News & Analysis

Fantasy football mock drafts: IDP strategy time

By Walton Spurlin
Jul 25, 2018

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Sep 11, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; Los Angeles Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa (99) tackles Denver Broncos running back C.J. Anderson (22) at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

With NFL training camps kicking off the fantasy mock draft season is kicking into high gear. Here at PFF we’ve been participating in a wide variety of mock drafts to help fantasy owners prepare for the 2018 season. One of the latest to take place was a 12-team IDP/PPR mock draft in which I was joined by 11 other PFF’ers.

Seeing as my forte lies on the IDP side of things, we will be looking at this mock from that perspective. The offensive side of things went pretty much as to be expected with running backs, wide receivers, and the occasional tight end leading the way. For this piece I’ve decided to skip a round-by-round breakdown and focus more of an overall view of when IDP players began to come off the board and a positional breakdown of when they were targeted.

We’ll also take a look at some possible strategies that were employed as well as some very nice late-round selections. For this mock draft, the roster settings for IDP players were 2-3 defensive ends/tackles, 3-4 linebackers, and 2-3 cornerbacks/safeties, and the draft was set for 24-rounds.

Positional overview

The first IDP player came off the board in the fifth round, which is generally where things will kick off from an IDP perspective if an owner is looking for top-tier talent. Jeff Ratcliffe selected defensive end Joey Bosa, who is widely regarded as the top player at his position. As is often the case, IDP selections were sprinkled throughout the first 14 rounds (IDP players were taken in 10 of the first 14), but there was definitely information to be gleaned as to how things played out.

There were 48 total IDP players selected through Round 14 with the positional numbers breaking down as follows:

  • 25 linebackers
  • 18 defensive linemen
  • 5 defensive backs

This falls in line with a long-held theory in IDP circles that waiting on the defensive back position is a solid theory. That being said, if you want the cream of the crop such as Reshad Jones (8.03), Landon Collins (9.07), or Keanu Neal (10.12), you will need to jump in a bit earlier.

The total of 18 defensive linemen is also interesting, as it speaks to the lack of depth at the position and the need to stock up early on the bigger names. In fact, there were 11 DLs taken in the first 24 overall IDP selections as opposed to 10 LBs and 3 DBs. Some names of note selected prior to Round-10 were Khalil Mack (7.05), J.J. Watt (7.12), Chandler Jones (9.10), Melvin Ingram (9.11), and Calais Campbell (9.12).

The linebacker position is by far the deepest and the top selections went as expected, with Bobby Wagner (5.07), Luke Kuechly (6.03), and C.J. Mosley (7.10) leading the way. A selection that speaks to the depth at LB is the drafting of 2017 top-10 performer Joe Schobert at 14.11 by Curtis Patrick.

A closer look at Rounds 15-24 from a positional standpoint broke down quite differently, with 25 DBs, 18 LBs, and 15 DLs selected. Obviously the PFF crew were willing to wait on the DB position until the drafts final 10 rounds. The bulk of DBs came off the board in Rounds 17-20, when 15 of the 28 overall picks were at that position. There were still plenty of big-name DB options there such as Morgan Burnett (17.01), Jordan Poyer (17.06), Johnathan Cyprien (17.10), and Micah Hyde (18.05). The DB position remains, in my opinion, the most waiver-wire-friendly.

Unfortunately, the selections at DL didn’t quite offer up as much fantasy talent in the final 10 rounds. Waiting on the DL position until after Round 14 could lead to the position that Tyler Loechner found himself in, as he ended up with Jurrell Casey (16.04) and Jabaal Sheard (19.09). It’s hard to imagine higher than a mid- to low-DL2 finish for either of them.

Two of Jeff Ratcliffe’s LB selections from Rounds 15-24 highlight the depth at the position as he landed Demario Davis (15.01) and Von Miller (19.01) at great positions of value.

Possible strategies, late-round steals

  • Let’s start with the strategy that I use in all my IDP drafts and that is to land two DL within my first three IDP picks. There were three other owners who followed suit as Nathan Jahnke, Curtis Patrick, and Dan Clasgens went with a pair of DL in their first three IDP selections.
  • There is of course the tried-and-true strategy of coming out of the gate by selecting LBs with your first two defensive player picks and there were five of my PFF colleagues that went that direction. Mike Castiglione, Tyler Buecher, Tyler Loechner, Scott Spratt, and Pat Thorman opened with two LB selections.
  • An interesting strategy is to look to grab a top player at each of the three positions with your first three selections, and Jeff Ratcliffe and Michael Moore went that direction. Moore impressively managed to land top-five-ranked players at their respective position with Bobby Wagner (5.07), Cameron Jordan (7.07), and Landon Collins (9.07).

A few of the best late-round steals were at LB (that whole depth thing again). The Tylers scored big in Round 21 as Loechner landed Avery Williamson at 21.09 and Buecher selected up-and-coming Zach Cunningham at 21.11. Truth be told I was happy to get Vontaze Burfict (despite the suspension) in the same round at 21.05. By far the best late-round steal was Scott Spratt scoring Raekwon McMillan with the 22.07 selection. McMillan is penciled in as the starting MLB in Miami after missing his rookie season due to injury. Kudos to Mr. Spratt for keeping his eye on the ball and stealing McMillan late (Yes, I am still kicking myself).

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