All about the Solo: Week Eight

Eric Olinger


One of the more frustrating things in IDP leagues is seeing your stud linebacker fly all over the field on game days only to see the home score keeper dilute his performance by divvying up his tackles as an assist. Not everybody knows this, but the NFL does not recognize a tackle as an official statistic. Tackles are scored by the home team’s official score keeper and those are the stats you see on news and stats sites. The league made an effort to standardize what is and isn’t a solo tackle back in 2007 when they sent a video to all NFL teams, but it still the discretion of the score keeper and there is a large disparity from team to team and week-to-week. I will be tracking this throughout the season to give you a better idea of what to expect when choosing your IDPs each week. The chart below shows the results through week eight.

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Ever since I said it was incredibly rare for a team have zero assists in a game we’ve had three weeks in a row with a team getting zero assists. Heck, this week we had a game where neither team was awarded an assisted tackle. Since it was the game played in London I’m not sure who was officially the home score keeper. I don’t know if the Falcons brought their guy or not so it’s a odd situation and one not to put too much stock in.


Last week’s game in New England versus the Chicago Bears was pretty crazy as far as tackles ago. The Bears were awarded nearly twice as many assists as solo tackles and the Patriots had an even 50/50 split. Both Jamie Collins and Dont’a Hightower finished the game with double digit tackles thanks to the very liberal scoring. For the Bears, three players, D.J. Williams, Chris Jones and Ryan Mundy all had 9+ total tackles but none had more than two solo tackles.

In Cincinnati, Daryl Smith got the Ray Lewis treatment and collected 10 assists on the day. Basically he was given as assist if he even saw a tackle happen. Nobody else on the Ravens had more than 50% of their total tackles scored as assist. This is something we can take advantage of for the rest of the season with Smith especially, but I expect C.J. Mosley to also benefit from the preferential treatment.

This week we lost two more IDP linebackers for the year in Jon Beason (toe) of the Giants and Justin Durant (bicep) of the Cowboys. This will lock in Jameel McClain for the Giants for the remainder of the season. It also provides a great opportunity for rookie Anthony Hitchens in Dallas.

The Trojan’s “Boner of the Week” award undoubtedly goes to Lamarr Houston of the Chicago Bears. While celebrating his first, and subsequently only, sack of the season he tore his ACL in his right knee. What makes it worse is the fact is was against back-up quarterback Jimmy Garappolo because his team was taken behind the wood shed and beat senseless.

Moving on to this week I like Thomas Davis and Roman Harper in addition to Luke Kuechly against the Saints on Thursday night. On the other side of the ball I would expect solid outings from Curtis Lofton, David Hawhorne and Kenny Vaccaro. Keenan Lewis should also be a solid option in leagues required to start multiple corners. He should have his hands full with Kelvin Benjamin.

It’ll be interesting to see who benefits in Tampa Bay after they traded starting strong safety Mark Barron to the Rams on Tuesday. The next man up is Major Wright who played for Lovie Smith in Chicago. He’ll be a downgrade from an IDP standpoint but could be a solid plug-and-play option due to bye week hell this week. Lavonte David is a weekly must start and he should be a busy man against the Browns rushing attack. Mason Foster should even flirt with 7-8 total tackles. For the Browns I like Karlos Dansby, Paul Kruger who broke out with three sacks last week, and Donte Whitner whose big time hit helped seal the win last week. Look for him specifically to have his ears pinned back.

Look for Mychal Kendricks to play more than the 23 of 73 plays he played last week. He admitted he was not 100% and burnt owners in the process, but they are going to desperately need him against Arian Foster and the Houston Texans. If Brian Cushing sits out another game Mike Mohamed would be a solid short term pick up against the Eagles. He put up and six solo tackles and two assists against the Titans last week. I think it’s fair to expect similar numbers this week.

The Jets and Chiefs game is interesting because it puts two teams who want to run the ball on every down. If it works it means plenty of tackle opportunities and a shortened game due to the clock continuously running. If it doesn’t work it means fewer possessions and less opportunity for the opposing defense. Either way you have to start Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson, David Harris and Demario Davis for the Jets. Even in tackle heavy leagues I want Justin Houston and Tamba Hali in my lineup this week against Mike Vick. The Chiefs are going to blitz like crazy in an attempt to rattle Vick and force bad decisions. Eric Berry and Husain Abdullah should see an errant throw or two come their way this week.

I really like the tandem of Cameron Wake and Olivier Vernon against the Chargers’ offensive line in a 1pm east coast game. Robert Quinn finally awoke from hibernation and now has three sacks in the last two games. He has a tougher matchup going to San Francisco this week but you can’t bench him right now.

San Francisco will continue sending out the “preseason defense” this week. Patrick Willis and Aldon Smith won’t be back. Of the two fill-in 49er linebackers, I like Chris Borland more than Michael Wilhoite this week.

It’ll be interesting to see who Aqib Talib lines up on this Sunday. If he tries to shadow Gronk he could see a decent amount of tackle opportunities. If he lines up across from the suddenly competent Brandon LaFell in an effort to take him out and allow the rest of the team to “group cover” Gronk, he could have a quiet IDP day. I think Bradley Roby will be the better cornerback play this week. Brandon Marshall will maintain weekly starter status.

C.J. Mosley and Daryl Smith will be plenty busy without their top cover corner, Jimmy Smith, against the white hot Pittsburgh Steelers offense. With Ben Roethlisberger’s sandlot style of play, it bodes well for Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil. This matchup is always a brutal slug fest and this week should be no different.

Follow me on Twitter @OlingerIDP.


eric olinger
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