More leagues are testing the boundaries by adding IDP (or Individual Defensive Players). Sadly, some owners may view the value of IDP somewhere in the range of the TE or K position, arguing that IDP just doesn’t matter.
They may simply print up an ECR ranking of IDP players. Or lazily use the projected rankings of the host web site for their league. While there is nothing wrong with using either option, a little more research may give you an edge in the IDP realm moving forward – And what fantasy owner isn’t looking for an edge?
For instance, some experts will look at the last 8 weeks of a season to see which offensive players finished the strongest. Going into the 2016 season, this has led some owners to place a higher value on offensive players such as RB David Johnson, WR Doug Baldwin, and QB Russell Wilson who tore it up in their last 8 games of 2015.
So why not do the same for our defensive counterparts? While IDP scoring can vary from league to league, the basic premise here is to highlight the IDP players that finished 2015 the strongest.
So let’s look at the last 8 weeks of the season – The “Ocho” – which is in homage to a scene from the movie Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story.
Defensive Lineman (DL)
The chart below shows the top 15 DL to finish 2015. The first column shows where they ranked at the end of the year.
Oliver Vernon (NYG) finished 45th among all IDP. But the last 8 weeks of the season he was averaging 12.4 points per week (or 3rd best). Had he maintained that all season Vernon would have finished 8th overall.
Not far behind was Demarcus Lawrence (DAL) who finished 52nd among IDP. The last 8 weeks Lawrence averaged 12.1 points per week (or 4th best). Calculating Lawrence’s 12.1 points for 16 weeks, he jumps to 9th overall, right behind Vernon (above).
Honorable mention should also go to Jason Pierre-Paul (NYG). If you recall, he literally blew off a couple of fingers on his hand in a fireworks incident and missed the first 8 games. While he finished 258th in IDP scoring, in his final 8 games, he averaged 8.4 points per game which was putting him in the 63rd overall spot in a perfect world.
More was expected from Lamarr Houston (CHI) when he joined the Bears in 2014. He may have shown some of that in the last 8 weeks. While Houston finished 105th overall among IDP, had he maintained his 8-game pace of 10.3 points for all 16, he would have finished 27th.
His teammate Willie Young, who just signed a 2-year extension, was next with 9.9 points in the last 8 games of 2015. Young needs to stay healthy, but he could project to a top 30 LB.
Defensive Backs (DB)
A player to watch may be Davon House (JAC). In the last 8 weeks, House was the 6th-best DB averaging 12.5 points per week. House finished 43rd overall, yet had he managed his 12.5 average for all 16 games, House vaults to the 9th spot overall.
Morgan Burnett (GB) missed much of the first 8 games, but his last 8 averaged 11.4 points per game. At that pace in a full season, Burnett is looking at the 17th spot overall, just a few decimal points away from the low teens.
Honorable mention and a player to watch may be free agent Will Allen. The 32-year old was released from the Steelers, but Allen had the 3rd-best DB points per game. If he wins a starting role, he could be a nice late round IDP sleeper.
Keep in mind that a review of the last 8 games is no guarantee for 2016 success. But DL Aaron Donald (LA) finished 2014 just as strong as some of these players, and Donald kept going in the 2015 season finishing 8th overall.
For additional football rankings from the top sites on the web, head on over to Fantasy Rundown.