Wednesday - May 22, 2019

Home / Commentary / IDP TUTORIAL: Lesson 6 – Defensive Schemes

IDP TUTORIAL: Lesson 6 – Defensive Schemes

Welcome back to the ongoing Individual Defensive Player (IDP) Tutorial Series here at Fantasy Sharks. So far in our quest to educate folks on how to dominate an IDP league, whether it’s your first or 15th, we’ve covered
Knowing Your Scoring
,
Basic IDP Draft Strategies
, and gone more in-depth into
Defensive Linemen
,
Linebackers
and
Defensive Backs
, and the relative value of each position in IDP leagues.

Now, we’re going to go a bit deeper still, by delving into some of the “advanced” IDP concepts that veterans in the format often use as their secret weapons in gaining an edge on the competition.

Often times, whether it’s during a Sunday telecast of an NFL game or an article on the internet, you’ll see two-dollar terms such as “three-technique” and “two-gap tackle” thrown around. Many people have absolutely no idea what the hell that means. It’s like trying to figure out what Tony Siragusa is talking about. Good luck with that.

Hey, buddy … no talking with your mouth full. It’s rude. Set the chicken down and
enunciate.

Such terminology is enough to turn many people off of the idea of IDP leagues altogether, as they don’t want to have to get a master’s degree to be able to play fantasy football.

Well, folks, I’m here to tell you, rocket surgery it isn’t. After all, I understand it, and if you’ve read any of my articles then you know that I’m not exactly a Nobel Laureate.

(You can stop nodding now.)

So, to quell that uneasiness you may feel when the talking heads start speaking in what sounds like gibberish, here’s a nuts-and-bolts look at defensive schemes and how those schemes can affect the IDP value of each position in them.

Before we get rolling, a quick caveat. The concepts I’m about to go into are generalities. Most teams incorporate elements of many different variations on a theme into their defenses. Some squads, such as the New England Patriots, don’t even necessarily run a 4-3 or a 3-4, instead varying their fronts based on personnel packages and situation.

I could spend the next year doing nothing but writing about the particular nuances of each team’s scheme, and still not cover half of it. It’s a factor to bear in mind, and if you have any questions about a particular team’s scheme, don’t hesitate to shoot me an email at
askgary@fantasysharks.com
.

With that out of the way, away we go!


Strong Side vs. Weak Side

We’ll go ahead and get an easy one out of the way. As I mentioned in an earlier lesson, the strong side of the formation is simply the side of the formation with more players on it. Usually that means the side where the tight end lines up, and more often than not it’s the right side.

That’s why many of the NFL’s elite pass rushers are right defensive ends. Yes, it means dealing with the left tackle assigned to the quarterback’s blind side, but by rushing from the weak side of the formation they don’t have to contend with an extra blocker.


Gaps and Techniques

All that “three-technique” and “two-gap” football babble really isn’t some alien concept that takes hours and hours of research to comprehend.

In fact, I’m about to explain it to you in a handful of paragraphs.

Gaps and techniques are all about where defensive linemen line up relative to the offensive line, and what those players’ responsibilities are once the ball is snapped.

It’s table time folks!


OT



OG



C



OG



OT



TE

C

B

A

A

B

C

D

5

4

3

2

1

0

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

As you can see, the “A” gap is between the center and guard. The “B” gap is on the guard’s outside shoulder. Same with the “C” gap and the tackle, and the “D” gap and the tight end.

Where “techniques” come into play is where defensive players line up relative to their offensive counterparts. In even techniques, the defender lines up directly over his opponent. In other words, a “zero-technique” defensive tackle lines up helmet-to-helmet with the center.

Conversely, odd technique players line up in the gap between two linemen. That “three-technique” defensive tackle you’re always hearing so much about on TV? He lines up between the guard and the tackle.

That brings us to those players’ responsibilities. In the majority of cases, 3-4 defensive linemen are “two gap” players. The “zero-technique” tackle is responsible for both “A” gaps. A “five-technique” 3-4 defensive end is responsible for the “B” and “C” gaps, and so on.

This isn’t always the case, however. Many newer 3-4 fronts favor more “one gap” responsibilities, especially if defenders are playing an odd technique. In that case, all that “five-technique” end has to do is shoot the “C” gap and kill whatever he finds.

It certainly seems to work for
J.J. Watt
of the Houston Texans.

In a 4-3 front, most of the time, defenders are only charged with one gap responsibility.

Did that make sense? Good!

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