Individual defensive players (IDPs) are already a fairly common occurrence in fantasy football leagues. In addition to drafting quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, tight ends, team defenses, and kickers, owners can also draft IDPs to be a part of a fantasy football team.
IDPs are scored by their statistics—tackles, assisted tackles, sacks, interceptions, forced fumbles, recovered fumbles, safeties, blocked kicks, return touchdowns, passes defended, and stuffs (stopping a player for no gain or a loss).
IDP leagues are either leagues in which either IDPs are included with the standard roster (QB/RB/RB/WR/WR/Flex/TE/K/DEF/IDP) or it can be a league with only IDPs.
Either way, playing in a league which uses IDPs is a great way to better understand the other side of the game, which has been neglected in most fantasy circles. This added dimension makes the game more challenging and thus, hopefully more rewarding.
In standard IDP scoring systems, linebackers are king. Linebackers accumulate the most tackles, the most surefire and consistent defensive statistic. Highlight defensive plays (interceptions, sacks, interception returns for touchdowns, forced fumbles, etc.) are highly irregular and while they are nice bonus, the linebackers who lead the league in tackles typically dominate in IDP scoring.
The most important factor in determining which IDPs to target is to analyze the league’s scoring system. First, take a look at the list of players before the draft on the league’s website. This list is where the free agents or waivers are normally found. Rank the defensive players by who scored the most points. Again, in standard scoring leagues, you’ll see the top players are mostly linebackers who had a lot of tackles.
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