One of the challenges in IDP compared to offense-only fantasy football is the relative lack of information. There’s much less data because there are far fewer leagues. And because those leagues are way more variable in scoring and settings, a lot of the available data is not applicable.
It’s possible to extract Sleeper ADP, but it’s not very useful because they only use three IDP positions (DL, LB and DB) and dynasty and redraft is all mixed up together. You can access MyFantasyLeague data, but it’s unreliable and rarely seems to make any sense. So, in large part we – the IDP community – are left to just try and do what we think is right with little support or reference.
Recently the DLF IDP team have been starting a project to combat these issues. We’re engaging in monthly ADP-farming using mock drafts, much like we do for offense-only data. This article is the first look at some of that data.
Settings and assumptions
For the mock drafts included in this project we set the following parameters:
- 50 picks for each team – and therefore 50-man rosters.
- True Position was applied. So, all edge rushers were grouped together.
- 15 IDP starters. Three each at DI, ED, LB, CB and S.
- 11 offensive starters, including a superflex spot.
- These leagues were all dynasty start-ups.
- Bestball. Which increases the value of roster depth, especially at edge and corner.
Please bear in mind that because of the lack of existing data the variance of IDPs is much higher than for offensive players. There’s just no framework for when players “mostly” go to work from.
Where do IDPs start going compared to offensive players?
Donald was followed very quickly by TJ Watt and then the floodgates opened with another five or six IDPs flying off the board in the next 12 spots.
It certainly does seem like drafters are reluctant to jump into defense, but as soon as one team starts taking defensive players the floodgates open.
Still though, people build offense first due to scarcity and reliability. By the time Donald was selected, we typically saw 15 QBs, 15 RBs, 16 WRs and 4 TEs off the board already.
It’s a reliable phenomenon that in IDP drafts, the top guys at each defensive position are almost always taken way before their peers.
In some cases, this can be because one player is clearly more valuable than the others (hello Aaron Donald) but in most, it seems that it’s because someone gets nervous and pulls the trigger a bit before everyone else. Regardless of the “shy”, it does happen reliably. The current spearheads in this data are:
DI: Aaron Donald was drafted approximately 57 spots (almost five rounds) before any other interior lineman.
ED: T.J. Watt went 15 spots ahead of any other edge.
CB: Kenny Moore was drafted around 14 spots ahead of Trevon Diggs. Diggs in turn was drafted around 35 spots before the next corner.
S: Derwin James was drafted 28 spots ahead of any other safety.
In this chart, you can see how much earlier top IDPs are taken compared to their offensive equivalents.
If we expand that a little bit to compare those top options to second-tier players, it looks even starker.
This is very interesting because we know that seasonal variance is higher for defensive players, and they therefore have lower long-term value because they will have fewer “good” seasons over their careers.
How are the IDP positions valued against each other?
The following chart shows the ‘curve’ of each position. The X axis is the rank by position (so the top player drafted at each position is on the left) and the Y axis is ADP.
We can see that in the first hundred picks of drafts QB, RB and WR dominate, with only a handful of other positions.
This is how positions get drafted in the first couple of hundred picks:
People are grabbing their QBs and RBs early at the expense of IDPs, and then going after interior linemen, edges and linebackers.
Interestingly, WRs (the deepest position in fantasy?) are consistently taken all the way through drafts.
Who are the top tiers?
We’ll go into much more detail on what ADP looks like by position in forthcoming articles, but for now, here’s a look at the top five players by position:
None of the interior linemen stand out as being horrendous value there, although Christian Wilkins is likely to suffer some significant regression in 2022 and notably Chris Jones is currently being valued lower than this.
At edge, the top three options are very solid. But Brian Burns and Chase Young going above Joey Bosa (an elite player) and Maxx Crosby (who led the NFL in pressures last season) is a situation that can be taken advantage of.
Micah Parsons being the top LB is no surprise but as we’ve pointed out many times, this is a hugely risky investment. Note that last year’s must-have number one LB (Devin White) has now slipped down to LB7. This is what can happen with sack-dependent LBs.
We typically see IDPs valued on their productivity last season, which is a terrible process given the variance involved. That’s exactly what we see here. Don’t pay up for 2021 scoring.
Corner is really interesting. Obviously, the correct answer is “don’t invest in a top-five corner”, but a lot of people think Kenny Moore and Trevon Diggs will buck that trend. Every season there are similar examples, so this is an easy decision.
Derwin James being the top safety drafted makes lots of sense. Budda Baker and Jeremy Chinn can also have a good case made for them given their usage and performance. But specialist deep safety Antoine Winfield Jr is a stretch and having a rookie safety in the top five is wildly optimistic. Note that Jamal Adams is down at S8. What a difference a single down-year can have.
So what’s next?
This has just been the first dip into understanding how proper IDP ADP can help us navigate an ill-defined and capricious marketplace. Hopefully it gives you a good idea of some basic trends in how IDPs are being valued, but next we’ll go into much more detail about what the individual positions look like, and which players are more likely to over or underproduce against their valuation.
Thanks for reading and good luck.
- IDP Dynasty Fantasy Football: July Linebacker ADP - August 6, 2022
- IDP Dynasty Fantasy Football ADP: A Mountain-top View - August 1, 2022
- IDP Dynasty Fantasy Football: 2022 Starting Cornerbacks, Part Two - July 29, 2022