There are tons of fun and unique variations of fantasy football. The one we will discuss today is playing in an IDP league.

If you’re not familiar with IDP, it stands for Individual Defensive Players, which adds a nice little spin on playing with the normal Defense/Special Teams position.

Here’s a few tricks I’ve picked up over the past couple of years playing in IDP leagues.

Pay Attention To Bye Weeks:

I can’t stress this point enough. Most IDP leagues have a very limited bench. The discrepancy between great linebackers and great defensive ends is very thin in IDP leagues.

Two linebackers having the same bye week could mean that you will be forced to drop a quality defensive player. This seems like basic fantasy advice, but sometimes remembering your player’s bye week seems like a forgotten rule.

Make Sure You Have Bench Spots:

I always try and keep at least an extra defensive end and a linebacker on my bench. defensive backs hold way less value in IDP leagues. Good defensive backs are also easier to pick up on waivers.

Keeping those two extra bench spots make it easy to drop injured players, fill out bye week roster spots, and make it less stressful worrying about your offensive bench.

Keeping the two bench spots lets me know in advance how many offensive players I need to draft, and helps me know my team and which players to put on waivers.

Seems like another basic rule, but it gets forgotten quite often in fantasy football.

Don’t Stress the Draft:

Valuing defensive players is very hard. We can predict offensive stats all day, but defensive stats are nearly impossible.

We all like to think that we know how certain defensive players, but it’s mostly a guessing game, much like drafting kickers.

When defensive players start being drafted in your draft, just compare them to the offensive players being drafted at the time and determine what you feel your bench needs more. Don’t stress it!

Top 5 IDP Rankings:

1.) J.J. Watt, DE, Texans: There is no debate. Watt is a freak of nature who has a knack for getting to the quarterback and getting into the end zone. Absolutely nobody should be picked before Watt.

2.) Luke Kuechly, LB, Panthers: Kuechly will be entering his fourth season with the Panthers this year. Through his first three seasons, he’s averaging an astounding 157 tackles per season. If he stays healthy, he’s the only player who can compete with Watt in fantasy.

3.) Lavonte David, LB, Buccaneers: David was drafted a full round after Kuechly in the 2012 NFL draft, and he was a steal. He’s never had a season with less than 139 tackles. He’s the only linebacker on this list who can even compete with Kuechly in the tackles department.

4.) Bobby Wagner, LB, Seahawks: Wagner is an elite linebacker in the NFC. He would’ve averaged around 140 tackles over the past three seasons, but he had to fight the injury bug the past couple of seasons. When healthy, Wagner is easily a top-5 fantasy linebacker.

5.) Robert Quinn, DE, Rams: Quinn has racked up 40 sacks the last three seasons in St. Louis. He’s played in 63 of his 64 possible games. He’s the most consistent Defensive End you’ll find in the NFL not named JJ.

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