As someone who is new to the IDP format, I asked some of our writers/podcasters questions that somebody who has never played IDP would want answered. Feel free to contact any of these guys on Twitter for any further questions.
Greetings IDP World! My name is Brian D’Erario (@BrianDFF) and like many of you, I want to start playing in IDP format leagues. However, I believe currently the internet lacks the resources to make the jump from your typical, offensive players only, fantasy league to including individual defensive players. I am going to change that.
When I decided to start writing for the IDP Guys, I wanted to approach my writing from the perspective of a first-year IDP player. I am going to be a one-stop shop for everybody who is competing against experienced IDP league-mates and wants to stay competitive.
My goal is to not be the IDP expert this year. We have plenty of writers, as well as the podcast hosts, who know way more about IDP than I could possibly learn in a short amount of time. I will be providing you with strategies to help you formulate your own opinions.
Remember all those years ago when you first started playing fantasy? Let us say it was 2007, and you had the first pick in the draft and took Tom Brady. Not saying it was me or anything (100% was), but I am sure nobody told you that there was probably more value in taking LaDainian Tomlinson or Steven Jackson and waiting to take a quarterback. Those are the mistakes I will be helping you avoid, even if I have to make them first (100% will).
It will be a learning process for me and I plan to share everything I learn with my readers. Let us take this IDP ride together, which opens up an entirely new way to experience fantasy football. Getting started will be the hard part. I felt the best way to get our foot in the door was to get information from experienced players.
I asked a few of our writers some questions that I could not get the answers to by searching online. These questions will lay a foundation that I will continue to build upon as the season quickly approaches. With that being said, let us get started:
How did you start playing IDP?
@OrangeMan3142: Played one year of standard team defense in 2003, seemed very easy and immediately wanted to make it more advanced. My friends and I who started our first league have been watching football since we were all five years old so our knowledge base was ready for more advanced league settings.
@ChiRuxinDFS: I started in my family’s home league nearly 10 years ago. We had (and still have) three IDP positions. LB, DB (S or CB) and DL (DT or DE). It just kind of happened and I have expanded into bigger, deeper leagues over the years.
@Stompy33: Started with a single IDP in a redraft league with college friends. My first dynasty league had settings to start 5 IDPs – 1 or 2 of DL, LB, and DB.
@HBogart27: Literally by accident I’m sure. I believe I remember joining a free league without looking at the set up first, and it happened to use IDP. Time-wise, I want to say it was early 2000’s, That was a lot of beer ago to remember for sure. I do remember because of the lineup and score settings it was more annoying than anything. Too basic of a lineup, so it didn’t “add” a pop to the game for me the first time. Something like one player from each position.
When do you typically start drafting IDP players in a draft (barring any unusual runs)?
@OrangeMan3142: As soon as each offensive slot is filled I usually jump over to IDP or maybe a little early if there is only a flex spot or a WR4 slot still open. As soon as the offensive game changers are gone, I’m on to defense.
@ChiRuxinDFS: This definitely depends on many factors. League size, scoring settings, draft position and roster configuration all play a part in when I look to draft IDP players. Dynasty versus redraft plays a small part too.
@Stompy33: In startups, 11 round or later. Rookie drafts 5th round or later. This is purely based on my league’s settings
@HBogart27: The “famous” million dollar question of IDP here. To be honest, when it “feels” right to do. Of course, I start with the “named” offensive players and target a full starting line up if I can. But depending on the scoring and who is off the board I do not bar selecting IDP guys before that list is complete for the starting offense. Boils down to the “flow” of things overall. If there is an IDP player sitting there that should out produce (by the score set up) the players on offense available, I’m not shy to take advantage of that. In other words, I’ll take that upper tier 1 IDP over any Tier 2 offensive players to round out what I need for a starting line up on offense. It’ll come out in the “wash” as I draft.
What defensive position do you typically target first?
@OrangeMan3142: Depends on the league, but usually the specialist spots first, DE/DT/S then LB. I can always find linebackers and safeties, either via injury or suspension or act of God. There are always linebackers and safeties that will pop up during the season.
@ChiRuxinDFS: This also depends on roster configuration and scoring settings. I might target an elite DE if the scoring is close to even. The DE position falls off rather quickly when discussing elite talent. Otherwise, I will target the LB position.
@Stompy33: LB. Name of the game in IDP is tackles. MLBs get the most tackles on most, if not all teams. MLBs on teams with bad offenses are the top IDPs.
@HBogart27: Middle Linebacker (4-3 scheme)
What is the order of defensive positions in terms of value? For example, offensive player trends in recent years tend to go RB, WR, then depending on value either QB or TE.
@OrangeMan3142: Linebackers usually produce the most points, then safety, then defensive end, corner and then defensive tackle. Different leagues have different point values but that’s the most common.
@ChiRuxinDFS: Most leagues it is the LB position even with a large number of solid options. Then I would go S, DE, CB, and DL. Again, scoring settings play a part…know them! All that said, I like balanced leagues and try to make offense and defense as close to equal at all positions.
@Stompy33: MLB, S, OLB, DE, DT, CB
@HBogart27: Since I prefer the scoring to focus on the combined tackles to rule all positions in the scoring setups, there is no wavering for me. My “mainstay” is: MLB/WLB/ILB and then SS or top FS, followed by top DL, if any, then I repeat for depth. I have a saying, “Average DL’s and all CB’s are a dime a dozen on the wire thru the first 1/2 of the season.” to stream. So if I’m forced to have a couple cornerbacks I’ll wait and deal with that right before week 1 while not drafting them when I can possibly hit late on an LB or SS/FS for trade bait to trade and adjust with. If I slip up and join a sack heavy league or something not based on combined tackles as the core scoring, I simply would adjust by position needed to stay competitive. And the only time I consider an OLB would be when forced to if i slipped up and joined a sack heavy league.
How many backups per position do you typically hold?
@OrangeMan3142: A couple backup lbs, one backup safety, one backup DE and DT and a shitload of corners. Corners are started based on matchups not upon last years stats or projections from Yahoo or ESPN or whatever type of league you play in.
@ChiRuxinDFS: This depends on roster positions and the number of bench spots. Typically, I will have one or two extra LBs. If I have an elite DE I’ll just stream on bye. Outside of LB I typically have 0-1 at other positions.
@Stompy33: Really depends on league settings, but usually 1 each for LB and safety
@HBogart27: LB & SS/FS: about half of what is required for starting line up at the minimum. DLs: 1 of each depending CBs: 0
What positions do you need depth and what positions can you stream?
@OrangeMan3142: You can stream corners and linebackers, you need safeties but can find them. You absolutely need defensive ends and defensive tackles.
@ChiRuxinDFS: Answered in question 5. LBs depth is usually important. DE tend to be streaky. If you don’t own a Khalil Mack or Joey Bosa, most ends can be somewhat streamed.
Actually, streaming is a bad word here. It’s more like watch for hot hands. Unlike skill positions, DE, CB, S, and DL fluctuate more drastically outside a few top guys. Watch for them and hit the waiver wire if the guys you drafted are not doing what they should. Kyle Fuller is a perfect example of this in 2017.
@Stompy33: You can stream Dline and CB, I think you need depth at MLB and S
@HBogart27: Stacking LBs & SS/FS while not wasting space on average DLs or any CB.
What, in your opinion, is the best IDP format for points/positions?
@OrangeMan3142: I’ve been using this system since 2007, it ends up making my home league about a 50/50 split between offense and IDP, which is what I prefer. A lot of leagues have IDP as like 1/3 of the total scoring. Anyways, here is the good shit:
Solo Tackle = 2pts
Assisted Tackle = 1pt
Tackle for loss = 1pt
Sack = 5pts
Int = 5pts
Pass defense = 1pt
Block kick = 2pts
Safety = 2pts
Forced fumble = 2pts
Touchdown = 6pts
@ChiRuxinDFS: I like my leagues to be balanced. I will have an article that discusses this concept. If you do not have enough IDP positions or the scoring is not done correctly, the value of your IDP positions become weak and almost pointless.
To do this, give positions a premium. For example, DL tackles should be worth more than an LB tackle. Think of it as a TE PPR premium. Awarding more points for tackles for loss and sacks also help. The idea is that in football both sides of the ball are equally important, the same should be the case in Fantasy Football.
@Stompy33: I’ve really only played in a mixed league and really only in one format. Start 5, 1 or 2 each of LB, DL, and DB. These are our settings:
@HBogart27: Balanced as possible with offensive side and as realistic as the NFL IDP “pecking order” with Combined Tackles the focus and core. If I made a startup league I set the Offensive side of the ball and then guess what was close to keeping the balance. I then would submit the league then look at projections. Following that up in adjusting the combined tackle points by .5 until my top projected IDP shows as a top 20 at a minimum. No sack “heavy”, INT “heavy”, Nothing “heavy”. Old school like that.
What I learned
These guys provided excellent insight for new IDP players. What I have learned is it is important to draft offensive players first. Although IDP players are valuable, you do not want to lose out on the elite offensive players that lay the foundation for your team.
Second, consistent defensive players are few and far between. Do your research and KNOW YOUR LEAGUE SETTINGS. A defensive player’s value seems to highly depend on your scoring settings. Compare it to the difference between Jordan Howard’s value in standard scoring vs. PPR.
Third, just because a team is good does not mean a particular player on that defense will score you points. The goal is to find talented players on a team with a bad offense. A bad offense leads to more defensive snaps. More defensive snaps lead to more opportunities for tackles, sacks, interceptions, etc. This is contrary to everything you were taught about how to choose a team defense.
Finally, ditch name value. Everybody knows names like Luke Keuchly but the players who are going to help win your championships are not the name brand guys. Start studying depth charts to find key players who you can plug and play in your lineup to win you any given week.
Follow my work (and the work of all the @IDPGuys writers) if you have no clue what you are doing and want help to DOMINATE your IDP league. We are on this journey together.