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Fantasy Football: 2022 IDP Linebacker Tiers

Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Chicago Bears inside linebacker Roquan Smith (58) stares into the backfield during pre-game at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports

Chicago Bears’ Roquan Smith and Indianapolis Colts’ Shaquille (Darius) Leonard stock is falling due to availability concerns, making E.J. Speed and Matthew Adams late-round dart throws.

Why drafting Dallas Cowboys LB Micah Parsons among the top-12 may not be the best decision.

Click here to view PFF’s full IDP rankings for the 2022 season and tiers for the defensive linemen and defensive backs.

For IDP fantasy football leagues, there is a ton of variance in preseason player rankings, but utilizing tiers can help us properly value each group of players in 2023 fantasy football drafts. 

The main contributors to a linebacker’s IDP success are the volume of defensive snaps combined with playing in zone-heavy defenses, which rack up tackles more efficiently.

The following tiers reflect which players are in the best situations to produce — they're ranked based on the likelihood of doing so every single week.

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Updated: August 11, 2022


1A 1 Bobby Wagner Rams
1A 2 Devin White Buccaneers
1A 3 Jordyn Brooks Seahawks
1A 4 Foyesade Oluokun Jaguars
1B 5 Fred Warner 49ers
1B 6 De’Vondre Campbell Packers
1B 7 Cole Holcomb Commanders
1B 8 Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah Browns
1C 9 Logan Wilson Bengals
1C 10 Lavonte David Buccaneers
1C 11 Devin Lloyd Jaguars
1C 12 Blake Martinez Giants

The criteria for making the top tier of IDP linebackers is relatively simple: be an every-down linebacker and play in a linebacker-friendly defense that breeds above-average tackle efficiency for the position. This means zone-heavy coverages and, more specifically, a Cover-2 heavy scheme, which proves to be the most effective coverage at propping up linebacker tackle numbers (as illustrated below).

The six players in the 1A tier figure to be the favorites to post the highest tackle numbers in the league based on their expected role in their defenses. Bobby Wagner may surprise some based on his age. Still, the Rams ranked fourth in the NFL last season in zone coverages (82.60%). Then there's the added bonus of playing behind Aaron Donald, who draws all the attention at the offensive line, opening up room for the linebackers for clean tackle opportunities.

The rest of 1A should surprise no one, with this group almost filling out the consensus top-five linebackers in ADP terms,. Their tackle efficiency and every-down roles make them the most coveted players at the position.

The 1B tier has just as much going for them, with zone-heavy defenses, expected positive tackle efficiency and an every-down roles.

Rounding out the top-tier of linebackers, Lavonte David is likely another surprise player based on where he tends to go in drafts, but don’t let the age fool you. He may be coming off one of his worst statistical seasons in recent memory, but he also missed five games with injury. Typically, David is the ideal linebacker for IDP. He rarely leaves the field, having never played less than 90% of defensive snaps when healthy in a season, and is a lock for triple-digit tackles as a result.

Rookie Devin Lloyd and sophomore Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah both project to be every-down linebackers on ideal defenses for expected production. Expect both young studs to push for 140-plus combined tackles, if healthy.


2A 13 Micah Parsons Cowboys
2A 14 Roquan Smith Bears
2A 15 Shaquille Leonard Colts
2A 16 Eric Kendricks Vikings
2A 17 T.J. Edwards Eagles
2A 18 C.J. Mosley Jets
2B 19 Shaq Thompson Panthers
2B 20 Cody Barton Seahawks
2B 21 Christian Kirksey Texans
2B 22 Zach Cunningham Titans
2C 23 Tremaine Edmunds Bills
2C 24 Demario Davis Saints
2C 25 Dre Greenlaw 49ers
2C 26 Nicholas Morrow Bears
2C 27 Rashaan Evans Falcons
2D 28 Zaven Collins Cardinals
2D 29 Matt Milano Bills
2D 30 Drue Tranquill Chargers
2D 31 Jerome Baker Dolphins

The second linebacker tier features 17 linebackers on teams that are expected to be less zone-heavy than those in the tier above. Here's why that is important:


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