You down with IDP?

The fantasy team defense is dead. Not quite as poignant as Nas’s take on Hip Hop, but if you dare to venture for a more organic form of fake pigskin explore picking defensive players individually. Odds are if you’re reading this you’re either already in an IDP league or at least thinking of making the switch (or just accidentally pulled this post up while surfing for the definition of rugged individualism: Smarty McSmart Ass); if so, kudos on all levels.

IDP leagues instantly make both sides of the ball more intriguing. Victory fist pumps that typically spill your Sunkist, Pepto and Dewars mixer are not limited to only rushing/passing/receiving TDs, but now occur during big tackles, forced fumbles and passes that are batted down with a subsequently unwarranted celebration.

The Score (credit the Fugees)

Scoring choices are essential to making the IDP format relevant. Think of your fantasy football defensive players like a fantasy baseball pitching staff and one day it will all make sense. It pays to attempt to weigh defensive player scoring on par with that of their offensive counterparts. For instance, think about allotting the following points system to “even the playing field” without upsetting Congressman Ron Paul too egregiously:

Stat Points
Solo Tackle 1.5
Asst. Tackle .5
Forced Fumble 6
Sack 6
Fumble Recovery 4
Pass Defended 4
Blocked Kicked 3
Defensive TD 6

As you can see, this scoring now makes it tough to pass up on elite defensive stallions early in the draft really turning tradition on its melon.  I realize scoring is like religious worship in most leagues, so this might appear blasphemous. Repent!  Change doesn’t happen overnight, unless you’re Jose Bautista or Ashley Simpson, but one could argue that drafting a team comprised of offensive and defensive players is a purer virtual sporting experience. Get your geek on. I suggest roster’ing at least 2 Linebackers, 2 Defensive Backs, 2 Defensive Linemen, and 1 flex defensive player. Obviously, the world is yours in terms of roster spots and scoring settings just painting a picture for you to interpret as something between utter frustration and tongue-tied euphoria. Let’s talk players.

3 Yards High and Rising

The most sought-after, consistent draft day targets in the IDP ring of fire: the ‘backers. These dudes anchor the singular defensive player vessel.

  1. Patrick Willis (SF) – The best Jerry, the best.
  2. Jon Beason (CAR) – An old friend from “The U” with oodles of upside and track record. Not a soul on this planet will think you’re bonkers selecting this guy as number one, as he’s slated to fill his old spot on the field.
  3. Jerod Mayo (NE) – Too high? Nah, the guy is young fast and primed to step into the elite conversation (led league in tackles). Interior double teams on Haynesworth or Big Vince Wilfork increase value on draft day just as Miracle Whip does on a boloney sandwich.
  4. Lawrence Timmons (PIT) – Versatile sideline-to-sideline speed demon that gets a bump in leagues that reward passes defended given his role in Dick LeBeau’s 3-4 scheme. Additionally, Larry has added some muscular bulk to help shed blockers like golden retriever fur.
  5. Ray Lewis (BAL)/James Harrison (PIT) – Two crazed and productive veteran defenders of the gridiron. Caveats come up when discussing potential helmet shot suspensions OR that thing called age, but I’m not betting against these guys until I see further evidence to disprove their nastiness.

The Get Backs

In the defensive backfield these hawk-eyed ball magnets are worth a starting look, but one thing to note with D-backs is that value can be found very late. Late, as in 1962 homerun derby on ESPN Classic 3:30 am late.

  1. Eric Berry (KC) – This is quite high, yes, yes it is. Look for a big step forward for Mr. does-it-all-and-does-it-all-well (10 tackles and 4 passes batted in ’11 Wild Card game vs. the Ravens).
  2. Terrell Thomas (NYG) — Had to insert a corner that always gets picked on and can tackle a bit (101 total tackles and 21 passes batted). Foreshadowing to another post: when in doubt pick cornerbacks that QBs will throw at often; also known as the “Adventure Islanders” , which is a LOST plane crash away from Revis Island.
  3. LaRon Landry (WAS) – Great speed combined with the Redskin defense being anatomically attached to the field this year makes LaRon kind of a big deal in IDP formats; even though he’s an injury concern (Achilles issue).
  4. T.J Ward (CLE) – The Browns defense will be called on frequently and without an elite linebacker Mr. Ward will be as busy as Micky Ward after his hiatus (123 total tackles in ’10).
  5. Patrick Chung (NE) – Ball flocking, Shaolin Chung-fu safety that can explode for huge points at any moment. The biggest top 5 stretch of the bunch, but Pat knows how to pack a punch.

It Takes a Nation of Guards and Tackles to Hold Us Back

Elite defensive linemen are hard to find in the IDP draft room, seems odd given their size doesn’t it? The guys below ruffle up the pocket more than the Costanza wallet.

  1. Justin Tuck (NYG) – Tuck doesn’t give a flying dash of an eyelash about the Quarterback, therefore he strips the ball (6 FF in ‘10) and tackles them behind the line of scrimmage repeatedly (12 sacks in ’10).
  2. Jared Allen (MIN) – Silencing critics that said he was more of a menace in noisy Minnesota (7 sacks at home and 5 sacks away in ‘10), the mullet-ed mauler is a fool-proof option in your DL spot throughout the season.
  3. Osi (NYG/Somewhere in America) — Causing fumbles (10 FF in ’10) is Osi’s specialization, and when he majors in it he challenges (former?) teammate Tuck for d-lineman valedictorian. Should Osi flee the New York Football Giants his value will theoretically fluctuate, but given the Everest-esque drop off in DL contributors I don’t think he falls any lower than 5.
  4. Suh (DET) – Warren Sapp’s heir apparent blows things up inside similar to the @qbkilla himself (10 sacks in ’10).  Hit the draft button/slap the felt-tipped maker against the whiteboard stolen from your office and just keep him active.
  5. Julius Peppers (CHI) — The former Carolina Tar Heel and Panther is still a force to be reckoned with in 2011. Peppers is a clear-cut number 1 option in the IDP trenches, but has known to disappear from time-to-time (5 games with 3 or less tackles and no sacks in ‘10).

That’s installment 1. Hate it or love it, we at least had some face-scrunching album references. Next time we talk IDP sleepers and cobble together even better allusions.

  1. eSSduBBz says:

    Nice post, and a shot in the arm for those bored w/ the same ol’ same ol’. I’ve been pondering IDP for awhile, but have been reluctant to venture into the unknown. So … obligatory 20 question time!

    All offensive and defensive players are mixed up in the draft pool, yes?
    Where would Patrick Willis be selected in a typical draft?
    Do you have a top-100 or -300 list coming down the pipe?
    Any websites to mock draft this fantastical scoring setup?
    What’s your drink? (daiquiri, whiskey, and screwdriver taken)

    Thanks in advance.

  2. IndyDad says:

    IDP is a blast! In our 12-team league last year, Willis was the first IDP drafted (7th Round, 10th Pick). He ended up ranked around #100 overall for total points (11th of IDP’s). Our scoring system is very similar to the one in this article. 8 OF players and 8 DEF players.

  3. Brodes

    Tim Brodeur says:

    1) Thanks!

    2) Yes, all players are mixed up in one drafting pool. ESPN actually intermingles the O and D based on projected points. Y! only breaks down players in an “All Offense” or “All Defense” pt projection sort.

    3) With league size and scoring as the variables, I see Willis going anywhere from round 1 to round 6. So, it truly hinges on the scoring weight and number of teams. Generally, IDPs go later in drafts due to elite scarcity at positions like QB, WR, and RB.

    4) Depending on the demand I could disclose a classified cheat sheet of sorts for y’all to chew up and spit out. Let me know.

    5) The unfortunate (and fortunate) thing about the IDP culture is that it’s underground at the moment. Thus, no publicized mocking sites (fantasyfootballcalculator/mock draft central) offer up an IDP version. I typically plan an offensive draft strategy first and work in IDP slots throughout. Using the fantasy baseball comparison again, IDPs are just like drafting pitchers. Some people go heavy on the elite early, others go late and cheap.

    6) Any seasonal brew is my steez-o man.

  4. Lubes says:

    Hey great post/read! I was kinda clueless when it came to IDP but your article really cleared a lot up. Ive been pondering adding this to my league but had no idea what the concept was behind it. Hope I get to read more from you on this site man

  5. Brodes

    Tim Brodeur says:

    @IndyDad: Sounds about right; I would’ve pounced a bit earlier perhaps. Although Willis did disappoint last year, I’m chalking it up as an outlier. 8 and 8 is a great roster set-up w/ 12 teams.

    @Lubes: Thanks man! Hoping to drop another piece soon.

  6. Skoodog says:

    Thanks for pioneering the IDP ranking world like a fantasy Lewis and/or Clark. I love the IDP format since finding diamonds in the rough is about as easy as sorting by tackles…especially since my provider (Yahoo) seems to rank them the same way a drunken U player picks which stripper he’s going to impregnate…whichever one happens to be closest to them (too soon?).

    One thing about the format I’m not a huge fan of is how it rewards crappy cover corners which you alluded to in your Adventure Island comment. Toler was a huge find last year opposite ACR yet skillset wise he’s just okay. Also sharp DL guys are homerun hitters dependent on the sack totals which are inconsistent from week to week.

    One thing that is important to mention is statistical parity, which is boring math-speak for “draft the guys with high tackles.”. Tackle heavy players are the Wes Welker PPR dreamboats of IDP. Highflying risktakers like Cromartie are the Lee Evans types, e.g. “Woo, my boy Cromartie picked one off and took it to the house! I can’t wait til next week when he gets two PDs and half a tackle and turns in less than half the points!”

    • Brodes

      Brodes says:

      Great reply man!

      I agree with your sentiments regarding CBs, but I still prefer that glitch to the “throwaway” nature of D/ST pickups in standard leagues. The great part about IDP is the parity and game-changing ability it brings to the table. At any rate, thanks for dropping some supplemental knowledge and long live the realm of IDP.

  7. eSSduBBz says:

    @Tim Brodeur: Mr. Brodes, I just wanted to inform you of the success you’ve created:
    DB Patrick Chung (NE – S)
    DL Jason Pierre-Paul (NYG – DE)
    LB Jerod Mayo (NE – LB)
    LB Lawrence Timmons (Pit – LB)
    LB Curtis Lofton (Atl – LB)
    DT Marcell Dareus (Buf – DT)
    DE Justin Tuck (NYG – DE)
    CB Charles Woodson (GB – CB)
    S Yeremiah Bell (Mia – S)
    BE Jon Beason (Car – LB)
    BE Aldon Smith (SF – LB,DE)

    Safe to say my league-mates weren’t as fortunate as I. Thank you sir.

    • Brodes

      Brodes says:

      Impressive defensive unit indeed. Razzball’d ’em! Best of luck this season, cheers!

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