Draft Strategy

IDP Strategy Guide

By Matt Schauf 10:08am EDT 8/22/19

If you’re running without IDPs, are you even really playing fantasy football?

You’re ignoring half the game, and that goofy team D/ST is no way to make up for it.

Individual defensive players enrich the fantasy game. They give you another thick layer of strategy, several hundred more players to consider in your fantasy football drafts and a reason to get to know every NFL roster even better.

If you do play with IDPs, then you know it’s about more than just finding a LB on a crappy defense. You probably also know that this is the remaining fantasy frontier that goes underserved.

Even experienced IDP leagues can find plenty of owners who spend minimal time preparing for the defensive half of their draft. That’s where the savvy fantasy player can take advantage. And we’re here today to build up that advantage, so you and your MVP Board can dominate.

Let’s get to it …

1, 2 or 3 IDP Slots

Unfortunately, these still appear to be the most common IDP setups. If your league falls into this category, then your crew has not committed to really using defensive players. It’s OK for a trial run -- especially if a significant portion of the league is wary -- but you should try to increase your defensive lineup, even incrementally.

The problem with this level of IDP involvement: Think of playing in a fantasy league where you only need to start 1-3 players from a pool including all RBs, WRs and TEs. Pretty easy to outfit your entire league with at least solid players from that group, right?

Well, the equivalent defensive-player pool would be even larger, because just about every NFL team starts some arrangement of 7 front-seven players and 4 DBs. (A few more accurately start 5 DBs and 2 LBs at this point. Compare that with most teams sporting 2 usable RBs, 3 WRs and 1 TE.

If you play this kind of IDP format, the 1 rule you should follow is don't draft your defender(s) too early. It's the same logic as waiting on your QB. If your entire league is waiting until the double-digit rounds to start taking defensive players, then it'll eventually be OK to be the Darius Leonard drafter. Otherwise, though, you're best off sticking with offensive picks until the draft turns to defense. You'll likely be better prepared than your league mates to attack this area when the time comes.

If you do play in a balanced to tackle-heavy format -- no more than 3 sack points per 1 tackle point -- then you should focus on non-edge LBs and safeties. Those 2 positions will deliver you the most consistent and predictable scoring.

5 IDP Slots with 3 LBs, or 2 Plus Flex

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