• 2023 IDP Fantasy Football: IDP Draft Strategy and VORP (Value Over Replacement Player)

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    What is the optimal IDP draft strategy? Let's dive into VORP (Value over replacement player) and repeatability to devise an IDP draft strategy to fit any league!


    IDP draft strategy varies as widely as IDP scoring settings. Is there a way to better utilize historical trends to pair with rankings? I pulled 10 years' worth of IDP scoring to analyze VORP and repeatability and will share my analysis here. We'll use that to provide actionable advice that hopefully can be catered to any league you're in! Let's start by working through the data and terminology.

    Background

    What is VORP? VORP stands for value over replacement player. Essentially it's the difference in fantasy points between a particular player and the best option available to replace them. Since bench sizes and roster levels vary, I took the top non-starter as the replacement level.

    The data is all courtesy of ProFootballReference.com. I took the data and used IDP123 scoring to develop scoring for each position (DL, LB, DB). I ran VORP for 6 different league types trying to best help all people. Start 1, 2, or 3 at each position, as well as start 2 each with an IDP flex and start 1 each with 1 or 2 IDP flex.

    This will also discuss how often a top 12 DL, LB, and DL repeat. This will inform how to use that data combined with rankings to optimize the draft strategy. This is meant to only be a helpful reference to build your draft plan. With non-standard IDP scoring and varied rankings, I hope this helps you take those rankings and implement a solid plan for your IDP Draft Strategy!

    VORP

    Let's talk VORP! It varies so drastically based on league format. IDP123 does provide solid info though. We'll start with leagues where you'd start without a flex. As you add more positions, the variability across positions grows. Essentially, the LBs filter towards the top, then DL, then DB as you go from one each to two to three. Total points also favor LB, with DB and DL comparable. So looks like targeting LBs, DLs, then DBs is optimal.

    As you add a flex, not surprisingly based on the above, LBs become even more valuable. Why? Because even with a single IDP flex, the optimal strategy is to flex an LB. LB36 in scoring is roughly equal to DL18 and DB22. DL and DB don't change, so again it appears the ideal strategy is LBs first, then DL, then DB.

    Finally, I looked at multiple flex options, which did take value from LB to other spots. As stated above, LB36 is roughly equal to DL18 and DB22. This means you can likely find second flex values from either DL or DB spots. Is that a smart bet though? Let's talk about repeatability and come back to this in the future.

    Repeatability

    The second part of this is how players repeat at a position. This will have applicability to dynasty leagues and redraft. For this, I looked at how often a top 12 player at a position repeated that finish the following season. Let's go position by position, starting at DL, and talk data to help your IDP Draft Strategy.

    Defensive lineman repeat their top-12 performance just over a third of the time. They finish as a DL2 (13-24) about one in six times. DL3 finishes results about one in eight times. That leaves about 38% of them to fall outside the top-36. One thing this didn't account for is someone falling off and coming back. Truly elite, highly-ranked players tended to bounce back. The others who fell off typically had outlier years.

    Linebacker is next up. Linebacker is the most stable position here, repeating just over 41% of the time. They'd fall to LB2s about 16% of the time, LB3s 10% of the time, and outside the top-36 33% of the time. Looking at the top-12, you can see the players with stable roles and situations and project them to be elite again. Situation matters most at LB, so stability likely means similar production.

    The defensive back is the most volatile. Just 24% of the time will a player repeat DB1 performances. They fall to DB2s 19% of the time, DB3s 8% of the time, and outside the top-36 over 48% of the time. A lot of this can be attributed to CBs performing well one year but struggling to repeat. Safeties are a solid bet, and typical studs will hit DB2 levels if not repeating.

    Conclusions and Ultimate Strategy

    Finally, after reading all this data, what does it mean? Well, we can look at VORP and use it to help differentiate what positions to draft. If multiple players are viewed similarly, it's best to go with LB > DL > DB. Taking this, along with trustworthy rankings (here are ours) can help ensure a better finish. As for betting on flexes, unless I'm getting multiple top-12 type options, I'm sticking to LBs with solid roles.

    When talking repeatability, again it favors a LB > DL > DB draft strategy. LB is most likely to repeat top-12 performances and least likely to fall outside the top-36, while DL falls in the middle of both and DBs are least likely to repeat top-12 finishes and most likely to bust. All the data points toward targeting LB over DL over DB, and that's what I do for IDP redraft leagues typically.

    One area I haven't hit is any combined leagues. While everything above holds, what is best to do? I'm willing to take an elite LB early, but more likely I'll take multiple shots on younger ascending players coming into bigger roles later.

    One final caveat I want to highlight. All IDP leagues have variable scoring and settings. This is based on a single scoring setting and varied position requirements. If a league rewards sacks more or INTs more, it might change how to approach it. The best advice is to understand your league's scoring. Then come back and use this and your favorite rankings to devise a plan.


    Thank you for reading my IDP Draft Strategy article! Please follow me for more content via Twitter @FFFBallers and @IDPGuys, and check out my IDP Guys author page and the IDP Guys website.

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