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College Fantasy Football: Top OLs that add value to running backs


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Michael Deiter
Michael Deiter (AP)

Running backs are crucial in fantasy football. So here’s a look at the 10 best offensive lines in the game who will be opening up massive holes for running backs who could be worth an early pick in fantasy drafts.


This looks like the best offensive line in the country and there could be a significant gap between the Badgers and every other team. Combine that with super-talented running back Jonathan Taylor, who rushed for 1,977 yards and 13 touchdowns as a freshman, plus a passing game that should be better. Wisconsin averaged nearly 34 points per game last season and with such a massive, mauling offensive line, Taylor is a phenomenal pick at running back.


The Crimson Tide rushed for 3,509 yards last year, 36 touchdowns and 5.7 yards per carry. The offensive line should be phenomenal again - massive and mean - and Alabama is still searching for receivers to emerge so running the ball should be a priority. Senior Damien Harris is still option No. 1 and he rushed for 1,000 yards and 11 TDs last season without even leading the team in carries (that was QB Jalen Hurts). Harris should have another big year and former No. 1 recruit Najee Harris should get the ball in his hands much more.


Think Alabama’s numbers were good? Well, Georgia rushed for 3,876 yards and 42 touchdowns last season en route to the national championship game mainly behind Nick Chubb and Sony Michel. They’re off to the NFL now so D’Andre Swift has a huge opportunity to post major numbers this season and Zamir White should be an excellent pickup in keeper leagues. The Bulldogs are reloading on the offensive line with five-stars Isaiah Wilson and/or Cade Mays so the run-focused offense should be stellar.


Arguably the best running back in the country - Bryce Love - could put up huge numbers again this season with four of five starters returning and tons of NFL potential across the offensive line. It might be worrisome that coach David Shaw said at Pac-12 Media Day he’s not worried about Love’s stats this season - and we could see a drawdown in touches akin to Christian McCaffrey’s junior year - but Love will have plenty of opportunities to make big things happen and with great tackles and mean and tough interior players, Love is still option No. 1 for many leagues.


Missouri’s offense is still going to feature lots of passing with QB Drew Lock and a bevy of talented receivers but this offensive line could be one of the nation’s best as all five starters return and it could pay huge dividends for Damarea Crockett, who comes back from injury, and Larry Rountree. Last season, the Tigers threw for 44 scores and rushed for only 16 so that’s a tad concerning from a fantasy perspective, but expect the ball to be in Crockett’s hands a lot.


There is some retooling to do in Oklahoma’s offense, mainly at quarterback with No. 1 pick Baker Mayfield gone, but the offensive line should be loaded, it has depth and it could pay off in a big way for Rodney Anderson. The Sooners could be in for some shootouts early in the season and the Big 12 powerhouse has the offensive line to move defenders and open up holes for Oklahoma’s potent running back.


There are a lot of reasons to like running back Myles Gaskin in a fantasy setting and not only because he’s one of the best backs in college football after rushing for 1,380 yards and 21 touchdowns last season. The Huskies need some receivers to step up and that’s no guarantee and then Washington’s offensive line should be the best in the Pac-12. They’re big, strong and tough and it’s expected Gaskin gets a lot of opportunities to move the ball downfield.


Boston College coach Steve Addazio loves to run the football. Last year, the Eagles had 568 rushing attempts and only 325 passes thrown. That could ramp up even more this season with AJ Dillon in the backfield after he rushed for 1,569 yards and 14 touchdowns in his freshman season and especially because the entire offensive line returns. With questions at quarterback, and a sure thing at running back and across the offensive line, expect Dillon to put up huge numbers.


The coaching tumult at Ohio State in recent days does not change the fact that the Buckeyes have hard-nosed offensive tackles and a ton of talent and depth on the interior, so running the ball all game long should not be a problem. With an unproven quarterback and who-knows-what with coach Urban Meyer’s future, it could be risky, but J.K. Dobbins should put up huge numbers and Mike Weber might not be far behind. Other than a test against TCU, the Buckeyes’ first four games should be filled with points.


The Irish lost Quenton Nelson and Mike McGlinchey to the NFL and the offensive line should still be outstanding. Notre Dame’s interior linemen are stout and skilled and then new offensive tackles Liam Eichenberg and Robert Hainsey should fill in nicely. Notre Dame rushed for 3,503 yards and 35 touchdowns last season (quarterback Brandon Wimbush led the team with 14 rushing scores) and now Dexter Williams and others could have a breakout season and score lots of points.