IDP Strategy 101 - by Rob Schwarz, Jr.

Maybe you are someone who stumbled upon this page by mistake and have no idea what IDP even means. Or maybe you are just starting up a new league and need insight on how to handle this area of your team. Even better, you are a seasoned veteran and just want to see another guy’s strategy to compare it to your own. (To the last guy, “stop looking you perv!”)

Well, you came to the wrong place. Wait! What? Just kidding of course! FLAFFL is here for all followers. Even the crazy guys like me who prefer IDP (Individual Defensive Player) leagues!

Since playing in IDP leagues, I have come up with three simple rules!

Know Your League Settings

Yes, this sounds simple enough and you are like, c’mon man. However, more often than not, you see people making mistakes on draft day based on how their league is set up. For example; you do not want to focus on guys who lack in solo tackles if your league is heavily weighted in points for tackles. If you are to view IDP leagues like the NFL, you are going to be sorry. In the NFL, the defensive end is coveted. However, unless your league awards crazy values for sacks, then drafting a sack specialist who averages one tackle and a sack per game will lead you into trouble. Instead, you should want a guy who averages four tackles per game and a sack every other game. 

Wow, that was a mouthful. Okay, let me try to spell it out with numbers. Let us pretend your league gives two points per sack and one point per solo tackle. The defensive end that averages one tackle per game and one sack per game will average out to three points. Yuck! However, the defensive end that averages four tackles per game and a sack every other game will average out to five points. See where I am going with this?

So what does this mean on draft day? Well it means guys like DeMarcus Ware who recorded eight sacks but only 17 tackles should not be on your draft board. Instead, you want someone who can record 10 or more sacks, but still records 35 or more tackles. Now the obvious target is someone like J.J. Watt or Khalil Mack. However, Fletcher Cox could be valued higher because of his tackle value. Again, it all comes down to scoring settings for your league. No league is the same and therefore no draft strategy should be the same.

Do Not Draft IDPs Too Early

Are you that person who drafts a kicker or defense before the last two rounds? Hmmm…maybe you should be reading some other strategy guides before this one! Alright, alright. Let us pretend you know what you are doing. Hell, let us pretend I know what I am doing. As much as you may want to draft J.J. Watt or Luke Kuechly, do not be the person who takes one of them too early. 

I get it, Watt is a beast. He has had two years that come to mind where he dominated every other IDP out there. Even when he doesn’t dominate, he is usually towards the top. That said, is he worth drafting in the fourth round? Now you are scrambling to use a seventh round wide receiver you drafted, but did not hit on as a sleeper. Do me a favor, just like any other league, make tiers in your rankings. Watt or Kuechly should not be drafted super early, even though they are the Antonio Brown’s of IDPs. If you can get them at the right value – say around round six or seven in a 12-team league, then do it. Before then, let some other fool miss out on a solid positional player or even your quarterback.

Target Linebackers and Safeties

Most leagues award a good amount of points for tackles. Therefore, you want to target players who see consistent tackle numbers. I remember when I first started playing IDP leagues. Too often I’d have a defensive end that would get me 15 points one week and a goose egg the next. Why? Well because he was not a consistent tackler (remember my example from rule number one?) 

The best way to win from week-to-week in IDP leagues is to have consistent IDPs. You want that middle linebacker who will get you seven to eight tackles a game. He may give you 10 tackles, a pass deflection and a fumble recovery one game, but you know he is good for at least seven to eight tackles at minimum. Minimize your risk by taking consistent contributors. I like to look at a three year period and average out their tackle numbers. This strategy helps me make my IDP rankings. I know those guys toward the top are consistent. Make sure to look at crazy outliers though that could affect the averages. Either way, this is why when you look at my rankings, linebackers or safeties flood most of the top guys.

That’s it. Simple huh?? Well remember this IDP STRATEGY: 101. If you ever need help or want more in-depth answers. Find me in the FLAFFL chat on the Fantasy Life App!