In fantasy football, every position has several metrics that managers can rely on to gain an edge or influence our rankings, analysis, and narratives. The vast majority of fantasy leagues are offense-focused, and most of the “advanced” metrics focus on offensive production. IDP is a growing segment, but it’s challenging to compile metrics that go beyond the same old tired conversations about snap counts. That’s where BLOS Score, or “Behind the Line Of Scrimmage” Score, comes into play.
At its core, BLOS is a rather simple concept: it’s the sum of non-turnover, fantasy-relevant plays made behind the line of scrimmage. To be more specific, it includes Tackles for Loss (TFL), Hurries, QB Hits, and Sacks. I also incorporate a multiplier for snaps played, simply to downplay players who participate in an exceptionally small number of snaps for their team.
Why does it matter?
IDP lacks targeted opportunity metrics to help predict future success in the same way as offense does. For offensive players, it’s easy to examine pass attempts, carries, and receiving targets as indicators of potential opportunities to score fantasy points. In IDP, success boils down to:
- Physical skill (ability to disengage blocks, successful tackling),
- Football intelligence (knowing where to be and when),
- Athleticism (speed, acceleration, agility).
Quantifying these three aspects in a box score or with workout metrics can be challenging. That’s why using meaningful signal point intelligence metrics like BLOS can assist in identifying players on the cusp of breaking out. In other cases, it can uncover valuable players who have already “broken out” but are still undervalued for various reasons.
What does BLOS tell us?
IDP features countless unique scoring systems, each prompting fantasy managers to chase after a single stat category like sacks or tackles. BLOS is scoring-agnostic; its components matter individually and even more so when viewed collectively. These “hidden” points can mean the difference between being competitive or winning a championship. Beyond the fantasy points, the BLOS components also showcase critical attributes for our defensive line and edge defenders. Let’s examine each component individually:
- Tackles for Loss (TFL): Nearly every league awards points for TFL. It’s a simple bonus that offers insights into the player’s abilities. Scoring tackles for loss indicates their capacity to defeat blocks in the run game and track play flow with strong awareness.
- Hurries: While hurries themselves may not directly score fantasy points, they contribute to Pressure Rate, a leading indicator of future sack performance. Hurries also signify a player adept at overcoming blocks in the passing game and using speed and agility to pressure the QB.
- QB Hits: Similar to Tackles for Loss, QB Hits often generate fantasy points and indicate a player’s ability to overcome blocks and use athleticism to reach the quarterback.
- Sacks: This is self-explanatory; sacks are akin to rushing touchdowns. They happen every week but it’s not always for your player that gets them. Players who accumulate QB Hits and Hurries often boast impressive pressure rate scores and, by extension, high sack numbers. Sacks are the ultimate outcome that results from the attributes discussed earlier.
Example of BLOS in action:
- In 2019, Javon Hargrave had a BLOS of 7.38 and only 14 career sacks over three seasons. He was largely overlooked in “true position” IDP dynasty leagues. Acquiring Hargrave in 2020 resulted in significant gains. From 2020 to 2022, he accumulated 25 total sacks and two seasons with double-digit TFL. Since 2020, he’s been a consistent low-end IDL1 player.
- Trey Hendrickson’s BLOS was 4.38 in 2018 and 6.32 in 2019, primarily in a reserve role with 18 game appearances and 3 starts. His marked improvement heading into 2020 signaled his potential as a starter, and he subsequently posted impressive stats from 2020 to 2022. With 39 sacks, three seasons of double-digit QB Hits, and two seasons of double-digit TFL, Hendrickson became a strong DL option in most formats as a DL/Edge2.
- Shaq Barrett is another standout example. In 2017, his BLOS score was 7.14. A slight decline in 2018 was due to missing three games and the emergence of rookie Bradley Chubb, the 5th overall pick in the draft. However, Barrett’s move to Tampa Bay in 2019 led to explosive growth, with over 40 sacks and three seasons of BLOS scores above 10 during his four years with the team.
Looking ahead to 2023 and beyond:
Josh Uche: Uche, a pass rush specialist, primarily playing on the edge, typically in the 5-9w techniques. In deeper leagues, pairing Uche with Matt Judon is advantageous. Uche’s steadily increasing snap count over three seasons, culminating in a BLOS above 10 and double-digit sacks in 2022, suggests he could become a valuable low-cost DL asset if his playing time continues to rise.
Jaelen Phillips: The addition of Vic Fangio and Bradley Chubb in Miami creates an excellent situation for Phillips. With Fangio’s defensive expertise and Chubb on the opposite side, Phillips is poised for improvement. The presence of Chubb should deter opponents from focusing protection on Phillips, potentially boosting his QB Hits and Hurries from 2022. Phillips is a prime candidate for an elite breakout season in 2023, with BLOS scores of 7.13 and 8.86 in his first two years.
Rashan Gary: Although a 2022 ACL tear may affect his performance in 2023, it could lead to discounted dynasty drafts or trades. Gary is a potential low-end DE2/3 with upside in 2024 and beyond. Consistently posting BLOS scores above 7.73 over the last three seasons, Gary has displayed reliability and even achieved a season with double-digit sacks. Seizing this opportunity to acquire him at a reduced cost is wise.
For a more comprehensive list of players, please refer to our BLOS rankings. Notably, players meeting either of two criteria should be targeted:
- Those with a BLOS over 7 in their most recent season or in their rookie season.
- Players with a BLOS over 6 showing a 2+ point improvement over the previous year. These players typically see an uptick in playing time and see their production jump.
While there’s no magic solution in fantasy football, BLOS provides a valuable data point to identify cost-effective DL/Edge options for our dynasty rosters. If you have further questions, feel free to reach out via email or our live chat. Best of luck this season, and may your future be filled with championships.