Ten IDP Fantasy Football Stats You Need to Know after Week 15

Tom Kislingbury

We’ve seen 15 weeks of this season, and the vast majority of fantasy leagues are into the playoffs. We know every defense pretty much as well as we’re going to this season, but injuries are still the same factor they are in every week of live football. So, keep your eye on the ball.

1 The two lowest-volume defenses of 2023 are the Browns and Panthers

Both defenses have averaged under 62 snaps, whilst the NFL average (as always) hovers between 66-67.

What’s interesting here is the Browns are clearly among the better defenses in the league, while the Panthers are… not.

Yet again, there is no link between how good a defense is and how much they play. It has to do with the relative quality of both teams’ defenses vs both teams’ offenses in any given game, which is nigh impossible to predict. You just have to get into each season and see how it plays out.

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2 The Titans have used a whopping 39 different defensive players this season.

This is based on different players playing defensive snaps. If a guy plays special teams and is nominally classified with a defensive position, he does not count.

The average for all other teams bar the Titans is a little over 30, and second place is the Panthers at 34. So, the Titans are significantly above the curve – again.

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3 Over 71% of Vikings defensive slot snaps have been from a safety.

This is by far the highest figure in the NFL. No other team is above 50%, with the Rams in second place at just over 49%. The average for non-Vikings teams is 32.8%.

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You may well be reading this and thinking: “Ah, that’s just because some dude is classified as a safety when really he’s a slot corner”.

Here’s all Vikings DBs this season and how they’ve lined up. It is sorted by snaps in the slot.

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Clearly Josh Metellus, Camryn Bynum and Harrison Smith are all bona fide safeties and not corners. You can argue Metellus is playing the overhang position, but not cornerback. Those three players are the ones that make up the vast majority of those slot snaps.

4 Jaelan Phillips leads all defenders with 0.47 fantasy football points per snap

This is among defenders with 100 or more snaps just to exclude low-snap anomalies. And of course, obviously your scoring settings make a huge difference here.

On the chart below Phillips is the aqua dot. If he’s been healthy enough to play more would his efficiency have stayed there? Almost certainly not. But people in your league will look at this information and base opinions on it. Be wary.

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5 Von Miller trails all defenders with 0.03 FF Pts per snap.

At the other end of the scale is perennial All-Pro Miller.

He’s recorded a pitiful 12 pressures and zero sacks from his 148 pass rush snaps so far this season, while only adding two solo tackles and zero assists from 210 total snaps.

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Yes, he missed the first four games of the season, and fantasy points do not equate to real NFL play. But the truth is that Miller has fallen off an absolute cliff this season and looks a pale shadow of his former self.

Here’s the Bills weekly edge rotation so you can see what a small part of their positional plan he has become.

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6 Aaron Donald leads all interior linemen with 74 pressures.

Second in the position is Dexter Lawrence, with just 59. As he has for most of his career, Donald has obliterated all his peers as a pass-rusher.

It’s not all been plain sailing, and both the last two seasons saw Donald start slowly and build up, but he is still the undisputed best interior pass rusher in the NFL.

Lawrence has had a fantastic couple of seasons, but he’s not on the same level.

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7 Travon Walker has three sacks in his last four games

That sounds great for the former first-overall draft pick, doesn’t it?

Not so fast. He’s still been a below-average pass rusher over the whole of 2023. Pro Football Focus have him as their 106th-best edge, among 123 with 20% or more snaps on the season.

You can see on this chart that his pressure rate has been about average.

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Again, that might seem encouraging, but that’s the ‘best’ bit of his game. His run defense and tackling are real weaknesses after 1,600+ snaps as a pro.

After the years of Yannick Ngakoue and the recent disaster of selecting K’Lavon Chaisson in the first round, it’s rather amusing they appear to have yet another decent pass rusher who is allergic to stopping the run.

That’s not to say Ngakoue was not a good player. He’s had a brilliant career up until this season. But even at his best, he was a clearly sub-par run defender.

8 Kaden Elliss has a tackle efficiency of just 10.4%

Elliss was a trendy preseason IDP target, and he’s kinda, sorta returned. But he’s also seriously underperformed in efficiency. Ellis has played 923 defensive snaps which is good for seventh-most among LBs. But he’s probably a high-end LB3 (depending on your scoring) at around LB25-30.

He’s the red dot in this chart showing just what a poor tackle-gatherer he’s been this season.

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9 Darious Williams has recorded coverage play in just one of his last four games

Williams had a brilliant first half of the season in PD and INT terms. But he’s happened to have three duds in those stats right at the crunch end of the season.

And in fact he’s been narrowly overtaken as the top corner in coverage plays by Charvarius Ward.

Don’t let recency bias dominate your thinking here. Williams has had a brilliant season in leagues that properly score PDs (which should be all of them. It’s a key stat).

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10 Jessie Bates has a tackle efficiency of over 2% better than Ritchie Grant.

Does that sound weird? Some safeties get more tackles than others. That’s just normal.

In this chart, Bates is the red dot, while Grant is the black dot.

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However, check the relative positional usage of them both this season. Clearly Grant is the boxier safety on the team, with Bates playing deep.

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To see such a strong discrepancy in tackle efficiency is unusual.

tom kislingbury