IDP leagues have been around for years.  More and more leagues are gravitating towards them as people look for something different. At Razzball, we are embracing IDP this season as well.  Jay recently announced that Razzball will be including IDP slots in RCL lineups as a replacement for kickers and D/ST slots.  This is such a great and exciting way to replace the two least exciting spots in our fantasy football lineups. To keep things interesting, we will have 1 spot for a defensive lineman, 1 spot for a linebacker, and one spot for a defensive back.  Not only are we replacing the boring positions, but we are adding another starting spot.  Some of you may be unfamiliar with IDP as a whole.  Some of you may not know how to value an IDP position or strategize these spots in your draft.  I think I can help give you a few pointers.  As somebody who has been playing in leagues with 1-9 IDP spots for the last five years, I have pointers for people who are familiar with IDP as well.

Linebackers Score the most Points

In standard ESPN scoring for defensive players in 2016, 21 out of the top 23 players at IDP positions were linebackers.  This is because of the high volume of tackles made at the position.  Linebackers are everywhere on the field and have the most opportunities to make plays.  Linebackers don’t always have the best hands but are often in position to make a handful of interceptions in a season.  Also, out of the top five sack leaders in 2016, four of them were linebackers.

The more tackles that a player is in position for, the more opportunity the player has to force fumbles and recover them, and you get extra points for that too.  Each of the top 10 leaders in tackles in 2016 were linebackers.  So, if you play in an IDP league where the positions are open, I suggest looking into mostly linebackers.

When do you draft IDP players?

The top scoring IDP player last season in standard scoring was Bobby Wagner with 227 points.  That amount of points would have been enough to finish as the 11th best running back in PPR, which is pretty significant.  If there is only one or two IDP spots in your league, I would wait until at least the 10th round to pick your player and you should still be able to snag some good options.  This means I think it’s pretty safe to fill out your starters on offense before looking in that direction.  If IDP players are coming off of the board earlier in your draft in a 1-2 player IDP format, you may need to adjust accordingly if you are eyeing a specific player.

Preston Brown was the 10th highest scoring IDP player last year with 183.5 points for the season and Thomas Davis finished 20th with 169.5, totaling a difference of 14 points.  In PPR, the 20th highest scoring receiver last year was Terrell Pryor Sr. with 216.4 points and Kenny Britt finished 30th with 197.7 for a difference of 18.7 points. While the point differential for these 10 spots at each position is not that significant, the total points scored by the 20th and 30th highest scoring receiver is significantly higher than the 10th and 20th highest scoring IDP player.

If your league is drafting a full IDP roster, it’s important to IDP in early.  Simply put, the more IDP roster spots, the more value that those spots hold.  Unless you get lucky, you probably aren’t going to have much success drafting your offense in the first half of the draft and drafting your defense in the second half.  For example, last season I played in a full roster offense/IDP league.  I took Khalil Mack in the second round and Kwon Alexander in the 8th round of a 30 round draft and I won the league because of the value of those two picks more than any other reason.

Pay Attention to the Waiver Wire

Naturally, most of us play only strictly offense-based fantasy football outside of the kicker and D/St position.  A lot of high scorers go unnoticed on the waiver wire because people in your league are going to look offense first because that’s what they’re used to.  Last year in that same full roster IDP league, I was able to find Jatavis Brown who is a preseason top 20 ranked linebacker this season.  The same week when I was retooling my defense, I was able to add Lorenzo Alexander who finished top 5 in sacks in 2016.  Look closely at their weekly trends and remember that each team has 3 to 4 linebackers on the field at the same time so many of these players slip through the cracks.

Pay Attention to Position Eligibility

Depending on which site that you play on, position eligibility can be fluid.  A lot of players that play defense in the NFL are more difficult to be defined by position than on offense.  A great example of this is Khalil Mack.  On a lot of sites such as ESPN and Yahoo, Khalil Mack was the highest scoring defensive end eligible player and a great value pick.  But, a lot of sites have him listed as only LB eligible pushing his numbers to a scale useful as a LB3.  Simply put, in leagues where he is DL eligible, he’s a great pick but in leagues that he’s only linebacker eligible he’s not worth your time.

Know Your League Scoring Before the Draft

This is the most important advice you can get in an IDP league.  IDP leagues are very fluid in scoring based on who is the commissioner and half of your league mates might not even look at the IDP spots closely.  Do your homework and give yourself an advantage.  If the league’s IDP spots are getting more than 1 point for a tackle, linebackers especially should move up your draft board and you should stack however many spots you need for your roster with these high scorers before the other players in your league realize it.  Look for points for tackles for losses and passes defended as well if you have a DB spot on your roster.

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