Cleat Geeks

The IDP Geek Huddle

The following article has the purpose of assisting in acclimating ourselves to the ever-growing IDP landscape in fantasy football. As the format grows there are some informational aspects to IDP that should be known as basic and the base to a successful lineup. We will cover by position what players we should target first and foremost. Just like the offensive side of the game the IDP or defensive side of the ball has a proven pecking order of players. The offensive side of the game we know the players by name and what they offer us in production and we select them based on this knowledge. But as for the defensive side of the game, this thinking does not always hold true. In many cases, a “name” or “known” talent can be a better player on the field in real life over being a productive player for our fantasy football purposes. There is also an additional amount of positions available on the defensive side of the ball. In IDP we have the linemen to consider for selection as part of our lineups as well. The IDP landscape can be best served by being approached by position just as well as any “known” player by name. It is all in the perspective of the order in which the positions will produce for us and at what level. This article will help by listing them in a pecking order along with some information to support the order. There are two arrays, one is the contestant side and the other is the match-up dependent side.

 

The “Consistency” Array By The Numbers

First, we will look from 2015 thru 2017 at the end of the regular season statistics of players by position in the top 64. We will be breaking it down by top 64, top 32, top 16, and top 8 in total for those three seasons getting a base amount for each position. These are according to NFL.com combined tackle totals.

The first obvious thing we should notice is the lack of outside linebackers, strongside linebackers, and defensive linemen. We will cover that observation further in this article. For now, we’ll indulge in the information of the statistics we do have.

So according to the numbers the inside linebacker offers us the most potential by position to start with. So before we break this down farther we can assume they are a “safe” option. But let’s take this that step farther and divide the positions by the number of players on the field. In the 3-4 scheme, there are two inside linebackers. There are also at least two cornerbacks in each scheme. But as for the rest of the positions, there are only one of each in their defensive schemes. We now will show the results after we divide each position by the number of players into those terms. That is easy enough to do, we’ll divide insider linebacker total by two as well as the cornerbacks. Another way we could do this math is by adding the middle and weakside player together because they are both together on the field in the same scheme. But for our purpose in this positional array, we will break the individual positions down as far as we can. After adjusting the calibrations we end up with the following.

The result here is really up to our interpretation of what happened between step one and step two. My personal thoughts are there is a slightly less amount of sharing of production on the field between the weakside and middle linebacker in their 4-3 scheme over the two side by side inside linebackers in their 4-3 scheme. But this is truly splitting hairs. In general, all three clearly are above the rest.

The strong safety and free safety also hold a nice average to have earned their spots. We will cover more on those two a little later. If your league calls for DBs (defensive backs) and not actual cornerbacks then you should keep the chart in mind.

Here is the big picture that the chart actually shows us. It reveals the consistency of the positions we want to target. Those positions didn’t happen to land with those percentages by accident over the last three seasons. They earned their place on the chart by having the higher weekly averages overall, hence leading in the fantasy football world in scoring.

 

The “Match-up” Dependent Positional Array

We will now cover what happened with the outside and strong-side linebackers and why in combined total tackles category there were not any mentionable statistics. It really isn’t a big secret to either position as to why.

Let’s cover the outside linebackers first with one simple statement to start with. And this is that 80% of them are sack dependent in terms of producing in fantasy football. If we look in general into the production of the outside linebacker there are exceptions such as Chandler Jones, Khalil Mack, and Jadeveon Clowney this past season. But even they ended 2017 in the lower tier two range in fantasy scoring overall. At least in any standard or close to standard score setting. There are those that triple the normal for sacks. But for the most part of the overall picture, at least 80% aren’t even serviceable or dependable on a week to week basis. If we have a lineup that requires that we start four linebackers, even Jones, Mack, and Clowney type players shouldn’t be considered before our fourth option. Don’t be distracted by the names if they are designated outside linebackers in your league. If they are designated defensive ends in your league then that’s a whole other story. Now to examine exactly why they fall into a matchup-dependent position we’ll take a look at Clowney’s 2017 game log versus a middle linebacker comparable to his respected position.

Image result for chandler jones cardinals

*Note: Game logs for both players have been modified down to the basic stats shown for our purposes, eliminating the playmaking stats that would give either player an advantage. We are attempting to show the base of fantasy IDP production in combined tackles, in which a sack is basically a part of. I have also added a column to show fantasy points based on a popular, but standard, scoring system used on sites such as ESPN.com. For more advanced IDP owners who may be reading this article, I’ll add a link to an interesting article by ESPN concerning fantasy football consistency ratings for all positions in fantasy football. The link can be found at the end of this article among other credits for this article. The article is titled for 2017, but the statistics were updated as of January 2, this year. It actually bolsters this article’s purpose. The difference would be we are clarifying and keeping it simple. Or at least attempting to do.

Scoring: 1 pt per tackle, .5 pt per assisted, 3 pt per sack.

Jadeveon Clowney                                                Deion Jones
Ranking among 3-4 OLB                                    Ranking among MLB/ILB/WLB
Sacks: 2nd(tie)                                                      Sacks: 40th(tied)
Combined Tackles: 2nd(tie)                              Combined Tackles: 4th(tied)

G# Tm Opp Sk Tkl Ast FF PTS G# Tm Opp Sk Tkl Ast FF PTS
1 HOU JAX 0.0 1 0 1 1 ATL CHI 0.0 6 1 6.5
2 HOU CIN 0.0 3 1 3.5 2 ATL GNB 0.0 4 1 5
3 HOU NWE 2.0 6 0 12 3 ATL DET 0.0 6 1 6.5
4 HOU TEN 1.0 2 0 5 4 ATL BUF 1.0 6 2 10
5 HOU KAN 0.0 1 2 2 5 ATL MIA 0.0 6 5 8.5
6 HOU CLE 0.0 2 1 2.5 6 ATL NWE 0.0 6 5 8.5
7 HOU SEA 1.0 4 0 7 7 ATL NYJ 0.0 9 2 10
8 HOU IND 1.0 3 1 6.5 8 ATL CAR 0.0 4 7 7.5
9 HOU LAR 1.0 3 0 6 9 ATL DAL 0.0 4 0 4
10 HOU ARI 2.0 3 2 10 10 ATL SEA 0.0 6 1 6.5
11 HOU BAL 1.0 2 0 5 11 ATL TAM 0.0 1 5 3.5
12 HOU TEN 0.0 1 2 2 12 ATL MIN 0.0 6 2 7
13 HOU SFO 0.0 3 3 4.5 13 ATL NOR 0.0 7 6 10
14 HOU JAX 0.0 2 2 3 14 ATL TAM 0.0 7 2 8
15 HOU PIT 0.0 2 0 2 15 ATL NOR 0.0 8 2 9
16 HOU IND 0.5 3 4 6.5 16 ATL CAR 0.0 5 5 7.5
Total 9.5 41 18 81.5 Total 1.0 91 47 118
Avg 0.59 2.56 1.12 5.09 Avg 0.06 5.68 2.93 7.8

Here comes the interesting part for a (my) formula to find a consistency rate when comparing positions/players.
If we take the total points between both players (199.5) and divide by the players involved (2) we have a medium of 99.75 points between the two.
We then must additionally divide the medium points (99.75) by contests played (16 games) to find the medium average fantasy points (6.23) to set the bar overall.
Now we look at all 16 contest of each player’s weekly fantasy point output and see who was below or above the average of 6.23 points per week for a consistency rating.

Clowney went 6 of the 16 contests.
Jones went 13 of the 16 contests.

The final analyses should be, and the purpose of all this, that outside linebacker underperformed in 10 of the 16 contests versus the middle linebacker who only underperformed in 3 of the 16 contests based on possible points. And it’s not like we used a sub-par outside linebacker. Clowney is one of the “top notch” to own if you must as far as outside linebackers. But this is why they are not in the top 64 each season of desirable players to target to maximize our lineups.

As far as the strongside linebackers it boils down to the fact they normally are not every-down players. Their snap counts with the starting defenses are normally just over half on average of what the rest of the linebackers in the same scheme receive every contest. So none of them shining in the top 64 reflects on the idea they have to be on the field for opportunities, and in 90% of the cases, they are not when compared to the other linebackers. Even most of the 4-3 outside linebackers range in the 80% to 90% range. And the common knowledge is a player running around the 80% range is considered an every-down player. There was a trend in 2017 for a few teams such as the Saints, Bengals, Miami, and Jaguars that kept their strongside linebacker on the field over the middle linebackers on passing downs. But with incompletes in most cases because of injuries, the trend shouldn’t be depended on until further notice. And it looks like each team had a deficiency in the linebacker core at one of the linebacker spots that they did this to just try and keep their best couple of linebackers on the field at all times. We could demonstrate this by how we did with the outside linebackers. But because of the lack of snap counts, it is clearly an unfair comparison. Again, until further notice strongside linebackers are just “avoids” unless deep depth players.

Image result for jalen ramsey

Now we address the cornerbacks and where they slot into the grand scheme of things among the secondary players. We can reflect back on the chart above and see the percentage they fall into with the more consistent players. Or we can simply use one of each position from the strong safety, free safety and cornerbacks to demonstrate like we have with the linebackers. But overall we should consider the table and the chart as a whole versus why the percentage on the chart and count on the table is so low. If the cornerbacks are not registering with at the level that the strong and free safeties are, their not consistent enough to win every week within 90% of the cases. And just like there is a stateable reason for the outside and strong linebackers not hitting the mark, there is one for the cornerbacks. They are matchup dependent. If they do not get a chance to register passes defended, or make interceptions, or simply just be targeted by opposing quarterbacks frequently they rarely get the combined tackle opportunities consistently. Let’s think about this statement. On average we could say that any given pass play there are normally 2 to 4 and maybe up to 5 targets a quarterback can throw the ball to. This can include a couple or more wide receivers, a running back, and a tight end. A cornerback is out on an island most of the game taking on one area in a zone defense or one on one with a receiver. So his odds of being and staying consistent every contest depends on being thrown at a lot.

Yes, there are a few exceptions each season. There are corners across from other corners that are better players so they get picked on. There are rookies to be tested. Maybe the front seven in front of them are just that good that teams game plan to throw a lot. There are all kinds of reasons why some cornerbacks perform well in fantasy. But on a year to year bases, this isn’t a constant thing we can rely on. I personally suggest we consider streaming cornerbacks in most cases. If you went thru you draft or take an existing lineup and use all available means to secure the core with consistent players at other positions, you can stream cornerbacks by their matchups all season long and never carry a depth player at cornerback either. And as long as the core linebackers and such are secure you’ll never miss a beat as long as you make sure the matchup of the corner you pick up is viable. Simply pick up a player that is facing a high rate passing team and not a shutdown corner type. Always try to focus on the “other guy”. The corner that the quarterbacks won’t test because he is the better player. This is more than I want to cover on cornerbacks. Give me the more reliable strong and free safeties with a solid weekly average every contest. Preferably the strong safety. If you’re forced to have a corner in the lineup then stream them. It’s just my thoughts after years of playing IDP. If you land a producing corner early, of course, stick with him. You’ve hit the lottery for that season in doing so.

Image result for von miller

I’m taking the same approach with any defensive lineman as well. If you have hit a Vonn Miller, Joey Bosa, or a Cameron Jordan type, you’re in great shape. They basically fall in our outside linebacker area, the big difference is that they are designated as a separate group and hold more value there. The same exact thing with a defensive tackle, if you land Damon Harrison, A’Shawn Robinson, or a Linval Joseph type hold tight. There are basically a few top defensive ends and defensive tackles. After them, they are streamable players to insert by position and match-ups, just like cornerbacks.

I have a saying, most defensive lineman, and cornerbacks are dime a dozen all season long on the waiver wire. And it’s served me well over the years.

With the information above this is my suggested drafting and/or current lineup building strategy. Keep in mind I do not personally join any leagues willingly that designate I have to use a cornerback.
1. MLB/ILB/WLB; max lineup out with them first, doesn’t hurt to have good depth here.
2. Strong Safety; the “linebacker” of the secondary, I’d like to have however many to fill lineup and at least one depth player if possible.
3. DL; Only if I can get top 5-10.If not I skip down.
4. Secure any depth at the above and would consider a free safety now at depth for defensive backs.
5. DL again; The best I can get with a solid weekly average. I don’t stop until the lineup is filled here and have depth.
6. At this point If I have room, I explore fliers or sleepers at the above.
7. Look at league’s overall rosters and see who took the outside linebackers, strongside linebackers and corners off the board.(giggle)

Remember: Consistency in IDP lineups win, period.

Thanks for reading and be sure to hit me up with any further questions you may have on twitter @HBogart27

ESPN link on consistency ratings: http://www.espn.com/fantasy/football/story/_/page/consistency2017/final-2017-fantasy-football-consistency-ratings

Credits for information:
NFL.com
Pro-football-reference.com
ESPN.com

Leave a Reply

GET YOUR  ON!

If you like this site or just simply want to school your friends because you got the information first.  

Join us on the field! Click on any of the links below.

%d bloggers like this: