We talk about it all the time in our fantasy football content here at PFF, and it’s hardly a surprise given that we’re a fantasy site rooted in advanced data and metrics, but winning at fantasy football is all about identifying hidden value or underrated players on draft day. When you’re a subscriber and have access to some of the mind-blowing stats it’s easy to overlook the simple things, and sometimes we pass over one of the most obvious in restricting a player’s fantasy ceiling – their snap count. This week I’m looking at a handful of players who played fewer than 600 snaps last year and should see a significant bump in their production if handed a bigger role on the field.
The last time Burfict played a full 16-game season was back in 2013. That year he racked up a league-leading 170 total tackle, of which an eye-popping 113 were solos and needless to say, he was an IDP monster that season. It’s been a mixture of both suspensions and injuries that have hampered Burfict’s ability to play out a full season since then, but considering it’s been five years it’s certainly worth remembering that Burfict has the potential to be the top linebacker in fantasy if he stays on the field.
Taking a closer look at his key fantasy metrics – namely his tackles per opportunity and fantasy points per opportunity in balanced scoring systems and Burfict still profiles as a fantasy stud, despite a slight dip last season. Since 2013 he has averaged a TPOP of 16.92, which is higher than the likes of C.J. Mosley, Bobby Wagner, Deion Jones, and Luke Kuechly posted last year. Over the same span his PPO was 0.29, which falls right in line with the aforementioned fantasy studs.
Clearly Burfict is a major producer when on the field, despite his penchant for late hits that earn him suspensions and fines. Unfortunately, 2018 isn’t going to be any different as Burfict has already been handed a four-game suspension for violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing substances, limiting him to 12-games, and you’d have to be a brave man to think he won’t find himself sidelined for a late hit at some point during the season. Regardless of all these factors, Burfict scores like a top-five linebacker when between the hashmarks, and because of these aforementioned issues, many fantasy owners are going to pass him by on draft day. Work out where you’re comfortable taking him, bench him until his Week 5 debut, and thank me then.