Saturday - Jan 19, 2019

Home / Draft / IDP FOR DUMMIES: 2016 IDP Primer and Top 150

IDP FOR DUMMIES: 2016 IDP Primer and Top 150

More and more fantasy football enthusiasts are eschewing the same ‘ol, same ‘ol that is team defenses – an afterthought selected at the end of fantasy drafts. Instead, they’re going for the added excitement and strategy of Individual Defensive Players (IDP), where the NFL’s mantra of “Defense Wins Championships” finally gets its due in fantasy as well.

Often, the biggest resistance to participation in IDP leagues is fear of the unknown. The learning curve from trying something new. However, you can start and/or participate in a fun and exciting IDP league without re-inventing the wheel.

Just as offensive fantasy players accrue points for stats, defensive players tally them for things like tackles, assists, sacks and interceptions. A fairly standard IDP scoring system looks something like this: 1.5 points for a tackle, .5 points for an assist, 2 points for forced fumbles and fumble recoveries, 4 points for sacks and interceptions, 6 points for a defensive touchdown and 1 point for passes defensed.

A standard IDP starter lineup contains two defensive linemen, two linebackers, two defensive backs and a “flex” starter. It’s meaty enough for the defensive side of the ball to actually have an impact without turning your league on its head.

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN are the scarcest defensive position in fantasy football, with maybe a dozen reliable weekly starters to be had. Given that scarcity, make drafting at least one high-end lineman a priority. The unquestioned king of the DL (and all IDPs) is Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt. Even with his early availability clouded by a back injury, Watt won’t make it out of Round 2 in most IDP leagues. He’s the Rob Gronkowski of defense – his edge over the No. 2 option could be YUUGE.

 

SLEEPER ALERT: Devin Taylor – DE, Detroit Lions: Batterymate Ezekiel Ansah may grab the headlines, but Taylor quietly moves into a full-time role in 2016 after racking up seven sacks a season ago.

PRO TIP: Pair a high-upside sack artist like Ansah with a reliable tackle producer like Pittsburgh’s Cameron Heyward. The latter’s high weekly floor will come in handy, and they can usually be had later in drafts.

 

LINEBACKERS, and their steady tackle production, form the foundation of most IDP squads. The kings of the hill this year are Luke Kuechly of the Carolina Panthers, Lavonte David of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and NaVorro Bowman of the San Francisco 49ers, who will start coming off the board around Round 4. But it’s a plentiful LB crop this season – there will be plenty of talented tacklers available later in drafts. Unless your league awards highly for sacks, let someone else go after guys like Von Miller of the Broncos and the Raiders’ Khalil Mack. They’re great IDP players, but in this format “rush” OLB aren’t great fantasy options.

SLEEPER ALERT: Denzel Perryman – ILB, San Diego Chargers: Once he got onto the field full-time last year, Perryman was very productive. If there’s a young linebacker outside the top 25 with a real chance at cracking the top 10, Perryman’s likely the guy.

PRO TIP: Once Watt’s off the board, it’s the elite linebackers who will set the IDP pace. If you’re unsure of when to start drafting IDP’s, let those guys go – there will be plenty of young talent like Jacksonville’s Telvin Smith you can build a defense around.

 

DEFENSIVE BACKS are two things – plentiful and unpredictable. The pre-season top-10 and the same list at season’s end usually have precious few names in common. There are always a few players who rise from obscurity to IDP prominence at the back end, such as last year’s No. 1 overall IDP finish from Miami Dolphins safety Reshad Jones. With a few exceptions, cornerbacks are best left alone unless your fantasy league requires them.  Over the past three years only a handful of players at the cornerback position have topped 65 solo tackles—and more often than not they came from nowhere to do it.

SLEEPER ALERT: Ibraheim Campbell – SS, Cleveland Browns: Campbell checks all the boxes so far as what to look for from a “breakout” DB – a young safety moving into a full-time role playing behind a suspect group of linebackers.

PRO TIP: Wait to draft defensive backs. Then wait. Then wait some more. It’s tempting to grab a reliable starter like Jones or Harrison Smith of the Vikings. But it’s more advisable to load up at LB and on the DL and look for late values like Campbell or Antoine Bethea of the San Francisco 49ers.

 

Just as with the tips above, these “overall” IDP rankings are a “Cliffs Notes” approach to the format. But with these tips and this list in hand on draft day, you should be able to field a defensive unit that will have you in the hunt for the fantasy playoffs.

 

  1. J.J. Watt – DE, HOU 8
  2. NaVorro Bowman – ILB, SFO 8
  3. Luke Kuechly – ILB, CAR 7
  4. LaVonte David – OLB, TBB 6
  5. Alec Ogletree – ILB, LAR 8
  6. Jamie Collins – OLB, NEP 9
  7. J. Mosley – ILB, BAL 8
  8. Ezekiel Ansah – DE, DET 10
  9. Robert Quinn – DE, LAR 8
  10. Sean Lee – OLB, DAL 7
  11. Carlos Dunlap – DE, CIN 9
  12. Telvin Smith – OLB, JAX 5
  13. Aaron Donald – DT, LAR 8
  14. Reshad Jones – S, MIA 8
  15. Muhammad Wilkerson – DE, NYJ 11
  16. Jordan Hicks – ILB, PHI 4
  17. Calais Campbell – DE, AZ 9
  18. Everson Griffen – DE, MIN 6
  19. Bobby Wagner – ILB, SEA 5
  20. Khalil Mack – OLB, OAK 10
  21. DeAndre Levy – OLB, DET 10
  22. Malcolm Smith – OLB, SEA 10
  23. Paul Posluszny – ILB, JAX 5
  24. Kiko Alonso – ILB, MIA 8
  25. D’Qwell Jackson – ILB, IND 10
  26. Harrison Smith – FS, MIN 6
  27. Mario Williams – DE, MIA 8
  28. Fletcher Cox – DT, PHI 4
  29. Corey Graham – S, BUF 10
  30. Brandon Marshall – ILB, DEN 11
  31. Derrick Johnson – ILB, KC 5
  32. Danny Trevathan – ILB, CHI 9
  33. Cameron Jordan – DE, NOS 5
  34. Eric Kendricks – ILB, MIN 6
  35. Deone Bucannon – ILB, ARZ 9
  36. Rob Ninkovich – DE, NEP 9
  37. Tyrann Mathieu – S, ARZ 9
  38. Geno Atkins – DT, CIN 9
  39. Landon Collins – S, NYG 8
  40. Kwon Alexander – ILB, TBB 6
  41. Ryan Shazier – ILB, PIT 8
  42. Jason Pierre-Paul – DE, NYG 8
  43. Thomas Davis – OLB, CAR 7
  44. Lawrence Timmons – ILB, PIT 8
  45. Stephone Anthony – OLB, NOS 5
  46. Mark Barron – OLB, LAR 8
  47. Olivier Vernon – DE, NYG 8
  48. Denzel Perryman – ILB, SDC 11
  49. Morgan Burnett – S, GBP 4
  50. Eric Berry – S, KCC 5
  51. Jabaal Sheard – DE, NEP 9
  52. Michael Bennett – DE, SEA 5
  53. Eric Weddle – S, BAL 8
  54. Mychal Kendricks – OLB, PHI 4
  55. Hasean Clinton-Dix – S, GBP 4
  56. Brandon Graham – DE, PHI 4
  57. Jerrell Freeman – ILB, CHI 9
  58. Preston Brown – ILB, BUF 10
  59. Vontaze Burfict – OLB, CIN 9
  60. Malcolm Jenkins – S, PHI 4
  61. Barry Church – S, DAL 7
  62. Cliff Avril – DE, SEA 5
  63. Cameron Heyward – DE, PIT 8
  64. Avery Williamson – ILB, TEN 13
  65. Antoine Bethea – S, SFO 8
  66. James Laurinaitis – ILB, NOS 5
  67. Anthony Barr – OLB, MIN 6
  68. Robert Ayers – DE, TBB 6
  69. Kawann Short – DT, CAR 7
  70. Johnathan Cyprien – S, JAX 5
  71. Darron Lee – ILB, NYJ 11
  72. Cameron Wake – DE, MIA 8
  73. Ndamukong Suh – DT, MIA 8
  74. Kenny Vaccaro – S, NOS 5
  75. Bashaud Breeland – CB, WAS 9
  76. Kurt Coleman – S, CAR 7
  77. Stephon Tuitt – DE, PIT 8
  78. Michael Griffin – S, MIN 6
  79. Von Miller – OLB, DEN 11
  80. Gerald McCoy – DT, TBB 6
  81. Kony Ealy – DE, CAR 7
  82. Benardrick McKinney – ILB, HOU 9
  83. Demario Davis – ILB, CLE 13
  84. Reggie Nelson – S, OAK 10
  85. Clayton Geathers – S, IND 10
  86. Jelani Jenkins – OLB, MIA 8
  87. Karlos Dansby – OLB, CIN 9
  88. Ron Parker – S, KCC 5
  89. Ben Heeney – ILB, OAK 10
  90. Clay Matthews – OLB, GBP 4
  91. Dante Fowler – DE, JAX 5
  92. Myles Jack – OLB, JAX 5
  93. Jurrell Casey – DE, TEN 13
  94. Dont’a Hightower – OLB, NEP 9
  95. J. Wright – OLB, SEA 5
  96. Keenan Robinson – ILB, NYG 8
  97. Kam Chancellor – S, SEA 5
  98. Sheldon Richardson – DE, NYJ 11
  99. DeAngelo Hall – S, WAS 9
  100. Marcus Peters – CB, KCC 5
  101. Malik Jackson – DE, JAX 5
  102. Perry Riley – ILB, WAS 9
  103. Keanu Neal – S, ATL 11
  104. Manti Te’o – ILB, SD 11
  105. Connor Barwin – DE, PHI 4
  106. Zach Orr – ILB, BAL 8
  107. David Harris – ILB, NYJ 11
  108. Ibraheim Campbell – S, CLE 13
  109. Devin Taylor – DE, DET 10
  110. Mike Adams – S, IND 10
  111. Corey Liuget – DE, SDC 11
  112. Deion Jones – ILB, ATL 11
  113. Brian Cushing – ILB, HOU 9
  114. Justin Houston – OLB, KC 9
  115. Karl Joseph – S, OAK 10 10
  116. Charles Johnson – DE, CAR 7
  117. Michael Johnson – DE, CIN 9
  118. Prince Amukamara – CB, JAX 5
  119. Adrian Amos – S, CHI 9
  120. Gerald Hodges – ILB, SFF 8
  121. Michael Johnson – DE, CIN 9
  122. Earl Thomas – S, SEA 5
  123. Rashad Johnson – S, TEN 13
  124. Mason Foster – ILB, WAS 9
  125. Tashaun Gipson – S, JAX 5
  126. Paul Worrilow – OLB, ATL 11
  127. Todd Davis – ILB, DEN 11
  128. Jason McCourty – CB, TEN 13
  129. Blake Martinez – ILB, GBP 4
  130. Adam Jones – CB, CIN 9
  131. Rodney McLeod – S, PHI 4
  132. Trumaine Johnson – CB, LAR 8
  133. Glover Quin – S, DET 10
  134. Demarcus Lawrence – DE, DAL 7
  135. Shawn Williams – S, CIN 9
  136. Will Compton – ILB, WAS 9
  137. William Hayes – DE, LAR 8
  138. Josh Norman – CB. CAR 7
  139. Bradley McDougald – S, TBB 6
  140. Danielle Hunter – DE, MIN 6
  141. Jacquies Smith – DE, TBB 6
  142. J. McDonald – S, LAR 8
  143. Derek Wolfe – DE, DEN 11
  144. Tony Jefferson – S, ARZ 9
  145. Nate Irving – ILB, IND 10
  146. Anthony Hitchens – ILB, DAL 7
  147. DeForest Buckner – DE, SFO 8
  148. Vic Beasley – DE, ATL 11
  149. Terrell Suggs – OLB, BAL 8
  150. Leonard Williams – DE, NYJ 11

 

About Gary Davenport

A member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association and Pro Football Writers of America who resides in Columbus, Ohio, Gary has been featured on a number of fantasy websites and in nationally circulated publications. These publications include the USA Today Fantasy Football Preview and the magazines distributed by Fantasy Sports Publications Inc., for whom Gary is a both a contributing author and associate editor. Gary is a seven-time FSWA Award finalist and two-time winner who was named the organization's Fantasy Football Writer of the Year for 2017. Gary also appears regularly on Sirius XM Radio (including live from Radio Row at Super Bowl XLIX) and over-the-air stations across the country. Gary was one of the co-founders of, and Head Writer at, Fantasy Football Oasis before joining Fantasy Sharks as an IDP Senior Staff Writer in 2011. He knows football. Or so he's heard.