What Is Defensive Player Utility In Fantasy Football?

Team managers can start any defensive roster space with the Defensive Player Utility (DP) option. The DP slot can have a maximum of fifteen starts (15).

In fantasy football, how does a defensive player function?

Fantasy IDP leagues have existed from the beginning of the game. While IDP leagues are not for everyone, they do provide a new level of challenge and excitement to the fantasy game. However, if you’ve never played in an IDP league before, they might be perplexing and daunting. So we’ll try to simplify things for you.

Each club in most regular fantasy football leagues has the option of picking and starting a team defense. Based on how many points are scored against it and how many huge plays the defensive unit generates, that team defense usually scores points for you. While this style makes for a more manageable squad, the disadvantage is that the performance of team defensive units is largely determined by the offense they are facing rather than the unit’s own competence. After all, what’s the fun in picking a whole team’s half to play as a single unit? Would you ever play in a league if you had to start a team offense instead of a quarterback, running back, wide receiver, and tight end?

Instead of starting a full team defense, the IDP model allows you to start select defensive players. Some IDP leagues begin with only a few defensive players, while others begin with as many as or more defensive players than offensive players. Each defensive player is given a score based on his or her performance. Points are awarded for tackles, sacks, interceptions, passes defended, and, of course, touchdowns. IDP scoring systems are as diverse as offensive scoring systems, therefore understanding the IDP scoring system and lineup requirements of your league is just as important as understanding the offensive side of a fantasy team.

Despite the fact that IDP leagues have existed for a long time, there is no common “standard” scoring formula. Just as there are two primary variations on the offensive side of the ball (PPR and Non-PPR), there are two significant variations on the defensive side of the ball: “tackle heavy” scoring and “sack heavy” scoring.

Tackle-heavy leagues do exactly what they say on the tin: they penalize pass rushers while rewarding tacklers. The biggest benefactors of this scoring system are the 4-3 middle linebackers, weak side linebackers, and safeties. 3-4 outside linebackers are the ones who take the most hits. The 3-4 outside linebackers rarely rack up large tackle totals because they are primarily responsible for bringing down the quarterback. If they don’t get a sack in the game, you’re probably looking at a goose egg, and nothing is more frustrating than a player who gives you zero points for the week, offensively or defensively.

Sack-heavy scoring, on the other hand, rewards gamblers who pick sack specialists. Sack-heavy scoring leagues are defined as those having a sack-to-tackle ratio of 5:1. For example, if a solo tackle is for one point and a sack is worth four, the sack will be worth five points because it counts as a tackle as well. You gain an extra bonus for tackles for loss if you get points for them. To compensate for the one sack, your tackle-heavy linebacker will need to earn five solo tackles. Obviously, you’re looking for players with a lot of promise in both formats.

In an ideal world, you’d utilize a scoring system that strikes a balance and serves the league’s best interests.

To answer this question, you must first determine how many IDPs each club must begin with. In most IDP leagues, three to four IDPs are used. You should definitely choose them late in the draft and carry few, if any, IDP reserves in this situation. Each week, the waiver wire will be strewn with lots of plug-and-play choices. You may easily select an appropriate IDP lineup by looking at weekly rankings from various sites.

IDP leagues with more depth start two defensive linemen, three to four linebackers, and two defensive backs. Some leagues require DEs and DTs to be classified separately rather than as DLs, and CBs and SFs to be listed separately rather than as DBs. Defensive players should be drafted significantly earlier in this format, with some great IDPs being selected as early as the third round, however the fourth or fifth round is a more common starting point for IDPs.

IDP leagues are merely a different version of the same game you’re already playing. It may appear daunting at first since you may not be as familiar with the defensive players as you are with the offensive players. But that’s why we’re here: to assist you learn the IDP game and become as familiar with the defense as you are with the attack. The resources listed below will assist you on your trip.

DLF’s IDP section will feature frequent articles and insight into the life of IDPs.

The DLF Forum’s IDP Discussion is a fantastic resource for connecting with other informed IDP community members.

In ESPN fantasy football, what is offensive player utility?

If the offensive player utility (OP) slot is chosen, team managers have the option of starting any offensive roster space. The OP slot can have a maximum of fifteen starters.

Defensive Schemes

Defensive ends and middle linebackers benefit the most in a 4-3 scheme, at least in terms of IDP value. MLBs tend to have a lot of tackles, while DEs have a lot of sacks. There will be plenty of opportunities for tackles, interceptions, and passes defended for all three linebacker positions, resulting in a high point total for all three.

Outside linebackers are the finest targets in a 3-4 scheme (three defensive linemen, four linebackers). Inside linebackers and defensive linemen will see a lot of tackles, but they won’t see much else. This is valuable, but not as much as sacks or takeaways, depending on your scoring system (more on that later).

Typically, you’ll want to find the majority of your IDP players on a 4-3 team. Those players, notably the LBs and DLs, will be more consistent.

Defensive Linemen

For IDP reasons, defensive ends are preferable than defensive tackles. DEs, at least in 4-3 schemes, are more likely to produce sacks and tackles, while certain DTs, such as Aaron Donald, can also put up large sack numbers. Despite this, unless your league demands a DT, avoid them as a general rule. Start the “IDP phase” of your draft with the linebackers, but if all of the best linebackers have been picked, pivoting to the top-tier DEs is a sensible move. In general, you’ll want one of your team’s top seven or eight DEs because the drop-off might be significant.


In IDP, linebackers are crucial. They can deliver almost anything, from high tackle totals to interceptions, fumble recoveries, and even pass defenses. Even if you don’t get one of the top players when the IDP picks start flying, you’ll still have a chance to draft a highly productive LB if you don’t get one of the top guys when the IDP picks start flying. Acquire a stud if you can better yet, get two studs if you can but don’t forget to mine this position for future value.

A few LB pointers: 4-3 LBs typically have a stronger overall stat mix. Look for linebackers who can play three downs. They aren’t as scarce as “three-down RBs,” but the best are still hard to come by. It goes to reason that the more time a player spends on the field, the more likely he is to contribute to your team’s success. In addition, linebackers on terrible teams are more likely to make tackles.

Defensive Backs

If you don’t need both corners and safeties on your IDP team, fill your DB slot with safeties. Safeties make more tackles on a weekly basis, and since interceptions aren’t guaranteed, focusing on tackles is the superior move with your secondary. Passes defended and takeaways will be a plus for good safeties.

In IDP leagues, a shutdown corner isn’t as good as it is in real life. After all, if a quarterback isn’t throwing the ball his way, he won’t be able to make plays. Kyle Fuller and Patrick Peterson, for example, are both excellent cornerbacks but poor fantasy football performers. Rookie cornerbacks have higher IDP worth than veteran cornerbacks, as quarterbacks will put them to the test until they can consistently remain with a wide receiver. If he can’t, he’ll get tackles; if he can, you’ll get a few interceptions and passes defended.

Top 200 quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, tight ends, D/STs, and kickers


IDP value for rookie defensive players is typically high. We’ve already discussed how rookie DBs can pile up points, but there’s value even at positions where the learning curve isn’t as steep. Look for Arizona’s Zaven Collins or Miami’s Jaelan Phillips to perform well as middle-round IDP picks this season.

One disadvantage of rookies is that they may hit the “rookie wall” later in the season. With the extra game this year, it’s much more plausible. Keep an eye on their output, and if it starts to deteriorate later in the season, go elsewhere.

Is it possible for your flex player to play quarterback?

The number of players who can be starting in the flex position varies by league. Most leagues will only accept running backs or wide receivers, while tight ends and quarterbacks may be allowed in some. Quarterbacks are popular in superflex fantasy leagues because they may be used as a flex position.

In fantasy football, how can defenses lose points?

The points are usually divided down as follows for defensive players: 2 points for a blocked kick. 2 points for safety. 1 point for a sack.

In fantasy football, what is the worst thing a defense can do?

What is the significance of minus-12? In ESPN standard scoring, it’s the absolute worst score a fantasy defense can have. It’s the pinnacle of complete failure. When you hit rock bottom, your shovel breaks in the Mariana Trench of loss.

Should I start with a quarterback or a running back?

Every rule has an exception, and if you’re in one of these leagues, quarterbacks have a higher weighted worth, therefore you’ll need to get them earlier. In both scenarios, the first players off the board will be stud running backs. Tight ends are also valuable due to position scarcity. However, with two quarterbacks in the starting lineup (most superflex leagues will have a QB in that place), there’s suddenly greater motivation to avoid a subpar starter and the Ben DiNuccis of the world in your secondary.

In these leagues, taking Josh Allen, Patrick Mahomes, or Aaron Rodgers late in the first round and into the second round, depending on what other guys are still available, would not be a stretch. At the very least, you won’t want to wait until the fifth round before grabbing your QB1. Following that, it might be a good idea to consider a QB2. Remember that there are only 32 starting quarterbacks in any given week (fewer in most weeks due to byes), yet a productive wide receiver may still be found on the waiver wire in a pinch.

In ESPN fantasy football, what is a flex position?

Note from the editor: This story was first published in July 2010.

For your convenience, we’re bringing it back in archival form.

Every passion and hobby has a unique genesis, a point in time when a person is first exposed to an activity or subculture that they may choose to pursue for the rest of their lives.

My then-technophobic father asked me where the Internet was a few years ago (he’s a doctor, after all), and I told him it was in a building outside of Cleveland. After years of practice, he’s become eBay’s Gordon Gekko, placing precise bids on wooden gnomes, antique beer bottles, and 5-irons (unrelated interests).

The point is that, because to all of the incredibly accessible materials at our disposal, we can all go from novice to expert in a very short amount of time.

From the outside, fantasy football may appear to be a complicated and time-consuming sport, but once you’re immersed in it, you’ll find it to be a rather simple game to master. My goal is to show you how fantasy football works and introduce you to what may be a fun, powerful, and long-lasting activity for you.

The Basics

Fantasy football players are “owners” and “managers” of teams that compete in competitions, earning “fantasy points” based on real football player statistics. The majority of leagues are scored weekly, with teams facing off in a head-to-head matchup on a rotating schedule. The teams with the greatest records at the end of the season advance to the fantasy playoffs (often held from Weeks 14-17 of the NFL schedule).

The idea is to bring together the best productive players from various positions. A quarterback, two running backs, one “flex” player (a slot for either a running back or a wide receiver), two wide receivers, one tight end, one team defense/special teams (you draft the entire Pittsburgh Steelers defense and special teams, for example) and a kicker are required in a standard league. Seven bench places are available to add depth to your lineup. This may appear to be a ridiculously large number of players to handle at once, but as the season progresses, you’ll wish you had even more room on your roster.

The fantasy football season officially begins with the draft. The draft, which is usually held in the weeks preceding up to the NFL season, is where you build your roster from the ground up. The majority of leagues include 10 to 12 teams, and the drafts are held in either “snake” or “auction” methods. You assemble your team and fill out your roster one by one. Many leagues have turned draft day into a festival, with furious trash-talking and friendship becoming staples. Take a few minutes to read Christopher Harris’ insightful take on drafting techniques once you’ve mastered the fundamental rules and settings of fantasy.

Playing the Game

Obviously, you want to win the game. Every permutation of fantasy revolves on numbers. The idea is to maximize production from every starting position on the roster, just as it is on the field. While real-life players put their lives on the line for additional yards, we put our egos, pride, and semi-public humiliation on the line for fantasy glory.

The path to fictitious glory (but still glory) begins, of course, with a clear comprehension of the rules of the league you’re joining. Once you’ve laid the groundwork, you can concentrate on becoming the greatest manager you can be, which will need you to fill a variety of positions.

Manager of Operations: You’ve already spent some time mocking it up and reading other fantasy “nerdery” over the summer. You are the war room on draft day. You and only you are putting together the team. While a draft can take several hours, it can also be completed quickly. While drafting, having a few cheat sheets and some scribbled notes on the side will help focus your decision-making process. Given the attrition of the NFL season, the nature of a fantasy roster generally alters by November and December, even if it’s difficult to imagine in August and September. This means that the quality of your backup players is often just as important as the performance of your “stars” in determining your team’s success. Spend some time getting to know some of the value players, or “sleepers” as the cool kids refer to them.

Transactions on the waiver wire (collection of players who are not owned in a given league) and seeking trades with other managers can have just as much of an impact on your season as the draft process. A GM’s job is never truly finished, much like in real life.

Coach: If the GM’s job is to assess the roster against the entire player market, the coach is expected to make the best judgments for each week. Given your restricted starting spots, you must choose which players to start and which to bench in this capacity. The process of “coaching” a team is ultimately a blend of informed decisions and gut instincts. Some start/sit decisions can be true conundrums, causing handwringing and pacing. But, as a golfer may say, the “stress” of it all is what allows for such a large payout when you succeed.

When is it appropriate for a defensive player to begin drafting?

Patrick Willis, Ray Lewis, and London Fletcher are perennial IDP stars who belong in the high echelon of defensive players and should be drafted early.

You’ll start them more than your offensive depth players, and they’ll produce more points per game than even the best kicker, so anywhere in the mid-to-late rounds is appropriate.

Ray Lewis had nearly as many fantasy points as Vernon Davis, Mike Tolbert, and Anquan Boldin, depending on how your league scored.