Breaking Down An IDP Scoring System

The major issue undermining IDP Fantasy Football is the lack of a streamlined, standardised scoring system which reflects the value of a player and his impact on the real game. A few years back, I ventured (almost blindly) into the world of IDP fantasy football, but now I feel confident enough to expound and explain my scoring system to you readers, as a baseline for any of my future IDP articles and hopefully a starting point for your very own IDP leagues.


As you may know already, IDP scoring may be split into two general categories: tackle-heavy and sack/big-play-heavy. I favour the sack-heavy leagues which award a ratio of 4:1 or more to sacks, interceptions forced fumbles etc. compared to tackles. The reason for this is twofold: Firstly, it makes IDPs a relevant part of the game, meaning you have to draft them reasonably early (they aren’t a mere afterthought), and secondly it rewards game-changing plays on the real NFL field for your fantasy team, so you will celebrate a sack like a touchdown, bringing more excitement into watching the game on Sundays.


So here is the scoring system I use in my IDP leagues:


Tackle: 1 point – This is the baseline for any IDP scoring system, and whilst on it’s own it is pretty insignificant, it’s ratio to sacks etc. has a big effect on how you value players and draft them. Almost every IDP will have more tackles than anything else, and 1 point is an easy standard to follow.


Assisted tackle: 0.5 point – Assisted tackles almost always = ½ of the points scored for a tackle, and so they should.


Tackle for loss bonus: 2 points – As a ‘bonus’ this is added to 1 point gained for a tackle (And in the case for an assisted tackle for loss you would get half, so an assisted tackle for loss = 0.5+1=1.5pt). I wanted to reward players who can get behind the line of scrimmage and make big tackles for loss, which really kill long drives by the offence. A TFL is almost as big a play as a sack, and quite rightly should be given an extra two points on top of the tackle baseline.


Sack: 5 points – This stat is independent of tackles and tackles for loss (you don’t get a point for a tackle, TFL and sack on one play), and gives us our golden ratio of over 4:1 between tackles and sacks. Sacks are huge plays on defence, as some crazy sack celebrations will tell you! And 5 points is a fair amount to give to those who are the most exciting defenders to watch and disrupt the passing momentum of an offence.


QB Hit: 1 point – Hitting the QB is becoming a lost art, but it definitely impacts a QBs attitude. Getting hit as you release the ball can often be more painful than a sack, and whilst I don’t want to venture into the Gregg Williams School of Fantasy Football, it’s right that guys who can hit the QB still get some sort of recognition. 1 point is enough to give some reward without blowing the top off of some DE’s total point scores.


Forced fumble: 4 points – this stat is added onto sacks, tackles and TFLs. So a tackle which results in a FF = 5 points (1+4), a tackle for loss that results in a FF = 7 points (1+2+4) and a sack-forced fumble gives you 9 points (5+4). This seems really high, but consider the impact a forced fumble has on a real life NFL game. If you win the ball following the fumble then it’s a turnover, and can be the biggest play in a whole game. If you don’t win the fumble over then you still shock the offence and may force a player to get pulled for a series, just ask Tom Coughlin.


Fumble recovery: 2 points – Recoveries are a lottery in many situations, so while a reward is necessary, 2 points is plenty enough (on offence, a self recovered fumble is also worth 2 points)


Safety: 10 points – Safeties are very rare, and can transform a game more than a Touchdown on occasion. I think it’s fair to award a staggering 10 points for a safety. There were just 10 safeties in the whole of 2011, and 13 2012, so while it won’t affect any players value, it gives owners an extra reason to get excited should your IDP be rushing the passer when he’s backed up at his own 2 yard line. 10 seems extreme, but it’s equivalent to a 40 yard rushing or receiving TD in most leagues, and impacts a game a lot more.


Pass Defended: 1 point – These do not occur very often, and 12 is a nice benchmark for DBs to reach in a year. However a pass defended is not an easy stat to analyse and does not impact a game a great deal, one point is adequate at this stage.


Interception: 10 points – Interceptions do not occur close to as often as sacks, with 9 being the highest by one player (Tim Jennings) in 2012. However, interceptions impact a game more than a sack and for this I feel it may be necessary to award 10 points. A sack resulting in a forced fumble results in a similar impact and gives a player 9 points (5pts sack + 4pts forced fumble) so this increases the value of DBs and gives their impact (even if it’s less predictable than LBs and DL) a more equal weight. Just like you can’t predict interceptions in real life*, you can’t predict them in fantasy, but just like in real life they are now worth celebrating.


*Unless you’re facing one Mark Sanchez

Mark Sanchez celebrates as his pass goes for a pick six to one of his fantasy Cornerbacks. Photo from

Blocked Kick: 6 points – This counts for any punt, FG attempt or PAT attempt and again reflects the in-game impact of such a play. It also gives you something to watch out for on special teams as well as a big kick return.

Touchdown: 6 points – Any touchdown scored (from an interception, recovery or blocked kick) equals six points to their real team and it’s only fair that this setting matches the offensive player stats. It becomes clear now how a pick six can impact your fantasy game as much as in real life, giving a huge 16 point (10 for the Interception and 6 for the touchdown) swing to one team could make or break your matchup and this is true with real life pick sixes.


Here’s a basic breakdown of the scoring system I use:

Tackle: 1 point

Assisted Tackle: 0.5 points

Tackle for loss: 2 bonus points

Sack: 6 points

Forced Fumble: 4 points

Fumble Recovery: 2 points

Safety: 10 points

Pass Defended: 1 point

Interception: 10 points

Blocked Kick: 6 points

Touchdown: 6 points


Finally, here’s a list of the top ten scorers in 2012 by position, using my scoring system:

Defensive Line (In some leagues this can be split into Defensive End and Defensive tackle, so I’ve referenced the ‘sub position’ of each player too.)

1. J.J. Watt DE 342.50

2. Cameron Wake DE 200.50

3. Geno Atkins DT 182.50

4. Charles Johnson DE 165.0

5. Jared Allen DE 159.00

6. John Abraham DE 158.00

7. Greg Hardy DE 158.00

8. Michael Johnson DE 157.00

9. Mario Williams DE 147.00

10. Chris Clemons DE 146.00

No surprise here as Watt is by far and away the best DL with his 20.5 sacks and 43 TFLs. Nobody in the NFL came close to Watt who even outscored all offensive players. Following Watt there is a gradual slope downwards in points scored. Atkins gets a mention here as he lead all DTs with 182.50 (only 3 DTs scored over 100 points). Watt’s value is somewhat unique, a bit like what Gronkowski/Graham would be to TEs if either one was out for a whole season.


1. Von Miller 273.00

2. Aldon Smith 241.50

3. Daryl Washington 226.00

4. Lawrence Timmons 202.50

5. Jo-Lonn Dunbar 200.50

6. London Fletcher 199.50

7. Lavonte David 187.50

8. Paul Posluszny 187.50

9. Wesley Woodyard 187.50

10. Zach Brown 185.00

Miller leads the way at LB, followed by Aldon Smith. Both of these guys were boom or bust players and multiple sack games gave you some incredible weekly totals. In week 11 Smith got 59.00 points (though when you watch the game back you realise that’s no over-exaggeration. Smith was dynamite that night.) Following Smith there is a drop off, but this list is peppered with guys who get 120+ tackles a year (MLBs and ILBs) and guys who get 10+ sacks a year (OLBs). Those who get tackles are more reliable but have less upside.

Defensive Backs: (Split into CB and S in some leagues so I’ve defined the positions on this list also)

1. Richard Sherman CB 187.00

2. Charles Tillman CB 181.00

3. Stevie Brown S 174.00

4. Tim Jennings CB 171.50

5. Reshad Jones S  161.50

6. Eric Weddle S 159.00

7. Morgan Burnett S 157.50

8. Ronde Barber S 156.50

9. Janoris Jenkins CB 154.50

10. Harrison Smith S 152.00


At DB the numbers fall more smoothly, indicating the relative low- value of the position. DBs should be picked late on (the last of your starters) unless some elite prospects are there the round or two before. There is a nice mix of safeties and cornerbacks in this list, but the tendency is for safeties to score more than corners (37 safeties scored over 100 points last year, but only 21 cornerbacks repeated that feat).


So here is the backdrop for the IDP rankings and articles I will be discussing in the future, I hope it made sense and encourages you to give IDP a go, even if it’s next season!



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