The problematic nature of IDP player designations
If you’ve played in IDP fantasy football leagues before, you’re likely aware of the position designation problem that plagues edge rushers. Those on teams that run a 3-4 base defense tend to get classified as linebackers, which often sends their fantasy value down the tubes.
Last season, Khalil Mack was perhaps the poster child for this problem. Designated as a linebacker, Mack finished as a respectable LB2, ranking 19th in PFF balanced scoring. However, his points total would have placed second among defensive linemen, three points ahead of Aaron Donald. So Mack would have been an elite option had he been designated as a defensive lineman. While ESPN gave Mack this designation, many others have not followed suit.
Of course, there are many purists out there who argue that a player should be classified based on his alignment in the base defense. Mack plays outside linebacker, therefore his designation is clear. But is it really? How well do the IDP designations across fantasy commissioner sites actually reflect on-the-field play?
For starters, we need to examine the logic of looking at a player’s base defensive position. Fantasy players are well aware that the league has move toward a more pass-heavy game, and this shift has had a significant impact on the defensive side of the ball.