Originally posted on The Sports Headquarters  |  Last updated 7/7/12

 

Today I visit the value that the Offensive Line of the Baltimore Ravens would have on your Fantasy Football stars.  The O-Line consists of Left Tackle Bryant McKinnie, Left Guard Bobbie Williams, Center Matt Birk, Right Guard Marshal Yanda and Right Tackle Michael Oher. This line has remained unchanged except for the Left Guard position that was vacated when stalwart Ben Grubbs left for New Orleans in Free Agency.  This group is one of the more well known O-Lines in the NFL.

 

Left Tackle Bryant McKinnie was selected in the first round of the 2002 NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings.  He was a fixture with the Vikings until he was cut for conditioning reasons in 2011.  He was subsequently picked up by the Ravens after his release from the Vikings.  He is one of the largest Left Tackles in the game at 6’8″ and weighing 360 pounds.  Throughout his career he has had many controversies ranging from arrests to attitude issues.

 

Left Guard Bobbie Williams was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2000 NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles.  He played in Philadelphia until 2004 when he signed a contract with the Cincinnati Bengals during the Free Agency period.  He was part of a unit in 2005 that only permitted 21 sacks all year.  In early 2012 Bobbie signed a two year contract with the Ravens where he will replace Ben Grubbs.  Weighing in at 345 pounds, he is part of the heaviest left side on an NFL Offensive Line.

 

Center Matt Birk was selected in the 6th round of the 1998 NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings.  He played for the Vikings until 2009 when he was released.  During his tenure with the Vikes he was selected to the Pro Bowl six times.  He is known as an extremely cerebral player and just this past year won the Walter Payton Man of the Year award for his charity work off the field.  He graduated from Harvard with a degree in economics before coming to the NFL.  The Sporting News has indicated that he is the 6th smartest athlete in sports today.

 

Right Guard Marshal Yanda was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2007 NFL Draft by the Ravens.  He was selected to the 2011 Pro Bowl as a tribute to his mix of athleticism and power.  He is one of the best at his position and since he is only in his 6th season he could continue to improve.  He had the honour of All-Pro bestowed upon him as a testimony to his work in the trenches.

 

Right Tackle Michael Oher was selected in the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft by the Ravens.  He may be best known as the player behind the movie “The Blind Side” which was based on his tumultuous life.  He has protected Joe Flacco’s “blind side” but is more suited as a Right Tackle.  He has a soft disposition off the field but he shows his mean side to opposing defensive players.

 

Now to analyse the numbers……

 

Baltimore ranked 6th in Run Blocking allowing their RB’s to average 4.47 yards per carry.  The NFL average was 4.31 yards per carry so they obviously were adept at clearing a path for Ray Rice and Company.  The Running Backs only got stopped at/or behind the line 18% of the time which again was better than the NFL average of 19%.  They converted on 3rd or 4th downs while running 63% of the time which again bettered the NFL average of 62%.  Even though some of these grizzled Offensive Linemen seem to be reaching the twilight years, they are still getting the job done.  I would not hesitate to take Ray Rice.  We all know he is a Fantasy Stud and these numbers solidify that claim.

 

The Ravens ranked 12th in Pass Protection.  Joe Flacco was only dropped via sack on 5.9% of his dropbacks.  The NFL average was 6.7% so again they have exceeded the overall status quo.  Baltimore has traditionally been a running team as they ran 414 times last year.  They ran up the middle or behind the guards 56% of the time.

 

The Ravens experienced the least success running outside of Michael Oher as they averaged only 2.87 yards per carry there, however when they ran outside of Bryant McKinnie they averaged an NFL best 6.11 yards per carry.  So by the numbers I wouldn’t hesitate to run left with the line pulling.

 

I would like to give credit to footballoutsiders.com for their statistics.  I would suggest that any stataholics check out their website.

 

Tomorrow I address Buffalo……


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