Three-Down Linebackers for 2021 IDP Leagues
Keeping tabs on the three-down linebackers is key in IDP. Much like RBs, you want the linebackers who are playing at least 80% of the snaps or more. COVID is still a thing in 2021, in addition to injuries and poor play. Knowing who's on the field will provide a leg up on your league mates. You'll know who are the LBs to own and whose performances won't stand up because of inconsistent playing time. Be sure to scroll down for team-by-team notes on weekly changes and insights.
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||Player||2021 Defensive Snaps||2021 Snap Rate||Green Dot|
Jordan Hicks picked a bad week for a dud. Hicks saw 100% of the snaps but turned in just one solo as game script/flow took him out, as Dallas tried to play some catchup. Isaiah Simmons was the beneficiary this week - recording nine tackles and adding a forced fumble. Arizona, for the most part, is locked into the 5th seed but can move up to second if they win and a few scenarios take place. I do foresee Hicks and Simmons playing the majority of the snaps in Week 18.
Green Dot Week 17: Jordan Hicks
Foyesade Oluokun and Deion Jones were on the field for 100% of the snaps in the loss against Buffalo. If you had them in your title game, Foye came through with 13 tackles while Jones recorded eight tackles. Until I see news regarding Atlanta sitting starters, Foye and Jones will be in play for Week 18. If Atlanta holds out Jones and Foye, Mykal Walker will be the Atlanta LB to own in Week 18.
Green Dot Week 17: Foyesade Oluokun
Patrick Queen saw 74% of the snaps against the Rams and finished a solo tackle. The second-year LB is seven tackles short of 100, after recording 106 in 16 games last season. It's been a disappointing season for Queen, but he does have a favorable matchup against the Steelers in Week 17.
Green Dot Week 17: Chuck Clark (DB)
Tremaine Edmunds and Matt Milano were on the field for 100% of the snaps and Edmunds wore the dot. Edmunds and Milano finish out a very 'meh' IDP season. Edmunds finished with seven tackles, while Milano finished with six. Edmunds and Milano were like the Buffalo defense - vanilla.
Green Dot Week 17: Tremaine Edmunds
Shaq Thompson was on the field for 100% of the snaps and wore the dot in Week 17. Jermaine Carter was the other full-time LB, as he saw all but three snaps in the loss against New Orleans. Frankie Luvu paced the defense in tackles with nine but saw just 57% of the snaps. If Carolina holds any players out, Luvu would have the most to gain. Thompson is the only Carolina I really trust here.
Green Dot Week 17: Shaq Thompson
Roquan Smith was on the field for 100% of the snaps and called the plays for Chicago. Smith finished with nine tackles - including two for a loss - and rendered the Giants inept. Alec Ogletree saw the majority of the snaps alongside Smith, as he was on the field for 86% of the snaps. If you needed Ogletree as an LB4, he finished with eight tackles.
Green Dot Week 17: Roquan Smith
Logan Wilson returned to the field in a big Week 17 matchup agianst the Chiefs. Wilson ended up playing in 100% of the snaps and called the plays. The Bengals were short-handed as Germaine Pratt landed on the COVID just a few days before the game. Wilson finished with a solid eight tackles. With Pratt sidelined, Markus Bailey slid into his role and was on the field for 79% of the snaps. Bailey's IDP value for Week 18 will be tied to Pratt. However, with the AFC North wrapped, the Bengals may decide to scale back some snaps. Wilson may be tough to trust, so keep an eye on the practice and news reports.
Green Dot Week 17: Logan Wilson
Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah saw 75% of the snaps against Pittsburgh and finished with seven tackles. Anthony Walker was on the field for 60% of the snaps and wore the dot when he was on the field. Jacob Phillips saw 41% of the snaps and wore the dot when he was on the field with Walker off. The Browns aren't playing for anything, so it's not clear how the usage will pan out in Week 18. I think if you're looking for a sneaky LB4, Phillips could be in line for more snaps if this regime wants to see what they have in him.
Green Dot Week 17: Anthony Walker/Jacob Phillips
Micah Parsons saw all but one snap in Week 17 and recorded five tackles and a 28% QB pressure rate. Keanu Neal ended up on the COVID list, so Leighton Vander Esch saw increased usage this week. LVE was on for 75% of the snaps and graded out as Dallas' second-best defender according to PFF. LVE finished with 10 tackles and was solid in coverage. If Neal remains on the COVID list, LVE has a shot at returning IDP value in Week 18.
Green Dot Week 17: Jayron Kearse (DB)
Kenny Young was inactive once again and Baron Browning landed on the COVID list. Jonas Griffith played in 100% of the snaps and wore the dot for Denver in Week 17. Micah Kiser came off IR and appeared in all but four snaps. Both Kiser and Griffith recorded 12 tackles. Kiser's IDP value for Week 18 lies in Browning's status coming off COVID and if Young clears concussion protocols. I think Griffith is shaping up to a nice dynasty stash.
Green Dot Week 17: Jonas Griffith
Jalen Reeves-Maybin saw 100% of the snaps and called the plays for Detroit's defense in Week 17. Alongside JRM was a rotation in their 2-LB sets. Derrick Barnes was on the field for 56% of the snaps while Anthony Pittman saw just 21 snaps (29% of the total). JRM finished with eight tackles and is the only Detriot LB to trust heading into Week 18.
Green Dot Week 17: Jalen Reeves-Maybin
Green Bay Packers
De'Vondre Campbell ended up playing in 85% of the snaps, but he definitely made the most out of his snaps. He recorded a 17.3% tackle rate - on his way to eight tackles over just 46 defensive snaps. Minnesota just couldn't move the ball or sustain drives. Krys Barnes saw 69% of the snaps, so he'll be one to keep an eye on Week 18 if the Packers decide to rest some starters. Barnes might be in play as an LB4 if Campbell plays a half.
Green Dot Week 17: De'Vondre Campbell
Chrisitan Kirksey wore the dot and was in on 100% of the snaps in Week 17. Kamu Grugier-Hill was the full-time opposite Kirksey, as he saw 89% of the snaps. Neville Hewitt, who had been calling the plays, ended up playing 52% of the snaps. Previous waiver wire hero, Garrett Wallow, saw just seven total snaps.
Green Dot Week 17: Christian Kirksey
Darius Leonard and Bobby Okereke were the three-down LBs for Indianapolis and were on the field for 100% of the snaps. Leonard took over the playcalling duties and wore the dot. Leonard pitched in a few big plays, including an INT and forced fumble, to go along with his seven tackles. Okereke pitched in nine tackles - eight solos. I think Indy is still in the playoff race, so I'd imagine Leonard and Okereke will be on the field for Week 18.
Green Dot Week 17: Darius Leonard
Myles Jack returned to the field in Week 17 and was on the field for 86% of the snaps. Damien Wilson, when he was on the field, called the plays, but was on the field for 67% of the snaps. Jack is the only Jacksonville LB I trust in Week 18.
Green Dot Week 17: Damien Wilson
Kansas City Chiefs
Anthony Hitchens and Willie Gay saw the majority of the snaps at LB. However, they were each on the field for 67% of the total. Nick Bolton ended up playing 27 snaps (39% of the total). Gay and Bolton are definitely dynasty holds.
Green Dot Week 17: Anthony Hitchens
Las Vegas Raiders
Denzel Perryman was on the field for 75% of the snaps after dealing with an ankle injury throughout the week. Perryman finished with seven tackles and forced a fumble. Divine Deablo saw 83% of the snaps and recorded nine solo tackles. Both should be in your lineups in Week 18 with a playoff berth in view.
Green Dot Week 17: Denzel Perryman
Los Angeles Chargers
Derwin James returned to the field and took over the playcalling responsibilities. Kyzir White finished with 11 tackles and was on the field for 100% of the snaps. Drue Tranquill was inactive, so Nick Niemann and Amen Ogbongbemiga saw increased snaps alongside White. Neither of them cracked the 40% usage rate, so I'm not counting on them for any meaningful production in Week 18. The Chargers are playing for the playoffs, so I expect White to see a full workload.
Green Dot Week 17: Derwin James (DB)
Los Angeles Rams
Troy Reeder was on the field for all but three defensive snaps against the Ravens in Week 18. With Ernest Jones still out, Reeder is the top LB target for the Rams. Reeder finished with 10 tackles and added a sack. If he's still available, pick him up. The Rams should be playing full strength with the NFC West at stake.
Green Dot Week 17: Jordan Fuller (DB)
Jerome Baker was on the field for 100% of the snaps and wore the dot in Week 17. Baker will fall short of 100 tackles this season, after consecutive 100-plus over 2019 and 2020. His IDP season was cushioned with 5.5 sacks. Elandon Roberts saw 73% of the snaps, but isn't IDP-relevant heading into Week 18.
Green Dot Week 17: Jerome Baker
Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks were the three-down LBs and were on the field for 100% of the snaps. Barr wore the dot for the defense and finished with nine tackles. Kendricks chipped in nine of his own - six solos. Mike Zimmer seems like the kind of dude who'd play his starters even if they were 0-16, so I'd feel confident and playing Kendricks. If Barr is on your wire, he's a plug-n-play LB3 this week.
Green Dot Week 17: Anthony Barr
New England Patriots
Ju'Whaun Bentley saw 77% of the snaps - which was just 36 plays. The Jaguars' offense ran 47 total plays. Not many tackles were to be had against the Jags.
Green Dot Week 17: Devin McCourty (DB)
New Orleans Saints
The Saints received some help this week. Demario Davis and Kwon Alexander were both available to play. Davis saw 100% of the snaps and wore the dot. Alexander was on the field for 77% of the snaps. Pete Werner is a hold in dynasty leagues, as he's shown flashes of playmaking ability. Alexander led the LB group in tackles with eight and added a half-sack. Davis recorded just five tackles but should be started in Week 18 if he's available.
Green Dot Week 17: Demario Davis
New York Giants
Tae Crowder was on the field for 100% of the snaps and wore the dot for the Giants in Week 17. Jaylon Smith saw 70% of the snaps for consecutive weeks and notched seven tackles and pitched in a sack. Smith could be an LB3/4 in Week 18 if he continues this usage. Giants may want to see more.
Green Dot Week 17: Tae Crowder
New York Jets
CJ Mosley wore the dot and was on the field for 100% of the snaps. Quincy Williams saw all but one snap, as he was on the field for 73 snaps. Mosley showed up for his fantasy owners - recording 13 tackles in a tough loss to Tampa. Williams recorded seven tackles, but just two solos. I think Robert Saleh plays his guys in Week 18, so I'd trust Mosley and Williams heading into Week 18.
Green Dot Week 17: CJ Mosley
TJ Edwards called the plays and was on the field for all but one snap - 62 total defensive snaps for Edwards. Alex Singleton was in on 79% of the snaps. Edwards is enjoying a breakout third year, producing an 18.9% tackle rate - on his way to 129 tackles. Singleton owners will want to keep an eye on his status this week, as he landed on the COVID list. The Eagles have very little LB depth. Shaun Bradley was inactive last week. Genard Avery is more a rush specialist, as opposed to an off-ball LB. Davion Taylor is out for the remainder of the year and Patrick Johnson saw just a few snaps in Week 17.
Green Dot Week 17: TJ Edwards
Devin Bush and Joe Schobert were both on the COVID list and weren't able to get cleared in time for Week 17. Robert Spillane saw 87% of the snaps and wore the dot when he was on the field. Spillane finished with eight tackles and looks to be the play-caller if Schobert and Bush aren't cleared.
Green Dot Week 17: Robert Spillane
San Francisco 49ers
Fred Warner was on the field for 100% of the snaps for San Francisco in Week 17. Azeez Al-Shaair was out once again, so Marcell Harris stepped in and appeared in 82% of the snaps. Dre Greenlaw continues to miss games and I'm definitely not counting on him in Week 18. Harris has IDP value especially if he has DB/S designation in your league.
Green Dot Week 17: Fred Warner
Bobby Wagner suffered a knee injury on the first snap of the game against Detroit - which probably took a lot of his owners down in their title game. Cody Barton came on in relief and appeared in 100% of the snaps post-Wagner. Barton ended up wearing the dot. It's definitely not hyperbole to say Jordyn Brooks was a league-winner. Brooks finished with 10 tackles and recorded 10 or more tackles in eight of the Seahawks' final nine games.
Green Dot Week 17: Cody Barton
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tampa had this game in hand, and Tampa limited Devin White's snaps this week. White saw 81% of the snaps and wore the dot, while Kevin Minter, Lavonte David's replacement, was on the field for 70% of the snaps. If it weren't for the blowout, White would have had 100% of the snaps and Minter would have been around 80%.
Green Dot Week 16: Devin White
David Long returned after an eight-game absence. Long ended up appearing in 55% of the snaps, and ended up wearing the dot when he was on the field on 1-LB sets. Zach Cunningham was on the field for 65% of the snaps and Rashaan Evans saw 39% of the snaps and wore the dot when he was alongside Cunningham. With Jayon Brown being activated off the COVID list, I don't think there's a Titan LB I can trust in Week 18.
Green Dot Week 17: Rashaan Evans/David Long
Washington Football Team
Cole Holcomb returned to the field in Week 17 and appeared in 100% of the snaps. Holcomb also wore the dot and called the plays. David Mayo received the majority of the snaps alongside Holcomb, as he was on the field for 66% of the snaps and had the confidence of the coaches over Jamin Davis, who saw just 13 snaps. Washington is unsure about their MIKE and they envision Holcomb, and even Davis, playing more outside. This definitely doesn't sound good for Davis's outlook. I don't like pulling the plug on rookies early, but Jamin Davis could be looking like an early first-round bust.
Green Dot Week 17: Cole Holcomb