Tackles are the key stat of many IDP leagues. But they can be extremely misleading. Stat crews vary wildly in how they award those tackles, and it’s a misconception that a high number of tackles correlates with better players. Yet still, arguments are made about players being good because they rack high numbers of tackles up.
On top of that, tackles are fundamentally a counting stat. Simply by a player’s team’s defense being on the field, the number of opportunities goes up – and mostly the number of tackles with those opportunities. Counting stats can be misleading because they tell us more about a team than an individual. And therefore, are not good for predictions. Efficiency stats are far more useful. In this situation, that is how often does a player make a tackle compared to how many snaps he plays. The basic calculation for tackle efficiency is simply the total number of solos and assists for a player divided by his defensive snaps. This gives us a percentage which denotes on what % of snaps this player records a tackle.
Unfortunately, tackling efficiency is not predictive. It can vary widely across seasons even for the same player in the same scheme. So why does this article exist? Because of its unpredictability. We can identify outliers (either high or low) and make a pretty good assumption that those players will regress the following season. I.e. their very good or bad tackling efficiency will become average and they will, therefore, produce higher or lower stats. Here are a few players by position that we can expect such movement from in 2019.