You’ve completed your drafts, and you are ready to rock for week 1 of the NFL season, but what should you do to make sure you are 100% ready for your first matchup.
We are getting really close to kickoff of the 2018/19 season and as we close in on week 1, I figured now would be a good time to talk about what myself and several other members of the IDP Guys team do to get ready for our IDP matchups week to week.
This is post-draft and prior to the start of the games that we will be focusing on in this article. Here at the IDP Guys, we have been cranking out all kinds of articles about players you should be targeting this season, when to target them and how to get the greatest value out of your IDP drafts.
Don’t Sit On Your Team, Constantly Improve
What to do afterwards though? Personally I never just sit on my team and wait for the season to start. There are moves to be made and lineups to be set. This article will be more targeted to newer IDP players and guys who haven’t been doing this for a long time.
The first thing I do once the draft is over is study my team and identify the weaknesses I have and take note of them. Then I’ll identify my strengths or areas where I can afford to move a big name starter and still have the depth behind them to keep that position looking pretty good after moving that starter in a trade.
Next I’ll look at the other teams in my league and look for teams that are weak where I am strong, these are always great candidates for a trading partner. As someone who’s played fantasy football before, you know most trades that come across your screen are some guy assuming you have no idea what you’re doing and trying to take advantage of you.
But sometimes you’ll get an offer from a league-mate who has identified your weak area and is offering you a player that helps strengthen that area. That’s what you’re looking for, but it’s always better for you to be the aggressor and offer the trade instead of hoping they come to you. You need to go out and make it happen.
If you can offer up a player that helps a league-mate get better at a position where they are weak they are far more likely to do the trade than you offering up some bullshit and hoping they have no idea about fantasy football or IDP.
Getting That Trade Done
A good example of this is a trade I pulled off earlier this season. In an IDP heavy league I was weak at wide receiver but really strong at defensive end, linebacker and safety. I checked out my league-mates and found a couple guys who had just terrible IDP rosters, whether through an autodraft (autodraft can work for offense but it usally never drafts you good IDP players unless you’ve set your rankings ahead of time) or just having no idea what they were doing these guys had horrible IDP lineups.
So I approached each one of these guys and made a similar offer to each one of them; a solid defensive end (Cameron Heyward) and a replacement wide receiver (Devin Funchess) for a solid tier 1 wide receiver (ended up being Doug Baldwin). From the point of view of my league-mate he’s getting a startable and far more solid DE than he had (literally no one startable at all) and a replacement wide receiver (Funchess) for giving up just one tier 1 wide receiver (Baldwin).
So the trade is in his favor, from my point of view I’m sending him my 3rd or 4th best DE that probably wouldn’t have even played, except for injury replacement or bye week fill in, and a far less productive wide receiver to upgrade and get a top 12 guy in Baldwin. It’s a win-win scenario and realistically this is the way the vast majority of trades get done.
Don’t Count On Your League Being Comprised Of Idiots
Sure you might be able to find a guy who’s an idiot and will fall for your comically bad offers but most of the time that’s not happening and if your offer legitimately improves both teams, the odds are it’ll happen. So use the information from us and other IDP resources to load your bench with IDP talent, you can use those guys to either trade or more likely you trade a known tier 1 IDP player and call up the bench talent to take his place in your lineup.
Defensively you only lose a few points difference depending on who you’ve traded and replaced him with but you’ve more than made up for it by acquiring a high impact player in a spot where you were weak before the trade. Do this in every IDP league you’re in and target every owner who screwed up their IDP roster.
Sell them a “known” quantity IDP stud and even tell them “Hey man this will help fix your defense and get you back into competition in this league” or something along those lines.
Stack Your Bench With Sleepers
If you’ve been listening to us your bench is loaded with guys who will do nearly as well as the guy you sold and you got these fliers super late and at no cost because they weren’t on anyone elses radar. Use your IDP knowledge advantage to turn your good team into a super team with just a couple trades.
I mean everyone and their brother knows what offensive guys are “sleepers” or “fliers” but only you know that you can get Raekwon McMillan literally off the waiver wire after the draft and get a potential LB1 middle linebacker in a 4\3 defense on a team with a shit offense that will have a million defensive snaps this year.
You can get that guy for free and sell your share of Luke Keuchly (who will get concussed at some point anyways) to the guy who doesn’t know IDP that well and get a piece from him, that turns one of your weaknesses into a strength. And at the end of the year even if Kuechly plays all 16 games (not likely) how much will he really finish in front of a guy like McMillan? 20 tackles? 30? 40? Even if it is that much, and I doubt it will be, that ends up not being a huge difference game to game throughout the season.
A 40 tackle difference during a 16 game season is a little more than 2 tackles a game less you would get going with FREE McMillan rather than expensive and always drafted immediately (once the IDP run begins) Luke Kuechly. That’s not a whole lot. Use your IDP knowledge to corner the market on waiver wire and end of draft defensive talent then use that to your advantage.
Set Your Initial Lineup And Look At Matchups
The next thing I do is set my initial lineup. This can always change with last minute injury news on gameday. That’s something you should be doing anyways. But yeah, don’t be the guy who forgets to check the last minute injury scratches and starts a guy who’s not playing that day.
But for my initial lineup there are a few things to consider when your team\bench is loaded with IDP talent and you’re not sure who to start when considering several guys of the same position who are all capable of having big games for you. For linebackers I’m always looking to start guys who are going up against teams that run the ball a ton.
When it comes to the super studs you obviously always start the Deion Jones, Bobby Wagner and CJ Mosleys of the world. But for the tier 2 and 3 linebackers, if you have several, my advice is start guys who will play against a team that runs a lot.
And the worse the actual team your LB plays on the better, you want guys who play on a team with a horrible offense so that whether via 3 and outs, stalled drives or turnovers the defense will be on the field constantly. That’s just a good rule of thumb for all IDP players on your team.
For defensive backs, safeties and corners, you’re looking to start guys who are going up against teams that throw a lot. Same rule of thumb here, always start your studs, but when in doubt start the guy going up against Tom Brady over the guy going up against Joe Flacco. Safeties you can be a little more flexible with as long as they are strong safeties because they have both run stopping and pass breakup responsibilities and the best of them will even blitz every so often and get you the random sack.
For defensive line things get a bit muddier. Defensive ends are good against teams that throw a lot since ends get the lions share of their points from sacks. Defensive tackles you want going against teams that run constantly because DTs get most of their points from run stopping tackles and more importantly tackles for loss.
Since your average DT only gets 3 or 4 sacks a season the tackle for loss is essentially their sack, that’s the big play you’re looking for from your defensive tackles. Once again these are just simple strategies if you’re torn between two players of similar talent and IDP production, never sit Landon Collins for Jaquiski Tartt just because Collins is playing the Ravens and Tartt is up against the Packers.
Once your initial lineup is set just make sure to check back every once in awhile and keep track of injuries. And definitely do that on game day to make sure you don’t lose points on a guy who’s not playing cause of an injury.
Always Be Consuming Information
The last thing I do while patiently waiting for Thursday, Sunday and Monday to come around and the games to kickoff is to stay plugged in. Keep up on your information whether it’s from podcasts, websites or your buddy at work who hates his marriage and uses fantasy football as an excuse to keep living.
Stay tapped in to the situations on each team so you’re in position to swoop in with a waiver claim and grab the running back who’s taking over for the guy who can’t get it done. Be ready to grab Vontaze Burfict’s backup because he got suspended again or grab Ruben Foster’s backup because ESPN just reported he smoked pot and emptied an AK47 into the sky while driving drunk in his ferrari.
Stay up to date with what’s going on so you’re always in position to use that information to your advantage. Last year Joe Schobert, Blake Martinez and Preston Brown were NOT drafted high at all and there were many leagues where they weren’t drafted at all. I got all 3 of those guys on the waiver wire or super late in drafts just by staying dialed in to what was happening on those teams and in fantasy football in general.
Those three guys, who led the league in combined tackles last year. weren’t really on anyones radar. Their situations developed over the season and you had to be tuned in to take advantage of that. As much as we think we know things that will happen this year, there will be developments that come out of the blue and you have to be ready for those and to act on them to stay ahead of your leaguemates.
The final step, of course, is to continue to follow us @IDPGuys on Twitter and keep visiting idpguys.org, we’ll keep you up to date with the latest developments in the IDP world and make sure you have in information you need to dominate all your IDP leagues.
Footballs almost here, cheers all.