We’re ready to roll out individual defensive player rankings, but first, for those of you who haven’t been introduced, let’s talk IDP basics, scoring formats, roster positions and when to draft individual defensive players.
IDPs are an extension of fantasy football that has made the game more enjoyable for many owners and needlessly complicates it for others. It can get even more complicated depending on how the commissioner rolls with the setup.
Many league structures allow individual defensive players to be taken regardless of position.
Others force you to choose players based on their defensive unit: DL, LB, DB. Some go even farther, forcing you to pick by specific position: ILB, OLB, DT, S, etc.
There are others that combine the formats, using a sort of defensive flex position with some more specific options.
Your draft day IDP decisions will be largely affected by the specificity of your league’s rosters. Rankings at a lot of sites, even the big ones (*cough*ESPN*cough), won’t give you specific positions. We know it’s hard work scouring all of the depth charts to figure everything out. That’s why we’re going to cover you to a large extent with our rankings.
Boo, them. Yay, us.
Scoring formats vary from league to league. Some experienced leagues might add crazy categories and bonuses just to make things interesting. It always pays to know your league scoring, but there are a few major scoring factors to remember when drafting individual defensive players:
- Just like yards to offensive players, tackles (both solo and assisted) are the meat of your defensive players statistics. Typically leagues will award one point per tackle and a half-point per assist. This makes linebackers (specifically middle linebackers) and the top safeties high priorities come draft time.
- Many standard scoring formats award the same number of points for a sack as they do for a fumble recovery. Sacks are far more common and fumble recoveries are turnovers. I value a turnover more and change the scoring appropriately in my leagues. If your commissioner has the sacks points jacked up and you have the option, don’t even bother with DBs except maybe the top four or five safeties. If interceptions are worth more, then some cornerbacks become an option. Again, know your scoring.
- It’s rare, but if your league scoring rewards for kick returns and that carries over to the defensive side of the ball, it pays to know which teams employ their defensive backs as returners.
As you can guess there are a lot of possibilities. I’m sure they haven’t all been covered here. Use the comments to let us know about your league scoring and any crazy formats you’ve experienced.
So, when do we draft IDPs?
That’s the big question. There are a lot of people that will give you a lot of different opinions.
Some experts suggest drafting IDPs around pick 125 (the middle of the 10th round in 12-team leagues). As many of you know from my zig-zags, I’m not going to follow orders barked at me without questioning them first.
IDPs typically aren’t as much of a factor in your scoring as a running back, obviously. They’re also not nearly as scarce. Don’t get me wrong, it is an advantage to have ILBs Patrick Willis or Jon Beason, DE Jared Allen or S Adrian Wilson, but it’s not a necessity.
When I draft in a standard league with IDPs, I make sure my offensive core is sound before I even think about an IDP. I’ll pick a running back or receiver sleeper first if I don’t expect them to fall.
A couple good IDPs always fall through the cracks and if you don’t draft them, they’ll be available on waivers. I check the IDP waiver wire a lot, especially early in the season, to see what rookies and young players are making an impact. You should too.
The wire also comes in handy at the end of the season, when you can pick up IDPs with good matchups/projections to give your team a little edge during your playoff push.
Before I send you off, be sure you check out consigliere’s take on his first IDP draft.
The first of our rankings will go live Thursday Aug. 26 and finish by Friday Aug. 27. Full IDP listings will be available for anyone drafting this weekend.