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

Inaugural RSO High Stakes League update 1

Updated: September 23rd 2021

If you read any of the email updates from Stephen at RSO, you probably remember him talking about the desire to start a High Stakes League on the RSO platform.  I remember because I considered it but, perhaps not as strongly as some people.  It seemed awesome but finances – can I afford it?  And what level am I really?  You’ll understand soon enough I’ve never lacked confidence in anything I do but jumping up to the next level, whatever that may be in fantasy football, is a decision that takes some readiness.  Especially depending on where your finances are and mine were not quite there just yet.  A friend of mine that introduced me to the RSO platform in 2014 was considering joining though, probably a bit more strongly than I.  He expressed interest to RSO so that he could receive the email updates as the league tried to form which would put him in position to join if he ultimately felt comfortable.  This was great because he still shared the info with me as it came available.

Fast forward to August 2020.  The Inaugural RSO High Stakes League is close to being full but they still need one more team filled.  Stephen mentions in another RSO email update that the league is still looking for that last owner but Stephen himself may need to fill that role if they don’t find one, as a backup plan.  Regardless, the league is a go.  It’s happening and getting off the ground finally in this crazy 2020 that we went through.  Well, it just so happens that I got paid a couple days earlier.  I rehabilitate homes and sell them so my paydays come in chunks.  Very large chunks.  Usually only once per year.  So, I’ll be damned if the timing wasn’t lining up perfectly.  I reached out to my buddy to see if he joined.  He says no.  He’s going to watch and see how it goes first.  Gah!  What to do.  Well, I emailed Stephen and tell him the timing is right.  I’m considering it.  Just had a few more questions.

Then the internal thoughts.  $2k is a lot of money even though I have it right now but I’m no ice cream tycoon.  Considering RSO is more of a Dynasty format, you can’t just consider one season of costs either.  You have to consider whether you can put out this kind of money every year.  So, $2k every year indefinitely?  That’s a hard pill to swallow.  Look, I’ve been running fantasy football leagues for 20 years.  Part of running a league is recruiting when you have a spot to fill.  Quite frankly, in my opinion, if you want a fun league you want good players and people who have confidence.  If I had a nickel for every time I’ve told a person that it only costs you money if you don’t win, I’d be a tycoon of some sort, I assure you.  So, let’s just say I answered that concern myself.  Now, the confidence in my ability.  I’d been seeking, for a while, a challenge on the highest level.  Can one be a fantasy football professional?  Like, in Texas Hold ‘Em?  What about sponsored?  How do we know who the best are in this world?  There’s not many clear or easy answers to these questions and high stakes leagues, for now, seem to be the closest we can get to the highest level of fantasy football competition.  The fact that RSO has made this league official and put it on a pedestal with some promotion definitely gives it a feel of professionalism, from my point of view.  For me, something like this is what I had been seeking.  A chance to prove I could hang with the big dogs.  I decided to go for it.  Besides, how much more than me could these clowns know anyways?

Why is my first update about my decision to join?  Because RSO has big plans for more leagues like this and I think some of my thoughts are probably similar to many of yours out there.  I know you have the confidence.  You aren’t any different than I am.  An average guy who loves football, fantasy football, and the Chicago Bears (What?  Everyone doesn’t love the Bears?  I don’t believe you).  Now it’s time to step up your game and see if you have what it takes to compete on the next level.  Stay tuned for more information about future official RSO high stakes leagues.

Now that I’ve called the other owners clowns and promoted my own confidence on hanging with the big dogs you must be curious if I was the Champ of season one.  Well…..let’s just save the season one outcome for my next update.  I hope you’ll check it out.  See you next time.


Matt Russell

RSO High Stakes League storyteller

More Analysis by Matt Russell

RSO Mock Contract Draft

Updated: March 20th 2021

One of the items I wanted to accomplish this offseason was hosting a mock draft utilizing RSO contracts.  The mock presents a unique type of draft where drafters selected RSO contracts for available players, in effect a full league mock dispersal draft.  This unique style offers difficult choices as each selection must not only take into account the total value of a contract but also the opportunity costs of potentially missing out on another player a GM valued.  Below the reader may find all team mock drafts along with brief analysis of some picks.

The Draft Structure

10 teams selected 15 contracts with assumed starting requirements of 1QB/1 Superflex/2RB/2WR/1TE/2 Flex, PPR scoring, and a $180 milion salary cap.  Average contract data came from RSO auctions in 2020 prior to the start of the season with one year taken away from average contracts in order to examine typical contracts which might be available to RSO GMs.  Naturally, this mock excludes some players whose contracts averaged one year in length last year (examples include James Robinson and Drew Brees).  No rookie contracts were included.   No consideration to extensions or franchise tags was given so that only the contracts themselves were assigned value.

The Top 40

A look at the top forty contracts selected seems like a good spot to start with the average salary in millions shown above.  The first four players form the core of many teams and team salary cap restraints typically do not present much of an obstacle through four contracts.  GMs simply select the best values as they see fit.

Maybe the most notable part of this mock was the lack of wide receivers chosen at the top.  The first wide receiver taken was with the 17th contract and just four wide receivers were chosen through the first 30 picks while even four tight ends were selected in the top-31 picks.  The depth of wide receiver can be seen with quality starters taken throughout the draft (and some not drafted at all).

Six quarterbacks and four running backs composed the first round.  The value of quarterbacks in shallow superflex leagues like this mock remains a mystery to many.  This group of GMs paid a premium in terms of pick value locking up the top group of passers.  I typically don’t like the value of top quarterbacks given the relatively small marginal point spread between passers when compared to other positions.   The value of middle tier QBs tends to be excellent and one may usually assemble a nice batch of low-cost options for weekly matchup plays.  The reader will see application of the strategy below in my team mock.

Interesting Contracts not Drafted

The number of teams and salary cap made drafting every potential relevant player unrealistic.  Drew Lock ($9M/2 yrs), Teddy Bridgewater ($8M/1 yr), Melvin Gordon($17M/1 yr),  Chris Carson($13M/1yr), Zach Ertz($13M/1 yr), Evan Engram($11M/1 yr), Julio Jones($26M/2 yrs), Juju Smith-Schuster ($24M/2 yrs), and Amari Cooper($22M/2 yrs) represent a sample of contracts not drafted in this mock.  Julio and Cooper seem especially egregious misses when looking at rosters afterwards.

Teams 1 and 2

Both of our first two GMs took similar, fairly common team-building approaches for superflex leagues, paying up at quarterback in terms of draft capital and foregoing tight ends until later.

Best Values:  The room generally loved Josh Allen’s contract finding it well worth the first pick at his relatively low cost and Diontae Johnson should provide tremendous value in PPR leagues.  Team 2 locked up Justin Jefferson for 2 years at a significant discount from market price after one of the best rookie seasons ever from a wide receiver.

Questionable Picks:  I don’t think any of team 1’s picks are necessarily troublesome.  I question if the GM would consolidate marginal starters, late round tight ends, etc. into an every-week starter like Julio or add running back depth like Gordon if they had the choice again (similarly for team 2 with players like Brown and Samuel).  Hindsight is always easier when you know how cap allocations turn out.

Hurts’ contract is interesting as simultaneously price cheap and draft pick expensive in this exercise.  He’s definitely underpriced compared to what the contract will go for later this year and his range of outcomes includes a QB1 finish.  On the other hand, he was among the worse quarterbacks in the league during his time as a starter and part of his range of outcomes includes not being the starter for all or a portion of the year.  The team gave up the chance at a premium player for a massive question mark.

Teams 3 and 4

I drafted team 3 so will examine it a little more.  The big difference from other squads is that I did not pick a QB until the 5th round where every other team had their first QB by the 3rd and all but one picked a QB by the 2nd round.  My team also concentrated on locking up the core players on multi-year contracts more than some others.  The pick of Taylor raised some eyebrows but really shouldn’t.  The fantasy RB6 from 2020 and FantasyPros’ consensus dynasty RB4 priced as the RB14 for 2 years seems a nice foundation piece.  I grabbed Kittle in the 3rd as the last of the big three tight ends.  McLaurin, Fuller, and Aiyuk produced top-20 WR per game fantasy years last season.  Taysom Hill is the super arbitrage version of Jalen Hurts picked far later in this mock.

Team 4 landed Herbert to start on a cheap deal allowing a very balanced roster highlighted by a tremendous receiving group.

Best Values:  Robby Anderson was a fantasy star early last season.  Carolina actively tried to upgrade QB this offseason and Curtis Samuel may be gone in free agency.  Mark Andrews is a nice grab that late in the mock.  There’s some volatility with Lamar Jackson and a low volume passing offense but he is one of the few tight ends with significant workloads.

Questionable Picks:  Team 3 has no questionable picks.  I will not allow it.  The concern for team 4 is going out of the mock with Winston as the only other quarterback after Herbert.  The contract is nice but he is not a starting quarterback at this point with only a few potential landing spots left.

Teams 5 and 6

Both GMs paid handsomely for a couple of elite players plus took a wait and see approach to tight end.

Best Values:  Second-year running backs Akers and Dobbins will be popular players especially with these discount contracts.  I also like the Smith/Goedert combo at tight end for cheap.

Questionable Picks:  It was a very nice mock for team 5 with no real issues, maybe a little consolidation to upgrade the RB2 spot could be argued.  The stars and scrubs approach took a toll at the end for team 6 who failed to grab a viable tight end due to cap constraints.  Grabbing Knox with Goedert (who went one pick after) on the board at just a little higher salary had to be a gut punch.

Teams 7 and 8

Both teams utilized a diverse drafting strategy grabbing one of every position by round 5 and taking their 2nd QB by round 7.  Team 8 really went for players on the cheap after the first couple of picks providing a lot of cap flexibility later on when most other teams were trying to save dollars.

Best Values:  Diggs’ contract sits at the WR20 price, enough said.  The $4M contract of Gibson is almost guaranteed to provide outstanding value if just for a year.

Questionable Picks:  Despite a jump in real life play, Mayfield was just the QB26 in per game fantasy scoring last season.  I see no reason to jump on the 11th highest quarterback contract this early in the mock.  Team 8 used most of the big cap surplus to get Sutton, Godwin, and Kupp later on in the draft.  All are fine players but this seems like a bit of a let-down considering the other high salary players available.

Teams 9 and 10

Team 9 took a very flat salary structure across most of the picks avoiding expensive picks early where team 10 paid up for his early picks.

Best Values:  I will simply quote Team 9’s GM. “Swift one of my top 5 RBs going forward. Easy decision here. Was surprised he was still available.”  Metcalf is one of the top fantasy wide receivers for many with lots of room to provide value on this contract.

Questionable Picks:  Using more than $30M combined on Tua, Jones, and Goff seems like overkill for marginal superflex quarterbacks and a glaring chance to upgrade other positions.  Paying Fournette $17M presents quite a risk for a running back limited in the passing game without a team.


Bio:  Bernard Faller has degrees in engineering and economics.  He currently lives in Las Vegas and enjoys athletics, poker, and fantasy football in his free time.  Send your questions and comments (both good and bad) on Twitter @BernardFaller1.

More Analysis by Bernard Faller

RSO Staff Picks: Week 16

Updated: December 22nd 2019

Week 14 & 15 Results & Overall Standings

1. English – Week 14 13-3 & Week 15 11-5  // Overall 149-74-1

2. Papson – Week 14 9-7 & Week 15 10-6  //Overall 142-81-1

3. Wendell – Week 14 10-6 & Week 15 12-4 // Overall 141-82-1

Happy holidays and welcome to Week 16, the championship week for most of you in your RSO leagues. If you have made it this far, congrats as it is an impressive feat, and best of luck in your pursuit of fantasy immortality today. The NFL playoff picture will look pretty clear save a spot (or possibly two) at the end of the day, and if yesterday was any indication, we should have a great slate of games today. All three games had playoff implications yesterday and were decided by a touchdown or less. The Texans edged out the Bucs due to four INTs by Jameis, the Pats did what the Pats do and beat the Bills at home to clinch their 11th straight AFC East title, and then Jimmy G put last year’s NFC Champs out of the playoffs this year, showing once again how much parity exists in the NFL. Kyle, Matt and I were all 3-0 yesterday (along with most of America as the three “better” teams won), but like the NFL’s playoff picture, this contest will likely be complete by the end of this week, as Kyle has a seven game lead over Matt and an eight game lead over me, due to his 24-8 record over the last couple of weeks. The real test will be if Kyle can take down ESPN’s leading expert at the moment, Trey Wingo. Our picks for this week are below. We hope everyone enjoys the games and has a happy and healthy holiday week!

NFL Game Picks

Game

Wendell

Papson

English

HOU @ TB

BUF @ NE

LAR @ SF

JAX @ ATL

BAL @ CLV

NO @ TEN

CAR @ IND

CIN @ MIA

PIT @ NYJ

NYG @ WAS

DET @ DEN

OAK @ LAC

DAL @ PHI

ARI @ SEA

KC @ CHI

GB @ MIN

 

More Analysis by Stephen Wendell