Fantasy News & Analysis

Fantasy Football: Rookie draft board, combined offense and IDP draft strategy

2T38CMA Illinois defensive lineman Jer'Zhan Newton rushes the quarterback during an NCAA college football game against Wisconsin Saturday, Oct. 21, 2023, in Champaign, Ill. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

• Strategy and a walkthrough up to seven rounds: With 84 players across nine positions, there is an abundance of options to sort through. This guide will help you through it all.

• Where to take the first IDPs: This is the perfect guide for fantasy managers who want more clarity on how to value defensive players alongside offensive players. 

• Check out PFF’s standalone rankings: View the rookie 1-QB and superflex rankings here as well as the full IDP rookie rankings here.

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

With rookie drafts starting up in full force, fantasy managers are presented with plenty of different rankings to help them understand which players to value at each pick.

Those rankings are helpful, but it is rare to find a guide that details how to value offense and IDPs combined in rookie drafts — and this is exactly what this draft board aims to provide.

  • Offensive scoring is based on standard PPR and starting roster requirements of 1 QB, 2 RBs, 3 WRs, 1 TE and 3 FLEX. 
  • IDP positions are “true position” settings and based on 2-EDGEs, 1-2-DTs, 2-3-LBs, 2-Safeties, and 2-CBs starting roster requirements.

The following IDP rankings are based on the scoring laid out below:

Position Solo Tackles Assists Sacks Tackles for Loss QB Hits Pass Breakups
ED/DT 2.5 1.25 4 1 2 2
LB 1.5 0.75 4 1 1 2
CB/S 2 1 4 1 1 2

1.01 – 1.03: In single-quarterback formats, the top three picks should be pretty chalky, just as they were pre-draft. Betting on talent over Year 1 landing spot is the more effective process for dynasty, and these three offer elite upside in terms of their long-term potential in the NFL.

1.04 – 1.07: Outside of the top three is where things start to vary at least a little bit. Between Worthy, Thomas Jr., Bowers and even Brooks, there’s an argument for any of these guys over the other. 

1.08 – 1.10: The next grouping of players in this range continues with some more variety and offers the opportunity for Caleb Williams to come off the board for those in need. Both McConkey and Benson were drafted a bit later relative to those ranked ahead of him in this range, but there is talent and potential for opportunity here worth betting on.

1.11 – 2.01: The first defensive player, Latu, comes into play on the fringes of the first/second round. Depending on scoring, team need and feelings on the potential for some of the offensive players in this range, Latu could certainly be an option to kick off Round 2 as the class' most talented pass-rusher.

2.02 – 2.05: Once Latu comes off the board, the IDP floodgates are likely to open up. Both Verse and Turner could push for this second spot on IDP managers' draft boards after Latu. Verse gets the edge here because he’s more NFL-ready at the moment while Turner could take longer before he’s a consistent IDP starter.

2.06 – 2.11: There are only really a couple of other defensive players worth considering through the rest of the second round, and they’re both at premium positions and have first-round capital to their name with Byron Murphy at defensive tackle and Chop Robinson at edge. Again, depending on scoring, defensive linemen may not be as valuable as linebackers, though for this format they are, and defensive tackles are also separated into their own position.

2.12 – 3.01: The linebackers enter the conversation in the back half of the second round and early third round of rookie drafts because there wasn’t necessarily significant draft capital spent on them, but both Junior Colson and Edgerrin Cooper land in potential prime opportunities to produce, if not right away then in the very near future.

3.02 – 3.06: Troy Franklin’s fall in the draft resulted in a fall in my personal rankings by about 10 spots at this position but hope prevails with a good landing spot and reuniting with his college quarterback Bo Nix, who helped him finish with the sixth-most receiving yards in the FBS last season.

3.07 – 3.12: Jer’Zhan (Johnny) Newton didn’t necessarily get the best landing spot as the two clear starters ahead of him on the depth chart, Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne, are among the best at their position in the league. Newton is a high-end prospect for his position and in DT-required formats, should become an option in the latter half of the third round and beyond.

4.01 – 4.03: Payton Wilson’s fall in the draft, which led to him being taken at the end of the third round, largely revolved around his lengthy injury history, but as PFF’s LB1 heading into the draft and a potential to get on the field, he’s worthy of one of the picks in the back-half of rookie drafts.

4.04 – 4.09: Cole Bishop was the second safety taken in the NFL draft but is arguably the more intriguing prospect for IDP over Tyler Nubin, as Bishop’s experience and production around the line of scrimmage is exactly what we’re looking for to get consistent fantasy production out of that position. 

Darius Robinson also lands in this range as a player who will likely play more inside than on the edge in the NFL. He did get drafted in the first round by the Arizona Cardinals and there will be an opportunity to produce, though he didn’t have overly encouraging pass-rush metrics coming out of college, which includes a 79.9 career PFF pass-rush grade (44th percentile since 2016) and an 11.2% win rate and 9.6% pressure rate, which are both sub-20th percentile numbers among prospects since 2016.

4.10 – 5.04: Nubin was the first safety taken in the NFL draft and figures to be more of a deep safety option which isn’t as valuable for IDP but it should at least get him on the field for the Giants and their thin depth chart.

5.05 – 6.02: The first cornerbacks come off the board in the fifth round here. Javon Bullard could play safety or nickel corner for the Green Bay Packers, who need to potentially use him in multiple roles, making him the most intriguing of the bunch. 

Cooper DeJean has a more difficult path to snaps in Year 1 and coming off a broken leg, assuming he continues to play a traditional corner role for the Philadelphia Eagles, but he has the potential to be used in a variety of ways as well which makes him interesting for IDP.

6.03 – 6.10: Some hopeful linebacker sleepers like Tyrice Knight, Jordan Magee and Jeremiah Trotter Jr., all land in defenses where it isn’t an impossible path to snaps, either this year or next, though Day 3 capital far from guarantees that potential to come to fruition, especially if these teams continue to add at the position next offseason.

6.11 – 7.05: Filling out these final rounds by either taking some fliers on Day 3 running backs or potential Year 1 contributors on lower-value defensive positions is how most rookie drafts with IDP are going to end. This year is no different whether you’re taking a shot on potential deep safeties like Kamren Kinchens or Calen Bullock, or throwing a dart on a late-round RB like Dylan Laube, team roster construction and perceived upside should help guide fantasy managers here.

7.06 – 7.12: Continuing with more dart throws here to close out seven rounds, we have cornerbacks and a few names that IDP managers could become interested in here. Marist Liufau, drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the third round feels like he could be a better NFL linebacker than for IDP. His career numbers coming out of college are really discouraging, which includes class-worst marks in first contact rate (6.2%), run stop rate (4.7%), and tackle efficiency (7.8%).


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