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If you’re looking for a good way to avoid depression in the months between the NFL Draft and Fantasy Draft Season, I recommend getting your league(s) together to discuss rule changes for the upcoming season. Will we eliminate kickers? (YES!) Will we award extra points for RBs who break 100 yards (NO!) Will we use individual defensive players? (HMMM…). That last question is complicated, and cannot be answered in one word. In fact, I’m about to spend 1200 words discussing just that question: Should your league be using IDPs?

Adding defensive players to your league is not for the faint of heart. Roster sizes will increase by only a few slots, yet the amount of players available will more than double, and you will now have to grasp the significance of stats like Assisted Tackles and Passes Defended. These changes may seem overwhelming, but in reality, defense in fantasy football is a lot like offense. Between now and Week 1, I will be outlining IDP Strategy, ranking players by position, and discussing scheme changes, but today is all about selling the concept of IDP itself. Here are a few reasons why your league should include defensive players:

If you’re reading this site in the offseason, you clearly care about fantasy football more than the average owner.

I would never recommend IDP for a league full of fantasy noobs, as it takes most owners a few years before they learn not to draft their kicker before the last round, let alone worrying about defensive players. But if you care enough about this fake sport of ours to be looking at Razzball during the offseason, then you seem like the kind of person who would enjoy IDP leagues. Either that or you’re looking for this week’s Stream-o-Nator picks, in which case you’re a little lost.

IDP Leagues have more in-season trades and moves, so the draft is not the end of the excitement.

There is nothing like the anticipation leading up to a fantasy draft. Will I get the sleeper I want? Will I get laughed at for picking a player whose already been taken? Do I have a list of insults for my league-mates prepared? The draft is like Christmas for fantasy owners, except that you don’t have to listen to your drunk uncle’s story about seeing a real reindeer for the 500th time.

But once both Christmas and your draft are over, you have to wait another year before you get to feel that excitement again. Sure there are ways to spice things up during the season – switching to FAAB waivers instead of standard, drafting a fantasy basketball team, growing a sweet mustache – but none of it compares to selecting players that you will monitor over the course of a football season.

The best way to keep the excitement level up in your league is to encourage plenty of roster moves, and IDP leagues make this both easier and necessary. Sure there are trades and waiver wire gems in offense-only leagues, but that increases exponentially in IDP leagues. Not sure if you can get Demaryius Thomas for Doug Martin? Throw in a high-upside defensive player like Alec Ogletree and it might seal the deal. Did one of your starting DBs go down with a concussion? The waiver wire will be full of guys, like Barry Church last year, who can be inserted into your starting lineup, and might even end up as DB1 for the year.

When you think about it, Team D/ST kind of sucks.

Is there anything worse than outscoring your opponent going into Monday Night Football, only to lose because their D/ST returns a punt for a TD and gets a pick-six of a tipped pass? Even if you benefit from such random luck, you can’t really take pride in your “victory.” Many teams rode the Chiefs D/ST to the Championship game last year, thanks mainly to them putting up 41 points and 3 TDs in Weeks 14 and 15. Those same owners got to enjoy the goose egg that their “stud” defense put up with the trophy on the line.

Defensive players will score fluke TDs as well, but the scoring weight is not nearly as great as compared to Team Defense. The TD to Sack ratio in standard Team D scoring is 6:1, while in IDP it is typically only 2:1 or less. This rewards more consistent players and more predictable stats, just like the offensive side of the ball. Return TDs still play a part, and that is why players like Patrick Peterson have some extra value, but they don’t wreak the same havoc as they do from Team D/ST.

IDP gives you more chances to watch the players on your fantasy team.

If your team has Peyton Manning Brady or Dez Bryant, you’ll get the pleasure of watching your guys on national TV as they rack up the points every week. If you have Jamaal Charles or A.J. Green? You’re stuck following online updates and watching highlights. One of the underrated benefits of IDP leagues is that you have more chances to actually watch your players play.

It also helps if your favorite NFL team has a terrible offense.

If you’re a fan of a team like the Jets or the Jaguars, drafting one of your favorite team’s offensive players to your fantasy team is an exercise in futility. Watching Larry Fitzgerald deal with double teams as the Cardinals offense goes three and out again, can make a frustrating season even worse. But anemic offenses often provide increased opportunities on the defensive side of the ball, because their inability to pick up first downs keeps the defense on the field for long stretches. In fact, the Texans, Jaguars, Bucs, Jets, and Giants put up 6 top-10 IDP options at their respective positions in 2013. It won’t make up for watching the likes of Matt Schaub, Case Keenum and T.J. Yates attempt to throw the ball, but seeing J.J. Watt wreak havoc in opposing backfields somewhat of a silver lining during a miserable season in Houston.

If you can make it through your first season, you’ve done the hard part.

As I said before, IDP is not for everyone. It can be discouraging to draft stars like Joe Haden and Terrell Suggs and wonder why they’re not scoring as much as Tashaun Gipson and Stephen Tulloch. As with anything, practice makes perfect. In some leagues, IDP is adopted for a season, and then dropped because owners didn’t “get it.” But I’ve found that with each year of experience, the understanding and appreciation of IDP strategy grows, just like on the offensive side of the ball. So when you hear that the Texans hired Romeo Crennel, you don’t immediately invest in Tex-Mex stock, you start thinking about if Watt and Jadeveon Clowney will be considered Defensive Ends or Linebackers.

So my challenge to you, loyal Razzball reader, is to add IDP to one of your existing leagues, or join an IDP league in 2014. The worst that could happen is that you feel slightly overwhelmed in one league, while learning more about Chandler Jones than you ever wanted to know. Base case scenario? You become yet another advocate of the #NoTeamD movement.

Remember to visit Razzball Radio for all your Razzball media needs. And be sure to get your tickets for the Razzball 32 Fantasy Draft Parties in 32 NFL cities, all in the span of 32 days.

From Around The Web

  1. jack says:
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    Our league added defensive players [4] to our starting roster this year and I am looking forward
    to your insite.

    • Kevin Kumpf

      Kevin Kumpf says:
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      @jack:

      Welcome to the party pal!

  2. Wallpaper Paterson says:
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    I like IDPs. That said, I designed a dynasty league without them in 2013. I had/have plans to start another dynasty league in either 2014 or 2015. I have not yet caught fantasy football fever, so a 2015 startup is looking more likely.

    • Kevin Kumpf

      Kevin Kumpf says:
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      @Wallpaper Paterson:

      My favorite IDP league is my dynasty league, but it certainly makes things more intense. No offseason is not for the weak of heart, but it is the most fun in my experience.

  3. One Man Crusade says:
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    Couldn’t agree more. While picking up guys like Keenan Allen and Zac Stacy as a flex in my keeper league helped put me in the money and leading the league in points, shrewd trades to acquire Poz, Barry Wagner and wire gem of Church had equal impact. It did take me a few years to get used to it, but it is the proffered way to score. This site was also great. You weekly rankings helped.

    • Kevin Kumpf

      Kevin Kumpf says:
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      @One Man Crusade:

      Well done on Church. Preseason ranking should be coming soon!

  4. CatalinaWineMixer says:
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    My brother and I created a dynasty league with full offense and defensive players and we are currently in our 5th year.
    1QB 3WR 2RB 1TE 1WR/TE/RB 3LB 1DT 2DE 2 CB 2 S and 12BN spots.

    Gets pretty crazy but I wish Yahoo! would open up the rosters to allow for over 30 players or do a rookie/taxi squad type roster spot it would make it a lot more interesting.

    Look forward for your insight this year to help me dominate the league, IDP should be a staple in every fantasy league!

    • Kevin Kumpf

      Kevin Kumpf says:
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      @CatalinaWineMixer:

      Sounds like a great league. I would recommend My Fantasy League for that type of setup, I don’t think they have any roster limits whatsoever. But 5 years in means you must be doing something right!

  5. RevClyburn says:
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    My family’s 6 yr. old keeper league has had them from the start. And although we just pick 3 players, it makes the whole league better. I also play in at least 2 IDP leagues a year. I like being able to play offense and defense, makes you think more about the choices you make when you build a team.

    • Kevin Kumpf

      Kevin Kumpf says:
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      @RevClyburn:

      Couldn’t agree more, I’ve been in IDP leagues with anywhere from 1 player to a full roster and it always makes things more interesting.

  6. Looking for a Pretty girl From Indiana... says:
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    …love IDP! My Yahoo league has been IDP since 2007 with only a few complaints. That player complains about everything though.

    Question – just joined 20 team IDP league, what round do you start drafting IPD’s?
    (D, D, DB, DB, DB, LB, LB, LB) I normally wait longer than others. Also noticed no DL requirement. Make a difference?
    Scoring –
    Tackle Solo 1
    Tackle Assist .5
    Sack 3
    Interception 3
    Fumble Force 1
    Fumble Recovery 2
    Defensive Touchdown 6
    Safety 2
    Pass Defended .5
    Block Kick 1.5

    • Kevin Kumpf

      Kevin Kumpf says:
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      @Looking for a Pretty girl From Indiana…:

      With no DL requirement, I’d focus on LBs unless you can grab Watt/Jones/Quinn (rankings coming this week!). Scoring seems pretty standard and if you can land a bunch of of MLBs and Safeties, then you should be good to go.

      As for when to take IDPs, that’s the magic question. I like to wait as well, and if you see a run on DLs, let it pass because their value is extremely limited in your setup. I like to have at least my RB/WR situation figured out before looking at IDPs (obviously if you go QB or Graham early than that affects things). Typically I won’t even look at IDPs until Round 5, and won’t make a move until the 7-8 range. The dream situation is to be picking the opposite of what everyone else is. If your league is on a QB run, pick up your top LBs. If your league is on a DE run, take care of your QB.

      But that’s the beauty of IDP leagues, there is no perfect solution so it really comes down to preference.

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