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IDP Interactive - Week 15
Steve Gallo
December 13, 2008
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Welcome to our week 15 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.

Let’s take a look at a “do I bench my stud question” forum member Eagles2010 has this week.

Eagles2010  wrote,
“I need some help with which LB to start week 15.

Beason vs. they pass even more than ever now??
Julian Peterson at St. Louis......seems to have the Rams number
Bradi James vs. Giants.... Have a good feeling about James this week
Stephen Cooper at Kansas City.... Don't have a feel for this play at all

We start 1 LB, 1 DL, 1 DB, and a Flex Lb, Dl, Db. My current line-up

Richard Seymour at Oakland
Kirk Morrison vs. New England
Gibril Wilson vs. New England
FLEX is open..............................

Scoring is 1 point for tackles and pass deflections, 2.25 points for every half sack, 5 point Int's, 3 point fumble recoveries and forced fumbles, and 4.5 point for a safety. We do not score assisted tackles.

With the little research I did muster into what type of numbers MLB's ( 4-3 ) score verse Denver, what I found wasn't very promising. I think they may even get worse if Denver isnt running the ball with any success. Peterson had a good game verse the Rams earlier this season and Bradie James has been a hot hand lately. Any good insight into which LB is the best play this week? I'm leaning toward's Bradie James, but I've learned from experience that sitting your studs like Beason can hurt sometimes and I do not want to make that mistake as I did with Morrison last week. Thanks”

Always start your studs?
Yes, it is that time of year when fantasy owners find themselves second guessing their second guesses. 
The, “Always start your studs” saying is so simple, straight forward and to the point but we know that it’s not always right.  Jon Beason is a stud, that there is no denying.  His IDP TOP* for the year stands at .180.  To put that in a bit of perspective, Patrick Willis who is the #1 ranked LB in most scoring systems has an IDP TOP of .183.  The problem is that no matter how much of a stud a player is there are games where they just don’t produce up to their normal levels.  The last thing anyone wants to do at this time of year is to start someone that leaves you high and dry.  Never has “what have you done for me lately” meant more than it does during fantasy playoffs. 

Missing cut.
First let’s get the guys out of the way that aren’t going to make the final cut this week.

  • Julian Peterson

Over the last 5 weeks Peterson has been pretty inconsistent and he sure didn’t take advantage of a choice matchup last week.  The last thing that you want this week is another 3 tackle effort and that is what Peterson has done in 3 of the past 4 weeks.  He did put up a nice score versus the Rams earlier this year but most of that scoring occurred on just one play.  Yep, he recorded a tackle, sack, forced fumble & fumble recovery on just on snap.  Want me to make it look even scarier?  That play happened on the Rams third offensive snap of the game.  Without that one play, Peterson would have been looking at a 1 tackle, 1 assist day. 

  • Stephen Cooper

Cooper came on like gang busters after returning from his four game league imposed suspension but he has cooled off of late.  Over his last 5 weeks Cooper has recorded 4 or fewer tackles 3 times and to make matters worse they have come in the last 3 weeks.  Sure he posted a nice score in week 14 but that was due to his 2 interceptions.  I highly doubt you would be excited about plugging Cooper in and seeing him put up between 3-4 tackles. 

And then there were two.
Wait, did you think I actually ruled Jon Beason out?  The final decision in my opinion comes down to between Beason and Bradie James.  To see who gets the final call we are going to take a look at some numbers.  I think it is safe to say that if you knew you could get the type of production you normally get out of Beason that you would take it in a heartbeat.  So let’s go one better, let’s shoot for Patrick Willis type production.  After all we are talking about the playoffs.

The Matchups

Jon Beason vs Broncos
Season to date the Broncos have given up 82 combined tackles to MLB/ILBs.  Those tackles have come on 622 total tackle opportunities, yielding an IDP TOP of .132.  That isn’t exactly an enticing IDP TOP.  However, when we look at the past 5 weeks we see that the Broncos have been a better matchup for MLB/ILBs.  Over those 5 weeks the Broncos have given up 39 total tackles on 242 tackle opportunities for an IDP TOP of .161.  Now that is a bit more palatable, still not studly but much better (+22% increase better).  Seems like Beason might not be such a bad option after all. The Broncos should provide between 40-50 tackle opportunities which would put Beason between 6-8 tackles.

Bradie James vs Giants
James is facing a Giants team that has given up 138 tackles so far this season on 658 tackle opportunities to MLB/ILBs.  That would give opposing MLB/ILBs and IDP TOP of .210 versus the Giants this year.
To be fair we should look at the last 5 weeks just like we did for Beason.  Over the last 5 weeks the Giants have given up 56 tackles on 254 tackle opportunities to opposing MLB/ILBs.  That is an average of over 11 total tackles/game and an even more impressive .220 IDP TOP.  Now, I know that is giving you a warm and fuzzy feeling but don’t forget to take a look at what James did in week 9 versus the Giants.  All he did back in week 9 was log 9 tackles, 3 assist & 1 sack on 50 tackle opportunities for a mind blowing IDP TOP of .240.  Now there is a bit of risk involved since the Giants have announced that Brandon Jacobs will be inactive for this game but I wouldn’t expect the Giants to deviate much from their game plan.  Both Derrick Ward and Ahmad Bradshaw should carry the load without Jacobs just fine but even if the Giants struggle offensively look no further than last week’s game versus Philadelphia to see that the Giants are in a giving mood when it comes to MLB/ILBs this year.

And the winner is…
Eagle2010 is the winner that’s who as long as he starts Bradie James that is.  I know, after seeing the above numbers announcing the winner was pretty anticlimactic.  But truthfully you couldn’t ask for a better matchup in a playoff week.  It is like the perfect storm.  Ride the wave, enjoy it and hopefully a playoff win too.

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.

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.

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

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