Fantasy Football 101: Choose Your Defensive Style

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There are many customizations that can be made once you set up your new league in the user site that you’ve chosen. Though before you start getting into customizing the scoring, a major decision needs to be made: IDP or nah?  Read on for an explanation…

Team Defensive System

The default defensive style that is chosen for you when you start the league is a team defensive system.

This system calculates the total stats for a NFL team’s defense: total sacks, total points allowed, any defensive points scored. If an opposing team runs up a large score against this group of defensive players, negative points are attributed, even if that team wins the game.

For example, if the Giants play the Cowboys, and you play the Giants’ defense and their team wins 47-40 you may be attributed zero points due to the defense not being able to control the game. This defensive system is a matchup-based choice; each week you research which strong defense is going against a weaker offense.

There are examples of poorer playing teams with good defenses losing a low scoring game, but the defenses having high scoring performances.

This system of defense is less in-depth than IDP (Individual Defensive Players).

Individual Defensive Players

The structure of IDP lends itself to more strategy in the fantasy football game. It opens your team up to the ability to have more elite scoring football players, and takes away the negative effects of a team running up the score.

The standard setup for IDP is to have two defensive lineman, two defensive backs, and two open defense positions. You can track the stats of defensive players in the similar format of offensive players, the benefit being that you can have great performing players on teams that are very shoddy or even defenses that don’t do well for their teams.

The best strategy for good players in IDP is to look at teams where their defenses are on the field more often than not. This past season I ran with NaVorro Bowman from the 49ers and maintained high production from him, mostly because the 49ers were awful this year and he had ample time to get sacks and tackles.

The IDP system adds a great amount of strategy to fantasy football over team defense. Adjusting the scoring can even make a good defense equal in value to a good offense, causing you to massively blow out your opponent.

Thanks for reading!  Look out for the next installment in this series, where I will look at quarterback strategy and recruiting manager to play in your fantasy league.

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About the Author

Nathan Cheatham
Nathan Cheatham grew up in downriver Detroit, and after much traveling landed in Hartford, CT. A journalism major, he has been writing news for the past four years. You can see examples of it at and contact him at A newer football fan, Cheatham became a Detroit Lions fan soon after the 0-16 season. An avid Fantasy Football enthusiast, he has been running his own personal league for nearly 10 years. Regardless of what some might say, he is convinced the Lions will have Super Bowl Victory next year!