IDP Draft Strategy

One big question when it comes to IDP leagues- what draft strategy should I use? The most optimal round to start drafting IDPs can depend on several factors, including:

  • League scoring
  • Personal strategy
  • How your league draft

Over the years, I created a blueprint for myself to draft in my IDP league. Here’s a breakdown of my main draft strategy for the 23-round IDP draft I have played in since 2002:

Rounds 1-6Use the early rounds to build a strong offensive foundation with a quarterback, running backs, wide receivers and tight ends.
Rounds 7-9I look to draft IDP value in this range. Drafting my starters here, I target elite linebackers or defensive linemen who have a history of consistent performance.
Rounds 10-16I continue to balance my roster with a mix of offensive and defensive players. I look for solid contributors at various positions and fill any gaps in my starting lineup.
Rounds 17-19I use these rounds to add depth to my roster, both on offense and defense. This is where I might consider drafting additional IDPs who have breakout potential.
Rounds 20-23In the later rounds, I target high-upside players, including IDPs who might be overlooked but have the potential for significant production. I look for rookies, players returning from injuries, or those in new roles that could result in increased fantasy points.

A couple of tips that you really need to consider, or additional strategies that I have utilized over the last two decades of drafting in my IDP league:

  1. Understanding your league’s scoring is crucial. Some leagues may heavily favor certain defensive positions or reward big plays more than consistent tackles. Make sure you’re familiar with the point values for different statistical categories such as tackles, sacks, interceptions, forced fumbles, passes defended, and more.
  2. Just like with offensive players, balance is key. Prioritize drafting a mix of defensive positions, including defensive linemen (DL), linebackers (LB), and defensive backs (DB). Try not to overcommit to any one position early, as you want to build a well-rounded defense.
  3. Different defensive positions contribute differently to fantasy. Linebackers tend to rack up tackles, while defensive linemen are focused on sacks and tackles for loss. Defensive backs often accumulate interceptions and passes defended. Understand the typical roles of players in each position and how they fit into your league’s scoring.
  4. Decide if you want to prioritize consistent performers or players who can produce big plays. Consistent tacklers might not provide as many spikes in points, but they can offer a stable baseline. Players who create turnovers or generate sacks can provide higher variance but might have lower floors.
  5. Linebackers on teams with weaker offenses often see more tackle opportunities due to more time spent on the field. Conversely, strong offenses might lead to fewer tackle opportunities for linebackers. Consider the team’s situation when evaluating linebackers.
  6. Just like with offensive players, rookies and players with breakout potential can be valuable additions. Keep an eye on preseason reports and training camp updates to identify potential hidden gems.
  7. Check injury histories and bye weeks for your selected IDPs. Having a good mix of players with different bye weeks can help ensure you have a competitive lineup throughout the season.
  8. Incorporate depth into your draft strategy, especially for positions with high injury risk. Having a reliable bench can be crucial to cover injuries or bye weeks. Also, consider league rules regarding flex positions – some leagues allow IDPs in flex spots, giving you more flexibility in your lineup.
  9. Unlike offensive players, IDPs can often be found on the waiver wire throughout the season. Keep an eye on emerging talents and matchups that could be exploited week-to-week. Streaming IDPs based on matchups can be a viable strategy.
  10. Stay updated on training camp reports and preseason performances. This can provide valuable insights into how players fit into their defensive schemes and who might be primed for a breakout season.

Remember that every fantasy football league is unique, so adapt these strategies based on your league’s specific rules and scoring rules.

Good luck with your IDP draft!

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Image Credit: Steve Mitchell – USA TODAY Sports