Every year I revisit the IDP scoring system I used the previous season to try and tweak it to perfection. This system has been in place in a couple of my leagues now for several seasons. Today I’ll share with you my thoughts on why this scoring system is a good balance, offering value without over selling IDP players.
One of the stumbling blocks for IDP Fantasy Football is the lack of a standardised scoring system which all players agree upon. Some like IDP to be the focal point of the league and inadvertently overvalue them as they are the new ‘thing’ in the league. Some just add IDP to a league so they can call themselves IDP players, without giving them a place in draft strategy or any dynasty recognition. Personally, I like to strike a balance to ensure that IDP is just as important as offence, and in this article I will outline the scoring system I use, and why I think it’s appropriate.
Generally, IDP scoring can be set up as either ‘Tackle Heavy’ (TH) or ‘Big-Play (BP) Heavy,’ similar to PPR and non-PPR in the sense that these are the major two systems in place, with slight alterations. TH scoring gives a large ratio of points for tackles, as opposed to sacks, forced fumbles, interceptions, etc. These leagues may give 1pt per tackle and just 2 per sack, or indeed 2 per tackle and 4 per sack. The ratio of 1:2 points here is the important thing to remember. In these leagues Middle Linebackers who rack up 7-10 tackles every game are very valuable, but pass rushers and guys who strip the ball regularly don’t give you much value at all.
In BP scoring the ratio is very different. Sacks can give as many as 6x the amount of points as tackles, and forced fumbles, interceptions and tackles for loss are all regarded as premium scoring plays as well. In these leagues you still have dominant MLBs as big scorers, but pass rushers play a huge part as well, giving you a more varied spread of points at the position. It also means players who can get 10+ sacks (from any position) in a season are incredibly sought after.
Below is the system that I have used for 4 seasons. Each year it has changed slightly differently as I’ve got to grips with the setup and how it functions in a real league.
Points per Tackle – 1 point: This is the baseline on which all the other scoring comes from, so to give 1 point for a tackle is the right decision here.
Points per Assisted Tackle – 0.5 points: This should always be half of the tackle score in my opinion.
Points per Tackle for loss – 3 points: Note, this is separate to a tackle, so if a player scores a tackle for a loss, he gets you 3 points, not 1 for a tackle and 3 added onto it. On some sites it’s regarded as a bonus, in which case you’d call it a 2 point bonus on top of the 1 for a tackle. This is fair as TFLs often disrupt a whole drive, and it is essentially a sack on a non-QB. Guys who penetrate the line and make a tackle in the backfield ought to get recognition.
Points per Sack – 5 points: Now you can see that I prefer a BP scoring system. In this system a player will get 5 for a sack, for similar reasons as above. Again he doesn’t get this on top of a tackle, it is just 5 points. I think awarding 2 points to a player for a sack is laughable. Imagine awarding that for a touchdown? A sack is probably the biggest play of the game for the defence and in addition to stopping the play for a loss, he gets to hit the QB – as brutal as it sounds, this is the aim of the game for some NFL pass rushers.
Points per QB Hit – 1 point: This was new from last year, and can only be put in place if you host your league on MyFantasyLeague.com as far as I know (At least you can’t on NFL.com or ESPN). This is added onto the Sack score and is standalone if he doesn’t sack him. This essentially brings the ratio up to 1:6, but also gives players who hit the QB a little boost, even if they can’t knock him down, a hit can often be as effective on a QBs mental stability.
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Forced Fumble – 4 points: This is added onto other plays as a bonus, and quite rightly it is a high scoring play as fumbles are real game changers. So if a player gets a tackle for loss and a FF on the same play he would score 3 for the TFL and an additional 4 for the FF (7 in total). Similarly, if he gets a sack on the QB and a FF that adds up to 5 for the sack, 1 for the QB Hit and 4 for the FF, a total of 10 points. Now this is where people will start to tell you ‘Well that’s way too many point so award for one play!’ Well I’ll tell them 1) How big is it in real terms if your LB forces a turnover? (Or in this case, gives your team a chance to get a turnover), these shifts in possession can be monumental, and more often than not, turnovers are what win games. The team who gets the most turnovers tends to come out on top, barring a poor offence. 2) What about offensive plays? When Doug Martin catches a 2 yard screen on his own 4 yard line, makes one guy miss and runs the length of the pitch for a TD? He’d score 15.6 points for that play in standard scoring, as well as the QB getting a nice 7.84 score himself. Big plays ought to be rewarded with big points.
Fumble Recovery – 2 points: Again, this is added onto the other scores. Recoveries are a little more random than other plays, so 2 points is a fair reflection of that. Especially if on offence you have 2 points gained for a recovery as well. So if Patrick Willis steamrolls over the DL and takes out Cam Newton whilst he’s looking the other way, forces a fumble, then has the wherewithal to grab the ball afterwards, he’s score you 12 points (1 for QB Hit, 5 for QB Sack, 4 for Forced Fumble, 2 for Fumble Recovery), now he’s getting close to our friend Doug Martin.
Safety – 8 points: This was reduced from 10 points last season. Safeties are so rare this is almost meaningless, but safeties are often the biggest plays of the game resulting in 2 points for your team and importantly, possession of the ball back so your offence can put more on the board. 8 points is high enough to reward players for a special play, but not too excessive. Again if the Safety is a tackle for loss add the 8 points onto it, if it’s a sack add 5 and 1 for the hit.
Pass Defended – 1 point: This is one area that could see change, as Defensive Backs (Cornerbacks and Safeties) have always struggled to make a real impact in IDP football. 1 point is what I have used for several years, but I can see an argument for giving 1.5 or even 2 points for this – but only for CBs and S. This would work a little like TE Premium leagues where Points Per Reception are awarded only to TEs to give their position a slight boost. The best DBs will get 15-20 PDs per season so an increase of 1 point won’t make that much difference, but it does elevate some guys into the top 100 scorers. For now it will stay at 1 point but this is definitely up for negotiation.
Interception – 8 points: This was reduced from 10 points last season. Our league felt that although an INT is a game changing play, awarding 10 points can skew how good a player is. There were some CBs that finished in the top 30 and made under 30 tackles, but their 5 or 6 INTs bumped their value up considerably. The DB position is erratic enough, so reducing this by a couple of points helps to give slightly more value to tackles, and PDs, the true measure (at least in terms of statistics) of an effective, reliable defensive back.
Blocked Kick – 6 points: A blocked kick can be a game changer, and like a safety it happens rarely enough to not factor into a draft strategy but be a nice boost on gameday. To award players any less than 6 would be ridiculous in my opinion.
Touchdown – 6 points: this matches up with offensive touchdowns, but of course IDPs won’t score you many as offensive players. You can get a real chain reaction going on defence when a player gets a strip sack, recovers the ball and returns it for a TD. That would score you 18 points in one play (of course it has to be the same player, and I don’t recall this happening often last year) Similarly a Pick Six would result in 14 points. These are the plays that change real games, and with a scoring system that gives these players good value, it can change your fantasy game as well.
This scoring system means IDP players will feature as the top scorers in your league – and why not? Those guys who have amassed 15+ sacks, or 100+ tackles deserve recognition right?
Below is a breakdown of how many players from each position landed in the top 150 scorers:
QB: 26 players
RB: 21 players
WR: 21 players
TE: 4 players
DT: 2 players
DE: 16 players
LB: 46 players
CB: 2 players
S: 12 players
Offensive players: 72
Defensive players: 78
150th highest scoring player: Tony Gonzalez 135.90
This may seem unbalanced in favour of LBs, but I think you have to be aware that so many LBs start in the NFL each week, and there are so many tackles to go around that they will always have a big group of players in the top 150. Also, only 4 LBs appeared in the top 32, and just 2 DEs – so IDPs aren’t outscoring any position every week. The split of 72/78 is pretty down the middle and reflects the importance of both sides of the ball effectively.
I hope you’ve found this article useful and try to persuade your commissioner to give IDPs more relevance in your league. If you’re using IDPs and only a handful appears in the top 100 then there real is no point in using them at all. They are just a decoration rather than half of your league. Furthermore, if you’re considering starting up an IDP league in the near future, I urge you to take a look at this scoring and use it as your basis as it reflects balance on both sides of the ball and gives every position some sort of value.