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If you play in IDP leagues like I do, you know there is nothing more frustrating that seeing your star linebacker get ten or more tackles, only to see seven were scored as assists and just three were solo. What if I told you that tackles are not an official NFL stat? Tackles for both teams are recorded by the home team’s official scorekeeper and submitted to the league. Why the league hasn’t done more to standardize this is beyond me. There are some teams that over the years have become notorious for awarding more assists than league average, teams like Indianapolis and San Diego in the past.
When you play fantasy football, IDP or not, you try to find tools, statistical data, trends, or anything else to get a leg up on the competition. I have compiled the tackles awarded from each game through the season’s first seven weeks and broken them down by solos and assists awarded to both the visitor and home teams by the home scorekeeper. The teams highlighted in green were the team that gave out the fewest assists for the week and the teams in red were the teams that gave out the most assists. On the right you can see the total amount of tackles, both solo and assists, and the percentage of tackles that were recorded as assists. I separated the visitor and home teams here too just to see if any teams were leaning heavily one way or the other. On the far right it is a percentage of total tackles, both visitor and home combined, recorded as assists. I decided that anything more than 30% of total tackles being given as assists was too much and they have been highlighted in red. The grey signifies that team did not play at home that week.
Let’s take a look at the data:
There are 11 teams over the 40% threshold – Buffalo, Carolina, Cincinnati, Green Bay, Minnesota, New England, New Orleans, the NY Jets, Seattle, Tennessee and Washington. A lot of these teams aren’t surprising because if you have owned London Fletcher or Perry Riley this year, you have definitely noticed the unusual amount of their tackles being assists. You would have thought they were Siamese twins or something judging by the few amount of solo tackles by these guys. If you look at Seattle, they are freakishly close to the 50% mark. If you look at the home vs away breakdown you see that roughly 58% of the visiting team’s tackles are being recorded as assists while “just” 39% of the home team’s tackles are being shared. Is it a coincidence? Maybe, Lynch is a beast who rarely gets taken down by one guy, but that is a pretty wide discrepancy. There are quite a few teams that are hovering around the 2:1 ratio of assists given to the home team versus the visitors. I don’t know if they just want to get as many of the home team players as possible involved on the stat sheet or what, but it’s really hurting my IDP stats!
On the other side of the spectrum, look at Kansas City. Through three home games they have given out a total of 26 assists, or 7.5% of total tackles. Derrick Johnson owners rejoice. Any team giving out less than 20% of total tackles as assists should be considered IDP “Hot Spots.” Those teams currently are Arizona, Chicago, Dallas, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Miami, Philadelphia, San Francisco, St. Louis and Tampa Bay. The top ten IDP linebackers are currently Daryl Washington, DeMarcus Ware, Von Miller, Lance Briggs, Sean Weatherspoon, Ray Lewis, Jerod Mayo, Mason Foster, Clay Matthews, and James Laurinaitis. Only Clay Matthews and Jerod Mayo are on teams who are currently giving out more than 30% of total tackles as assists and Matthews’ stats are heavily based off sack totals, Mayo is just a beast. Five of the top ten linebackers play on the “Hot Spot” teams giving out fewer than 20% as assists, and Baltimore and Ray Lewis just barely missed by 0.07%. I don’t consider that a coincidence.
So what does this all mean?
This data can be used as a tie breaker if you are really torn between two choices for your final IDP player of the week. I wouldn’t use this to draft with, but it can be used as a tool when you’re looking for a plug and play start due to injuries or bye weeks. Know your scoring system – if two assists are the equivalent to one solo, know that the more generous scorekeepers are going to be spots you can take advantage of, especially with safeties and linebackers. If they are all diving on piles, more than likely they’re going to be sharing the tackle.
I’ll be updating this spreadsheet and tracking these trends for the rest of the season in the premium content. I hope it wasn’t too overwhelming and it becomes a useful tool for all you IDP leaguers out there, we’re going to eventually take over the world so make sure you get a good seat!