Cleat Geeks

Fantasy Football Fan Focus

Over some time while writing, I’ve received a lot of emails with IDP questions in general. This particular email was by far the most in-depth I have ever had and has put in motion the idea that maybe I could assist anyone willing to go as far as this gentleman has with an overall team assessment. The email included detailed information that allowed me to sit back and break things down in general. I will point out that this particular gentleman had only sought out possible reassurance in his own assessment and that I merely tried to break down what he supplied.

After approaching trusted fellow writers and asking if there was a benefit to other fantasy football owners by publishing such an email and assessment, the response was that it very well could. With that being said, I’d like to thank Ray @RaymondBrace for sharing and agreeing to share an overall assessment from my point of view of his IDP lineup and situation. Please, if anyone is willing to share this in-depth type information and like to help the IDP committee as it grows, please follow me @HBogart27 and email me with this kind of detailed info to share. 


Please keep in mind that I’ve limited the editing of this email to keep from altering the “feel.” After all, emails are a personal touch way of corresponding and there is no real reason to lose that effect. My replies are in Red.


The Email and Assessment:

Hi Gary


After joining my first IDP league, I feel more overwhelmed now than when I first started doing FF in 2001. Being a fan of the NFL, in general, at least I already knew who many of the league’s best players were. On the other side of the ball, still only marginally paying attention is my leagues with DSTs or occasional match-ups v. my guys. So I’ve been reading some of your articles with great interest and trying to up my game.

I realize this is long-winded, so if you don’t have time, it’s all good. *In-depth, made time.

12 Team League – Roster 50 plus 5 Rookie Only Taxi plus 5 IR *HUGE, but when reading on I see with 20 starters total each week, understandable.

Offense Start 10 – 1QB, 2-5RB, 2-5WR, 2-5TE *Wide open “flex” lineup.

Scoring is Stock PPR except TE Rec = 1.75 *Interesting making TE’s a prime target in the upper tier while helping the value of the lower tiers.

IDP Start 10 – 2-5DT/DE, 3-6LB, 2-5DB/S *Wide open “flex” type lineup.

Scoring is DT/DB premium *Suspect to level the playing field with 10 total starters.

Fum = 2, Int/Sack = 4 *As stated, Scoring is DT/DB premium. Assuming it brings DTs up in-line more with DEs and a bump up for playmaking DBs.

DE/LB/S  Assists/Passes Defensed = 1, Tackles/TFL = 1.5 *A base setting for positions that normally have the edge over its counterparts (DT/DB)

DT/DB  Assists/Passes Defensed = 1.25, Tackles/TFL = 2 *Additional increases to try and level the playing field across the IDP lineup.

Current roster has 54 (Check)

Offense 23 – 2QB, 5RB, 9WR, 7TE (Check)

Defense 31 – (Check)

DT – KClark, FCox

DE – DLawrence, CHeyward, SLawson, DFowler, WGholston, JWillis

LB – VWilliams, NVigil, MSmith, BIrvin, JRyan, ELee, DJohnson, RQuinn, KPierre-Louis, JJenkins

DB – JPoyer, DKing, KFuller, PRobinson, TWilliams, GConley, MClaiborne

S – SDavis, HSmith, JTartt, JAddae, Swearinger, JJohnson

Scoring observations with year one in the books: (Check)

Highest scoring IDP is LB at #41 overall with 15 LBs in top 100 overall *LB still kept the edge in scoring even with scoring settings adjusted, noted.

Highest scoring DB/S was #63 overall with 6 DB/S in top 100 overall *Indications that score settings helped, but didn’t go overboard.

Top 36 DB/S – 13 were S, 23 were DB *CB gained a small edge, likely do to INT premium. Safety is more tackle dependent overall.

Highest scoring DT/DE was #95 overall *Indications that score settings helped, but didn’t go overboard.

Top 24 DT/DE – 14 were DE, 10 were DT *Indications that score settings helped, but didn’t go overboard.

With above roster within position groups (Check)

DT/DE – I think I did okay with Lawrence #4, Heyward #11, and Clark #21 *Agree with “ok”, think some luck with Lawrence breakout helped a lot.

LB – I must have been asleep at the wheel with Williams #18, Irvin #51, Vigil #61, Ryan #63 *Agree, overall LBs need a major overhaul.

DB/S – Again pretty good with King #2, Poyer #6, Fuller #11, Davis #18, Smith #23, Addae #27 *Agree, overall might be best looking as a unit.

My final thoughts on this squad are 1)  I need a serious upgrade at LB, and 2) I’m carrying too may DB/S considering the drop-off from #36 to #85 is only 1.4 points per game and with average weekly team scoring in excess of 200 points. 100% agree.

Finally to my questions…

Upcoming rookie only draft in June is 6 rounds, I have 1.03, 1.08, 1.10, 1.12, 2.01, 2.03, 2.04, 2.07, 2.09, 3.05, 3.11, and 6.03.

-Considering this is my first go with a rookie draft that includes IDP, at what point do I consider jumping in for the top LB prospects?

-Do I have too many 2nd rounders and would be better trading back to acquire more 3rd/4th or later/future picks as a better value?

Answer: Going to address this with one “take.” You’re asking “the” million dollar question that has recently been a very hot topic among people on Twitter in the fantasy football realm. Mainly the question as to when you should jump in on the IDPs in a rookie draft. I would also like to note that in a redraft I’d approach answering this the same way. And I also want to say I wish there was a more clear answer to pass on to you. But realistically there is not. There are simply too many variables from league to league with many different owners involved and how a draft will “flow” as picks are made. Yes, there may be a trend overall, but not one to a point a decisive answer can be given. It only takes one of the owners to reach for an IDP or a group that would decide that overall IDPs should slide over deeper fliers on the offensive side of the ball along with many scenarios in between. The best advice I have is to play the market as the draft unfolds versus your roster needs if wanting to draft help on the defensive side of the ball. By your in-depth email here I will assume your an owner that would take the time to use rookie rankings (suggest after the draft rankings) while paying attention to activities like OTAs. You should consider that if you have an offense your happy with either entering the draft or reach that point during the draft that you start picking when you’re comfortable. I say this because there simply are no sure things at any round. I would think that your second round picks would be where you would want to jump in on the best IDPs. Trading back is an option, but doing so may not actually garner an edge in the quality of rookie IDPs you’ll have to select from. If your dead set to draft and improve you IDPs thru the draft I will add this simple fact. Over the many years I have been playing IDP on average I’d guess I say that only about 15% of rookie IDPs “matter” to a point that they can make your squad better the first year or even beyond. I’m making this statement to prepare you if things don’t quite work out as well as you may want with your rookies in year one of selecting them. My final word would be if you’re going for it, don’t hesitate to jump in with your second round picks starting with linebackers and be the first to take them off the board. Assuming no one else has at that point. If they have then join in asap with your next selection. One would have to think that by the 2nd round all premium rookies are off the board on the offensive side of the ball. There is just no simple way to say when it is too broad of a situation to determine from draft to draft. If anyone could answer this million dollar question correctly and element any variables as they did, they would rise to fame in a matter of no time among the fantasy football realm.

Of the lower scoring IDPs I have rostered, which ones are worth hanging onto v. which ones are simply roster-cloggers?

Answer: In my personal assessment of your IDPs I would say that a major overhaul is needed. I believe I may just be agreeing with your own assessment as you’ve emailed me about the situation. I also believe with all the information you’ve sent me that your IDP side of the ball is do for a rebuild or upgrade, depending on your method you choose. I’m choosing to instead of listing who you can drop, to list who should be worth keeping and why along with who is expendable if needing space. I believe you have a large amount of work to do to bring this lineup into a position that it’ll be competitive enough to help you win.


Keep: ✔ = one of your best players to hold out of those players your roster offers. ✖ = expendable

DT Clark Should be on the upside course with a better 2018 season.

DT Cox ✔ Worth a hold to see if he reclaims his 2014/15 form.

DE Lawrence  ✔ May have a top 10 DL on your hands for next few years.

DE Heyward ✔ Your second best DL.

DE Lawson ✔ Worth a hold for one more year, needs to get it together, depth.

DE Fowler ✔ Looked like a top-notch breakout player to start 2017, but tailed off. A hold, depth.

DE Gholston ✖  Time has simply run its course and now Bucs have moved on adding Vinny Curry and JPP.

DE Willis ?  A tough call here. Has his “upside” enough to keep as Bengals worked him in and he actually had first-round pedigree taken in third.

Overall DL assessment: Solid and likely not needing a major overhaul off the top. Might think about adding a third DT if a solid option can be added/located.


LB Vigil ✔ Might be your best option at the moment at LB. Burfict SSPD/Limbo and only Preston Brown right now as competition to start.

LB Smith Odds are your next best hold to see if he’ll recover from injury and earn a role with 9ers.

LB Williams ✖ Steelers signed Bostic for a reason, Williams can’t cut it as Shazier replacement. Might not even be on a team in 2018 or possible trade bait.

LB Ryan ? Out of this group worth a hold to see what new defensive coordinator works out in Green Bay.

LB Johnson ✖ Old and lost a step a couple years ago. “IF” he finds another team, unlikely to amount to enough to miss him.

LB Pierre-Louis ? Out of this group may be worth a hold to see if he can unseed Lee. A “flier” so still expendable at this time.

LB Lee ✖ Had to actually look him up. Placing odds he ever became relevant for 9ers at 1 in 10,000 chances.

OLBs Irvin & Jenkins ✖✖ Unless Mack, Clowney, Miller or maybe in top 5 of OLBs, can not suggest you’ll ever want to use them more than depth.

OLB/DE Quin ✔ Only reason he is a great option to keep is the fact he is likely moving back to DE after being traded to Miami, an asset for trade or possible becomes a top DL play.

Overall LB assessment: However you decide to do it you were 100% correct, this entire unit needs rebuilt and/or upgraded. Likely only one serviceable LB in 2018 with Vigil. With being able to start up to six Lbs each week this is also another reason to focus on improving to the max. By your own indications of what position scored the best in year-end rankings, you’re best case scenario will be to have six viable starters and all of them inside linebackers from the 3-4 scheme or WLB and MLB from the 4-3 scheme. A major focal point! If at all possible you want to start all six that you can at LB each week. Even at 4-5 would benefit you greatly. Six is the target number, even if you use other positions as depth if needed for bye weeks and such per your league range of flex spots.


CB: Before we go on I need to state my thoughts before we look at who you have on the roster to help explain my assessment. I have a saying I live by if forced to use CBs in a lineup. I’m simply not a fan, but your case I see the need as INTs are at a very high premium level. The saying is “CBs are dime a dozen on the waiver wire in most standard size leagues throughout the season”. In this case with a nice sized roster for each team and the circumstances involved, I can see why learning heavily for now on this fact might work in your favor. But I don’t actually suggest it.

CB King 100% hold and number one play at DB from what I see. As long as they use him as they did in 2017.

CB Fuller ? If this is kyle, expendable and replaceable later as you rebuild, not an INT magnet so far in his career with the Bears. If this is Kendall Fuller who just recently became a Chief, he is worth a hold to see what they do with him on a defense being revamped. He holds “upside”.

CB Robinson ✖ Could be picked on across from Latimore with the Saints. But no INT history to a pt that makes him not expendable right now.

CB Williams  ✖ Can not locate any T. Williams highlighting INTs as their “fortia”, so to speak. Replaceable.

CB Conley  ✖  Unknown, high draft pick means likely not going to be “picked” on down the road. Roster spot expendable versus his odds.

CB Claiborne  ✖ In six season had one INT in in five of those seasons a year. Most expedable!

CB Poyer ✔ If you hit Bills FS Poyer at a designated CB for 2017, u hit gold. In 2018, expect a change to S, but the “upside” remains as one of the few FS you should target at a high end DB. Worth seeing if he can do it again in 2018.

SS/FS Davis ✔ A “hold”, played SS in 2017 with some “upside”, might be a FS for Steelers in 2018 holding even more “upside”.

S Smith ? Worth a hold but mainly as trade bait if there is a buyer or tail end of your lineup. Good enough to be avoided by QBs. Hit his peak in 2017 with 5 INTs while averaging as a mid-S2 most of his six year career. Hold and/or shop.

S Tartt ✔ Should be heavy in tackles enough if he can stay healthy in 2018. Worth the hold.

S Addae ✔ A “hold” as long as he stays at SS. Tackle heavy and works into depth/starter. Huge questions on all IDPs for Chargers in 2018. But he should be safe.

FS Swearinger ✔ Depth for your roster with upside, on the Redskins, wide open how he could work out.

SS Johnson ✔ Might be the most “under the radar” player for you roster in 2018 at DB. LB Ogletree trade to Giants might be a major play for his outlook in 2018.


After our rookie draft in June, we’re scheduled to make our roster cuts at some point before FABB opens.  We have $200. Some FA players available:

DT/DE – Pierre Olsen, Trevon Coley, Willie Henry

LB – Zach Vigil, John Simon, Martrell Spaight, Ray-Ray Armstrong, Jabaal Sheard, Nicholas Morrow

DB/S – Ken Crawley, Reggie Nelson, Ryan Smith, Justin Simmons

Overall: Nothing to see here, we move on and shoot for higher. I would consider Justin Simmons over the cornerbacks I suggested you could move on from.

Are any of those guys worth adding to my roster as upgrades and, if so, should I spend $$ or add them only if they’re free? One, Justin Simmons.


Am I on the right track with my analysis? YES

Thank you in advance 

Ray @RaymondBrace

My overall thoughts here are simple. And in order of what I would try to do if this was my roster and I was wanting to win now or soon, which is the only way I know how to look at things. As I may have mentioned, I do not see a short-term fix thru the draft(s) over the next couple of seasons. The odds are just not that great you’ll replace any players that should be upgraded on by risk thinking that rookies can get the job done. I would use my players of value and the rookie picks to trade for “known” linebackers off the top. My number one goal would start the maximum linebackers as possible. And I’m not suggesting starting any linebackers lower than the second tier. If I cannot work trades between now and your draft and at least upgrade to 4-5 (hopefully) 6 starting linebackers then try to pick the best linebackers you can in the draft if you have any picks left after upgrading. I’ll venture to say if you look at the leagues strongest rosters they will have strong linebackers and a full compliment to insert every week. The remaining part of my lineup would then be the best strong safety, free safety and DLs I can keep or get my hands on. If I want to win, I’ll pay what it costs to do so. If not, I fear you are in a long-term rebuild that could last for years and never may work out even if trying so thru the rookie drafts alone. From my standpoint, it rarely works. And one last thought which I believe was clearly apparent in what you provided in information is that increasing the points in favor a DT/DB premium with sacks and INTs didn’t actually seem to affect their standings to a point that would make them prime targets to use in the lineup overall. I suggest that if such scoring is implicated that it isn’t a distraction from the actual prime positions that are known to be the most tackle dependant. Sacks and INTS are simply bonus stats and can’t be depended on. This is only a suggestion and not assuming that is what happened. The “trick” to IDP lineups are the dependable stats and the positions that consistently reward us each and every week.

Thank you again Ray for sharing and I hope from whatever angle you try to build you IDPs up that the fantasy gods bless you with achieving your goal.

To anyone who may be interested in why I look at things as I do, please feel free to check out my article I consider my “Bible” for building a top-notch IDP lineup HERE. It’s taken years to accumulate and has never let me down.In other words, it’s always got me into the playoffs to have that chance to win the league. And to possibly help anyone in another major question concerning IDP Trade Values please feel free to check out what I suggest HERE.

Always feel free to reach out to me for all IDP.

Gary @HBogart







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