Offensive lines affecting keepers

Save for those owners in wacky 17-week fantasy leagues or those prepping for an elimination-style playoffs league, all of us already are turning our thoughts to the 2007 NFL season.

And though it's impossible to predict what sort of offseason moves teams have in store, or how they might affect the performances of our favorite fantasy players, taking stock of the most overlooked element in the game -- blocking -- is more instructive than you might imagine, even at this stage. So let's do just that.

With a few exceptions (hey there, Seattle), the offensive line turns out to be the best place to start when determining whether a player's value is on the rise or in decline. Scheme and coaching changes occasionally can shake up an O-line (in a good way), but age, durability, depth and stability are even more crucial. Keeper leaguers will find the analysis below most helpful initially, but others can read up to get a head start on '07. Never too early to start boning up for draft day.