Who’s ready to IDP?
The key to enjoying IDP is finding the perfect settings and scoring for the league. IDP should not be an afterthought. The scoring in any league should be balanced so the average player at different positions have the ability to score about the same number of points. This balance will lead to more trades including defensive players, more rewards for doing your research, and more fun for all league members.
Your typical offensive lineup will include between 10-11 players. Likewise, the optimal settings for IDP will have between 10-13 players. I recommend starting 1 DT, 2 DE, 3 LB, 2 CB, 2 S, and having two flex positions. You are running an actual defense, unlike on the offensive side where you ignore the offensive line.
These lineup settings will allow you to get into some depth at positions, without reaching too far down the depth charts.
IDP scoring is vital to the success of the league. A few of my leagues have unbalanced scoring and it makes it very frustrating. Let’s use my home league as an example. This was the first IDP league I joined and the commissioner is great. However, this was the first IDP league he created. Last year, the highest scoring IDP player was Jordan Hicks who ranked 75th overall. Of the top 100 players, only 12 were IDP. This leads to owners carrying the bare minimum of defensive players and spending all of their draft capital on offense.
In contrast, I recently completed the first season of the Ride or Dynasty Fantasy league which incorporates a balanced scoring system. In 2019, the highest scoring IDP player was Logan Ryan, who ranked 17th overall. Of the top 100 players, 41 players were IDP. This is the type of league where a good GM can dominate the league through defense.
The idea is to take the typical statistics for each position and determine a point value that makes positions equally valuable. This has happened on the offensive side with TE premium and SF scoring which increases the value of QBs and TEs to closely equate to RB and WR.
You need to reward your big men for doing their job. They should be stuffing the run, pressuring the QB, and stripping the ball. We will reward them with the highest bonus for tackles, assists, tackles for loss and sacks.
I want my defensive ends to stop the run on the way to the quarterback. These guys get paid the most on the defensive side of the ball and will be rewarded for big plays. Sacks need to be treated like touchdowns since they are rarer. Last year there were an average of 6.6 TDs per game and only 5 sacks. If a receiver catches a 30 yard TD pass, they score 10 points: 1 for the catch, 3 for the yards, and 6 for the touchdown. If your defensive end records a sack, they score 11.75 points: 2.75 for the tackle, 5 for the sack, and 4 for the TFL. Your stud DEs like the Bosas, Danielle Hunter, and Cam Jordan will bring you points in a hurry.
Like quarterbacks in high school, linebackers will see the most action. For this reason, we only give them a bonus for sacks. The bonus allows pass rush specialists like Von Miller, Chandler Jones, and Ryan Kerrigan to be relevant in IDP.
A long-standing issue with IDP is how to reward the best cornerbacks who quarterbacks target less frequently. Historically, you wanted to draft a weaker CB, hoping he would allow receptions and then make the tackle. This is counter-intuitive and wasn’t good for IDP. Tom Kislingbury recommended I look to keep tackle points low, while increasing the bonus for passes defended. This idea was brilliant and I also added a two point bonus per interception. While we can’t eliminate the issue, awarding these bonuses is positive reinforcement for the behavior we seek!
Safeties are the Roomba of football, cleaning up all the junk that gets through the other layers of the defense. They receive bonuses for big plays like interceptions, forced fumbles, and fumble recoveries, while getting a slight boost to their tackle points. This allows for both the ball hawking safety to compete for a roster slot against the in-the-box safety playing nickel LB.
Applying these scoring settings to the 2019 season, your average starter at each position would score between 201 and 216 points. This is the balance that is needed to enhance your IDP experience.
If your commissioner isn’t open to making these changes, start another league.
You can never be in enough. Trust me.
If you have questions, feel free to reach out on twitter.