Part 1 can be found HERE
For the purposes of this question, I would assume, at a minimum, you start nine IDP players. Anything less than that, and I would likely stream IDP players on the college side. If your league uses just defensive line, linebackers, and defensive backs, then I am generally targeting the following.
Defensive Line, Linebackers, and Defensive Backs
I am looking at defensive ends or edge guys with DL eligibility for the defensive line. I will fade players that are defensive tackles. As a general rule of thumb, defensive ends and edge players will produce more sacks, tackles, and, thus, more points. There will always be exceptions to the rule for defensive tackles that produce a lot of tackles and/or sacks, however.
For linebackers, I am looking at the middle linebackers as they are the high-tackle-producing players. In some schemes, the middle linebackers may be referred to as the “Mike” linebacker or “Ted” linebacker. The outside linebackers are often referred to as the “Sam” linebacker on the strong side and the “Will” linebacker on the weak side. These players do not typically record as many tackles as the “Mike” linebackers.
For defensive backs, I am looking for the safeties, particularly the ones that may play “in-the-box.” “In-the-box” safeties will produce higher tackle numbers than other safeties or defensive backs. Often the “in-the-box” safety may be referred to as a “Star” or “Lion.” Speaking in more traditional terms, I generally favor strong safety, sometimes referred to as “Ram,” over free safety. The strong safety will usually play closer to the line of scrimmage and on the strong side. Which often leads to higher tackle numbers. On the other hand, the free safety is playing more of a deeper centerfield/middle-of-the-field type of role, leading to more interceptions but fewer tackles. I would never target a cornerback in a league that requires defensive backs.
Defensive Tackles and Cornerbacks
For leagues that require defensive tackles, you can find many cheat code-type players in Fantrax that are actually defensive ends but have defensive tackle eligibility. Those are generally the players that I would be targeting on the college side. The same can be said if your league requires cornerbacks. Many safeties, and even some linebackers, have cornerback eligibility in Fantrax. True cornerbacks, in my experience, are much easier to find and stream if needed in both the college and the pro game.
If you are required to start cornerbacks, remember that a lockdown, shutdown corner, while great for real football, is usually not good for fantasy football. Quarterbacks and offensive coordinators tend to avoid these players. Which leads to a lower number of opportunities needed for fantasy success. Instead, I would target the cornerback that starts on the opposite side of a shutdown corner.
Other Points to Consider
Another important point when playing IDP, it is not always the best real-life defensive players that make for the best fantasy defensive players. This is because of opportunity. The worse a team is on offense, the more often the defense finds itself on the field. And more opportunities for those players to pick up tackles or sacks. A great example of this is Vanderbilt linebacker Anfernee Orji. Vanderbilt’s offense typically struggles to move the ball. Making Orji a stud for college IDP.
A good indicator of potential opportunity on the NFL side is to look for the players with the green dot on their helmets. The green dot indicates that those players have the mic/headset in their helmets. They can communicate with the coaches on the sideline. NFL teams are limited to three of those types of helmets on the defensive side. However, only one can be on the field at a time. Thus, generally speaking, the linebacker with the green dot will be on the field more. And have more opportunities to record more tackles/sacks and ultimately more fantasy points.
Finally, on to the last question of position eligibility. For the NFL side, this was already discussed in strategy for the second question, so that we won’t rehash that here. This is an important question for the college side because, by now, you have heard me mention “cheat-code” players a few times. If your league uses the school’s official roster or game-day depth charts to determine the position eligibility, then those cheat code players will not be as beneficial. None of my leagues use this approach, so it is not as common. But, there certainly could be some leagues that do. If your league uses Fantrax to determine positional eligibility, then the cheat-code players are in play. They are certainly players to look at when developing your strategy regarding the make-up of your fantasy team.
As you prepare to build your college/campus IDP roster, it is important to keep the questions from this article in mind. How the scoring is done, what is the scoring system, what are the positional requirements, and how is position eligibility determined? Roster building is not a one size fits all model. The answers to these questions will give you a strong basis to develop a customized strategy for you and your league. Each league has its unique quirks and owner. You know your league and league mates better than anyone else. But hopefully, you can use some of these ideas and strategies to help you build a championship lineup on the defensive side.
I hope that you have found this article useful and that it will help lead you down a successful path for your fantasy teams as far as IDP is concerned. If you have any questions about this article or IDP in general, you can find me on the Campus 2 Canton discord or Twitter (@Justice_2318). If you are looking for more College IDP content, give the Devy IDP Grind podcast a listen (@DevyIDPGrind), and as always, please rate, review and subscribe.