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IDP drafting 101

Posted: Tue Jun 10, 2014 8:33 am
If you are reading this, then you are likely joining or starting your first IDP league. I hope to address the most common questions for newbies here. Please note that these are generalizations. You will quickly find that every IDP league is different. Many things can affect you league including scoring, required starters, experience of the league members, number of teams in the league, and numerous other things. Chances are that all or most of this will apply directly to you league even though there are so many differences in IDP leagues.
I suggest you read this as an overview as well, since I'm not going to retouch on these items: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=25827&p=224173#p224173

Many members are setting up leagues, but aren’t sure what kind of scoring they should have or are joining a league and want to understand it. On the offensive side of the ball, we have PPR/non-PPR/QB heavy/2 QB/etc. We quickly post that offensive jargon and everyone has a basis of what you talking about because offensive scoring is pretty standard to which ever synonym you posted. However, in IDP we don’t really have that. From the overview link above, you should now know that we have there general buckets to throw scoring systems in. Those systems are broken down in that link to a decent degree, so you can have a feel for what kind of scoring you want or are dealing with in your league.

The most important thing here is that you do not want a very small sample of required offensive starters. This is going to scare people just getting to know IDP, but you have to trust me here. Leagues love to just stick their toe in the water and add 2-3 IDP’s, but this is a huge mistake. There are just a ton more relevant players on the IDP side. Having a small sample of IDP’s will cause no one to value IDP’s. This is because everyone will have studs and plug/play options will be readily available on the waiver wire. This will cause people who don’t understand that there are unlimited options on the IDP side to decide they don’t like IDP, because there is no challenge and it’s boring. Don’t be that league.

I think the most common IDP starters requirements is 2DL, 2LB, 2DB, since this was used for years by many. This setup will give you the minimum amount of starters any IDP league should have, but many chose to have more required starters. In a 12 team league, there will be some value on the waiver wire for emergencies with only 6 starters and will give the IDP’s some sort of value to have them taking up roster spots. Many newer leagues like to expand the starters from that base, but to understand what starting requirements you want… you have to understand positions scarcity.

The tenth best player at the DL, LB, and DB positions are not valued equally. The DL is the hardest of the three categories to fill with quality, since the elite players are so few. The DL position drops off quick, then levels off, then drops off quick again. LB is not that hard to fill, but there are definitely a notable difference in value as you move down the rankings. LB production can be found pretty far down the rankings and they are pretty easy to replace in rookie drafts. I know there are some good DB’s to have, but you can typically just replace your DB’s every year off the waiver wire just before the season begins in most leagues (if you wanted to and I actually do this in my salary cap league).

On top of what I recommend as the minimal IDP starters above, you can expand the numbers required and/or add defensive flex spots. Some leagues like to break up the major starting categories as well. The DL position might be broken up into 1 DT and 2 DE. In many leagues with 2 DL starters, the DT position is pretty neglected. Having 1 DT in your starting requirements is a nice change and it adds to the number of relevant players in your player pool. I highly recommend breaking up the DB starters in CB and S. This gives the safety position a little more value, makes the reliable CB’s worth something, and removes the general DB required starting position that makes those players more or less valueless compared to the other positions. The more required starters you have for a given position, the more the players will be worth at that position. A flex spot typically increases the value of the LB.

When do I take IDP’s in a startup draft? This question is asked a lot. It is important to remember that there are a lot more fantasy relevant IDP’s than there are IOP’s. So, the offensive players are worth more regardless of scoring. It’s basic supply and demand. In a startup draft, you want to take the players worth the most and are the hardest to replace in the future. A general rule is that you want to fill out your starting lineup on the offensive side before really getting into drafting IDP’s . It might even be a good idea to take a couple of extra offensive players, if others in your league have drafted IDP too early. If others are drafting IDP’s too early, then that pushes offensive talent down the draft board. Don’t worry about missing out on the IDP’s and scoop up the IOP’s. With there being more supply on the IDP side, it’s a lot easier to pick up an IDP piece to help your team down the road.

While you should fill out your offensive roster before taking IDP’s, you may make a single targeted pick for an elite DE in the 6th or 7th round of a typical 12 team draft. An elite DE is the hardest thing to get as far as the defensive players. So if one is there, that would be my exception to the rule of filling out your complete IOP roster before taking an IDP.

Now we’ll address IDP’s in a rookie draft. I don’t recommend taking IDP’s in the first round of a rookie draft. This goes back to the supply and demand. There should be good enough offensive talent to take a shot at in the first to pass on IDP’s in the first. If you were to even consider an IDP in the first, it would to be pretty much a once in a life time player, that is NFL ready, plays a position that yields high fantasy football points (4-3 MLB or pass rush 4-3 DE), was drafted by a team that plays a system that sets that position up for huge points, and the team drafting the player has a need at the position for early contributions for your FF squad. Otherwise… see the rule for not drafting IDP’s in the first. This exception shouldn’t and won’t happen often.

Tier 1 IDP’s that play a high production position for FF and are drafted by a team with a need at that position, which should have the rookie on the field quickly can be drafted in the second. Again, this should be maybe 1 player a year and there will be years without this player. For the most part, IDP’s you should be looking at drafting your high upside DE and MLB in the third to fourth round, depending on the offensive talent available.

Re: IDP drafting 101

Posted: Mon Dec 15, 2014 11:51 pm
by Factory of Sadness
Thanks for this! Incredibly helpful and very much appreciated.

Re: IDP drafting 101

Posted: Tue Jun 02, 2015 8:50 pm
by johnnydes
This is helpful - thank you!

Re: IDP drafting 101

Posted: Mon Mar 13, 2017 5:01 am
by wesley9547
wow this is very helpful. Thanks

Re: IDP drafting 101

Posted: Fri Mar 31, 2017 8:44 am
by 23B_Mills
Great insight. Definitely worth the time spent reading it!

Re: IDP drafting 101

Posted: Sun Sep 10, 2017 3:32 am
by aticodejon
Thanks! I wish I had seen this before my recent startup draft!

Re: IDP drafting 101

Posted: Wed Dec 05, 2018 12:06 pm
by joshuawrobbins
Yeah dude you are the man. Thanks for both “articles”