Patrick Willis is the Adrian Peterson of IDP
IDP Fantasy Football Leagues can intimidate some first timers, but with a few simple guidelines, you can build a squad that might even rival your offense.
Standing for Individual Defensive Players, IDP enables you to draft some of your favorite guys like Ray Lewis, and get extra satisfaction when he reintroduces dirt to Roethlisberger's mouth.
There are a variety of formats to go by, but the positions are usually D (general defense), DL (defensive line), DB (corner or safety), LB (linebackers), and some leagues even keep a team defense/special teams slot.
"But...but I don't know many defensive players..." you say?
Have no fear young Matt Millen. Here are seven keys to drafting a solid defensive unit.
Jerod Mayo just wants a hug
Last season, Jerod Mayo outscored all fantasy defensive players, and it's no coincidence that he was also the league leader in tackles. The safest and easiest way to assemble a productive defense is to sort players by tackles, and draft them in order.
Clay Matthews might be more exciting, but quiet guys like London Fletcher will lead you to salvation.
London Fletcher is Mr Consistent
Reliability is one of the biggest luxuries in fantasy football. When scouting players, don't merely choose your picks by who scored the most points the past year. Take a gander at the IDP scoring leaders for the past three years, and you'll begin to notice that more than a few names are always in the top 40.
"No one wants to play with me..."
While Nnamdi Asomugha is one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL, he never gets to be around the action. He is the literal definition of a shutdown corner, therefore no one ever wants to play with him. Unfortunately, you don't get any fantasy points for passes not attempted.
Not that I'm saying to stay away from big-name players. Just keep in mind the nature of their business.
Donte Whitner has new friends to play with
A fantasy stud last year, Donte Whitner benefited from the Bills horrible front seven that let a lot of opponents slip into the secondary. Now with the 49ers, will he continue his 2010 production, or revert back to being average?
When scouting for IDP studs, do a brief search to see if they've switched teams or are playing under a new defensive coordinator. Changes in either can turn a sure thing into an unworthy risk.
See you in Canton!
Perennial IDP stars like Patrick Willis, Ray Lewis and London Fletcher are in the upper echelon of defensive players and should be drafted relatively early.
Somewhere in the mid-to-late rounds is appropriate as you'll be starting them more than your offensive depth players, and they'll contribute more points per game than even the best kicker.
In fact, depending on how your league scores, Ray Lewis had just about as many fantasy points as Vernon Davis, Mike Tolbert and Anquan Boldin.
James Farrior won't stop. Can't stop.
Draft your starting line up and save the rest of your bench for offense. There are very few defensive players that make good trade bait, and you can generally find suitable short-term replacements on the waiver wire.
The Steelers' James Farrior scored the 30th most points of all defensive players last season, yet is owned in only 15 percent of Yahoo leagues.
DeAngelo Hall had the 15th most points of defensive players last season.
If you still have spots to fill and all of the defensive stars are gone, take a few gambles on who you think will have a big year.
Players like DeAngelo Hall should benefit greatly if the Redskins front seven keeps bringing pressure like they have in the preseason. At worst, you can replace him with someone off waivers.
Little risk, tons of reward.