This season this column will be a weekly occurrence. Instead of listing reams of data and knowledge, it’s about trying to boil it down into a few useful nuggets.
1. 13% of all defensive snaps have just one off-ball linebacker on the field
Even acknowledging the fact that the vast majority of IDP leagues are not True Position (yet), the supply of linebackers is diminishing. NFL coaches and teams are not stupid. They know that an LB covering a running back or a receiver or a modern, mobile TE is a mismatch. So, they are increasingly taking those LBs off the field.
Of every ten defense snaps, one of those only has one orthodox LB on the field and this number will grow as we go through the season. Week one is always the most conservative of the season, and single-LB sets made up about 17% of snaps in 2021.
This is relevant because it represents a cap on full-time linebackers – who we know have the best chance to score well as IDPs because volume is the biggest driver of IDP points by a long way.