2021 RSO IDP Defensive Back Review

Updated: April 24th 2022

For our last article in the 2021 IDP review, we are taking a look at the last line of defense on the NFL field, the secondary. Sometimes the least sexy of the IDP positions, but one that can just as easily win you a week (looking at you, week 2 Mike Edwards and your pair of pick-6s) or they can deliver week-to-week value that supports your run to a championship (thank you Logan Ryan and your IDP production of 11+ in all 15 games you played!). You know what the method is here though, let’s take a look at our top performers from the 2021 season and a surface level review how we got there!

To note, this is a combined Defensive Back set of rankings (safeties and cornerbacks together) and not True Position. There are some pretty big distinctions in how you break down each position individually, but we will try and cover it as a group idea more so today. Here is our top 24 from RSO’s 2021 season with IDP123 scoring:

Some quick takeaways from this chart? Cornerbacks don’t represent or make up much of this list (5 of the 24) but Kenny Moore II did manage to be the top-scoring DB. This will align with positioning on the field and how his team utilizes him (we will see a similar story for Jalen Ramsey). Other CBs on this list are ones that posted impressive interception numbers (Diggs, 11, and Jackson,8). This is something that you can look back several years to see the similar type of results and as for big plays, that is generally not a consistent stat for Cornerbacks and IDP purposes. We are better off looking at two things. The first, we have stated multiple times and will always continue to call out. Check out those snap numbers!! Are the playing volumes of snaps? Are they getting 90%? 95%? 100%??? (We see you playing every snap in 2021 Xavier Woods) After finding out who is taking the snaps and getting the opportunities, who has the best opportunity to make the most out of those snaps? As for this one, we just want to simplify this down to, who is closest to the ball and has the best chance to be involved in as many plays as possible.

What does this mean? We want to find what one of the finest IDP minds calls, getting those “Sweet Spot” snaps (thanks @PFF_Macri!) based on their snap alignment. Those sweet spots are Slot, Defensive Line, and Box. As a quick knowledge drop for those uncertain what that means on the field, the slot is the when the line up inside of the outside cornerback. The defensive line is exactly what it sounds like, they get right up in line with the DLs. And the box is when they are lining up like a linebacker in the second level of the defense, behind the DLs. The trick is finding an IDP DB who plays as many snaps in these given alignments. This does not guarantee success for the players, however, it gives them the best chance to succeed! As we look at our top 24 from the previous season, we will see that they consistently play 40% or more (some up into the 60’s, 70’s even) of their snaps in one of these alignments. There are of course always outliers to this but generally, there is some other piece of information that helps us understand.

A quick look at some of these would be Minkah Fitzpatrick at #5 only played 20% of his snaps in the sweet spot and #8 Xavier Woods only played 38% of his snaps in there. Minkah’s supporting cast on his defense in the second level was one of the weakest this last season allowing him to make more plays from the deep safety alignment and he capitalized with a career-best 124 tackles. Minkah has been a solid IDP piece even from the deep safety alignment previously due to his big-play ability, but this year he moved up even more thanks to the strong tackle production. Xavier was a pure volume play, with lower than average tackle efficiency of around 8%, he lead the entire NFL in defensive snaps played and never missed a single play all season for his team. Sometimes the best ability is truly avail-“ability”.

Hopefully, these recaps help you understand why the top performers were able to produce for IDP the way they did at each level, and what to look for as you go forward for either redraft, dynasty, or contract style IDP leagues too. Stay tuned as coming up we will put together some information around the IDP rookies from the NFL draft, the start of season previews, and other articles. I will be participating in a live mock draft as well for the IDP Show after the NFL draft, so make sure to be checking out their content regularly for that and just great IDP news and entertainment as well at TheIDPshow.com.

More Analysis by Jake

2021 RSO IDP Linebacker Review

Updated: April 24th 2022

With the defensive linemen in our rear-view mirror, let’s maneuver our way to the second level like the crafty little scat backs we all are and weave ourselves into some glorious IDP information. Let’s take a look at the 2021 linebackers for RSO and recap what we saw.

As we look at the world of linebackers, we have a bit of the conundrum we saw in the previous article with OLBs who are truly edge rushers (or pass rushers) but end up with the designation of LB, which only muddies our ability to try and makes our analysis a bit more tricky, but we will get there! For those LBs who are in that pass-rushing role, please take a peek at the previous article, 2021 DL Review, for thoughts on how to look at players in that role and designation.

So what did the top 24 LBs look on the RealitySportsOnline platform this last year for IDP123 scoring?

An interesting list with a solid mix of players who are talented NFL performers, some LBs that I like to consider “warm body” LBs, and a few others that you were wondering how are they on this list?!? How do we identify this talent if it is not based on just NFL talent? In this case, we circle back to our first and consistent IDP indicator, the volume of snaps! Snaps! Snaps! And more snaps! #SpoilerAlert, this will come up again in the review of defensive backs in the next article too!

With linebackers, it is not just the volume of the snaps that help indicate the potential success of an IDP linebacker, there are other pieces that are solid indicators to look into. One of the first ones that stand out for me is the number of zone snaps a linebacker takes on a given week and season. This helps show us who is playing on the field for most of the snaps and the very important third-down snaps (and getting that 3-down role on their team). That doesn’t mean we don’t want to see a baseline for just overall snaps and we should be looking for players that are getting close to that 1,000+ snap baseline (which equates to around 58 snaps per game, based on a 17-game season). Lastly, you want to look at the number of snaps per game a team’s defense is actually taking on a per-game basis to understand these baselines for a defender to achieve.

Here is what some of these top performers look like in terms of these numbers. Of course, these are not gospel and the only way to determine things, there are most certainly outliers to any process, some examples not shown are Kamu Grugier-Hill and Alex Singleton both failed to surpass 800+ total snaps on the year but managed to still break the top 24 with above average tackle efficiency (average tends to show around 12-13% for league average) and some massive week performances to boot.

Moving forward with these thoughts, what are you looking for in building out your roster this year and the following ones? You want to focus on teams that keep their LBs in a strong amount of zone coverage snaps and the LBs who are getting those snaps (pay attention to who is running the defense and how they have historically). See what teams are getting enough snaps to hopefully hit that 1,000 total snap threshold based on the number of defensive snaps they are taking and the snaps a defender is getting (big hint, getting 100% of the team’s snaps is good!). Lastly, tackle efficiency helps us identify outliers a bit more as well with very high tackle efficiencies being an indication of over-production in the majority of instances (think high TD totals for a WR and how those generally are not a sticky stat).

I hope this helps you gain a better understanding of what you can look for based on what we have seen from players in the past as you get ready for your drafts this off-season. As always, feel free to reach out to me on Twitter (@jakekohlhagen) with any thoughts, comments, or general discussions and happy drafting!

More Analysis by Jake

2021 RSO IDP Defensive Line Review

Updated: April 7th 2022

Welcome back you IDP connaisseurs! Let’s continue our journey into the IDP world of fantasy football. We will kick off our review of the 2021 season, with the DL position group. If you recall from our intro to IDP, the DL position(s) is one that can be dictated by two key factors, the first, and most important for all IDP success, is the volume (as it is for most fantasy positions). The second factor is the NFL player’s ability to win their one-on-one matchup at the line of scrimmage. The defensive line is the unique position of IDP that generally correlates IDP success based on NFL success, similar to the offensive side of the ball. These will be things we want to keep in mind as we go forward through IDP.

Before we look at those top-performing pass-rushers from 2021, we must look at who is designated as a DE or DT. Figuring that out though is tough because defense in today’s era of the NFL is not the same kind of football from 1990 through 2010 or even just 5 years ago. Part of that understanding is that so many times people throw around the term “3-4 base” or “4-3 base” as a point of how to identify or designate players. However, thanks to the talented Tom Kislingbury (@tomkislingbury on Twitter), this base defense generally doesn’t account for more than roughly 8,000 snaps across ALL TEAMS AND 17 GAMES! Down from nearly 12,500 in just 2014! The point of this tangent is to call out that NFL defenses run so many different packages and looks, just like NFL offenses do and that has left us in a precarious situation in which we are not always accurately identifying or designating defensive players. And the greatest offender to this is in the DL position group.

Let’s get back on course and take a look at our top 24 (ish) “defensive linemen”, and you will see the top 12 on RSO based on designation and then the other “DL” or “EDGE” players that get LB designation (scoring is based on IDP123 scoring):

Top pass rushers 2021

Cool, a table that shows the top 12 DL in RSO and those you can’t use due to designation, you say. But the table highlights our initial article about understanding your league’s roster composition and the difference between elite DLs and those at the replacement level. If you got inside the top 5 for this position, you were very happy with the production of your DL spot(s). It also showcases the need to understand positional designation for your leagues as well. Then, how do we get it so you can identify these players for you so you can get them on your roster?

For IDP, the first piece is getting on the field, and understanding an IDP’s snap counts is the first step to finding those who will succeed. The next step at the DL level is those who are winning their reps as much as possible each play. When you find that intersection you will see the top of your list here.

Baseline Analytics

After this elite level, you see things start to mix up with either higher snap counts (800+ total or ~50 per game) or consistent QB Pressures ( 50+ total or ~ 3 per game). These are baselines and basic analytics you want to search for to help you with your search for consistent IDP DL production. As for the Pass Rush Win Rate, this is a PFF analytical stat, so you can rely on a source like them to provide this via their site or you can use the eye-test if you are able to watch enough games or replays to see which defensive linemen are winning those snaps each play at a consistent rate and getting to the QB. I like the mix of this to help round out my search for my IDP assets.

Well, picking out All-Pro and Pro Bowl players is easy because that is what this list looks like. While you are correct, there are outliers and information in both directions that can help us avoid making mistakes or help us find the next top performer. Looking at players who had an abnormal amount of snaps (Cameron Heyward is up almost 125+ snaps based on previous 4 seasons’ averages) or one who showed consistent success with QB pressures but just did not find a way to convert this into statistical success. Examples from this past year would be Maxx Crosby (100 pressures, first in the league) and Rashan Gary (81 pressures, third in the league).

The last point I want to call out is to pay attention to players’ and coaches’ movements when it comes to IDP position designation. This is still an inexact science at this point and as you can see from the first table, there are players who are true pass rushers but have that LB designation so they don’t get to score at a DL position. And as defensive coaches and schemes change, LB and DE position changes can change along with it like Chandler Jones moving from Arizona’s “3-4 base” to Las Vegas’s “4-3 base”, will he stay with the LB tag? Will he shift to DE? And the inverse for Danielle Hunter (assuming he stays with Minnesota), where will his designation end up?

I hope this gives you some insight as to who the 2021 successes were, how they got there, and how you can work to understand it going forward for your drafts, trades, or anything else IDP related!

If you ever want to discuss IDP thoughts, IDP strategies, or just talk about fantasy football, you can reach out to me on Twitter @jakekohlhagen.

More Analysis by Jake

IDP Fantasy Football 101

Updated: March 14th 2022

Welcome to the Down to Fantasy with Reality Sports Online series around IDP Fantasy Football. I’ll be your tour guide on this adventure that is the next level of Fantasy Football, and that is the transformation from team defense and special teams to Individual Defensive Players, IDP. We are going to kick off this series with a Fantasy Football IDP 101. To have success (and ultimately fun) in IDP, there are two main things we need to consider and break down. Those two things are your league’s roster settings and the scoring for IDP players. Let’s dive into IDP roster settings and what it means for us as IDP fantasy players.

LEAGUE SETTINGS

First and foremost, I have to say, you need to have enough depth in your IDP roster settings for it to be worthwhile. I see so many leagues where they have 3 or 4 IDPs. This is just not enough for there to be any really meaningful strategy or depth to your fantasy roster! Think if you only had to build out your roster with 1 QB, 1 RB, 1 WR, 1 TE, and 1 Flex. Your team would be so top-heavy and waivers would be full of tier-1 and tier-2 players, and I just don’t think most of us would find that to be a very fun league to play. Understanding that, we want to make sure you and your league take the right approach to IDP Fantasy Football, otherwise, you won’t enjoy it and there is a good chance you’ll scrap it. 

So what should your IDP roster settings look like? That opens up another question to ask and answer. Do you want to take a more simplified approach and play the three levels of the field defensively? In this scenario, you have defensive linemen, linebackers, and defensive backs. I tend to find this setup a bit more digestible for newer players to IDP Fantasy Football, but this also tends to skew towards specific position types within each level (defensive backs tend to skew towards safeties, defensive linemen tend to skew towards edge rushers). 

If you prefer to take the “deep dive” into IDP Fantasy Football, there is “True Position” IDP. This is where you have requirements for each specific or ‘true’ position for the players. You would then have starters for DE, DT, LB, CB, S. This creates more depth, strategy, and effort from GMs. This also creates a greater sense of value for some of those elite (and consistent) talents in each position as the depth greatly decreases across all levels of the field. The decision of what you want to get into or what you want to set your league as should be dictated by what kind of experience you or your league’s GMs are looking to get out of it.

Having stepped through all of that, let’s take a quick peek at some quick suggestions for roster settings for your league(s):

‘Simplified IDP’

  • 2 DL, 2 LB, 2 DB, 2 IDP Flex (DL/LB/DB)

‘True Position IDP’

  • 2 DE, 2 DT, 2 LB, 2 CB, 2 S

IDP SCORING

Now, we have “established” what your rosters would/could/should look like, what is the next step? It is how that roster turns into points each week. The scoring for IDP fantasy football though is quite possibly the biggest barrier or challenge when getting into it. This is largely due to the fact that IDP Fantasy Football has not been mainstream nearly as long as offensive Fantasy Football which has been refined over the decades of its existence. If I say “PPR”, or “6-pt passing” almost everyone knows what that means and the type of impact that it has on building a roster as well as the underlying assumptions (0.1 pts per rushing/receiving yard, 0.04 pts per passing yards, etc). There has been a push for one standard to help drive IDP scoring and make it more mainstream and more easily understood, and that is IDP123. What does this scoring look like? Here is a breakdown:

1 point

2 points 3 points

6 points

QB Hit

Assisted Tackle

Solo Tackle

Tackle for Loss

Forced Fumble

Recovered Fumble

Pass Defensed

Safety

Blocked Kick

Sack

Interception

Touchdown

With the understanding of this type of scoring as our format a quick note, this IDP scoring aligns very well with combined offensive and defensive leagues that use PPR and 6-pt passing TD for the other side of the ball.

DEFENSIVE LINE

Having this perspective of IDP scoring, how should you take an approach to build your roster? Well, just like for the offensive skill positions, there isn’t just one approach or strategy, there are multiple and I want to give you a general lay of the land that allows you to use your own knowledge, insight, and experience to be able to take your roster wherever you want. Starting in the trenches, one thing to note or understand with IDP Fantasy Football success for DL or DE/DT, depending on your roster setup, is this is the one level of the field that truly needs talent on the field to help correlate to IDP success. Defensive linemen need to win off their blocks to make any play in the pass or run game. If they are not doing that, they will provide little to no impact when it comes to your IDP stat sheet. With this said, it is probably the one position you want to target elite talent early and often and when it comes to rookies, spend that draft capital to pull in those top draft capital talents (Nick Bosa, Chase Young, Kayvon Thibodeaux, etc…). Your drop-off here from tier 1 to tier 2 can be pretty sharp, think, ‘bellcow’ RB versus an RBBC (running back by committee). They can still have their weeks and be relevant that way. But an elite DL talent should and most likely will deliver for you week in and week out. Let’s move to that next level, the linebacker position.

LINEBACKERS

This is where people can diverge to opposite ends of the spectrum on how to approach things. There are some amazing IDP linebackers their talent on the field flows through to the IDP Fantasy Football world,  and they are set ‘em and forget ‘em type players on your roster and you love seeing them go off week-to-week. However, another belief is that linebacker is a position that can easily have greater value-based almost entirely on snaps played. A true war of attrition if you will. Find the guys who are playing most downs, regardless of pure talent and you will find your starters at linebacker. These lower-tier linebackers will get you 80% of the production at 20% of the cost is the overall mentality. Now those numbers are not set in stone, but you get the concept. Both approaches are valid, but depending on how you feel about the other parts of the field and your roster, will dictate what you think is the best approach.

DEFENSIVE BACKS

Lastly, the back end of the defense. The secondary, the last line of defense, those working on an island. How do we approach this group? This one can be one of the more diversified in terms of approach whether or not you are looking for just defensive backs (cornerbacks and safeties rolled up together) or you are playing ‘True Position’ and you need starting spots for both safeties and cornerbacks. If you are looking for just DB’s, the biggest indicator and target when approaching which players are the right ones for your IDP roster is based on the location of their snaps. The reason for this distinction is that DB’s can line up all over the field based on the nature of their position and skillsets and the further that alignment gets from the line of scrimmage, the lower the probability of being involved in the actual play on the ball that will lead to an addition to that box score and your fantasy team’s score. The spots you need to find are the ones that get them closer to the ball. These are the key locations:

  • The box (lining up like a linebacker)
  • Slot (lined up over the inside WR/TE)
  • On the line (right up there with the big boys)

These opportunities heavily tend to skew towards the safety position so when you are not a ‘True Position’ league, you will find yourself looking at safety primarily, but there are still other values out there we will get into with further review of the positions. As for cornerbacks, this gets quite tricky for a lot of people, especially if you are newer to IDP. When people think cornerbacks they think of interceptions and flashy plays as a true indicator of someone you want to pursue. This is almost always NOT the case for cornerbacks. Interceptions are very rarely something that sticks with a cornerback (think touchdowns for offensive skill positions and their regressions). Something much more telling is the number of pass breakups (or passes defended) and to a lesser extent solo tackles. These are much more sticky and telling stats to a cornerbacks play, success, and potential future in IDP production.

We have covered a lot here today and it may seem like a lot to take in, but as we move through this series and other articles, we will take these ideas and put them against the backdrop of previous IDP seasons for us to get an idea how they work out in practice and application. I will be walking through a 2021 recap of the IDP groups at each level and I will kick it off with defensive linemen. If you have any questions, comments, or just want to talk about fantasy football, feel free to reach out to me on Twitter @jakekohlhagen.

More Analysis by Jake

Big 3 IDP Defensive Player Rankings & Contract Recommendations

Updated: August 9th 2021

Player Pos Rank Team Age DOB Contract Length Recommended Contract Per Year
Devin White LB001 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 23.5 02/17/1998 4 $ 80,000,000 $20,000,000
Chase Young EDGE001 Washington Football Team 22.3 04/14/1999 4 $ 80,000,000 $20,000,000
Myles Garrett EDGE002 Cleveland Browns 25.6 12/29/1995 4 $ 80,000,000 $20,000,000
Roquan Smith LB002 Chicago Bears 24.4 04/08/1997 4 $ 80,000,000 $20,000,000
Darius Leonard LB003 Indianapolis Colts 26.1 07/27/1995 4 $ 80,000,000 $20,000,000
T.J. Watt EDGE003 Pittsburgh Steelers 26.8 10/11/1994 4 $ 80,000,000 $20,000,000
Jamal Adams S001 Seattle Seahawks 25.8 10/17/1995 4 $ 65,000,000 $ 16,250,000
Nick Bosa EDGE004 San Francisco 49ers 23.8 10/23/1997 4 $ 60,000,000 $ 15,000,000
Brian Burns EDGE005 Carolina Panthers 23.3 04/23/1998 4 $ 58,000,000 $ 14,500,000
Joey Bosa EDGE006 Los Angeles Chargers 26.1 07/11/1995 4 $ 56,000,000 $ 14,000,000
Danielle Hunter EDGE007 Minnesota Vikings 26.8 10/29/1994 4 $ 55,000,000 $ 13,750,000
Montez Sweat EDGE008 Washington Football Team 24.9 09/04/1996 4 $ 48,000,000 $ 12,000,000
Micah Parsons LB004 Dallas Cowboys 22.2 05/26/1999 4 $ 45,000,000 $ 11,250,000
Jeremy Chinn S002 Carolina Panthers 23.5 02/26/1998 4 $ 45,000,000 $ 11,250,000
Blake Martinez LB005 New York Giants 27.6 01/09/1994 4 $ 44,000,000 $ 11,000,000
Aaron Donald IDL001 Los Angeles Rams 30.2 05/23/1991 3 $ 35,000,000 $ 11,666,667
Patrick Queen LB006 Baltimore Ravens 22.0 08/13/1999 4 $ 39,000,000 $ 9,750,000
Budda Baker S003 Arizona Cardinals 25.6 01/10/1996 4 $ 38,000,000 $ 9,500,000
Jamin Davis LB007 Washington Football Team 22.7 12/12/1998 4 $ 38,000,000 $ 9,500,000
DeForest Buckner IDL002 San Francisco 49ers 27.4 3/17/1994 4 $ 38,000,000 $ 9,500,000
Kenneth Murray LB008 Los Angeles Chargers 22.7 11/16/1998 4 $ 38,000,000 $ 9,500,000
Zach Cunningham LB009 Houston Texans 26.7 12/12/1994 4 $ 38,000,000 $ 9,500,000
Josh Allen EDGE009 Jacksonville Jaguars 25.2 05/21/1996 4 $ 38,000,000 $ 9,500,000
Isaiah Simmons LB010 Arizona Cardinals 23.1 07/26/1998 4 $ 35,000,000 $ 8,750,000
Devin Bush LB011 Pittsburgh Steelers 23.1 07/18/1998 4 $ 32,000,000 $ 8,000,000
Tremaine Edmunds LB012 Buffalo Bills 23.3 05/02/1998 4 $ 32,000,000 $ 8,000,000
Deion Jones LB013 Atlanta Falcons 26.8 11/4/1994 4 $ 32,000,000 $ 8,000,000
Fred Warner LB014 San Francisco 49ers 24.7 11/19/1996 4 $ 32,000,000 $ 8,000,000
Jaelan Phillips EDGE010 Miami Dolphins 22.2 5/28/1999 4 $ 30,000,000 $ 7,500,000
Derwin James S004 Los Angeles Chargers 25.0 08/03/1996 4 $ 30,000,000 $ 7,500,000
Shaq Barrett EDGE011 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 28.7 11/17/1992 3 $ 25,000,000 $ 8,333,333
Zadarius Smith EDGE012 Green Bay Packers 28.9 09/08/1992 3 $ 25,000,000 $ 8,333,333
Zaven Collins LB015 Arizona Cardinals 22.2 5/19/1999 4 $ 30,000,000 $ 7,500,000
Joe Schobert LB016 Jacksonville Jaguars 27.8 11/06/1993 2 $ 18,000,000 $ 9,000,000
Jaylon Smith LB017 Dallas Cowboys 26.2 06/14/1995 3 $ 21,000,000 $ 7,000,000
Eric Kendricks LB018 Minnesota Vikings 29.5 02/29/1992 3 $ 21,000,000 $ 7,000,000
Bobby Wagner LB019 Seattle Seahawks 31.1 06/27/1990 2 $ 18,000,000 $ 9,000,000
Jessie Bates III S005 Cincinnati Bengals 24.5 02/26/1997 4 $ 28,000,000 $ 7,000,000
Xavier Mckinney S006 New York Giants 23.0 8/8/1998 4 $ 28,000,000 $ 7,000,000
Lavonte David LB020 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 31.6 01/23/1990 2 $ 17,000,000 $ 8,500,000
Jayon Brown LB021 Tennessee Titans 26.5 02/26/1995 3 $ 21,000,000 $ 7,000,000
Bradley Chubb EDGE015 Denver Broncos 25.1 06/24/1996 4 $ 26,000,000 $ 6,500,000
Jordyn Brooks LB022 Seattle Seahawks 23.8 10/21/1997 4 $ 25,000,000 $ 6,250,000
Carl Lawson EDGE013 CIncinnati Bengals 26.1 06/29/1995 4 $ 24,000,000 $ 6,000,000
Richie Grant S007 Atlanta Falcons 23.8 11/9/1997 4 $ 24,000,000 $ 6,000,000
Quinnen Williams IDL003 New York Jets 23.6 12/21/1997 4 $ 24,000,000 $ 6,000,000
Kwity Paye EDGE014 Indianapolis Colts 22.7 11/19/1998 4 $ 22,000,000 $ 5,500,000
Khalil Mack EDGE016 Chicago Bears 30.5 02/22/1991 2 $ 16,000,000 $ 8,000,000
Yetur Gross-Matos EDGE017 Carolina Panthers 23.5 2/26/1998 4 $ 22,000,000 $ 5,500,000
Greg Rousseau EDGE018 Buffalo Bills 21.4 04/05/2000 4 $ 22,000,000 $ 5,500,000
Jayson Oweh EDGE019 Baltimore Ravens 22.7 12/15/1998 4 $ 22,000,000 $ 5,500,000
Haason Reddick EDGE020 Carolina Panthers 26.9 09/22/1994 2 $ 14,000,000 $ 7,000,000
John Johnson III S008 Cleveland Browns 25.7 12/19/1995 4 $ 24,000,000 $ 6,000,000
Antoine Winfield Jr. S009 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 23.0 08/16/1998 4 $ 22,000,000 $ 5,500,000
Jeffery Simmons IDL006 Tennessee Titans 24.0 07/28/1997 4 $ 22,000,000 $ 5,500,000
Chris Jones IDL004 Kansas City Chiefs 27.1 07/03/1994 3 $ 18,000,000 $ 6,000,000
Leonard Williams IDL005 New York Giants 27.2 6/20/1994 3 $ 18,000,000 $ 6,000,000
Shaq Thompson LB023 Carolina Panthers 27.3 04/21/1994 3 $ 18,000,000 $ 6,000,000
Demarcus Lawrence EDGE021 Dallas Cowboys 29.4 04/02/1992 2 $ 12,000,000 $ 6,000,000
Jeremiah O Koramoah LB024 Cleveland Browns 21.8 11/04/1999 4 $ 22,000,000 $ 5,500,000
Khari Willis S010 Indianapolis Colts 25.3 05/07/1996 4 $ 21,000,000 $ 5,250,000
Jerome Baker LB025 Miami Dolphins 24.6 12/25/1996 3 $ 15,000,000 $ 5,000,000
Bobby Okereke LB026 Indianapolis Colts 25.0 07/29/1996 3 $ 15,000,000 $ 5,000,000
Myles Jack LB027 Jacksonville Jaguars 26.0 09/03/1995 3 $ 15,000,000 $ 5,000,000
Jabrill Peppers S011 New York Giants 25.9 10/04/1995 3 $ 15,000,000 $ 5,000,000
Vonn Bell S012 Cincinnati Bengals 26.7 12/12/1994 3 $ 15,000,000 $ 5,000,000
Marlon Humphrey CB001 Baltimore Ravens 25.1 07/08/1996 3 $ 15,000,000 $ 5,000,000
Justin Simmons S013 Denver Broncos 27.7 11/19/1993 3 $ 15,000,000 $ 5,000,000
Kevin Byard S014 Tennessee Titans 28.0 08/17/1993 3 $ 15,000,000 $ 5,000,000
Landon Collins S015 Washington Football Team 27.6 01/10/1994 3 $ 15,000,000 $ 5,000,000
Jordan Poyer S016 Buffalo Bills 30.3 04/25/1991 2 $ 13,000,000 $ 6,500,000
Foyesade Oluokun LB028 Atlanta Falcons 26.0 8/2/1995 3 $ 12,000,000 $ 4,000,000
Stephon Tuitt EDGE022 Pittsburgh Steelers 28.2 05/23/1993 2 $ 10,000,000 $ 5,000,000
Kyle Dugger S017 New England Patriots 25.4 03/22/1996 4 $ 16,000,000 $ 4,000,000
Kamren Curl S018 Washington Fball Team 22.4 03/31/1999 4 $ 16,000,000 $ 4,000,000
Romeo Okwara EDGE023 Detroit Lions 26.2 06/17/1995 3 $ 12,000,000 $ 4,000,000
Josh Sweat EDGE024 Philadelphia Eagles 24.4 03/29/1997 4 $ 16,000,000 $ 4,000,000
Maxx Crosby EDGE025 Las Vegas Raiders 24.0 8/22/1997 3 $ 12,000,000 $ 4,000,000
Azeez Ojulari EDGE026 New York Giants 21.2 06/19/2000 4 $ 15,000,000 $ 3,750,000
Eric Wilson LB029 Philadelphia Eagles 26.9 09/26/1994 2 $ 8,000,000 $ 4,000,000
Chandler Jones EDGE027 Arizona Cardinals 31.5 02/27/1990 2 $ 12,000,000 $ 6,000,000
JJ Watt EDGE028 Arizona Cardinals 32.4 03/22/1989 1 $ 6,000,000 $ 6,000,000
Sam Hubbard EDGE029 Cincinnati Bengals 26.1 06/29/1995 4 $ 15,000,000 $ 3,750,000
Keanu Neal S019 Dallas Cowboys 26.1 07/26/1995 3 $ 11,000,000 $ 3,666,667
Kenny Moore II CB002 Indianapolis Colts 26.0 08/23/1995 3 $ 11,000,000 $ 3,666,667
Rashan Gary EDGE030 Green Bay Packers 23.7 12/03/1997 4 $ 14,000,000 $ 3,500,000
Willie Gay LB030 Kansas City Chiefs 23.5 02/15/1998 4 $ 14,000,000 $ 3,500,000
L’Jarius Sneed CB003 Kansas City Chiefs 24.6 01/21/1997 3 $ 10,000,000 $ 3,333,333
Alex Highsmith EDGE031 Pittsburgh Steelers 24.0 08/07/1997 4 $ 13,000,000 $ 3,250,000
K’Lavon Chaisson EDGE033 Jacksonville Jaguars 22.1 7/25/1999 4 $ 13,000,000 $ 3,250,000
Yannick Ngakoue EDGE032 Las Vegas Raiders 26.4 03/31/1995 3 $ 10,000,000 $ 3,333,333
Harold Landry EDGE034 Tennessee Titans 25.2 06/05/1996 3 $ 10,000,000 $ 3,333,333
Nick Bolton LB031 Kansas City Chiefs 21.4 03/10/2000 4 $ 12,000,000 $ 3,000,000
Ernest Jones LB032 Los Angeles Rams 21.7 11/22/1999 4 $ 12,000,000 $ 3,000,000
Logan Wilson LB037 Cincinnati Bengals 25.1 07/08/1996 4 $ 12,000,000 $ 3,000,000
Baron Browning LB034 Denver Broncos 22.5 02/19/1999 4 $ 12,000,000 $ 3,000,000
Ashtyn Davis S022 New York Jets 24.8 10/10/1996 4 $ 12,000,000 $ 3,000,000
Matt Milano LB033 Buffalo Bills 27.1 07/28/1994 3 $ 10,000,000 $ 3,333,333
Demario Davis LB035 New Orleans Saints 32.6 01/11/1989 2 $ 12,000,000 $ 6,000,000
Dre Greenlaw LB036 San Francisco 49ers 23.8 10/21/1997 3 $ 10,000,000 $ 3,333,333
Pete Werner LB038 New Orleans Saints 22.2 06/05/1999 4 $ 11,000,000 $ 2,750,000
Jacob Phillips LB039 Cleveland Browns 22.4 04/01/1999 4 $ 11,000,000 $ 2,750,000
More Analysis by Stephen Wendell

IDPs 101: How to Build Your 2020 DL Core

Updated: April 23rd 2020

He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp posts – for support rather than for illumination.
Andrew Lang, Scottish Novelist

Its Draft Week folks!!!  Talk about couldn’t have come any sooner too.  My fantasy circles were particularly chatty this weekend.  It got me thinking – aside from how grateful I was to have a temporary distraction from the daily stresses of the Coronavirus, I couldn’t help but wonder how we all got here.  I’m speaking in regards to my friends becoming the Dynasty nuts they are today.  It really was not too long ago I was drafting with owners who would try their best to select all Bucs’ players, or they based their decisions on whether or not someone played in the SEC.  Of course, now it seems like every owner keeps a finger on the pulse of the league year round.  We’ve got guys arguing about snap counts and average completed air yards in mid-April.  It’s beautiful!

Throughout this evolution, I have noticed a trend amongst our fantasy community as a whole.  We are all perfectly capable of taking a stance on a player & backing it up with numbers.  Whereas, we Saints’ homers used to proclaim Cam Jordan the best DE in the league simply out of Who Dat loyalty, we now back up our boasts with data (i.e., Jordan’s 40 sacks the last 3 seasons are the most of any DE in that time frame).  However, the problem is most owners are only interested in pursuing the numbers when it’s time to argue about their favorite players or the biggest names.  There is so much unrealized insight out there.  My hope is that this article can act as a springboard for reshaping your relationship with statistics, and ultimately regaining the edge you had back when your competitors were drafting Kevin Faulk in the 4th round because he went to their high school.

Take a look at some of these names:

Landon Collins – recorded 5 Ints and 4 Sacks in 2016.  He has since logged 2 Ints and 1 sack in 42 games.

Geno Atkins – 9+ sacks in 4 straight seasons. He finished with half that number last year.

J.J. Watt – only managed 4 sacks in the 8 games he played in 2019

Khalil Mack – failed to reach double digit sacks for the 1st time in 5 years.

We see this kind of stuff every season.  Big names will eventually let you down at every position, and IDPs are especially volatile.  I understand the frustration.  You signed the best IDPs in the game and it didn’t work out.  What more could you possibly do?

For starters, you must step off that carousel.  Chasing today’s biggest names will rarely yield tomorrow’s best results.  I challenge you all to try this instead.  Forget the names altogether and focus on the odds.  Therein lies my goal.  To provide RSO readers with actionable odds they can use in building their Defensive Line core this offseason.

I approached this challenge from 3 different perspectives.  The 1st – Based off the last 10 years, what are the odds of success for DL rookies in Years 1, 2 and 3?

I categorized these rookies into 3 subgroups: Top 10 Selections, 1st Rounders 11-32, and 2nd Rounders.  I determined success by the scale with which most of my RSO leagues score IDP production (1 point per Tkl, 0.5 per Assist, 2.5 points per Half-Sack, 7 points per FF or FR), along with an arbitrary target of 80 points.  Here’s what I found.

Top 10 Picks 11-32 2nd Round
Year 1 40.0% 13.2% 7.7%
Year 2 46.7% 24.5% 14.6%
Year 3 40.0% 33.3% 17.0%
1 of 3+ 86.7% 42.2% 29.8%
2 of 3+ 66.7% 24.4% 10.6%
3 of 3 20.0% 8.9% 0.0%
0 of 3 33.3% 60.0% 63.8%

The Top 10 consist of 20 players: Ndamukong Suh, Gerald McCoy, Tyson Alualu, Marcell Dareus, Dion Jordan, Ezekiel Ansah, Barkevious Mingo, Jadeveon Clowney, Dante Fowler, Leonard Williams, Joey Bosa, DeForest Buckner, Myles Garrett, Solomon Thomas, and then 2019’s Draft Class – Nick Bosa, Quinnen Williams, Clelin Ferrell, Josh Allen and Ed Oliver – whom only qualify for Year 1 figures.  Of the 15 players that came before them, only Ezekiel Ansah, Joey Bosa and Myles Garrett (more on these 2 later) have attained our definition of fantasy relevance all 3 years.

The sample size for Picks 11-32 (53) and 2nd Rounders (52) are much bigger.  As you can see, the odds increase with each season.  Also, both subgroups experience a steep descent from its antecedent.  This table’s 2 biggest takeaways:  At 40%, the Top 10 picks are 3 times more likely to be relevant their rookie season than the 1st Rounders 11-32 are.  The same holds true with the 2 out of 3 or greater successful seasons stat.  The Top 10’s 66.7% is also nearly 3 times the success rate of the remainging 1st Rounders.  This is useful information, but I was not satisfied with stopping here.  This brings us to the 2nd method of inquisition.

Let’s simplify things.  The DL position is predicated on getting to the QB right?  Therefore, Sacks are a powerful metric for which we can base our research.  I gathered all the DEs/DTs that recorded 7.5+ sacks in the last 10 seasons.  I then documented which year in the player’s career the feat was achieved.  Below is an example from 2010.

Name Year 
John Abraham 11
Jason Babin 7
Charles Johnson 4
Justin Tuck 6
Osi Umenyiora 8
Jared Allen 7
Chris Clemons 7
Robert Mathis 8
James Hall 11
Trent Cole 6
Dwight Freeney 9
Ndamukong Suh 1
Carlos Dunlap 1
Raheem Brock 9
Cliff Avril 3
Chris Long 3
Justin Smith 10
Mario Williams 5
Ray Edwards 5
Israel Idonije 7
Julius Peppers 9

Here are the results tallied up from seasons 2010-2019.

Year of Career Total
1 13
2 20
3 30
4 31
5 32
6 21
7 22
8 21
9 20
10 14
11 10
12 2
13 1

Only 13 players reached the 7.5 benchmark in year 1, 3 of which occured in 2019 (Josh Allen, Nick Bosa, and Maxx Crosby).  In Year 2 we observed a rate similar to that of Years 6-9.  Then we reach our sweet spot in Years 3-5.  I was pleaseantly surprised with how clean of a trend we wound up with here.  It energized me.  I had to know what sort of results would emerge from combining the previous 2 research methods.

The 3rd Perspective – How did each player on the list above fare sackwise in Years 1, 2 and 3?  With 92 qualifying Defensive Lineman, we had a total of 50 1st/2nd Rounders.  Here are the players of note:

3 of 3
Top 10
3 of 3
Picks 11-32
2 of 3
Top 10
2 of 3
Picks 11-32
2 of 3
2nd Round
Ezekial Ansah Dwight Freeny Myles Garrett Cam Jordan Osi Umenyiora
Aaron Donald Joey Bosa Robert Quinn Calais Campbell
Khalil Mack J.J. Watt Frank Clark
Andre Carter Jason Pierre-Paul Jabaal Sheard
Julius Peppers John Abraham
Mario Williams
Ndamukong Suh

 

 Total 3 of 3 2 of 3 1 of 3 0 of 3 2 of 3 1 of 3
Top 10 16 1 7 6 2 50.0% 87.5%
Picks
11-32
21 2 5 7 7 33.3% 66.7%
2nd Round 13 0 4 5 4 30.8% 69.2%

Our sample size decreased significantly here, but we are still able to recognize the Top 10 picks’ irrefutable edge.  So what does it all mean Basil?

Let’s assume this is your league’s first year, and you are operating with a 30 man roster that starts 2 DL.  In this scenario, I would want to roll with 4 guys.

I would start by making an aggressive push to lock up a Top 10 selection in the Rookie Draft, which this year figures to be Washington’s Chase Young.  If I have to move some picks around to lock him up, so be it.  I’m then targeting players entering Years 3, 4, 5 in the Auction since that range has the best odds.  Myles Garrett or Joey Bosa are Priority 1, and  I am willing to spend as much as 10 mil a year for one of them.

After that we have a couple of solid options at DT in Chris Jones and DeForest Buckner.  DTs often enjoy discounts since sacks are harder to come by at that position, and this pair endured a combined 11 sack dropoff in 2019.  I would want to add one of them or Yannick Ngakoue, who is severly underated.  Fun fact.  Yannick is 1 of 2 players from our list, not drafted in the 1st 2 Rounds who recorded 7.5+ sacks in all 3 of his first seasons.  The other was Jared Allen.

Finally, I am targeting a potential breakout player that has shown glimpses and will be acquired on the cheap.  Guys like Sam Hubbard, Jonathan Allen, Derek Barnett, Shaq Lawson, Matt Ioannidis, and Marcus Davenport all fit the bill.

Finding success in RSO leagues is all about planning and execution.  Although I will respect and even fear your trio of Cam Jordan, Aaron Donald and Melvin Ingram some weeks, I know the odds are in my favor to finish the year with a top DL core.  I challenge you to take a similar apporach this season.

More Analysis by Grant Viviano