Fantasy Reaction: Manny Lawson Signs With Buffalo

| 4 years ago

Fantasy Reaction: Manny Lawson Signs With Buffalo

The Bills have remained relatively quiet for the first week and a half of free agency, though they did bolster their linebacker corps, signing Manny Lawson to a modest four-year, $12 million deal.

New Bills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine has said that the team will run a hybrid defense that shows 4-3 and 3-4 looks. Lawson has played in both types of defense, which made him an appealing addition to the Bills.

The last four seasons in Lawson’s career show his versatility in 4-3 and 3-4 defenses, but does he have IDP value heading into 2013?  

49ers: 2009 and 2010

Lawson became a full-time starter for the San Francisco 49ers in 2009. He served as the team’s cover linebacker, as an edge-setting run defender and as a pass rusher.

From a stats standpoint, 2009 was Lawson’s most productive season in the NFL. He played a total of 852 snaps and finished with a total of 68 tackles (51 solos). He notched 6.5 sacks and three forced fumbles. Lawson’s totals in tackles, sacks and forced fumbles were all career-highs.

Lawson’s IDP stock was at an all-time high entering 2010, as fantasy owners hoped that he’d build upon his 2009 numbers. Unfortunately, he never met these expectations in a contract year with the 49ers. In 2010, Lawson played 642 snaps with the 49ers, a decrease of 210 snaps from the previous season. He finished with 59 total tackles (48 solos), 2.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and an interception.

Bengals: 2011 and 2012

Lawson’s 2011 season was his first in a 4-3 defense after signing a one-year, $3 million deal. He started 15 of 16 games as the Bengals’ SAM LB, but his snap count fell to 489 plays in 2011. He tallied 52 combined tackles (31 solos) and 1.5 sacks in his first season in Cincinnati.

Lawson re-signed with the Bengals in 2012. For the third consecutive year, he saw less playing time on the field. His snap count fell to 362 and he only started 10 of 16 games for the Bengals. At the end of the season, Lawson was credited with 39 total tackles, 30 solo and nine assists, two sacks and a forced fumble. He started in 10 games as the Bengals’ starting SAM linebacker, but his total snap count dropped to 362.

IDP Metrics 2009-2012

Lawson’s basic stats don’t tell the entire story behind his game. Below are his metrics for tackle frequency, missed tackle frequency and QB pressure frequency.

Year Tackle Frequency Missed Tackle Frequency QB Pressure Frequency
2009  7.9% 6.8%  12%
2010  9.2% 4.8%  16%
2011  9.8%  8.8%  17.5%
2012 9.8%  7.1%  21%

Over the course of the last four seasons, Lawson’s tackle frequency and QB pressure frequencies have improved annually. His missed tackle frequency jumped an alarming 4 percent between 2010 and 2011 but did drop down to 7.1 percent in 2012.

Bills 2013 Outlook

In Buffalo’s 4-3 defense, Lawson is expected to play as a SAM linebacker. In their 3-4 looks, his responsibilities will be similar to those during his time as a 49er. He will be the team’s cover linebacker, edge-setting run defender and pass rusher.

The linebacker position has been a major weakness for Buffalo in the last few seasons. Besides Lawson, Buffalo’s OLB corps includes Nigel Bradham, Bryan Scott, Arthur Moats, Chris White and Greg Lloyd.

While Lawson should see an increase in his snap count, he has minimal fantasy value heading into the 2013 season. He has never accumulated more than 68 total tackles in a season, and he has a total of 18 sacks in 96 games played.

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