Today we close out the preseason IDP Rankings with my top 100 overall. This can be used as a cheat sheet for your draft, as it mixes all of the positions together, but the most important aspect is the tiering system used. You may have a different preference between Bobby Wagner and C.J. Mosley, and that’s fine! But it’s hard to argue that they don’t belong in the same tier of IDPs, or that one should be taken several rounds before the other. The tiers used in these rankings should help you determine who’s value is similar across all IDPs, and when to expect a run on defensive players as your drafts get past the 6th round.
The obvious gap here when prepping for your draft is the omission of offensive players, so I wanted to briefly hit on that. The most common question I get in the Comments section, on Twitter, and by random strangers stopping me in the streets is, “When do I start taking IDPs in my draft?” It’s a great question, and one without a right answer across the board. The biggest factors that determine when IDPs should go in a fantasy draft are:
1. Total IDPs Started – If you only start 1 IDP, then there is no way they should be treated like anything more than kickers or team defenses. I personally hate this setup, but I know it exists. In a 12-team league, there just isn’t a way for one defensive player to make that much of a difference, even if you know who the top guy will be. My assumption is that if you’re in an IDP league, you’re starting at least 6 players, so hopefully this is a non-issue.
2. Positional Requirements – Slightly different from #1, in that some IDP leagues use the flex concept more frequently than you would on offense. If you’re not required to start at least one DL, then J.J. Watt loses some (but not all) of his luster. The rankings below take positional scarcity into consideration, and at this point I think that most leagues do as well.
3. Scoring System – This is where we currently see the most variation from league to league. Traditionally, IDPs just don’t score enough raw points to warrant consideration until most, if not all, of your offensive starting lineup has been drafted. From what I’ve seen, the tides appear to be turning towards a more balanced scoring culture for IDPs, but we still have a long way to go.
On to the rankings…
Tier 1 – No surprise here. In a league where you need to start 2+ Defensive Linemen, and IDPs are not an afterthought in the scoring system, Watt definitely deserves consideration in the first 3 rounds. I probably won’t pay that price, but someone in every draft will, so that’s where his value lies.
Tier 2 – The only other IDPs that should be “reached” for are the top two LBs. Rounds 4-6 are probably where they will fall, and while I’m still not paying that much for IDPs, that’s what it will cost for peace of mind at LB.
Tier 3 – This is where the fun begins. These guys may start going as early as the 5th, which is far too soon, but once the 7th round starts, game on. I have the DLs above the LBs due to relative positional scarcity, but the difference between Robert Quinn and Jamie Collins is not too large. Your choice should come down to your league’s scoring system, as well as your confidence in guys that are lower in the rankings at other positions.
Tier 4 – This is the last tier that I’m breaking out, because it includes the top Defensive Backs. In draft after draft, I’ll see people reach for the top ranked DBs with the logic that it’s better to have the best at some position than the 15th best at another. Those are the same people who routinely take their kicker before the last round. There’s a lot of talent at DB right now, which is all the more reason to wait until you’ve solidified positions that aren’t known for their inconsistency.
Everyone else is broken out by positional runs to show relative value. Depending on your league size, the players after Tier 4 may be in the streaming category, so make sure to address offensive depth before making a move on any of these guys.