Three-Down Linebackers You Need to Plug in Your IDP Roster for 2023

Sep 25, 2023
Three-Down Linebackers You Need to Plug in Your IDP Roster for 2023

I can make the argument that the linebacker position is the most important position in IDP. More teams are deploying odd fronts and including an extra defensive back, which takes a linebacker off the field, so the number of true three-down and full-time linebackers is dwindling. More teams are deploying single-LB packages at a higher rate, so drafting linebackers who'll barely leave the field is vital. Snaps=Opportunities=Production.

This article will be updated weekly as information is presented and potential roles change. Here's how snaps and usage are playing out, and I'll point if a non-LB is wearing the dot.

2023 IDP Three-Down Linebackers

2023 Three-Down/Full-Time Linebackers
Team Player Games Played 2023 Defensive Snaps 2023 2023 Defensive Snap Rate Green Dot 2023 Tackle Rate 2023
ARI Kyzir White 3 220 100% x 13.6%
ATL Kaden Elliss 3 196 99% x 12.8%
BAL Patrick Queen 3 220 99% 14.1%
BAL Roquan Smith 3 221 100% x 14.9%
BUF Terrel Bernard 3 135 91% x 17.8%
BUF Matt Milano 3 135 91% 12.6%
CAR Frankie Luvu* 3 166 82% 12.0%
CAR Kamu Grugier-Hill 3 110 54% 14.5%
CHI TJ Edwards 3 196 94% x 21.4%
CHI Tremaine Edmunds 3 186 90% 17.2%
CIN Logan Wilson 3 203 99% x 10.8%
CIN Germaine Pratt 3 181 89% 7.2%
DAL Leighton Vander Esch 3 156 88% 9.0%
DEN Alex Singleton 3 165 81% x 12.7%
DEN Josey Jewell* 3 140 68% 13.6%
DET Alex Anzalone 4 250 96% x 9.2%
GB De'Vondre Campbell* 3 134 46% 16.4%
GB Quay Walker 4 267 91% x 17.6%
HOU Denzel Perryman* 2 118 61% 16.1%
HOU Henry To'oTo'o 3 137 71% x 14.6%
IND Zaire Franklin 3 226 100% x 20.4%
JAX Foyesade Oluokun 3 195 100% x 18.5%
JAX Devin Lloyd 3 180 92% 10.6%
KC Nick Bolton* 2 120 88% x 12.5%
LAC Eric Kendricks* 1 67 31% 10.4%
LAC Kenneth Murray 3 207 97% x 10.6%
LAR Ernest Jones 3 184 100% x 15.2%
LV Divine Deablo 3 182 91% 14.8%
LV Robert Spillane 3 201 100% x 13.9%
MIA Jerome Baker 3 200 93% x 7.5%
MIN Jordan Hicks 3 204 97% x 9.8%
NE Ju'Whaun Bentley 3 192 100% x 10.9%
NO Demario Davis 3 202 100% x 9.9%
NO Pete Werner 3 200 99% 13.0%
NYG Bobby Okereke 3 206 100% x 10.7%
NYJ CJ Mosley 3 228 100% x 11.4%
NYJ Quincy Williams 3 222 97% 11.7%
PHI Nicholas Morrow 2 102 55% x 4.9
PHI Zach Cunningham 3 159 86% 10.1%
PIT Cole Holcomb 3 184 81% x 9.8%
SF Fred Warner 3 193 100% x 11.9%
SF Dre Greenlaw 3 182 98% 12.6%
SEA Bobby Wagner 3 226 100% x 15.0%
SEA Jordyn Brooks 3 172 76% 18.6%
TB Devin White 3 191 97% x 11.0%
TB Lavonte David 3 193 98% 11.9%
TEN Azeez Al-Shaair 3 196 96% x 11.7%
WAS Cody Barton 3 196 100% x 13.8%


Arizona Cardinals

Kyzir White was on the field for 100% of the snaps and had a huge day. White recorded 14 tackles and had the game-clinching interception in the end zone. White is having a solid season so far, producing a 13.6% tackle rate, resulting in 30 tackles. The Cardinals' LB depth is getting a bit diminished as Krys Barnes left with an injury. At this point, I don't think there's anyone I'd recommend from this group, outside of White.

Week 3 Green Dot: Kyzir White

Atlanta Falcons

As quickly as they got Troy Andersen back in their lineup, he suffered an arm injury near the end of the game. Nate Landman filled in for the final few plays and he'll be the guy who replaces him if Andersen misses any time. At this point, I'm not so sure I'd rush to pick up Landman in shallow leagues. If you're in a deeper league and starting at least five LBs, he'll be worth the add. He should see 75% of the snaps. Kaden Elliss wore the dot once again and finished with double-digit tackles. The Falcons are deploying nickel/2-LB packages at a high rate, so the LB2 will have some IDP value.

Update 9/26/2023: It appears the shoulder injury Troy Andersen suffered is a season-ender. Nate Landman looks to be the next man up for Week 4, but it wouldn't surprise me to see them bring in linebackers for a look.

Week 3 Green Dot: Kaden Elliss

Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens deployed nickel/2-LB packages for most of the game and Roquan Smith and Patrick Queen were the three-down LBs for the Ravens. Once again, both finished with double-digit tackles and are dominating the tackle share. In non-LB-related news, it was great to see Kyle Hamilton with his breakout game. Smith continues to wear the dot, but both Queen and Smith are weekly LB1 in Baltimore's defense.

Week 3 Green Dot: Roquan Smith

Buffalo Bills

The Bills continue to be a 2-LB system and Terrel Bernard and Matt Milano were the three-down LBs this week. Bernard continues to wear the dot on defense. Bernard finished with seven tackles and added two sacks, a fumble recovery, and an interception. Bernard filled out the stat sheet this week. Milano continues to be a low-floor tackle producer. The Bills do a good job of limiting opposing offenses, as the defense has been on the field for just 135 snaps. This also means IDP production could be limited due to the low number of plays they're allowing to opposing offenses.

Week 3 Green Dot: Terrel Bernard

Carolina Panthers

I totally misread the Panthers' linebacker situation after Shaq Thompson's injury. Deion Jones actually got the start alongside Frankle Luvu in Week 3. Beat writers were writing that Kamu Grugier-Hill was going to be the next man up, but it was Jones who got the nod. Unfortunately, Luvu ended up leaving in the second half due to a hip injury and Frank Reich is not clear on the severity. Grugier-Hill ended up appearing in 67% of the snaps. Jones ended up appearing in 69% of the snaps. If Luvu is out for an extended period of time, Jones will be a waiver target in deep leagues. Vonn Bell wore the dot on defense.

Week 3 Green Dot: Vonn Bell

Chicago Bears

Keep an eye on Tremaine Edmunds's injury. Jack Sanborn came on in relief of Edmunds and appeared in 32% of the snaps, most of his time came upon Tremaine's exit. TJ Edwards was on the field for all but a handful of snaps, even in the blowout. Edwards wore the dot when Edmunds left the field. If Edmunds is out for a game or two, Sanborn will be the waiver pickup as he should slot into a full-time role opposite Edwards.

Week 3 Green Dot: Tremaine Edmunds. Edmunds left with an injury and TJ Edwards wore it for the remainder of the game.

Cincinnati Bengals

Logan Wilson was the lone three-down LB against the Rams in Week 3. Wilson was on the field for 100% of the snaps and wore the dot. Although he recorded four tackles, he had two big INTs off Matthew Stafford. He's hovering around the 11% tackle rate, so I'm hoping he can stack together a few solid games. He's still a weekly starter. Germaine Pratt saw 80% of the snaps and didn't have many tackle attempts and his efficiency has dropped below 7.5%.

Week 3 Green Dot: Logan Wilson

Cleveland Browns

Once again, this is a group to stay away from for IDP purposes. The front four is limiting the yards up front and there's no need for the linebackers to make tackles. Anthony Walker and Sione Takitaki continue to share play-calling responsibilities. Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah appeared in 31 snaps. There's no real IDP upside from this LB group with the rotations.

Week 3 Green Dot: Anthony Walker/Sione Takitaki

Dallas Cowboys

Leighton Vander Esch is back on the IDP radar. He appeared in 100% of the snaps for the second consecutive week. It didn't translate to IDP production, however, as he finished with just four tackles. He'll be worth adding from the wire if you've been hit by injuries. Damone Clark saw just 69% of the snaps this week as Dallas is running out more dime/single-LB packages.

Week 3 Green Dot: Jayron Kearse

Denver Broncos

What an awful performance from the defense, allowing 70 points. A big injury from this one as Josey Jewell left early in the second quarter with a groin injury and didn't return. Alex Singleton took on the dot responsibilities and was in on every snap when Jewell exited. Keep an eye on Jewell's injury, but Singleton would be the free agent add here. Drew Sanders came in as the LB2 and appeared in 60% of the snaps.

Week 3 Green Dot: Josey Jewell. Jewell left early in the 2nd with a groin injury and Alex Singleton wore it the rest of the way.

Detroit Lions

Alex Anzalone was the lone full-time LB for the Lions in Week 4. They started in their nickel/2-LB package with Derrick Barnes and Anzalone. They continue to sprinkle in Jack Campbell and he saw his highest usage rate of the season at 61% - although it was just 35 snaps. Barnes ended up with 74% of the snaps. Anzalone is still the only Detroit LB worth owning at this point. Barnes is seeing higher usage, so he may have some IDP value in deeper leagues as an LB5/6.

Week 4 Green Dot: Alex Anzalone

Green Bay Packers

Quay Walker was the lone three-down LB for the Packers in Week 4 and wore the dot. I had Walker as my LB10, and apparently, that was too low, as he went on to record 19 tackles and increase his tackle rate to 17.6%. Isaiah McDuffie got the start alongside Walker but only saw 61% of the snaps, as the Packers deployed more dime/single-LB packages in Week 4.

Week 4 Green Dot: Quay Walker

Houston Texans

Denzel Perryman was inactive in Week 3 and Henry To'oTo'o got the start and wore the dot on defense. Perryman is dealing with a wrist injury and it's unknown how much time he'll miss. As long as Perryman remains out, To'oTo'o will have IDP value. Even when Perryman returns, he'll still have value as he was starting to get more snaps than Christian Harris. Harris is droppable in shallow redraft leagues.

Update 09/29/2023: Henry To'oTo'o will wear the dot once again in Week 4 as Denzel Perryman will be out. To'oTo'o looks to have LB2 upside this week.

Week 3 Green Dot: Henry To'oTo'o

Indianapolis Colts

I've removed Shaq Leonard, as he doesn't appear to be a true three-down LB or have a full-time role in the defense. Leonard saw fewer than 80% of the snaps in Week 3. EJ Speed ended up with 50% of the snaps and recorded four solo stops. Speed's production will be inconsistent with his current snap usage. At this point, I wouldn't drop Leonard, but I might consider benching if you have better options.

Week 3 Green Dot: Zaire Franklin

Jacksonville Jaguars

I might be done with Devin Lloyd's inconsistency. For a three-down LB, he's producing a low 10.6% tackle rate. Foyesade Oluokun is the only Jacksonville LB to own. He's recording an 18.5% tackle rate through three games and is an elite IDP producer.

09/29/2023: Devin Lloyd didn't make the trip to London. Chad Muma looks to get his snaps alongside Foye Oluokun. Solid LB3 this week.

Week 3 Green Dot: Foyesade Oluokun

Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs dominated the Bears and ended up limiting the playing time of most of their defensive starters. Drue Tranquill got the start for Nick Bolton and wore the dot when he was on the field. Tranquill will be the waiver target if Bolton misses any more games, but he could be back in Week 4.

Week 3 Green Dot: Drue Tranquill

Las Vegas Raiders

Robert Spillane was the lone three-down LB for the Raiders in Week 3 and he wore the dot. Spillane finished with seven tackles against his former team. While Divine Deablo didn't have a three-down role, he was on the field for 82% of the snaps and led the defense in tackles (8). Deablo and Spillane continue to be weekly starters. I'm keeping an eye on Deablo's usage, as I hope it doesn't start dipping below 80%.

Week 3 Green Dot: Robert Spillane

Los Angeles Chargers

Eric Kendricks was inactive once again in Week 3. Kenneth Murray was on the field for 100% of the snaps and wore the dot on defense. Murray, once again, turns in a solid IDP day with nine tackles and a game-saving INT. Nick Niemann is someone to keep an eye on in deeper leagues. He got the start at LB2 opposite Murray and was on the field for all but one snap, as the Vikings were in nickel/2-LB packages for most of the day. I'm not ready to add Niemann to the chart and his IDP value is dependent on Kendricks's health.

09/29/2023: Even with Eric Kendricks expected to play, Kenneth Murray will wear the dot in Week 4.

Week 3 Green Dot: Kenneth Murray

Los Angeles Rams

It's Ernest Jones and that's it from the Rams LB group. Jones was on the field for 100% of the snaps and wore the dot. Through three games, he's producing an elite 15.2% tackle rate. Christian Rozeboom saw just 64% of the snaps and isn't on the IDP radar at this point, as the Rams are running dime/single-LB packages.

Week 3 Green Dot: Ernest Jones

Miami Dolphins

Jerome Baker continues to wear the dot and be an inefficient tackler. Even with a full-time, his production isn't worth holding on to. Through 200 snaps, Baker is recording a 7.5% tackle rate.

Week 3 Green Dot: Jerome Baker

Minnesota Vikings

Jordan Hicks was the lone three-down LB for the Vikings in Week 3 and wore the dot on defense. Ivan Pace saw a dip in usage, as he saw just 66% of the snaps. Brian Flores is running more dime/single-LB and game flow had Pace off the field more often, even though he's consistently grading as one of their best defenders according to PFF.

Week 3 Green Dot: Jordan Hicks

New England Patriots

Ju'Whaun Bentley remains the lone Patriots' LB to own. He was on the field for 100% of the snaps and wore the dot on defense. He's been surprisingly inefficient this season after producing a 14.6% tackle rate over the last few seasons.

Week 3 Green Dot: Ju'Whaun Bentley

New Orleans Saints

Demario Davis and Pete Werner were the three-down linebackers for the Saints in Week 3. Werner has improved his tackle rate to 13%. Davis wore the dot on defense, however, his tackle efficiency has dipped below 10% (9.9%). Davis will have some boom or bust weeks.

Week 3 Green Dot: Demario Davis

New York Giants

Bobby Okereke was on the field for 100% of the snaps, as the 49ers ran 83 plays against the Giants. Okereke racked up nine tackles and through three games is producing a 10.7% tackle rate on over 200 defensive snaps. Micah McFadden's usage continues to settle around 70%. He'll have value in deeper leagues if you're starting four or more LBs, as he continues to produce. Over 152 snaps, McFadden is producing a 17.1% tackle rate and has just one game of fewer than 10 tackles through the first three games. The former Hoosier seems to have a nose for the football.

Week 3 Green Dot: Bobby Okereke

New York Jets

CJ Mosley and Quincy WIlliams were the three-down LBs for the Jets in Week 3. Mosley wore the dot and tied Jordan Whitehead for the team lead in tackles (10). Williams added nine of his own. Williams and Mosley are weekly starters in all IDP formats. The Jets continue to deploy nickel/2-LB packages consistently.

Week 3 Green Dot: CJ Mosley

Philadelphia Eagles

Even though Nicholas Morrow is a three-down LB, he's not doing your IDP squad many favors. He has just five tackles over his 102 defensive snaps. Nakobe Dean can't return soon enough. Morrow has been one of the most inefficient tacklers over the last few weeks. Zach Cunningham was on the field for 77% of the snaps this week - a slight dip below his normal usage. At this point, I'd park Morrow on your bench.

Week 3 Green Dot: Nicholas Morrow

Pittsburgh Steelers

Once again, the Steelers deployed a rotation at their off-ball LB position which is not ideal for IDP purposes. Holcomb led the way but was on the field for just 74% of the snaps. Kwon Alexander was on the field for 65% of the snaps. Holcomb and Alexander continue to share the playcalling responsibilities.

Week 3 Green Dot: Cole Holcomb/Kwon Alexander

San Francisco 49ers

Fred Warner was the lone three-down LB for the 49ers this week, as he was on the field for 100% of the snaps and wore the dot. Dre Greenlaw played 42 of the 50 snaps and managed to lead the team in tackles. Greenlaw left late in the 4th quarter with an ankle injury. It's not expected to be serious, but keep an eye on his status throughout the week. He does have an extra few days to recover. Oren Burks saw 42% of the snaps and could slide into a full-time role if SF decides to hold Greenlaw out in Week 4. The Giants ran just 50 plays against a tough 49er defense, which limited tackle opportunities. No Giants RB had more than four carries, so run stops were limited for the linebackers. Warner and

Week 3 Green Dot: Fred Warner

Seattle Seahawks

Bobby Wagner was on the field for 100% of the snaps and wore the dot. Jordyn Brooks continues to see a full-time role, as he saw 80% of the snaps and recorded nine sacks while chipping in a half-sack. Wagner had a quiet week with just five tackles. Seattle continues to roll out nickel/2-LB packages as their base defense, so Wagner and Brooks are both weekly starters.

Week 3 Green Dot: Bobby Wagner

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

It's the Devin White and Lavonte David show in Tampa as usual. David had his best game thus far - recording 13 tackles and adding a sack. White pitched in seven of his own tackles and a pick off Jalen Hurts. White and David were both three-down LBs and are the only Tampa LBs to own.

Week 3 Green Dot: Devin White

Tennessee Titans

Azeez Al-Shaair wore the dot for Tennessee's defense and was on the field for 100% of the snaps in Week 3 against the Browns. This was the first time Jack Gibbens saw a full-time role, but it might have been the personnel the Browns were rolling out. Keep an eye on Gibbens's usage. If it continues to trend this way, he'll be a useful LB. I think he should be rostered in leagues starting four or more LBs or where you're allowed to roster eight or more.

Week 3 Green Dot: Azeez Al-Shaair

Washington Commanders

Cody Barton wore the dot and was on the field for 100% of the snaps in Week 3. He recorded 13 tackles and now has consecutive weeks with double-digit tackles and has improved his tackle rate to 13.8%. Jamin Davis saw 78% of the snaps against Buffalo and added 11 of his own tackles. I'm not ready to consider Davis in shallow leagues, but if someone dropped him in a deeper league, I might add and cut bait on someone like Christian Harris.

Week 3 Green Dot: Cody Barton

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