strongest indicators of offensive success remains, as always, the reliability of a team’s protective front. Without further ado, let’s check in on which O-lines are trending up and down across the league.

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NFL Offensive Line Overview: Thanksgiving Preview

From pass protection to run blocking, every aspect of the modern NFL offence runs through the O-line. Aside from skill position players themselves, nothing has a larger impact on the outcome of a play call than the battle up front. In the Offensive Line Overview series, we look at which of the league’s 32 offensive lines are trending up and down.

Last week’s article pegged this point of the NFL season as the crucible — the period where contenders would fully distinguish themselves from pretenders — and Week 11 didn’t disappoint. Multiple Super Bowl-bound teams took the opportunity to show what they’re made of (see: Monday Night’s madness). Other groups have hit bumps in the road, and face new obstacles to overcome on the journey to the playoffs. Without further ado, let’s check in on the state of the NFL’s trenches heading into Thanksgiving Day’s matchups.

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NFL Offensive Line Overview: Enter The Crucible

From pass protection to run blocking, every aspect of the modern NFL offence runs through the O-line. Aside from skill position players themselves, nothing has a larger impact on the outcome of a play call than the battle up front. In the Offensive Line Overview series, we look at which of the league’s 32 offensive lines are trending up and down.

Entering Week 11 of the NFL season, a number of teams — including the Colts, Packers, Titans and Chargers — have entered the crucible. Their chances of salvaging the season hinge entirely on stellar performance going forward, with little room for error. The same holds true for many fantasy teams, with playoff standings close to being determined. Without further ado, let’s check in on which offensive lines are rising and falling around the league. . . and what that means for the playoffs, in fantasy and NFL realms.

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