Utilizing Age to Determine Peak Value for IDP Football

by Steve Hungarter (IDPHunter)
Utilizing Age to Determine Peak Value for IDP Football

In Fantasy Football, the unanimous goal is to draft players when they're most productive, and ideally, to have them on the roster at their peak value—especially crucial in Dynasty leagues. This motivated me to write an article on utilizing age to determine peak value for IDP Football.

This article was first published in 2023 but even now I'm noticing a wealth of information available for offensive players but a shortage of insights for Defense. This is despite the evident significance of the data. This has led to several misnomers and assumptions about utilizing age and determining peaks with players on your roster. Let's explore this.

One common trait among successful Dynasty managers is their ability to accurately judge when to acquire or part ways with a player.  As I embarked on writing this article, I wanted to implement age with Dynasty how advantageous is the inclination to roster players at their pinnacle value, especially in Dynasty leagues,

Successful Dynasty managers understand age well and already determine peak values but they also share a common skill – the ability to discern the optimal time to buy or sell a player. As I delved into crafting this piece, I noticed an abundance of information on offensive players, yet scant details on Defense despite the clear relevance of the data. Let's delve into this.

Utilizing Age to Determine Peak Value for IDP Football

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Linebackers IDP Age

It's crucial to be aware that linebackers typically hit their peak performance levels between 25 and 28, maintaining a high standard of play until around 31. However, exceptions to this norm exist, underscoring the importance of exercising patience and taking individual factors into account when dealing with linebackers.

The linebacker position demands ongoing mental and physical development, often extending into the late 20s. While age is a lesser concern for defensive linemen (DL) and linebackers (LB), it remains important to keep track of their ages and make informed decisions about when to transition. It's essential to recognize that, despite linebackers experiencing peak performance between 25 and 28, there is a notable decline once they reach the age of 32.

To prevent a dip in performance and optimize team building, it's recommended to trade linebackers a season or two before they reach 32, as their elite performance may diminish beyond this age. As players mature, sustaining a consistently high level of play becomes more challenging, and they may no longer excel in playing all three downs. Hence, adopting a strategic approach involves acquiring young linebackers and exercising patience as they undergo development and learning.

An example of a wise approach would be to acquire young and less established linebackers when others underestimate their potential. These players may still be processing and figuring things out, but they have the potential to improve significantly. Selling established linebackers around the age of 31 is advisable, as they may struggle to keep up with younger tight ends and running backs and may no longer be effective in playing all three downs. However, it's important to acknowledge that there are exceptions and exceptional players who may defy this general trend.

During the 2023 season using both FP and 1-2-3 scoring, seven out of the top ten (70%) linebackers in scoring were aged between 25 and 28.  Foyesade Oluokun (28), Bobby Okereke (27), TJ Edwards (27), Quincy Williams (27), Zaire Franklin (27), Fred Warner (27), Robert Spillane (28). Only Alex Singleton and Bobby Wagner exceeded these peaks. Our youngest entry, Terrel Bernard (24), is a promising young talent at the age of 24, and stands out as the youngest member of our top ten linebacker list, cementing his position and deserving recognition. The Science supports this in the 2022 season, seven out of the top ten linebackers Obviously, we took edge players off both case studies, as it is a completely different position.

Defensive Lineman and Edge IDP Age

No other position shows a steady investment like the DL group. You will notice a steady increase each season until the market drops off. The Defensive lineman position, unlike linebacker, continues to pay dividends and goes up in value with age. You will see a steady uptick in age from 24-29 years old.  It is worth noting that the decline happens at 30, but you will see steady serviceable production just not elite into the window years of 30-32. Where there is a drop off is after 33. So the thought here is 30-33 is where pass rushers lose a step in regards to their quickness. The thought here is to treat your DLs like you would your QB-TEs groups Still will get decent tier value at an accelerated age of 32.

Look no further than the data shown from 2023, eight of the top ten (80%) were 24-28 years old. TJ Watt (29), Maxx Crosby (26), Micah Parsons (24), Danielle Hunter (29), Josh Allen (26), Bradley Chubb (27), Myles Garrett, and Trey Hendrickson (29). Only Khalil Mack proved to be the exception to the rule.

Aidan Hutchinson (23) stands out as the youngest member of our top ten linebacker list, cementing his position and deserving recognition. The Science supports this theory again here in the 2022 season when ten out of the top ten linebackers (100%) were within this age model. Thus, proving how to play the Dynasty age game with IDP players.

DTs peak much older and differently than above. The ripe peak age is 26-28 and will see steady growth as they get older. You want that old man strength. Where the drop-off starts is 29 but don't start to show until 32-34 years old because that position is more about strength than speed.  Before the age of 34, you would want to get off the player. Translation, you don’t need to segment this list but could get away with playing 27-30-year-olds here. Out of this list, Buckner (29), Madubuike (26), Zach Sieler (28), Wilkins (28), Oliver (26), and Quinnen Williams (26) all come to mind. Donald and Heyward were key historical examples of this position having a much longer shelf life and career than we once thought.

Defensive Backs IDP Age

Certainly, the turnover among defensive backs (DBs) occurs at a swifter pace compared to other positional groups, resembling the dynamic seen with running backs (RBs) and wide receivers (WRs). The investment in DBs, much like RBs and WRs, tends to yield a consistently high success rate throughout their careers, spanning from ages 22 to 31, particularly for Safeties. It remains one of the safest positions on defense in terms of bust rates, and players give teams a long-lasting shelf life.

Opting for a DB in an NFL rookie draft is a wise move, as it has proven to be a smart sound investment. It's a common sight to witness a Safety drafted by a team promptly making a significant impact, with a relatively smaller bust rate window. A DB is usually determined good his first few seasons or not, then gives relatively good work with the peak ages of 23-27. After 28 we see a steady decline from the masses, but the elite ones will still generate attention and still be able to maintain volume work.

In 2023, ten out of ten (100%) segments found this formula to be correct. Antoine Winfield (25), Jessie Bates (26), Camryn Bynum (25), Josh Metellus (25), Daron Bland (24), Derwin James (27), Xavier Mckinney (25), Kyle Hamilton (22), Julian Love (25), Dax Hill (23) 2022 gave us the same science as well that nine out of ten safeties (90%) fall within the same age range of 23 to 27.

Intriguingly, seven out of the top ten safeties are 25 years or less, and none of them have been labeled as journeymen. Moreover, all ten players have remained loyal to their original teams throughout their careers. This data strongly indicates that NFL teams identify their preferred players through the draft and maintain allegiance to them into their later years. Unlike owners in IDP leagues, where we know the position could be streamed real life teams seem to invest and value these guys at a younger age of development.

I wrote this article so you could understand how age works just like its offensive counterparts. Now having predictability, it is easier to rank and value players for Dynasty in your leagues. I am hoping this brings your team success as you plan to build the perfect team.

Translation, I wait, wait, wait on Defensive backs but if I want to spoil myself I might come up and draft one early in startups because I know the hit rate is proven just like WR/RB skillset players get, and unlike running backs, this position I get a higher shelf life.

Conclusion

If we could just understand IDP and its usage more I feel that this would be great for the community and better content. Most people think that IDP is hit or miss, yet I showed you data that suggests otherwise. Hopefully, some of this was informative and will help you with crushing your league formats as it had done mine.


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