In the Trenches - Week 7
Each week I’ll be using data from PFF and around the web to give some insight into IDP fantasy football, and how using these metrics can lead to finding undervalued players, potential breakouts and sleepers.
By now, if you’re an IDP gamer you’ll be well aware of the seeming injury epidemic that has swept through the league’s fantasy relevant linebackers. The list of players out for the season reads like a who’s who of LB1 talent; Sean Lee, Kiko Alonso, Jerod Mayo and Derrick Johnson. Then take into account the elite athletes suspended or injured for large parts of the season – Daryl Washington, NaVorro Bowman and Chad Greenway. And that doesn’t take into account Vontaze Burfict’s concussion issues, or Danny Trevathan’s second leg fracture, or Mychal Kendricks slow-healing calf, not to mention season-ending injuries for starting everydown linebackers such Stephen Tulloch and Nick Roach. I could go on, but I think you get the point.
All that being said, this week we’re going to delve deep into some tackle frequency (Tak Freq) statistics and find some hidden gems and viable alternatives for those of us struggling to field a healthy linebacker.
Tuning in to the Right Frequency
Let’s start by establishing what I mean by tackle frequency, and why it’s important. A player’s tackle frequency is calculated by the following simple equation:
Total tackles / Snaps
It’s now well established that the top fantasy linebackers are three-down players, which affords them a higher number of opportunities to record fantasy relevant statistics, the most frequent of which is tackles. Although the 100-plus total tackles mark acts as a rudimentary benchmark for basic fantasy success, it is not a good way of establishing a player’s potential and upside.
A more refined approach is to look at their tackle frequency because it’s a qualitative metric rather than a cumulative one. It looks at a player’s per-opportunity production, as opposed to the net result of the player’s impact on the game. This means we can have a more accurate comparison of a player’s production to their peers, as the metric we are using has been normalised.
If you have read my Week 4 – In the Trenches column you’ll know I’ve already looked at historical tackle frequency data and identified that, “we should be focusing on players who can achieve a tackle frequency of 12 percent or greater as potential LB1s if they are given a three-down role, and that players who can post a tackle frequency in the 14-15 percent range can threaten LB1 status even if they don’t feature in sub-package snaps.”
Ross Miles is a Lead Writer for Pro Football Focus Fantasy. Follow him on Twitter – @RossMilesNFL
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