Fantasy Football

Fantasy Football IDP Draft Strategy


The day is almost upon us. The double checking of wifi strength. The loading and syncing of the FantasyPros Draft Wizard. The locking of the den door after telling your loved ones that you are not to be bothered for the foreseeable future. The question of whether to start drinking now, or wait till the draft is at least in round 6.

SPOILER: Drink after the draft. I can show you some teams that go downhill on draft day right around beer six or shot four.

With mock drafts in full swing, it’s time to get real. Today we impart our fantasy football IDP draft strategy guide for 2019. Though simple, our aim is to walk you through the solid requisites to an even solider draft.

Have your own fantasy football IDP draft strategy you think we omitted? Please don’t hold back and let us know in the comments.

Fantasy Football IDP Draft Strategy

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Know Your League’s Scoring, Win the Draft

My first job out of school, I had a terrible boss. But experience truly yields knowledge. And the dude was knowledgeable. He dropped upon me an essential life fact I have never forgotten or failed to put into practice: Details. Never sweat a single detail.

If you are on the web looking for IDP advice, you’ll never find a universal suggestion. Because IDP scoring is intensely more variable than offense. I can confirm, as the bulk of DMs I [happily] receive for advice begin with “my league’s scoring is…”.

Is your league tackle heavy? Then you can decide between linebacker and lineman in-draft with more confidence. Is your league’s scoring heavy on sacks and stuffs? Then you can justify taking the EDGE-OLB earlier than you would in a tackle-heavy league.

Know your league, win your league.

Follow the Beat [Writers]

Quick, name the Raiders leading tackler from last year! It was 28 year old former Lions standout Tahir Whitehead. He won the job, and turned into a fantastic late round and waiver wire gem. His reward this offseason from the Raiders front office? Whitehead was pushed down the depth chart with the acquisitions of new starters Vontaze Burfict and Brandon Marshall.

In redraft leagues it is the beat writer hawk that garners victory on draft day. Because only people at camp can give you insight into position battles. Whitehead was pounced on by few early, but he was draft day gold. Especially if you waited on linebacker.

A key to IDP drafts is knowing who is going to win the first crack at the starter job. Many depth charts are more fluid than one can imagine. Which is why following the contracts of proven veterans that might be cut and doubling down on talented second teamers can deliver linebacker gold.

Look for muddled situations and salary cap conundrums. Also keep in mind, big names can go down, unfortunately, before, during, and relatively soon after your drafts. So knowing who the primary back up(s) is/are is key research.

Read along with training camp reports to keep up with cuts and depth chart movements. Follow beat writers on twitter like the NFL beat writers account. It might seem arduous at first but you won’t regret it when you happily take the 34th linebacker by ADP a round or two early because you know he has an inside track to win the job.

Remember to Stare at, Glare at, then Internalize Position Eligibility: LB vs. DL

The Rashan Gary Treatment

Let’s continue on the last point from the previous strategy. Once you know your scoring, lock into your league’s hosting site (Yahoo!, ESPN, CBS, etc.) and confirm where your draft targets positional eligibility is. One of the best examples I can share with you is the curious case of Rashaan Gary.

On ESPN we already knew he would qualify for their “EDGE” position pre-draft. But when the Packers boldly announced his selection on draft day as an OLB, his value began to drop from our perspective in typical scoring leagues. You can find a thumper/two-down linebackers who can rack tackles to give you a solid floor well into the mid-late rounds.

The waiver wire produced many of these players through week 16 championships. Do you need to reach on drafting an EDGE rusher who isn’t racking up at least sack with stuffs and TFLs to boot?

The Dee Ford Dilemma

The opposing example? Let’s do this in interactive style. Google “Dee Ford.” The SEO will yield the top sites: Wikipedia says he’s a defensive end, Pro Football Reference has him as a defensive end, but lists him as an OLB.

Ford in the 49ers 4-3 scheme should be listed as a defensive end/lineman. Many have speculated that the Chiefs traded Ford because of their own switch to the 4-3 from 2018’s 3-4 this season under a new DC. Others suggest it was his long-term price tag. But why trade for domestic abuser Frank Clark and pay him $100mil plus then? Especially with their current and past history with these issues (Kareem Hunt, Tyreek Hill). It looks like scheme and winning was on Andy Reid and staffs minds.

After deep diving into Ford’s background, you’ll find he played in the 4-3 in college. Ford was a fun player in 2018 with a career high in sacks and a brilliant seven forced fumbles. Now that you are potentially getting those numbers at the defensive line instead of the linebacker position, he’s infinitely more valuable.

Check your host’s position eligibility before you make those tough draft day decisions.

Prioritize Defensive Lineman

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Unit As A Whole

Consider what surrounds them to delineate between players. The first instinct might suggest that a glut of players and situational subs would lead to less playing time. This would subsequently lead to fewer stats, fewer fantasy points. The truth is pass rushers and turnover mavens need to be well rested across a game and a season. The more talent on the front unit could trump snap count.


Take the above and assimilate into Coverage theory, you get a team like the Packers in 2019-20. The additions of OLBs Preston Smith and Za’Darius Smith should alter opposing offensive line schemes. The additions of safeties Darnell Savage and Adrian Amos improve arguably the worst unit in football last year, especially after the mid-season trade of Ha-Ha. Who gets to take advantage of the combination of less offensive line focus and back end coverage being increased? I’m bumping DEs Dean Lowry and Mike Daniels along with NT Kenny Clark up in all leagues. They stand to put up heavily improved points and should be targeted mid-late rounds over some names you might love.


What year are they in this defensive scheme? Have they had consistency with the staff? The Niners are once again a great example here. Look for beat writer comments about players adjusting to new schemes or positions. A great alternative to consistency: the 49ers Staying with DC Robert Saleh and the 4-3 means a new valuation for offseason acquisition Dee Ford. No longer an OLB, the newly minted DE has exponentially increased his draft value if you believe he’s as talented as his past two seasons suggested.


Check inside the division of the players you target, and run through entire schedules too. How are those offensive lines they will be playing? Do they run a lot with the expectation that the runner gets to the second level? Do they run three wide and will your IDP linebacker target be the man to cover the slot in base formations? Does he have the talent in coverage that will keep him on the field in those situations?

Safeties Matter [Differently]

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Antione Bethea (120), John Johnson III (119), and Jamal Adams (115) were the three non-linebackers who registered in the top-20 tacklers in 2018. But one of these are not like the other. Bethea did have the same 3.5 sacks that Adams had but with no interceptions and a meager 4 pass deflections Bethea’s overall line was thin.

Safeties are…complicated. And they once again can only be valued based on your league’s scoring. Bethea would register high in default leagues. But if you consider that Johnson III and Adams had a combined 23 pass deflections, 5 ints, and 5 FFs between them, you see where elite differs from high-floor.

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Eddie Jackson and D.J. Swearinger both had around fifty total tackles in 2018. But they ranked in the top five in pass deflections, interceptions, and forced fumbles at the safety position. If you know your scoring then you can construct the proper safety tiers that allow for prime draft day valuation.

In Summary: Fantasy Football IDP Draft Strategy

  • Know your league’s scoring.
  • Know your roster breakdown.
  • Do not take any ranking not adapted to your league’s scoring at face value. They are usually based on standard IDP scoring. Take them as a rough gauge of value unless the scoring is specified.
  • Follow Beat Writers and training camp battles, even for backup positions, diligently. Knowing where opportunity lies puts you well ahead of your fellow drafters.
  • Elite DLs should be priority #1 for most leagues. Think of them like RBs; few elites, then it gets a gut check combined with your research with respect to value.
  • Linebackers should be targeted, with respect to the draft, based on how much tackle opportunity they have and the consistency in their opportunity.
  • Safeties are available, but you should target them like tight end in fantasy: get an elite/tackle-oriented one if you can afford the draft cost.
  • Corners, if you are using a tackle scoring format, should be targeted opposite elite corners. Better known as the “Eli Apple” rule. Quarterbacks actually have to throw at you to get IDP relevant stats. You knew who Apple was opposite in New York (Janoris Jenkins) and in NO (Marcus Lattimore). If not using a tackle heavy format, go elite; elite corners deflect passes and force turnovers.

Make sure to visit the F6P Fantasy Football Page for more advice to get you prepared for the 2019 season.

About Samir Qurashi

Samir Qurashi is from the Bay. He thinks football is a good time. You can get at him with any fantasy football questions on the tweeter: @FSPsamir and by electronica: He remains unspooked.

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