If you’re going to be successful in your Individual Defensive
Player (“IDP”) leagues this year, and every year, you
need to develop a full understanding of how IDP should impact your
draft strategy and team management, based on your particular league
rules. There is a wide variety of IDP league setups out there, so
what works for one league could be counter-productive in another
Read and React refers to reading your league rules carefully with
regards to IDP, and reacting accordingly. Part
1 of this series dealt with the biggest factor in assessing
how important the IDP component in your league is, the number of
IDP starters in your weekly lineup. This time we look at scoring
I compete in two dynasty leagues that use IDP, each with significant
depth. One has 14 teams and starts 11 IDP, and the other has 16
teams and starts 11 IDP. Something I did recently was go back to
the rules pages to refresh my memory on unique aspects of each league.
I paid particularly close attention to the IDP scoring systems,
and here is what I found:
|IDP Scoring Systems
||1 point for 2 or more
||2 per half sack
||2 per half sack
|Fantasy points awarded
are per achieving 1 stat unit unless otherwise stated.
It doesn’t look much different at first glance, but the difference
is very significant. In League A, sacks are scored on a 4:1 ratio
to tackles, with assists worth half a tackle. 4:1 is considered
high for some leagues. In the Red Eye Masters league in 2003, which
is not included above, tackles are worth 1.5 points, assists 0.75
points and sacks are 3.5 points each. This is only a 2.3:1 ratio
sacks to tackles. So, let’s look at what is going on with
In League B, sacks are scored a whopping 8:1(!) ratio to tackles,
and assists are worth less than League A because they are capped
at 1 point for reaching 2 assists. Although the points for sacks
are the same between League A and B (2 points per half sack), the
key is the tackle scoring which is half as much in League B.
In League B, LB who are used to sack the QB like Terrell Suggs and
Chad Brown get a bump in the rankings over the stay at home run-stuffers
who don’t record sacks. Also, the DE position gets a real
jolt in value, and it is all the more crucial to focus on and acquire
the reliable sack masters.
So, as you can see, this is only one example of how what looks to
be a small difference in the scoring system can really change your
focus drafting IDP. Know which IDP positions are the most important
based on your league’s scoring system, and make sure to properly
adapt to each different league you are in. The best way to do this
is to run the prior year numbers and review them thoroughly (check
stats database using the My
FF Today feature). Here are some general guidelines for IDP
scoring and the impact it has:
In most IDP scoring systems, LB is the most important position,
and this has everything to do with tackle scoring. LBs record the
most tackles of defensive players, and tackles are also the most
predictable stat for defense. The more significance your scoring
puts on tackles relative to other scoring, the more important it
is for you to build a productive and deep LB corps.
Safeties, particularly strong safeties on teams that differentiate
between strong and free safeties, can record a fair number of tackles
as well. This occurs the more the safety is able to move up towards
the line of scrimmage in run support. Also on teams with a particularly
poor front-7 against the run, the safety will record a greater number
of tackles given he is the last line of defense. Greg
Wesley (KC), Ifeanyi
Ohalete (WAS) and Jay
Bellamy (NO) all benefited in the tackle department in 2003
playing on poor run defenses.
The DL does not record as many tackles relative to other positions.
Some DL are good playing the run, while others are not skilled enough
at it, or too light to hold up against opposing offensive linemen
and play the run very well. They will fall into a pass rushing role
or a DL rotation. Put more importance on drafting every down linemen
if your scoring emphasizes tackles.
Plus, since tackles are more predictable than sacks, there is a
lot less risk in taking a DL who balances their scoring between
a good contribution of tackle and sack stats, rather than a DL who
gets the vast majority of their points through sack scoring. It
is not that uncommon to see a 10+ sack player one year fall off
the wagon and struggle in the sack department the following season.
Sacks are generally the second most important stat category for
IDP. They are less predictable than tackles, but occur with enough
frequency and have a greater degree of predictability than turnovers
and defensive scoring, which are absolutely abysmal to count on.
Sack scoring builds up the value of the DL, in particular DE. There
are also a number of LB who play a pass rushing role and rack up
significant sacks. OLB in a 3-4 defensive formation typically play
a large pass rushing role, but LB in the more common 4-3 can also
fall in this category if they have the requisite speed, instincts
and opportunity (i.e. get the green light from the coach).
The nice thing about sacks is they get more predictable as the season
progresses. Once we see for a few weeks how the offensive lines
are gelling – or more importantly, not gelling together -
and which QB are doing their best “deer in the headlights”
imitation, we can see which players have an excellent opportunity
to score big on the sack scale in a particular game. It really makes
the weekly start/bench decisions, plus in-season waiver wire moves,
an important element for IDP success.
Turnovers and Scoring
Usually the highest point scoring categories for IDP, and rightfully
so, comes from turnovers and scoring. As mentioned above though,
these are horrible to try to predict. A player scoring a lot of
INT one season tends to not have a whole lot of correlation to the
next season. DB, mainly CB, will score the most INT since they have
the biggest pass defense role, but the unpredictability and infrequency
of the INT still renders the DB not very valuable or make them worth
drafting very high at all, unless they can contribute in tackles
As for fumbles, these are often split into 2 parts; one for the
force and second for the recovery. The better DE pass rushers will
tend to be better at forcing fumbles as they get in the backfield
and cause some havoc. The recovery part can pretty much go to anyone
who happens to be in the right place at the right time.
Scoring is much the same. You can get big points for it, especially
if a player records both the turnover and TD in a single play by
themselves, but looking at IDP from a big picture fantasy perspective,
these plays are essentially flukes. For my IDP projections, I don’t
project any TD for any player no matter who they are. It is just
too risky and causes too great an impact on the rankings for the
likelihood of it happening.
Passes defensed is a scoring category that is not as common to use
as tackles, sacks, turnovers and scoring, but still a fair number
of leagues do use it. It is a good one to include in your IDP scoring,
because it adds a little extra scoring to the DB position, which
have a tough enough time as it is to give their position value compared
to LB and DL.
However, even if scoring for passes defensed is the same as tackles
at 1 point per, as it is in the League A example above, it is only
going to result in about 8-14 extra points for CB over the course
of a season compared to LB (as they score a handful of PD themselves),
which is still not even a point per game. Therefore don’t
give it too much weight.
I realize stating “know you scoring system” is not a
revolutionary concept for fantasy football, but it cannot be reinforced
enough. This applies especially for IDP because it has many more
role players who will excel in one stat category, but score below
average in another, which greatly influences their value. Overall,
know and adapt to your IDP scoring system. Understand which IDP
positions are the most valuable to you in terms of scoring.
Next time, we close out our Read and React Defense series with Part
3, discussing optional starting lineup formations, the effects
of leagues defining different IDP positions and waiver wire flexibility.