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IDP Interactive - Week 6
Steve Gallo
October 11, 2008
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Welcome to our week 6 edition of IDP INTERACTIVE.  In our IDP Forum you will find a thread entitled "IDP INTERACTIVE" pinned to the top where you can submit your questions for consideration.  If you question is not chosen to be answered in this column every effort will still be made to answer your question in the IDP Forum.

Now let’s take a look at the question that forum member tiger20 has this week.

Tiger20 wrote,
“Since E.J Henderson is out for the year, I need to pick up a replacement for this coming week.

Some of the guys available are:

Freddy Keiaho
Dhani Jones
Chad Greenway
Lance Briggs
James Harrison

Who do I grab, and then who do I start of my 4 LB (Pick 2)

1. Nick Barnett v. Seattle
2. Karlos Dansby v. Dallas
3. Davis Harris v. Cincinnati
4. Whoever I pick up

Our league site is at: www.fflelite.com

(I am Phoenix and I am playing against Boston this week)

Scoring is:
2 Points for a solo tackle
· 2 Points for a Special Teams solo tackle
· 4 Points for a sack
· 2 Points for a ½ Sack
· 2 Points for a Forced Fumble
· 4 Points for an Interception”

At first blush I was ready to say that with the talent available on Tiger20’s waiver wire that it didn’t matter who he picks up but what fun would that be.  When I looked at Tiger20’s site is when I noticed this is an 8 team league where only two LBs are started so that explains why there are some top talents available on his waiver wire.  To help make this decision we are once again going to take a look at the IDP TOP for these linebackers.  In case don’t know what “IDP TOP” is here is its definition along with an example.

The basic definition of IDP TOP (Tackle Opportunity Production) is that it measures the performance of a player based on the number of tackle opportunities that they have.  The higher the IDP TOP the better.  Tackle opportunity is currently being defined as the number of rushing attempts plus the number of completions that a defense faces in a game.  Below is an example to help better understand IDP TOP.

Example:

NY Giants Offense has: 26 rushes and 19 completions for a total of 45 tackle opportunities (TOs).
New England Patriots LB Tedy Bruschi recorded 5 solo tackles and 3 assists. 
                TOP for Bruschi on solo tackles is .111 (5 divided by 45)
                TOP for Bruschi on assists is .067 (3 divided by 45)
                TOP for Bruschi on combined tackles is .178 (8 divided by 45)

Green Bay Packers Offense has: 14 rushes and 19 completions for a total of 33 TOs.
New York Giants DB Gibril Wilson recorded 5 solo tackles and 3 assists.
                TOP for Wilson on solo tackles is .152 (5 divided by 33)
                TOP for Wilson on assists is .091 (3 divided by 33)
                TOP for Wilson on combined tackles is .242 (8 divided by 33)

In the above example what TOP helps to illustrate is that just looking at the recorded tackles doesn’t tell the entire story.  Both players recorded 5 solo tackles and 3 assists yet Gibril Wilson was 36% to 37% more productive then Bruschi was.  If Bruschi had achieved the same TOP as Wilson he would have recorded 7 solo tackles and 4 assists.  It might not seem like much but it surely can make a difference.  Ok, now let’s take a look at the linebackers that are available for Tiger20.

Freddy Keiaho:

                         Total Tackles                   IDP TOP
Week 1                       10                              .192       
Week 2                       10                              .204       
Week 3                       11                              .172       
Week 4                      BYE                            BYE
Week 5                         8                              .154
Season                      39                              .180

Dhani Jones:

                         Total Tackles                  IDP TOP
Week 1                       10                            .303       
Week 2                       10                            .182       
Week 3                       12                            .235       
Week 4                         9                            .164
Week 5                       10                            .192
Season                       51                           .207

Chad Greenway:

                         Total Tackles                  IDP TOP
Week 1                       8                               .178       
Week 2                       6                               .133       
Week 3                       9                               .243       
Week 4                     11                              .212
Week 5                       5                               .104
Season                    39                               .172

Lance Briggs:

                         Total Tackles                  IDP TOP
Week 1                        8                              .178       
Week 2                        6                              .140       
Week 3                        6                              .109       
Week 4                        4                              .083
Week 5                        8                              .235
Season                     32                              .142

James Harrison: 

                         Total Tackles                  IDP TOP
Week 1                      7/2                             .200
Week 2                      4/0                             .093
Week 3                      2/1                             .061                        
Week 4                      6/5                             .224
Week 5                      3/1                             .108       
Season                   22/9                             .139

The Final Answer!

The first thing I want to get out of the way is to say that in an 8 team league where you only start 2 LBs weekly is that I would remove James Harrison completely from the equation.  Harrison, in my opinion is just too risky a start as a LB2.  Sure he can single handedly almost win a game for his owners but he is inconsistent and with only two starting LBs I would look for a more consistent player to plug in.  Dhani Jones not only has the best IDP TOP of the bunch that you listed but he is also leading the NFL in total tackles.  The Bengals offense is bad enough that Jones will continue to get many chances to rack up tackles.  However, in my opinion as the season progresses and rookie Keith Rivers improves I think you will see him start to siphon more and more tackles from Jones.  I have said it numerous times in our IDP Forum that I believe Freddy Keiaho is a top 5 LB this year in tackle heavy formats (which is what Tiger20’s scoring system is).  The Colts DL is still struggling to stop the run and that is benefiting all three Colts LBs.  There is also plenty of historical evidence that shows how productive the WLB position is in Tony Dungy’s Tampa 2 defense.  Briggs and Greenway are both solid LBs that make very nice LB2 in 12 team or larger leagues and will even make good spot starts as a LB1/2 in this 8 team league.  They just aren’t quite going to produce to the level that it looks like Dhani Jones and Freddy Keiaho will.  The numbers say that Jones should be the pickup but when you factor in that Keiaho has already had his bye week and that I expect Jones to start to lose some stats to Keith Rivers as the season progresses I have to recommend Keiaho as the pickup.  One other tidbit is that the Ravens (who Keiaho faces this week) have given up 10 and 13 tackle efforts to the two WLBs that they have faced this year.

Tiger20, thank you for taking the time to share your question with us and good luck not only this week but the rest of the season too.

I hope that everyone has enjoyed our first installment with IDP Interactive and I look forward to seeing more questions in the coming weeks.  If you have any comments or recommendations on what you would like to see in IDP Interactive you can email me at idpsteve@gmail.com

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