Most fantasy football owners prepare for the draft by examining projections. Projections for IDP are not as prevalent as they are for offensive players. Although projections are more sparse, you can still prepare for a draft with the ones available. For new players, difficulty with IDP drafts hinges on one important question/problem: when to draft defensive players? This question can be answered byexamining player value for both offensive and defensive players.
Player value stats and value based drafting are ways to see how players rank next to their peers. An example of player value would be to compare Colin Kaepernick and Matthew Stafford. Based on the projections from Fantasy Pros, and average draft position data from Fantasy Football Calculator, Matthew Stafford is overvalued, while Kaepernick is under valued. Kaepernick is projected to get 307.7 points and is going in the eight round, while Stafford is projected to get 304.2 points and is going in the fourth round. Projections may just be that, a projection or guess of how the player will do. Matt Stafford is only worth taking in the fourth round if you believe he will exceed 304.2 fantasy points. Why draft him in the fourth round when quarterbacks who can provide you with similiar numbers exist later in the draft? Seven quarterbacks are projected to obtain very similar fantasy points. Running backs and wide receivers would make a better target then Matt Stafford in the fourth round (unless you believe he will have a remarkable year). For more on value, my article gives more detailed explanations.
Where should defenders be drafted? It first depends on your leagues format. My league requires two defensive backs, and three general defenders. The general defenders are players who play any defensive position. I generally draft three line backers, since they have the highest scoring output. It should be noted that some defensive lineman do put up stellar fantasy points. he league I play in gives out points for some elements of the defensive game other leagues may not. The league I play in gives out 4 points for a safety, 1 point per pass defended, 3 points for a sack, and 1 point for a tackle for loss. You have to examine your league scoring settings and then make your assessments about which defensive players to pick. Lavonte David had 206.8 points in the league I played in last year but only 196 with FFToday scoring. It is extremely important to understand the scoring system used in your league. For my analysis about value and defensive players I will utilize FFToday scoring which is listed below.
|Tackle:||1.00 point each|
|Assist:||0.50 points each|
|Sack:||2.00 points for every 0.50|
|PD:||1.00 point each|
|INT:||5.00 points each|
|INTTD:||6.00 points each|
|FF:||3.00 points each|
|FR:||2.00 points each|
|FRTD:||6.00 points each|
|Safety:||2.00 points each|
I compiled a list of 160 players: 14 QB's, 39 RB's, 38 WR's, 10 TE's, 24 DB's, 36 D. The player value stat is calculated based off the fantasy point difference of a given player compared to the last ranked player in their respective positional category.The first defensive player appears on the value list with the 32 pick. That player would be Luke Kuechly. He is projected to score 165.5 points and has a value score of 56.5. Two defensive players with similar numbers appear at the 33rd and 34th spot, J.J. Watt and Lavonte David. Their rankings would indicate these players should be drafted in the 3rd round (based off value). I would not draft them this early. My draft last year saw the first defensive player taken in round 5. The top end defensive players are more similar to their peers then the elite players at other positions, this is evident by the chart below. I mapped out the top five value players per position.
If you can draft one of the top defensive players in the fifth round you are getting them at good value. If that is not an option, you can take a second tier defensive player in the 6th and still begin assembling a formidable defense. Don't take a defensive back before the sixth round, the best defensive back (by projection) is Eric Weddle. His value score is only 30.5. Just because you do not have a position drafted yet does not mean you are obliged to select someone from that positional category. If I don't have a DB drafted in the sixth round, I would select a higher value player at another position if they were still available. If the DB is the highest available value I would select him.
Below is an actual tangible example of drafting defensive players. I just participated in my leagues fantasy draft on the weekend. It has the weird scoring system I listed earlier in the article. The fifth round of my draft is when I took the first defensive player drafted by anyone in the league. I did this because it made sense at the time, which I can display through value.
J.J. Watt was the most sensible pick at the time. His value was exceptionally high. He was the best defensive player on the board. Aside from putting up the most total fantasy points, he exceeded his peers at his position by the largest margin. While some of the people around me drafted average tight ends, and old running backs, I took the best defensive and most valuable player on the board. The chart above should show you the high value that defensive players have in a league that rewards points for tackles for loss, pass deflection, etc; Watt is projected to score one less point than Jimmy Graham in this league!
It is important to draft IDP's just as much as it is any other position in fantasy football. I would not recommend drafting players before the 5th round. You will be able to snag good players at other positions when people start picking defensive players in bunches. Every draft I have been involved in that features IDP see's a slew of individuals draft players after the first IDP player is picked. You do not have to pick a position just because other people are, buck the trend. 17 linebackers exist that are projected to give you between 115 and 130 fantasy points. You can not ignore the defensive position. You must treat them the same as offensive players in fantasy football. Defensive players can make or break your season in an IDP league. Good luck!