Let's just get this out of the way: I hate IDP leagues. There. I feel better.
Plenty of readers disagree, however. As always, SI is here to help. Here's the biggest challenge with IDP play: There are so many good players. Should an owner go for the best players, or the players in the situations best equipped to produce fantasy stats? Inconsistency on a weekly and yearly basis makes IDP a constant struggle.
There's a clear leader at each position group: J.J. Watt at defensive line, Luke Kuechly at linebacker and Charles Tillman at defensive back. Beyond that, it's a lot of chaos. I'll try to help you deal with it.
• Reach: J.J. Watt, Houston Texans. In his two seasons, Watt has become the most dominant defender in football. He's also been the highest-scoring IDP at the low-scoring defensive line position. He is the Jimmy Graham of IDP formats: far and away the best player at a position that generally doesn't make a huge impact. The problem with have him is the inclination to pick him as many as five rounds too early. IDPs, even Watt, are a dime a dozen. Watt was the 50th overall pick in the magazine mock draft below, but IDPs should start getting picked when defensive/special teams units do: after the top 90.
• Steal: Chandler Jones, New England Patriots. Jones came out of the gate as a rookie with six sacks and three forced fumbles in the first half of the season before injuries derailed him. Jones is going to be healthier, stronger and more consistent in his second year. Heck, maybe he is this year's Watt-like second-year breakthrough IDP. He's available late, but he'll perform like a star. Yours truly should have considered him over Elvis Dumervil as a flex IDP with the last pick of the mock draft below. Jones even went undrafted. Now, that's a bargain.
• Injury risk: Jason Pierre-Paul, New York Giants. In 2011 we were all down with JPP; In 2012, JPP was down for us. The freakishly talented defensive end slumped from 16½ sacks to 6½ and tallied almost 25 less solo tackles. Now he is coming off June back surgery that puts the start of his regular season in jeopardy. JPP didn't acclimate to being a full-timer ahead of Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora last season. Now, Umenyiora is in Atlanta, and the Giants aren't going to be able to play three pass rushers of that ilk at one time anymore. JPP is going to draw a lot of attention from opposing pass protection schemes. It could be a frustrating start to the season for his owners. Instead of burning a premium pick on him in IDP drafts, you might be better off trading for him below value after the first week or two of the season.
• Top rookie: Jarvis Jones, Pittsburgh Steelers. There are a number of immensely talented defensive rookies to tout this year, including LB Dion Jordan (MIA), DE Ezekiel (Ziggy) Ansah (DET), DE Barkevious Mingo (CLE), CB Dee Milliner (NYJ), CB D.J. Hayden (OAK), DT Sheldon Richardson (NYJ), DT Star Lotulelei (Utah) and S Kenny Vaccaro (NO), who were all drafted in Round 1 this April before Jones went off the board to the Steelers at 17th overall. S Eric Reid (SF), CB Desmond Trufant (ATL), DT Sharrif Floyd (MIN), DE Bjoern Werner (IND), CB Xavier Rhodes (MIN), DE Datone Jones (GB), DT Sylvester Williams (DEN), LB Alec Ogletree (STL) and S Matt Elam (BAL) were all also drafted in the first round. That doesn't even include LB Manti Te'o (SD). This draft was about the defenders. Have we mentioned the IDP options are deep and varied? For the top rookie pick, we are going to go with the guy who could be the first rookie defensive starter for the proud Steelers defense since 2001. Jones is a right outside linebacker who can be used to add a serious pass rush to the Steelers' defense. The best part of his fit in Pittsburgh is that he has played that same position in the 3-4 at Georgia. Jones can be an instant IDP monster in a defense that is aging and still far better than anyone gives them credit for.
|Fantasy football IDP rankings for 2013|
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IDP mock draft
The following draft was conducted for Athlon Sports' annual magazine. It is a standard 12-team IDP league (including defensive/special teams units) with the following scoring categories: Solo tackle = 1 point, assisted tackle = ½ point, sack = 3½ points, interception = 3½ points, forced fumble = 2 points, fumble recovery = 2 points, defensive touchdown = 8 points, safety = 2 points, passes defensed = ½ point, blocked kick = 4 points.
|Athlon Sports' IDP mock draft|