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IDP Fantasy Football: Tackle Heavy vs. Big Plays Scoring Pros & Cons

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 25:  Charles Woodson #21 of the Green Bay Packers returns an interception against the Cleveland Browns at Cleveland Browns Stadium on October 25, 2009 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)

With IDP scoring, it boils down to what feels fair to you. But there are two general scoring styles: tackles and big plays. Is Patrick Willis a great defender because he consistently makes tackles every game with the occasional sack and INT? Or is Jared Allen a great defender because he gets all those sacks? Or is Charles Woodson great because he gets INTs and breaks up passes? The reality may just be that they all are good but that doesn’t help make a decision about how to set your scoring settings for IDPs.


Consistent scoring for linebackers and safeties that play in run-support. Elite defensive linemen and cornerbacks are usually in the mix. Tacklers make it easier to predict who will score from week to week. There are fewer large swings in production for tacklers. Makes IDPs worth more since a great linebacker will have at least 120 tackles in a season. Best option for keeper leagues since tackles are far more consistent season to season.

The great majority of defensive linemen and cornerbacks will be fantasy irrelevant. Due to the lack of value at those positions, linebackers become too valuable. The best linebackers are greatly overvalued. Sacks, forced fumbles, passes defended and interceptions are inconsistent from year to year. Drafting a defensive end or a cornerback is risky as there is no telling what the drop-off in production will be.


Relative equal playing field across positions. Rewards highlights which have larger, meaningful impact on game. Opens up the depth at positions like cornerback, defensive end and safety. More surprise players become a factor from week to week. Less predictable scoring, requires more in-depth fantasy analysis. Appropriate scoring for leagues that aren’t PPR and reward four points for passing TDs or 1 point per 50 passing yards.


Huge swings in fantasy production. Could be considered more luck than skill-based, even for fantasy football. Devalues small plays like tackles, which is the vast majority of what defense is all about. “Best” linebackers like Patrick Willis become mediocre. Favors defensive ends and blitzing outside linebackers for sacks. Cornerbacks get interceptions inconsistently and from year-to-year, league leaders in these big play stats change dramatically.

If you’ve set up a fantasy league with high scoring, go ahead and reward points for tackles and big plays. A PPR league that includes six points for passing TDs usually will allow you to reward more points for IDPs across the board. Select what makes sense to you.

– Aim to have the best IDPs to score about the same or a little less than the best team defenses.
– If you prefer big play scoring, use positions instead of flex IDP positions.
– For tackle-heavy leagues, either use one point per total tackle or one point per tackle and one-half point per assisted tackle.
– Be sure to clarify to your league owners the scoring system and get some feedback from them before the draft about what is fair.

Written By: Matt De Lima

About The Author

Matt De Lima is the guy behind the guy behind the guy. Born and raised near Los Angeles, CA during simpler times where the Rams and Raiders both played there. Back when Eddie Murphy was funny and people still listened to Whitney Houston's music. A graduate of Virginia Tech (Go Hokies!), he's played fantasy sports for the last 10 years and began writing down his opinions in 2010. You remember that fantasy football league you were in last season, there was that one team that somehow had Aaron Rodgers, Chris Johnson, and Andre Johnson? Matt was that guy. You should listen to him. Follow his exclusive content @

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