The IDP Bible: The New Testament
April 20, 2019 Comments Off on The IDP Bible: The New Testament Article Gary Van Dyke
Fantasy Football IDP

Welcome to The IDP Bible:
The New Testament

The IDP Bible, the new testament is an updated version of the original IDP Bible. The original was written a few seasons ago in an attempt to show the trends of IDP players production. In return, it was meant to show support on why there is a suggested method for drafting or setting up starting lineups. And we will mention that this time around an open mindset was in place as we analyzed the last three seasons player statistics. Our purpose isn’t to actually reproduce the exact same results as the original. It was to try and be as accurate with the new statistics and form the opinion based on those. So let’s examine the updated situation together as we go. And what those trends over the last three seasons have us suggesting to maximize our IDP lineups.

IDP Leagues Gaining Ground

In just the last three seasons it became clear from the beginning of this project that IDP leagues are trending upward. And back when the original fantasy football IDP Bible was written a Twitter poll was also posted.  Asking what format of IDP people was using at that moment. Time was also spent talking in chats and other posts with writers and IDP owners to help gauge the situation. The end result was a modest one, to say the least. At the time it was found to be as simple as covering the top 64 players in production over a three-year span to gauge our results. That was clearly not the case this time around.

Tweeter Poll

The most notable, if these polls are accurate, is not the league size but the amount of IDP players being used in starting lineups. As the average size league was the standard twelve, but the average lineup was six players or below. Hence the original only needed to show the top 64 players each year in the NFL translated for IDP. It was clear after this recent poll that wasn’t going to work this go-round. And is a huge indication that IDP leagues are not just only becoming more relevant But are also expanding the formats including more players in lineups and on the rosters.

The IDP Bible Layout

This time around we will be diving even deeper into the last three seasons NFL’s top producing defensive players. We are also making the Google Sheet available for anyone that would like to reference it. You can find it HERE. The reason for this is simple. We all know that anything concerning Fantasy Football is debatable depending on any given approach. And we certainly won’t bar opening the floor for those wanting to analyze or cross-reference what we are about to lay out in this article. So now let’s set this up on how we came to our final conclusion in the end.

We broke down the 2016 / 2017 / 2018 seasons as follows. (See bottom of Google Sheet)

Top Producing players by combined tackles by three tiers…

  1. Top 128 in each year together totaling the top 384
  2. Top 64 in each year together totaling the top 192
  3. Top 32 in each year together totaling the top 96

All of this was in the effort to break down IDP production per position, ranking, and relevancy. We also broke down the player positions into two defined columns. One column is a general description. And the other as a designated description. The reasoning behind this was to point out that many sites and depth charts across the board are different when listing the players. And by doing this it can be lost in translation when used for our IDP rosters.

Player Translating In The IDP Bible

Example: lists the Colt’s Darius Leonard as an Outside Linebacker. But technically in that defensive scheme, he is a Weakside Linebacker in the 4-3 defensive scheme. And that actually translates into an inside linebacker in most general Fantasy Football formats. 

So we need to note that as the Sheet was made it is a summary and to the best of personal knowledge in translating it to IDP.  The deciphering of this is the result of the last fifteen years (or so) of playing IDP. And was how those general positions were broke down to designated positions for this article. We will also add that in the process there are two repeating positions in each category. Without going into great detail and allowing the information to reveal itself as we go. 

NFL defensive schemes

General NFL defensive Scheme

The IDP Bible Disclaimer

The following information is for the benefit of explaining the final suggested set up for IDP lineups. Data information is important but not solely the best way to approach everything with fantasy football. Without “reading” the data and applying that to the knowledge of the game the translating can become one-sided. So before we begin diving into the data portion of this article know that the data is used here to support the opinion. Hence, everything is always debatable in the end.


Tier Three: Top 128 By Three Years Equals 384 Players

This tier would be for the largest of leagues or the standard size with a full complement of IDP starters.

IDP test 3 yr

The pie chart portion is the general player positions as a whole and broken down by percentage as they appeared ranked by combined tackles each season and then ranked together. The lower bar chart is breaking it down farther by the same player count but by designated position.

General Position Average Rank: Combined Tackles

ILB: 46.9 – Three Highest Ranked Positions: MLB B. Wagner 1st (2016) – WLB D. Leonard 1st (2018) – MLB P. Brown 1st (2017)

DB: 74.8 – Three highest Ranked Positions: FS A. Bethea 3rd (2018) – SS J. Adams 11th (2018) – SS J. Cyprien 12th (2016)

SLB: 76.6 – Three highest Ranked Positions: SLB J. Collins 22nd (2016) – SLB J. Collins – (2018) – SLB N. Bradham 35th (2016)

OLB: 96.5 – Three highest Ranked Positions: OLB V. Miller 75th (2016) – OLB T.J. Watt 118th (2018) – NA / Only Two Eligible

DL: 101.3 – Three highest Ranked Positions: DT D. Harrison 57th (2016) – DE K. Mack 74th (2017) – DT L. Joseph 82nd (2016)


  1. The lack of OLB from the 3-4 scheme, which about half the league on average uses. The average rank of the two players was 96.5. With T.J. Watt of the Steelers breaking out in 2018 with 68 combined tackles landing at 118 respectfully that season. And then there was the 2016 season that the great Von Miller peaked in combined tackles with a grand total of 78 and ranking him 75th that year. Then Millers next viable amount in the last three years was 57 in 2017. But it was not enough to register him in that years top 128. We should probably take note also that the least amount of combined tackles to make the cut out of the 384. That was with 63 combined tackles overall for the last three years.
  2. Out of the eighteen total eligible Defensive Lineman, only Damon Harrison made the cut all three years. DeForest Buckner, Linval Joseph, Calais Campbell, and Khalil Mack made it two times in the three years. That would mean that eleven of the times that Defensive Lineman shows up out of the eighteen the last three seasons that over half were by the same players. And on average there three to four “full time” Defensive Lineman on each NFL team. With 32 teams, that would approximately be 112 total each year that could be eligible to make the cut.
  3. The lack of SLB from the 4-3 scheme. Granted it does show better than the 3-4 OLBs. But there is a reason for our IDP purposes to keep them as separate as possible in translation. So the again, about half the league runs the 4-3 scheme, which has the strongside linebacker in play. But there are only a handful of teams that use the strongside linebacker as a full-time player on every, or most downs. Hence, if we refer to the Google Sheet chart, Bradham, Collins, Vigil, Barr, and Alexander own 12 of those 16 spots over the last three years. It might be a trend that some teams start using more strongside linebackers more down the road. But we’ll have another look at that in three years before we decide that’s changing.

Tier Two: Top 64 By Three Years Equals 192 Players

With the uptick in IDP formats, this level still seems to be the “solid” tier. Starters and first off the bench candidates for mid-range standard leagues.

Fantasy IDP Bible

The pie chart portion is the general player positions as a whole and broken down by percentage as they appeared ranked by combined tackles each season and then ranked together. The lower bar chart is breaking it down farther by the same player count but by designated position.

Designated Position Average Rank: Combined Tackles

WLB: 22.3 – The sum combined tackles of qualifying 28 WLBs the last three seasons in top 192 players = 3178 (3rd)

MLB: 24.6 – The sum combined tackles of qualifying 41 MLBs the last three seasons in top 192 players = 4679 (1st)

MILB: 27.8 – The sum combined tackles of qualifying 28 MILBs the last three seasons in top 192 players = 3089 (4th)

WILB: 34.3 – The sum combined tackles of qualifying 19 WILBs the last three seasons in top 192 players = 1968 (6th)

SS: 36.1 – The sum combined tackles of qualifying 35 SSs the last three seasons in top 192 players = 3381 (2nd)

SLB: 39.0 – The sum combined tackles of qualifying 6 SLBs the last three seasons in top 192 players = 582 (8th)

FS: 44.2 – The sum combined tackles of qualifying 23 FS the last three seasons in top 192 players =

CB: 54.1 – The sum combined tackles of qualifying 28 11 CBs the last three seasons in top 192 players = 895 (7th)

DT: 57.0 – The sum combined tackles of qualifying 28 WLBs the last three seasons in top 192 players = 86 (9th)

OLB: NA – The sum combined tackles of qualifying 0 OLBs the last three seasons in top 192 players = 0 (NA)

DE: NA – The sum combined tackles of qualifying 0 DEs the last three seasons in top 192 players = 0 (NA)


  1. The defensive end and outside linebacker have disappeared in terms of combined tackles. ( There is a reason some formats have gone sack heavy trying to boost these positions.) Defensive Tackle as well has dropped to a major low. (Sack heavy formats do not help this position to a point that’s relevant.)
  2. There is now a clear breakdown of the defensive backs as a group. Strong safeties clearly have the advantage. Free safety emerges and should be pointed out slightly over an ILB (WILB) position. (Only noting it, not currently going to overreact.) Cornerback showing its relevance by dropping approximately 75% from tier three (53)  to tier two (11).
  3. We see that the 4-3 scheme weakside (WLB) has a slightly better average rank over the same scheme middle linebacker (MLB). But even with a 2.3 rank advantage, the middle linebacker offers on average 30% more players.
  4. We also see a separation in the 3-4 scheme inside linebackers. Not only in average rank between the two schemes. But between the Mack or Mike inside linebacker and the other inside linebacker known as the Will or Weak inside linebacker in the 3-4. That is another approximate difference of about 30% between the two.

Tier One: Top 32 By Three Years Equals 96 Players

Our main starting lineup contributors.

The Fantasy Football IDP Bible

At this point have flipped the charts to maximize our visual results when broken down to the basics. The pie chart now shows the designated and the bar chart shows the general.

Position Average Rank: Combined Tackles

SLB: 26.5 – Jamie Collins is the only designated linebacker to break Tier One, and did it twice. His average solo tackle was 76 in those two seasons. And his average assists for the same two seasons was 32. We’ll not really be factoring in one player in the long run.

DB: 19.8 – The average solo tackles for the 18 DBs was 81.6. The average assisted tackles was 27.4.

ILB: 15.4 – The average solo tackles for the 76 ILBs was 81.9. The average assisted tackles was 39.4.


  1. As pointed out above. SLB Jamie Collins has been the exception to the rule among the strongside linebackers in the half of the league using the position. Whether it was by design with-in the scheme, his talent, or the situation with team injuries. The strongside position isn’t a sure thing for the top of the top tier IDP production overall. Trusting the position is beyond risky if wanting the best level possible.
  2. Among the DBs, there were only three free safeties compared to the 15 strong safeties. That is an 87% drop from Tier Two to Tier One. As for the strong safeties they dropped about 57%.
  3. The following numbers are the inside linebacker position broke down into designated positions for IDP purposes. MLB: 28 – WLB: 21 – MILB: 16 – WILB: 8.


The IDP Bible Knowledge-Based Opinion

The following portion of the IDP Bible is the suggested method used to set up our IDP lineups and rosters. By taking the data above and the knowledge of the game and using this method for many years it has a proven track record. And though it may be debatable, as anything can be, the numbers don’t lie and following this format will set your lineup to win your leagues.

The IDP Bible Drafting Or Revamping

Referring back to the polls above we’ll approach this as a general but full complement of IDP players in starting lineups. We will keep it as basic as possible to attempt to apply it to the hundreds of ways for leagues to set up roster requirements.

Our starting line up requirements are the following:

Example Of General: Total of Ten IDP Players

  1. Four Linebackers
  2. Three Defensive Backs
  3. Three Defensive Lineman

Example Of Designated: Total of Ten IDP Players

  1. Four Linebackers
  2. One to Three Corner Backs, Strong Safety, or Free Safety
  3. One to Three Defensive Tackles or Defensive Ends

First off the board, the inside linebackers (ILB). The middle linebacker (4-3/MLB) is the most secure and constant position available and should be focused on off the top. It is the run-stopper and all-around linebacker in the scheme. At least, in theory, his opportunity to be around the ball is inevitable. Maximizing the entire amount needed from the get-go will increase the odds for peak production on average.

The argument can be made here for the weakside linebacker (4-3/WLB) or the Mack/Mike inside linebacker (3-4/MILB), as well. We would suggest that if you’re not familiar with the NFL personnel by name or reputation, consult some trusted rankings. Because not all these linebackers are in a position by the opportunity like the middle linebacker. Not every defensive scheme is run exactly alike. And not all defensive coordinators have the same luxury of talent. So “roles” can vary.

Before we move on, I’ll mention that if for some reason you can’t fill out your starting lineup with preferred linebacker options. And you’re looking at the 3-4 will/weakside inside linebackers (WILB), here’s something to think about. You might want to just go ahead and move on to this next suggested position. And then come back to fill out the linebackers.

Also, want to point out, notice that the 3-4 outside linebackers (OLB) weren’t mentioned at all? Or the strongside linebacker (SLB) in the 4-3 scheme? Let’s just say it’s safer not to be distracted by “names” or take the chance you’ll hit big. By the numbers above it just isn’t worth the gamble.

The strong safeties (SS) are our next targets. By this time if you have followed the method they are likely the next prime position sitting on the board if drafting. Or just the next level in revamping an existing lineup. They are a sort of “Jack of all trades” in both schemes. And as indicated above in the data receive a lot of opportunities to make tackles. In a lot of cases, they are small linebackers up in the mix of things right along or just behind the front seven. Of course, if you know your players or they have shown something when you look them over, some free safeties can be an option here.

It is at this point that options can open up a bit more. So the scenario is that you have a core linebacker group as starters. And you’ve managed to secure a strong safety or two to anchor your secondary needs. Enter the defensive lineman (DL).

The real key at this stage is doing a little bit of homework on any defensive lineman (DE/DT). By now in a draft, most of those big names are off the board. Or owners want a golden nugget if you’re trying to trade for one. So your best option is sorting and locating one or two that are consistent on a weekly basis for the most part. Sure, having a shiny “name” on your roster always looks great. But in a tackle based format, even the smallest consistent points add up and give your lineup a backbone.

What we are trying to avoid are the big fat 0 points that do occur with a defensive lineman in general. The option to have a defensive tackle that scores a meager amount of points every week can make the difference. A defensive end and his sack stats may be appealing at this stage. But if we examine them they can be all over the board in consistency. Only a small handful overall are league winners. And if you have drafted them early on then the player you passed over likely outscored them by the end of the season.

This next suggestion may catch owners off guard. Cornerbacks (CB) should be treated as dime a dozen. Though over the last few seasons they have made more of an impact with the NFL going pass happy. There simply are so many options at cornerback. And in general, if we look at our waiver wires they are numerous. Even when drafting, waiting until the last pick or so if you’re forced to have a designated cornerback can be dealt with as the season unfolds.

That’s right IDP owners, cornerbacks can and will be maintainable via weekly matchups and very few are consistent enough to treat any other way. And unless your in some type of specialized format, they shouldn’t be seen as more than supporting cast members. If you have built the core of your defense up as suggested, working the waiver wire is just as easy as depending on one.

Tactical Tools

Before we list in order the values of the suggested positions to concentrate on we’ll mention The IDP Tactical Tools. We have a lot of knowledge in the IDP Bible and tactical tools to help pass on in-season to help set the lineups right. And in addition to the Google Sheet translating the positions for IDP, we’ll add the expected defensive schemes for each team in 2019.

Team Schemes

The IDP Bible Suggested Position Target List

  1. Middle Linebacker (4-3) – Starters!
  2. Weakside Linebacker (4-3) / Mike Inside Linebacker (3-4) – Starters?
  3. Strong Safety (both) Starters! Fall back Free Safety. Or Weakside inside Linebacker (3-4) – Starters
  4. Defensive Lineman (both) Consistent Starters! Look for 4-3 DE & DT and 3-4 DE.
  5. Repeat list: #’s 1, 2, and 3 for depth.
  6. Repeat list #4 for depth
  7. Cornerbacks if a designated position has to be filled

Avoid outside linebackers unless a sack heavy format. Easy enough to tell if it is or isn’t.

  1. Simply ask the league commish/manager.
  2. Check projections or if a dynasty league check the last year end of the season rankings. If you’re seeing defensive lineman anywhere near the top ten producing IDP, it is likely a sack heavy format.
  3. Or do the math by looking at the scoring format in the league. If you can add up the points for a single tackle and single assist and then add up a single sack and a single tackles for loss. If the total of sack/tackle for loss total is more than four times the tackle/assist total, likely a sack heavy format.

What To Do If A Sack Heavy Format

  1. Simply slot in a #1-A into the suggested target list above and target upper ranked outside linebackers and/or defensive ends.
  2. Make sure that you have your sack productive positions filled and at least one depth player before #3 on the target list.

What happened to the Strongside Linebacker

Avoiding them won’t cost you in a tackle format or a sack format. There simply aren’t but a small handful on average each year getting every-down roles. And there has only been one exception to the rule. The rest fall into the middle of the pack, at best on average.

Thank you for reading The IDP Bible: The New Testament. And may the IDP Gods keep your rosters healthy allowing this method to continue helping fantasy football IDP owners win.

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