Section V wraps up this strategy guide by discussing how previously learned concepts can be applied to your start-up draft. If you haven’t already, take time to read the prior installments, because what is covered in this section draws on the skills learned in those.
It’s a good idea to sit down before your startup draft and begin a tiered-style rankings list of both offensive and defensive players. It will help you to know where the drop-offs in value at positions come. Fortunately, Footballguys.com has done most of the heavy lifting for you! Jene Bramel has completed LB, DL, and DB tiers for our subscribers.
Beginning Your Tiers
In the event that you would like to create your own customized tiers, a good way to start this journey is to find already existing IDP projections that match up closely with your scoring system and adjust them as needed. Footballguys has customizable projections that can be adjusted for your league. Tiering your list will be somewhat subjective, (the whole process is, really) but you can find “drop-offs” between one player and the next and insert your tier-breaks there. You can assign these based on significant differences in scoring, whether or not the player is in a three-down role, differences in consistency in players, player upside vs. player downside, etc.
|1 J.J. Watt||222.50|
|2 Jason Pierre-Paul||159.00|
|3 Robert Quinn||157.25|
|4 Chandler Jones||153.00|
|5 Carlos Dunlap||152.50|
|6 Rob Ninkovich||144.00|
|7 Calais Campbell||127.75|
|8 Everson Griffen||127.75|
|9 Cameron Wake||127.50|
|10 Ezekiel Ansah||125.75|
For the purposes of illustration, suppose you wanted to tier the top-10 defensive linemen for 2015 in Footballguys Standard Scoring based on John Norton's projections. Looking at the chart above, you can see that Watt is clearly in a tier of his own, as he is 63.5 points above the nearest competitor. The players in the Pierre-Paul through Ninkovich grouping project to score rather similarly, placing them squarely in tier two. There is a drop-off of 16.25 points from Ninkovich to Campbell, so Campbell would be the beginning of a third tier. Campbell through Wake score very similarly, so they would round out that third tier.
Late Round Talent Emerges
If you’ve done your due diligence with regard to talent evaluation and tiering your players, you will discover that some of those second- and third-tier IDP players will be there deep into your draft. If the drop-off between the two is minimal, it makes sense to wait on taking them and stockpile your offensive positions.
Example: In a 2014 IDP tackle-heavy league startup draft, you used tiering methods. You identified that Jamie Collins Sr was breaking out at the end of 2013 and possessed LB2 upside. You took Collins in the 23rd round of this particular rookie draft. For context, first-tier IDP players had started to go off the board in the 8th round. While others loaded rosters with IDPs, you were able to stock up on offensive players such as Emmanuel Sanders, Kelvin Benjamin, Cody Latimer, Kenny Stills, Travis Kelce, Dwayne Allen, and Paul Richardson Jr.
Stashing For Success
If you feel really confident in your ability to be a waiver wire hawk and stream and play matchups, you can even get away with not taking IDPs in the draft (particularly at DL or CB in typical scoring settings). You can use the extra spots to hold super-deep offensive sleepers through the end of the preseason to see if they flash. Before week one begins, you can trade or cut guys who didn’t pan out and pick up your streamers.
Section V Takeaway: You’ve done your homework. You are now more knowledgeable than the other guy about IDPs, scarcity, redraft approach, and matchup streaming. It’s time to go out there, apply this knowledge, and DOMINATE YOUR LEAGUE!