An IDP primer for those new to the fantasy format

More and more leagues are opting for individual defensive players. Ross Miles gives a quick run-through the format for the newbies.

| 10 months ago
Lavonte David

(AP Photo/Jonathan Bachman)

An IDP primer for those new to the fantasy format

With the NFL season just weeks away, it’s time to up our preparation a notch. Redraft fantasy leagues drafts are well underway, and will only continue to ramp up once Week 3 of the preseason, the one week that kind of actually matters, is in the rear-view mirror. If you are new to IDP leagues, this primer will highlight some factors you’ll want to factor into your equations before building your final draft board, and even if you have drafted a cornerback or two in your time, it never hurts to cram in that little bit of extra prep. Like the old adage goes, if you fail to prepare, you’re preparing to fail.

As always with IDP leagues, and any fantasy league to be honest, you need to be on top of your scoring system and how that impacts player values. This is something I’ve covered already this offseason, so rather than regurgitate that same advice, check out my piece on IDP draft mistakes to avoid. If it feels like I’m beating you about the head with the same advice, that’s good. It’s called learning by rote, and you’re beginning to learn that reflex action – check the scoring system. It should be the first thing you do whenever you join any fantasy league as it impacts every player’s value and scoring potential.

The positions

Once you’ve got a firm grasp on how scoring works, the next step in dominating your IDP leagues is getting a firm handle on player types at each position. At defensive end there are 3-4 guys, 4-3 guys, run stoppers and double-digit sack artists, not to mention rotational rushers and situational players. More times than not, your focus should be on 4-3 guys with double-digit sack potential, and who will play upwards of 65 percent of snaps. Generally speaking, 4-3 ends are more volatile scorers than their 3-4 counterparts because they have less reliance on tackle totals for their scoring. In big-play leagues this works in their favour, as when they do record multi-sack games, they can be difference-makers, while in tackle-heavy formats the 3-4 ends who can break 50 total tackles in a season can push up well into the DL2 tier. Don’t sleep on rotational guys, though, as high-upside backups, especially in big-play scoring leagues. Last season saw Jabaal Sheard turn his situational role into a starting job and eight sacks, while Mario Addision springs to mind as a player on a limited snap count who has popped up with multi-sack days on several occasions over the last few years. Rookies also can often find themselves in these situational roles, especially those not drafted in the first round, and like Sheard can parlay those early-season snaps into more significant time by the end of the season.

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Ross Miles is a lead fantasy writer on PFF Fantasy. He contributes IDP content to the site. He was the 2011 winner of the FantasyPros IDP Expert Rankings contest for both weekly in-season rankings and also for pre-season rankings and finished second in IDP rankings in 2012 and 2015. Ross is also a member of the FSWA.

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