One of the most 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 assists. On the flip side, if your league doesn’t score solos and assists too differently, you’ll have a better idea of which teams hand out assists like candy. Not everyone 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 the news and websites. 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 is still the discretion of the home score keeper. Even after this effort there is a still a large discrepancy 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.
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The way Kwon Alexander was being given assists on Sunday night, you might have thought the Cowboys scorekeeper was down 20 points in his IDP league with only Kwon left to play. He obliterated the stat sheet with 21 total tackles and undoubtedly put a lot of teams into their championship games this week. It really is amazing how great of a season he has turned in. Coming into the year I thought he’d be an okay fantasy linebacker but not this – not a game changer. He has to be cemented into the dynasty LB1 ranks moving forward at the expense of Lavonte David.
Much like the David and Alexander situation in Tampa Bay, Zachary Orr and C.J. Mosley have also seemingly swapped spots as their team’s linebacker to own but Mosley popped up this week with 13 total tackles just to twist the blade a bit. It was a very solid performance most likely wasted on your bench. Speaking of wasted performances, I was a fan of Todd Davis in Denver in the preseason and throughout the regular season until two weeks ago and then he finally decides to put up a game. Much like all season long, the real issue with Davis is his playing time. He only played 61% of the team’s defensive snaps but quickly racked up 13 tackles. He doesn’t appear to be a long term answer in Denver and I expect John Elway to re-tool this defense this offseason.
In Washington, with Will Compton and Su’a Cravens both ruled out, the team turned to second year linebacker Martrell Spaight, not Mason Foster, as their defensive signal caller and he responded with 13 total tackles on 100% of the defensive snaps. Spaight is an interesting prospect as a former first-team All-SEC linebacker for the Arkansas Razorbacks. He spent his rookie season on injured reserve with a concussion and is a bit undersized at just 6’0” and 238 pounds but has the look of someone who should hang around this roster for a while as a sub-package inside linebacker. He’s only worth grabbing in ultra deep leagues, but could definitely be someone to monitor and make a mental note of in case opportunities arise later.
Another player I can’t shut up about didn’t show up on the top tackler list this week but flat out put on a clinic is Dallas Cowboys defensive end David Irving. Even though he only recorded two tackles in week 15 against the Bucs, they were both sacks. He absolutely blew apart the right side of Tampa Bay’s offensive line and hit Jameis Winston five times on the night. If you were watching the game you couldn’t miss the guy. He’s a 6’7”, 285 pound behemoth ripping off the end. This was the second time this year he has completely blown a game up, the first being against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers in week six which earned him NFC Defensive Player of the Week honors. So who is this guy? He’s a second year undrafted free agent the Cowboys plucked off of the Chiefs’ practice squad prior to last season. The next step he needs to take is being more consistent. He only has 12 total tackles on the season and three sacks but there’s little doubt his career is on an upward trajectory. Things should actually get a bit easier for him starting this week because the Cowboys get Randy Gregory back from his suspension, for how long is to be determined. Bottom line, I want him on my IDP squads as a player to hold on to. Elite defensive ends are so hard to find and he could have some long term Danielle Hunter-like appeal.
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