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The ABC's of IDP, Pt. 1

This is meant to be an introduction for many who have thought about IDP, but have avoided them because new things can be scary. I still remember that feeling a little myself, as I did not start playing IDP until 2020. However, I can now say that looking back, I am glad that I did, as for me, and IDP adds a whole new level of intricacy to fantasy football.

 I will admit that I am one that tends to bore easily, so after playing fantasy for only 5 years, I was already losing interest with the dull, standard ESPN and Yahoo, 1 QB, 4 point passing TD, Kickers, D/ST, yawn, excuse me. I started falling asleep just writing that.

Then, along came Sleeper in 2020, and a whole new world of excitement. Leagues could be set up many different ways. We were no longer stuck to the cardboard cutout leagues of the past. In 2020 I was introduced to Super Flex leagues, 2 QB leagues, IDP leagues, 20 team leagues, 16 team leagues, etc.

I even played in 3 IDP only leagues, meaning all IDP players, no offensive players at all.Though I won’t say that I enjoyed these leagues, I did find out that I thoroughly enjoyed playing in IDP leagues that were mixed with offensive players. In fact I would now say that my favorite format is 12 team SF TEP PPR Full IDP, start 11 offense/ 11 IDP every week. 

These tend to be very deep leagues, with each team starting 22 players/week, bench size of 30-38 players, 10 IR slots, and 6/7 Taxi slots. Now as you would expect, waivers are very shallow in these types of leagues, but I have found that shallow waivers tends to encourage trading, which I enjoy.I find in leagues with shallower rosters and deeper waivers tend to discourage trading, as one can plug and play more easily from waivers.

So, after that intro, let’s talk about IDP, and while we are on the topic of waivers, I will say that no matter how deep the league runs, it is usually much easier to find a usable IDP asset on waivers than an offensive asset. Since most managers that play IDP play a similar style, in that they load more offensive players on their benches than IDP assets.

IDP leagues tend to come in 2 varieties. One I will refer to as Full IDP, where the amount of IDP starters matches the number of offensive starters. Whether it be start 9 offense/ 9 IDP, start 10 offense/ 10 IDP, start 11 offense/ 11 IDP. These are all what I consider being Full IDP leagues.The second type of IDP league I will refer to as a Partial IDP league. A partial IDP league is a league where the offensive starters outnumber the IDP starters. Something like a start 9 offensive/ start 4 IDP is a league that I would consider a partial IDP league. Many folks, who want to start out trying IDP, tend to start out in partial IDP leagues, just to dip their toes in the IDP waters.

I started out in Full IDP leagues, but feel like I picked it up fairly quickly. In the beginning, I was not well versed on all of the defensive players’ names and situations, so I cheated, by just going to the previous weeks on waiver wire, and seeing who was scoring well. Basically the same thing many do on the offensive side. I actually did not participate in my first partial IDP league until this past season, 2023. As of now, I still prefer Full IDP to Partial IDP, as I enjoy the full flavor.

I do not care to play in a league with partial IDP lineups any more than I would want to participate in a league with partial offensive lineups. Final thought on this subject is that the size of the league will also determine the value of IDP assets within that league.

As we will discuss in the next episode, IDP values revolve around 2 things, usage and scoring.

Usage is how many IDP starters are in your lineup every week.

Usage was discussed here, Full and Partial IDP leagues, we will cover IDP scoring next.

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