Jordan Rains: If you have heard about IDP fantasy football before or even if you already play, you’re probably aware of the lack of a recognizable scoring system. There are plenty of “good” scoring systems out there for IDP, and some not so great. Unfortunately, many of the scoring systems in circulation throughout the IDP fantasy football community have alienated the average football fan from taking part. The scoring systems can be overwhelming to new or casual fantasy players.
IDP123 came into existence primarily as a means to overcome some of these hurdles and break down barriers. To give casual fans a quick and smooth transition to a side of the ball with which they may be less familiar. IDP123 solves problems with a pragmatic and educational approach. It takes the conventional IDP fantasy football learning curve and cuts it in half. Empowering new players to join, create, and compete in an IDP fantasy football league with confidence.
Jon Glosser: The continued growth of IDP leagues has been a great sign for dynasty fantasy football. If we look back to a few years ago, the percentage of dynasty football players in at least one IDP league was significantly less than it is now. It appears almost any dynasty fantasy football website you visit now has some IDP content. For those of us who’ve been playing for years, this is great to see.
At Dynasty Nerds, the IDP team is continuously working to provide our readers with the best content on the market. Everything from rankings, start/sit articles, and devy profiles to give you the biggest advantage in your IDP leagues. Senior Writer Jordan Rains has taken on the task of getting as many new players into IDP as possible. By the way, this was no small task. Jordan has put together a very user-friendly scoring system that will be adopted by the IDP team at Dynasty Nerds. IDP123 is the most simplified and easiest way to attract new players into the wonderful world of IDP fantasy football.
The word “standard” is something that seems to trigger people and in no way are we preaching this is “the” standard scoring for IDP or the need for everyone to play in this specific way. Our goal is to get more people playing IDP and growing the format as much as possible. With that said, we are excited to announce IDP123 as our default scoring at Dynasty Nerds. The great thing about having a base for your IDP league scoring settings is that it allows you and your league mates something to build off when deciding on what scoring and starting positions you want to use.
JR: When you join a fantasy football league without IDP players, you learn one easy scoring system. Usually, four positions are represented on the offensive side (QB/RB/WR/TE). All players are awarded the same value for the same actions. If a player catches a 10-yard touchdown, no matter his designation from running back to quarterback to tight end to the wide receiver, he will score whatever every other player would have scored. The same is said for throwing a touchdown. No matter what designation you carry, an action holds the same weight across all positions within current PPR formats. Premiums are given in some leagues, but these are ALWAYS the exception. Not the rule.
Example: 10-Yard Passing Touchdown play in PPR format
- QB (TD) + 10yd = 8 points
- WR (TD) + 10yd = 8 points
- RB (TD) + 10yd = 8 points
- TE (TD) + 10yd = 8 points
When you join (most) IDP fantasy football leagues, though, you’re expected to learn five positions (DT/DE/LB/CB/S). The workload for team management on defense is instantly made larger than the offense by one position. But it gets worse. You’re also almost always expected to learn FIVE SEPARATE SCORING SYSTEMS. One for each of the five “true positions” on the defense. That’s a big ask and a huge barrier of entry and one that needs to change.
Example: Solo Tackle
- DT = 3.5 points
- DE = 3 points
- LB = 2 points
- CB = 2.25 points
- S = 2.5 points
This unique scoring rubric for each position covers a multitude of actions most new or casual NFL football fans have likely never paid attention to. For instance, assisted tackles or quarterback hits; each of these new actions will carry a different weight by position, making the learning curve exponentially steeper than offense. Five new positions, five new scoring systems (5×5=25). The audacity of this to ask new players is why there are so few IDP fantasy players and why many people never even give it a try. It’s just a lot more work, and the learning curve is massive.
The IDP123 scoring format you’re about to learn about in detail is an attempt to begin establishing a unified and default scoring system for all positions within the realm of IDP fantasy football and alleviate some of these issues. It is also an attempt to begin changing the semantics around specific positional designations within IDP fantasy football. An effort to make the defensive side of the ball become more fun and entertaining.
IDP I II II SIMPLIFIED. UNIFIED. BALANCED.
JR: Let’s start by establishing the events on defense that will be scoring plays.
- Assisted Tackles
- Solo Tackles
- Pass Defended
- QB Hits
- Tackles for a Loss
- Forced Fumbles
- Fumble Recoveries
- Defensive Touchdowns
- Blocked Kicks
Now for the scoring values.
- 1 Point Plays: Assisted Tackle, QB Hits
- 2 Point Plays: Solo Tackle, Tackle for a Loss (TFL)
- 3 Point Plays: Pass Defended(PD), Forced Fumble(FF), Fumble Recoveries(FR), Safety, Blocked Kicks
- 6 Point Plays: Sack (SK), Interception(INT), Defensive TD(DEFTD)
Plays are divided into two main categories. Tackles and Impact Plays. Since assisted and solo tackles occur once an offensive player has made a play beyond the line of scrimmage, these plays are the lowest scoring plays. The defense allowed the offense to gain yardage. Tackles are 1 and 2 points, respectively.
All 3pt and 6pt plays are what I like to call Impact Plays. These are the most disruptive defensive plays, and keep the offense at the line of scrimmage, move the line of scrimmage backward or result in a turnover. The lone exception being tackles for a loss, which is technically a 2pt play, BUT on Sleeper, this play stacks with a solo tackle bringing its net value to 4pts. Impact plays are the most valuable for real NFL defenses because they result in either zero yardage, negative yardage, or a turnover for the offense. These are also the most valuable for IDP123 scoring.
JG: The ability to customize every defensive position and scoring category in My Fantasy League (MFL) appeals to some of the more seasoned IDP dynasty players. Jordan discussed not needing to learn multiple positions with IDP123. This setup is just as easy on Sleeper.
In my experience, No Position Left Behind (NPLB) is the closest scoring to offense in the dynasty community and has been for some time. In some cases, the defensive scoring has trumped offensive scoring some weeks. For reference in this scoring, which was created in 2015, if I remember correctly, has 3 points awarded for every .5 sack for every position except LB, in which case they are awarded 3.5 points for every .5 sack. This was done to boost rush OLB who have been an afterthought in most IDP leagues for too long. The IDP123 scoring does it’s best to reward the impact plays regardless of what position they play, making value as close to even as possible across the board.
JR: Simplicity was a major catalyst for this system. Could you give an elevator pitch explaining your current IDP scoring system? With IDP123, you can. It’s a scoring system that gives defensive players the recognition they deserve for all the actions they’re performing on the field. Not a bland tackle based scoring format. It’s purposefully designed around the mantra IDP, easy as 1,2,3. Most of the points you will score will come in those three values. It’s that easy and that simple.
The 1,2,3 is also a nod to simplified positions. In IDP123 scoring, instead of 5 “true” IDP positions, 3 IDP positions are used. Defensive tackle (DT) and defensive end (DE) are combined into a single position called defensive line (DL). The same strategy is applied to the cornerback (CB) and safeties (S). Those two positions are combined into a single defensive back (DB) positions. Now instead of looking at IDP as a five-position format, new players can view the defense as a three-level scheme. The (front) defensive line, the (middle) linebackers, and the (back) defensive backs. IDP, easy as 1,2,3.
Recommended IDP Starting Lineup 9-11 starters:
- LB x 3
- DL/EDGE x 3
- DB x 3
- IDP Flex x 2
JG: As we know, all leagues are different. Often, in the beginning stages of a league startup, the voting on polls will be on everything from the number of roster spots to scoring bonuses. We urge you to push for at least nine starters in your IDP leagues. There’s little to no chance you will see even an offense only league where you start less than six players, so keep it even and don’t do that on the defensive side either. The three-level scheme for roster requirements is perfect for those just getting their feet wet in IDP as the stress of making it mandatory to draft a DT or CB can be stressful on a casual football fan.
The EDGE designation is one of the more controversial topics amongst the IDP community over the years. The scheme these players play in often dictates how their value changes from one season to another. ESPN and Sleeper most notably allow one player to be started at multiple positions, which effectively is EDGE. MFL, which is more customizable, does not have a true EDGE designation but allows certain players to be used as EDGE. In a few leagues I play in using the MFL platform, we use Pro Football Focus’ designations to determine those players classified as EDGE. I’m sure there are various ways to do this and some easier than others. Either way, I would recommend even as a first time IDP dynasty player to incorporate the EDGE position in your leagues.
JR: As mentioned above, many IDP fantasy football leagues have a unique scoring rubric for each of the positions. In IDP123, the scoring is unified across all positions. There is only one scoring rubric to learn, and no position is rewarded more for action on the field than any other position. While this might inherently increase the value of some positions over others, the same is true on the offensive side of the ball. With an established, unified scoring system like IDP123, player values and trends can start to be realized, instead of inflated or diluted.
One of the common complaints about IDP fantasy football new players often express is the inability to know how to value defensive players in trades. With a unified scoring system where values are allowed to be realized across multiple positions quickly and easily, this complaint is also somewhat alleviated. IDP123 does this exceptionally well because, along with being unified, it’s also balanced.
JG: The balance is the most important piece here, especially for players just trying to learn the ropes of an IDP league. As Jordan mentioned, one position’s values will increase over others, but that can be said about positions on offense. Much like real football, some positions are just more valuable than others, and we don’t want to take that aspect out of fantasy football even though we are striving for more balanced scoring overall.
JR: When people refer to a balanced IDP fantasy football league, what do they mean? They mean that offensive players and defensive players, on a weekly and season-long scale, score similarly. IDP123 scoring offers a scoring valuation that’s very balanced where the weekly upside of defensive players matches that of offensive players. Here’s what this looks like in action.
In 2019 nine offensive players scored over 50 points in a single week in PPR scoring formats. Not many players, but it definitely shows that peak offensive players are difference makers with around a 50 point ceiling. By contrast, in 2019, five players scored over 50 points in a single week in IDP123 scoring formats. Chandler Jones did it twice, so truly six performances of over 50 points. That’s a similar weekly upside.
Does it also translate to a similar season-long upside? Let’s take a look at the top finishers at each position from 2019 in PPR and IDP123 formats.
2019 Top PPR Performers
- QB – Lamar Jackson 421.7
- RB – Christian McCaffrey 448.4
- WR – Michael Thomas 366.9
- TE – Travis Kelce 248.9
2019 Top IDP123 Performers
- LB – Jordan Hicks 335.4
- DB – Logan Ryan 323.6
- DL/EDGE – Chandler Jones 326
Christian McCaffrey kind of skews the results. The second-highest scoring running back in 2019 had 298 PPR points (Aaron Jones). As you can see, most of the top-end scores on offense ranged from 248 to 448. All of the top finishers on the defensive side finished almost perfectly between. So the season-long upside of offensive and defensive players is, in fact, balanced with the value of top-end offensive players.
JG: By now, we all know how much of a cheat code Christian McCaffrey has been over the past two seasons in PPR leagues. It’s rare in IDP in general that you would have such an outlier and nearly impossible given the IDP123 scoring. Obviously, things can change yearly but showing how close the total fantasy points were across the three main IDP positions in 2019 gives you a very good idea of how balanced scoring should be across your league.
Customizations and Variations: Make it Your Own
JR: While the format discussed above is what you might call IDP123 default, it’s highly encouraged to make IDP123 your own with variations as you and your league see fit. Some elements you might consider exploring are interception return yards, fumble return yards, and sack yards. Not all platforms for fantasy football offer these for IDP scoring, but if they do, it’s encouraged that they are included. The yardage element is a very important differentiator on the offensive side but can only be included in minimal spots on defense, and should be where it can be. The same value for these yards is applied as the offense (0.10 per yard).
A variation your league mates may enjoy more than the IDP123 default is this IDP123 alternate:
- 1 Point Plays: Assisted Tackle
- 2 Point Plays: Solo Tackle, *QB Hits, Tackle for a Loss (TFL)
- 3 Point Plays: Pass Defended(PD), *Sack (SK) Forced Fumble(FF), Fumble Recoveries(FR), Safety, Blocked Kicks
- 6 Point Plays: Interception(INT), Defensive TD(DEFTD)
Boosting QB Hits while decreasing sacks does 2 things:
- Eliminates overvaluation of the sack event
- Rewards a more robust measure of pressure and pass rush ability, creating more stable year over year results
JG: As a first time IDP dynasty player, I would recommend sticking with the basic principles of IDP123 discussed above. As you become more experienced, you can encourage your league to start to dive into the metrics Jordan has mentioned.
In my opinion, MFL gives you the most customizable options for nearly any defensive statistic you can think of as well as rewarding big game bonuses for multiple impacts plays. MFL allows a test option that you can use to plug in these scoring settings and see how many points a given player will have. I recommend when customizing your IDP league to use a platform like MFL to create a test or mock league. You can access previous years’ total fantasy points by players based on your scoring settings by going to Reports → Player → Top Defenders. This is a great option to tweak your settings until you figure out precisely what you want, and best of all, it’s free to do. I’m sure these options exist on other platforms such as Sleeper, Fantrax, ESPN, or Yahoo. I’m just most familiar with MFL.
JR: If you made it this far, you’re either already in an IDP fantasy football league or very seriously considering joining one. You definitely should, and you should give serious thought to adopting the scoring format presented here. IDP123 is for everyone. Not just the extremes or the die-hards. It’s an invitation to play the WHOLE game of fantasy football. Because if you’re not playing IDP fantasy football, you truly are only playing half the game.
JG: At the end of the day, IDP123 is a scoring system that is out there for everybody to use or not use. We’ve discussed everything from the balance of it to its simplicity and how to customize it. Ultimately you and your league mates will decide what works best for you. Still, if this article can encourage players who were never interested in the defensive side of football outside of team defenses to have interest in IDP leagues, we have accomplished our goal. If you decide IDP123 is not for you, that’s okay. The IDP dynasty community has something for everyone. Here at Dynasty Nerds, you have an amazing team that is very knowledgeable and will always support your goal of winning as many dynasty championships as possible. Remember the phrase “Defense wins championships” can be true in fantasy football too.
The Defense Matters | Mostly IDP. All Fantasy Football podcast and In My Defense: An IDP Fantasy Football Show are great resources for newcomers to IDP fantasy football and utilize the IDP123 scoring format as the frame of reference for commentary and analysis. Be sure to check them out wherever you get your podcast and on YouTube and subscribe for IDP fantasy football content year-round. Check out IDP rankings and more at Dynasty Nerds as well as following @50shadesofdrunk and @Glosser13 on twitter for all of their IDP content.