• A Retrospective of the IDP Guys Autism Awareness Invitational

    The traditional fantasy football season has finally ended. Each year, I review drafts and final scoring to see if there is anything we can learn and apply next year.

    Average Draft Position (ADP) data for IDP leagues can be hard to find. There are so many different league setups that it’s hard to compare data from league to league. In this year's IDP Guys Autism Awareness Invitational, we had 10 identical divisions of 12 teams drafting simultaneously.

    Drafters in the invitational — a mix of analysts and knowledgeable fans — make the ADP for the tournament as efficient as you can reasonably expect. Here at IDP guys, we collect ADP data by running monthly mock drafts. Real drafts are always preferable to mocks, but we take what we can get. For the last two years, I have compiled the ADP from the IDP Guys Autism Awareness Invitational tournament.

    The following is a review of the ADP collected from those drafts, how the final scoring compared, and other things I found interesting with this year’s tournament. The complete ADP for the 2021 and 2020 tournaments can be found here.

    2021 IDP Guys Autism Awareness Invitational

    QB ADP

    The IDP Invitational scoring and offensive roster settings mirror Scott Fish Bowl 10. In Scott Fish Bowl 11, players had the option to play kickers in flex spots, but that was not implemented for the 2021 IDP Invitational.

    We modified Quarterback scoring for these tournaments by awarding points for completions (0.5 points per) while penalizing incompletions and sacks (both -1) and increasing the penalty for interceptions (-4 with an additional -2 for an interception returned for a touchdown). This scoring penalizes inefficient quarterbacks who otherwise accumulate stats with volume.

    Even though the IDP Invitational is a superflex league, bad quarterback play will really hurt your team, and a good receiver or running back can be a better play in the superflex spot than a bad quarterback with a tough matchup. Negative scoring weeks for quarterbacks aren’t uncommon with even top quarterbacks.

    Patrick Mahomes scored -1.76 points in Week seven against Tennessee, and Aaron Rodgers scored -9.18 points in week one against New Orleans. Drafters adjusted for this scoring in 2021 by drafting the elite QB options much earlier in the draft, shown on the chart below.

    The eighth quarterback taken in 2021 had an ADP of 15 (pick 2.03), while the eighth quarterback in 2020 had an ADP of 35 (pick 3.11). The gap was the widest around QB14 to QB17, about 28 draft spots or just under 2.5 rounds, before starting to converge after QB20.

    Scott Fish Bowl saw a similar shift in quarterback ADP, and the ADP for that tournament tracks pretty closely to the IDP Invitational. (Scott Fish Bowl ADP collected by Josh ADHD at Rotogrinders.

    Running Back and Wide Receiver Scoring

    This is a chart showing the ADP and total points scored by all the running backs and wide receivers drafted in at least five of the ten IDP invitational divisions, with a logarithmic trendline for each position. Early in the draft, once the top running back options were taken, wide receivers generally scored more points than running backs taken at the same ADP.

    At pick 170, running backs catch up, and score a little more than wide receivers until the end of the draft. Wide receivers had their biggest advantage around ADPs of about 35 to 75 (about rounds four to seven, also known as the running back dead zone).

    This is a little bit different than last year, where wide receivers generally outperformed running backs taken at the same ADP for the entire draft by about 25 points. wide receiver ADP was pushed down in this tournament, with the first wide receiver drafted this year having an ADP of 22, and that contributes to this effect.

    The other thing to note here is the trendline for running backs is much flatter than wide receivers. If you waited at running back until late rounds you didn’t lose out on as many points as you did at wide receiver. This tournament had three “regular” flex spots, so you could start up to six wide receivers each week (seven if you used a WR in the superflex spot).

    IDP Scoring

    The IDP Invitational uses a scoring system that gives two points for each solo tackle, and four points for a sack. As a result, it is beneficial to roster linebackers who can score a lot of points. The biggest change to this year’s tournament is that most linebackers who primarily rush the passer (think Pittsburg Steelers LB T.J. Watt) were grouped with defensive ends and classified as edge rushers.

    The starting lineup requirements stayed the same (1DT, 2ER, 3 LB, 3S, 1CB, 1 IDP flex). This added depth to the defensive end pool and removed depth from the linebacker pool.


    This chart shows ADP and total points scored by all linebackers, edge rushers, and safeties that were drafted in at least 5 of the 10 divisions. I excluded defensive tackles and cornerbacks from this as there weren’t many of either drafted (13 defensive tackles, 15 cornerbacks).

    Linebackers outperformed edge rushers throughout the draft, and the highest-scoring IDPs in the tournament were linebackers. There was one edge rusher that exceeded 250 points (TJ Watt, 299 points), and 17 linebackers who exceeded that total. This was very similar to last season as well.

    Safeties scored very similarly to linebackers at the same ADP, partly because drafters waited longer for safety. Arizona Cardinals safety Budda Baker was the first safety drafted at an ADP of 88, behind seven linebackers.

    3-Down Linebackers

    For the most part, every linebacker taken was projected to play most of the snaps for their teams. I cross-referenced Mike Woellert’s last preseason 3-Down linebackers article and highlighted the ones who he did not project as a 3-down player. (NOTE: Mike updated his article in early September after drafts finished).

    Five of the seven players finished below – most well below – the trendline for the group, with two finishing above. It’s worth noting that Chandler Jones got more than a quarter of his points in one week. I would fade linebackers who aren’t projected for a full-time role.

    Waiver Moves

    Shown above are the 20 teams with the highest number of player adds during the year. (Thanks for the suggestion, Johny the Greek!) This list will be a bit distorted by the teams that made it to the finals. They had a few extra weeks of players added than the other teams.

    Still, eight of the top 20 teams in player adds made it to the finals. Some of them (Johny) made substantially more moves than the other teams.

    This is the number of player-adds by position. There aren’t too many surprises here, however, I expected the number of defensive tackle adds to be closer to cornerback. With the number of injuries at RB, it’s no surprise that it led all positions in adds. Though, wide receiver and linebacker were both very close.

    Lastly, the most added players this year.

    Drafts of the 10 Finalists

    Here are the drafts of the ten teams that made it to the final week. I color-coded players by their position — lighter colors are offensive players and darker colors are defensive players.

    I made categorized notes at the bottom of the general draft structure. Notes detail offense, the round a player drafted their first IDP, positions of the first three IDPs they selected, and the last IDP starter they filled – not including the flex spot.

    Players drafted nine quarterbacks in the first two rounds, and 14 in the first four rounds. This is pretty much even with the overall ADP for quarterbacks. Lots of teams who selected two quarterbacks early made the finals.

    One team in the finals selected a “Hero RB” strategy. They snagged New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley in round one. They then selected two quarterbacks, six wide receivers, and two tight ends. It was round 18 before they picked a second running back. Across all divisions, there was only one other team who waited that long for their second running back.

    In a wide variety of rounds, players selected an IDP position first. The overall range was rounds 5-13. However, six of the 10 teams selected their first IDP in rounds seven to nine.

    Six of the 10 teams took a linebacker with their first IDP pick. Three of those teams took an edge rusher and one team a defensive tackle. With each team’s first three picks, there were: 13 linebackers, 9 safeties, 5 edge rushers, and 3 defensive tackles selected.

    The last starter filled was also a mix with four teams. Each filling defensive tackle last then cornerback, linebacker, and safety filled last by two teams each. Early linebacker picks also matched the ADP for the tournament.

    Ryan L. ended the draft with a starting safety spot empty. He drafted RB Travis Etienne earlier in his draft and did not fill that spot until the first waiver run.

    The End

    The IDP Guys Autism Awareness Invitational is an excellent tournament that raises a lot of money for charity. The tournament brought together IDP players together to see what kind of strategies get used, and have a good time. If you want to sign up for next year’s tournament, you can fill out the form on the signup page here.

    Thank you for reading my review of the 2021 IDP Guys Autism Awareness Invitational. You can find me on Twitter @djkelltown.

    David Kelly

    A Canadian fantasy football player for longer than he remembers. Enjoys the NHL, a good CFL game, and a lively IDP fantasy league.

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