Three-Down Linebackers for 2020 IDP Leagues (Updated Weekly)
Keeping tabs on the three-down linebackers is going to be vital in 2020 - between potential injuries and COVID19 - players could miss time for myriad of reasons. So, knowing who's going to be on the field will provide a leg up on your competition.
This will be updated throughout the rest of the season as information is presented. Here is how the snaps are playing out among the linebackers and who were calling the plays.
*-I do point out if a non-LB is calling the plays in my notes
|Team||First Name||Last Name||2020 Snaps||2020 Team Snaps||2020 Snap Rate||2020 Playcaller|
Deion Jones was on for all but a few snaps against Dallas. Keep an eye on Foyesade Olukouon as an injury knocked him out. Mykal Walker came in his place and appeared in 56% of the snaps.. Walker will be someone to monitor as he finished with an elite 15.2% tackle rate in 46 snaps.
Week 2 Green Dot: Deion Jones
Jordan Hicks and De'Vondre Campbell continue to be the Arizona linebackers to roster. Isaiah Simmons can't get on the field. It just be might be just not understanding or getting up to speed on the playbook. I don't get how a top-10 pick can't get on the field.
Week 2 Green Dot: Jordan Hicks
Patrick Queen might be one of those guys you start even though he's receiving fewer than 80% of the snaps. When he's on the field, Queen makes plays and he finished with seven solos - resulting in a 15.3% tackle rate. LJ Fort recovered a fumble for a TD, however, he'll be too inconsistent if he's playing just 25% of the time.
Week 2 Green Dot: Chuck Clark (Safety)
Tremaine Edmunds and Matt Milano missed Week 2. Tyrel Dodson and AJ Klein were three-down guys for Buffalo.
Week 2 Green Dot: Tyrel Dodson
Shaq Thompson was the lone three-down guy for Carolina this week. Tahir Whitehead saw his usage dip to 72% (44 snaps). He had a rough game from what I saw in a quick review. As of now, you might want to park him on your bench.
Week 2 Green Dot: Shaq Thompson
Roquan Smith has taken over the playcalling duties and is now manning the dot. Danny Trevathan was on for just 31 snaps and it wasn't injury-related. After a rough Week 1, Trevathan didn't play well in Week 2. The Bears are another defense looking to deploy three safeties and are doing it at the expense of Trevathan. Might be time to move on him because it doesn't look like he'll be a three-down player going forward.
Week 2 Green Dot: Roquan Smith
Josh Bynes saw an increase in his usage in Week 2. After appearing in 72% of the snaps, Bynes was in on 85% and deployed in most of Cinci's packages against Cleveland. The Bengals are easing their rookies Logan Wilson and Akeem Davis-Gaither into the rotation, as well. Germaine Pratt had consecutive weeks of 73% of the snaps and had a disappointing two-tackle performance. If I'm a Germaine Pratt rosterer - and I am - I'm benching him for now. If you have shallow benches, you may want to scan the wire. I would look to add Josh Bynes from the wire if he's available. Wilson and ADG might be eating into Pratt's usage sooner rather than later. Wilson received 19 snaps in Week 2 with ADG getting 14.
Week 2 Green Dot: Vonn Bell (Safety)
After appearing in 92% of the snaps in Week 1, Sione Takitaki had a precipitous drop in his usage and was removed from their 4-2-5 for Malcolm Smith. Takitaki had a poor outing, resulting in missed tackles and being out position. Smith was the three-down LB in the second-half in Cleveland's two-LB sets, while Takitaki received some snaps in their goal-line packages. BJ Goodson was on the field for 100% of the snaps and is currently the only Browns LB to own.
Update 09/21/2020: Mack Wilson is back at practice, so something to keep an eye on throughout the week.
Week 2 Green Dot: BJ Goodson
With Leighton Vander Esch out for a few months, Dallas didn't go to the wire for an LB. Jaylon Smith and Joe Thomas were the three-down guys this week and Thomas filled in nicely.
Week 2 Green Dot: Jaylon Smith
We have another dot transition - this week it's Josey Jewell. AJ Johnson and Jewell were the three-down linebackers once again. If Jewell is still on your wire, you need to grab him.
Week 2 Green Dot: Josey Jewell
Jamie Collins didn't headbutt any refs this week and resumed his playcalling duties. Collins appeared in 77% of the snaps, while Jahlani Taivai received 81% of the snaps. Collins offers big-play upside with his pass rush capabilities.
Week 2 Green Dot: Jaime Collins
Green Bay Packers
Christian Kirksey called the plays and got the tackles. Kirksey is the only ILB to own in GB. Za'Darius Smith had a solid game - four tackles and a sack while adding two QB hits.
Week 2 Green Dot: Christian Kirksey
Zach Cunningham dominated the tackle share for the Texans in Week 2. Benardrick McKinney saw a slight uptick in usage - appearing in 86% of the snaps. It looks like he's going to settle in that 83%-87% rate.
Week 2 Green Dot: Zach Cunningham
Definitely, something to monitor, Anthony Walker ceded more sub-packages to Bobby Okereke. Walker's usage dipped from Week 1 and he appeared in just 56% of the snaps, while Okereke received 85%. This might be a one-time thing, but it doesn't sound like Walker suffered an injury. Okereke should definitely be on your radar now.
Week 2 Green Dot: Darius Leonard
Joe Schobert and Myles Jack appeared in 100% of the snaps in Week 3. Jack is now match-up proof and is recording a 16.8% tackle rate. Schobert is right behind with a 13.3% tackle rate.
Week 3 Green Dot: Joe Schobert
Kansas City Chiefs
Anthony Hitchens saw 78% of the snaps and recorded nine tackles. Damien Wilson recorded 12 on 56 snaps. If you're in deep leagues, and just want to block your opponents, I'd consider Hitchens. I'm not falling for the fool's gold that is Wilson - think the ManBearPig episode where Cartman tried to smuggle the fake treasure from the Cave Of The Winds.
Week 2 Green Dot: Anthony Hitchens
Las Vegas Raiders
Nicholas Morrow received the start and wore the dot in Week 2. Morrow appeared in 100% of the snaps alongside Cory Littleton. Morrow had the better fantasy night - seven solo tackles and an INT. I mentioned in last week's IDP waiver wire piece that Morrow will be worth watching, so with his role in Kwiatkoski's absence, he's worth the pick-up. If you were hoping for anything out of Raekwon McMillan, you can move on - just five snaps.
Week 2 Green Dot: Nicholas Morrow
Los Angeles Chargers
The Los Angeles Chargers strike back. In Week 1, upon Drue Tranquill's exit, Nick Vigil appeared in 85% of the snaps. In Week 2, Vigil saw the equivalent of Bluto Blutarski's GPA - 0.0. Kyzir White received the start at WILL and was on for 100% of the snaps. Kenneth Murray continued to wear the dot and call the plays.
Week 2 Green Dot: Kenneth Murray
Los Angeles Rams
John Johnson continued to wear the dot and call the plays for the defense. Micah Kiser dominated the tackle opportunities. Kiser finished with 16 tackles - nearly 28% of the team's total. He's the LB to own from the Rams and if he's still available on your wire, he's a priority add.
Week 2 Green Dot: John Johnson (Safety)
Jerome Baker is the only Miami linebacker to own. Don't let the Kamu Grugier-Hill or Elandon Roberts stats throw you off. They each appeared in 20 snaps against Jacksonville. Baker has been efficient with his snaps, although I'd like to see him notch more solos. Through three games, he's producing a 16.9% tackle rate.
Week 3 Green Dot: Jerome Baker
Anthony Barr suffered a chest injury in the second quarter, resulting in Eric Kendricks took over the playcalling duties. Kendricks was on the field for 100%, while Eric Wilson received 92% of the snaps and recorded six tackles.
Update 09/21/2020: It's now being reported Anthony Barr out for the year with a torn pectoral.
Week 2 Green Dot: Eric Kendricks
New England Patriots
Not sure I want to jinx it, but I think we can trust a New England linebacker. Although he had a subpar game, Ju'Whaun Bentley was still on the field for 100% of the snaps.
Week 2 Green Dot: Ja'Whaun Bentley
New Orleans Saints
Demario Davis is wearing the dot and was on the field for 100% of the snaps in Week 2. Alex Anzalone is on the field for their base and isn't IDP-relevant at this time.
Week 2 Green Dot: Demario Davis
New York Giants
Blake Martinez and we move on. Martinez is a magnet for the ball and just makes tackles.
Week 2 Green Dot: Blake Martinez
New York Jets
The Jets can't have players who perform, so maybe that's why Harvey Langi was demoted to just a few snaps after turning in a solid game in Week 1. Neville Hewitt is calling the plays and appeared in 95% of the snaps. Avery Williamson made his 2020 and saw 17 snaps. Alec Ogletree is a guy you want on the field if you're trying to tank - he appeared in 56% of the snaps. As of now, Hewitt is the only Jets' LB to own.
Week 2 Green Dot: Neville Hewitt
I'm not sure how long Gerry is going to be a three-down guy, although Philly loves him. He gets bullied around and just doesn't have the make-up of a physical LB. TJ Edwards started, but received just 42% of the snaps. Duke Riley was on the field for 71% of the snaps.
Week 2 Green Dot: Nate Gerry
Devin Bush struggled a bit in coverage with Noah Fant, but had a decent IDP day with seven tackles (six solos). Vince Williams saw an uptick in usage as he was on the field for 83% of the snaps.
Week 2 Green Dot: Devin Bush
San Francisco 49ers
Luckily, Kwon Alexander and Fred Warner avoided the swarm of injuries suffered by various 49er players. Although Warner appeared 80% of the snaps, I'm not panicking. Alexander was on for 100% of the snaps.
Week 2 Green Dot: Didn't see a dot. Fred Warner was calling the plays though.
Bobby Wagner was the three-down guy. KJ Wright saw an uptick in playing time - appearing in 71% of the snaps. Not quite startable unless in a pinch. Wright made a few plays against the Pats and there is some gas in the tank.
Week 2 Green Dot: Bobby Wagner
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Devin White and Lavonte David are the three-down guys here.
Week 2 Green Dot: Devin White
Rashaan Evans avoided suspension and played in 63 snaps in Week 2. Jayon Brown was on for 100% of the snaps this week once again.
Week 2 Green Dot: Jayon Brown
Washington Football Team
Thomas Davis was active, but didn't play. Kevin Pierre-Louis appeared in 75 snaps while Jon Bostic was on for all 77.
Week 2 Green Dot: Jon Bostic