Fantasy 101: IDP Draft Strategy

Congratulations! You have decided to join an IDP league and change your life for the better. You are well on your way through the 12 step program to get you more addicted to fantasy football. If you aren’t there yet, read my Fantasy 101: IDP Leagues and come back when you’ve had time to think about your choices. After the euphoric feeling of joining and IDP league, fear and despair may begin to seep in when you realize you have no idea how your draft will change because of the defensive players. How high is too high? At what point am I hurting my team if I haven’t taken IDPs yet? How many IDP should occupy my bench? Let me get the generic answer that you’ll get if you ask questions like this to seasoned IDP owners:

It depends on your scoring settings and your lineup settings.

– Mr. Hoity Toity IDP expert

While he’s right, he didn’t need to be so rude. I apologize. But with that out of the way, we can dive into the things to remember when drafting in your IDP league.


  • Know the scoring and lineup settings long before drafting

Pretty easy to figure if you have higher scoring setting and bigger lineups, IDP players are going to also go higher in your draft. Look at the total scoring for the IDPs from last year under your league settings. If you see that Linebackers are scoring just as much as RB2 players like Jeremy Hill or Justin Forsett, you’re going to want to start looking at them as high as the mid-2nd to high-3rd rounds. However, in most leagues, you will have setting where IDPs will be scoring much less. In most leagues, I like to have my starting RBs, starting WRs, and one or two Flex options before looking into IDP. This puts me at round 5-7 for my first IDP strike. This may also change if I have especially big IDP lineups. If I have to start 3-4 LBs every week, I’m more likely to grab one of the top producers like Carolina’s Luke Kuechly or Tampa Bay’s Lavonte David, just so I have that anchor in my lineup. If you’re having a hard time figuring out how your scoring settings skew your draft, don’t worry too much. You’re not likely to kill your team if you err on the side of offense>defense.


  • Don’t change your personal draft philosophy too much

Hopefully you have strategies that you find that work for you, whether it be value based drafting, Zero RB strategy, or streaming QBs and TEs. IDP drafts shouldn’t supplant the strategies that you already employ. For me, the IDP strategy that I’ve noticed for myself is that I like having a DL and LB from my tier 1 of their respective positions as the cornerstones of my defense. This has me watching for potential runs at the position, so I can grab my LB1 or DL1 instead of a backup RB or WR for my team. If I do lose out on these tier 1 players, I secure my offensive depth and double, maybe even triple dip, on my tier 2 IDPs. This segways perfectly into my next tip.


  • Breakdown your rankings into tiers

I’m an advocate for this whether playing IDP or not. This is the best possible thing you can do for yourself in the tricky middle rounds and ending rounds of the draft. A tier for me comprises a group of players that you see at the same value and whether they sit 1st in your tier or 10th you’d be happy all the same. Here is an example of how tiers make your draft less stressful. If you have a 7 player tier 3 for WRs, and the last 2 players in your tier 1 for linebacker and you’re sitting on the clock, having those tiers make clear things up. In a case such as this, you will most likely be able to take a tier 1 LB with this pick and still get one of your 3rd tier WRs by the time you’re on the clock again. Creating tiers is time consuming, but even a rough estimate of your tiers makes these on the clock decisions a bit easier.


  • Value you Bench Spots

You’d never dream of rostering two K or D/ST, right? So often we forget the value of a roster spot, those end of the bench guys that you pick up for potential or who may be an injury away from a productive role. You lose a lot of value holding onto flier RBs and WRs. My approach early in my IDP ventures, I wanted to load up at each position, but quickly found that holding onto too many IDPs hurt my team. My philosophy now is to get your starters at each position, one or two linebackers to work into rotation from my bench and to use my league’s waiver to fill in for DL and DB bye weeks. Obviously this changes in the bigger leagues you get into, but in a beginning league, this kind of strategy should work fine.
If you have specific questions about your league settings, scoring, or any other draft strategies, find me on Twitter @FantasyOutlaw or contact @FantasyReport_