The Complete Guide to Dominating IDP has been a wild ride. We have hit on Scoring and basic IDP Draft Strategy. Taken an in-depth dive into Defensive Linemen, Linebackers, and Defensive Backs. We've reviewed some Advanced IDP Concepts and discussed In-Season Lineup Management.
IDP Guide, Part 1: Scoring
IDP Guide, Part 2: Basic Draft Strategy
IDP Guide, Part 3: Drafting Defensive Linemen
IDP Guide, Part 4: Drafting Linebackers
IDP Guide, Part 5: Drafting Defensive Backs
IDP Guide, Part 6: Advanced IDP Concepts
IDP Guide, Part 7: In-Season Lineup Management
We have come a long way. But there's still a little farther to go. Because no matter how well you draft, the time is going to come when injuries are going to strike your roster. When you'll have to consider moving on from an underperforming player. Or when the opportunity for an upgrade avails itself on the waiver wire or via a trade.
Drafting a competitive team is an important part of IDP success. So is setting a winning lineup. But improving the roster as the season wears on is equally so. In fact, making the right add (or drop) can be what puts a team over the top and wins a championship.
And when dealing with in-season roster moves in IDP leagues, there is one tip that looms large over all the rest.
Do NOT Make Panic Drops
Every year, there are highly-drafted IDPs who come out of the gate with a clunker in Week 1. And every year, there are players who explode in the opener, whether due to a favorable IDP matchup or just plain old-fashioned luck. And then, once Week 1 is in the books, I will receive a panicked tweet or email from frustrated or worried IDP managers that say, "Should I drop Danielle Hunter for Preston Smith?" Or "Should I drop Eric Kendricks for Nicholas Morrow?"
The answer to both of those questions is "Hell no." The Minnesota Vikings edge-rusher is ranked 30 spots higher than the Green Bay Packers edge-rusher for a reason. Same with the Los Angeles Chargers linebacker and the Philadelphia Eagles linebacker.
Those are panic drops. And they are almost always a terrible idea.
One bad game is just that—one bad game. Even elite defensive linemen like Myles Garrett of the Cleveland Browns occasionally have a game with just a tackle or two—or none. Top linebackers like Nick Bolton of the Kansas City Chiefs occasionally have just a few stops—even in favorable matchups. High-end defensive backs like Jeremy Chinn of the Carolina Panthers can fall victim to a bag game script and post just a couple of tackles. It just happens.
If you panic drop a player, it's guaranteed that another manager will pick them up. And when that manager uses your player to beat you like a drum three weeks later, you're going to feel, um, bad.
Additionally, while there will always be a few undrafted players each year who go on to become viable IDP starters (especially at defensive back), more often than not those players weren't drafted for a reason. Over the first month of the 2022 season, Houston Texans edge-rusher Jerry Hughes was seventh in fantasy points among defensive linemen. Over the second half of the season, he was 67th. Week 1's waiver wire treasure could be trash in short order.
Guru Tip: Those that have been Footballguys customers for a while will be no strangers to the old cliché that Jene Bramel and I always use when it comes to the first month of the season. There is a thin line between patience and stupidity. Knowing where that line is can make your season.
I live by a golden rule in September. Do not make a move based just on box scores. Far too many managers wake up on the Tuesday after week one games are complete and put in waiver claims for whoever the highest-scoring free agent might be. Don't be that manager because that approach rarely wins championships.
Know When to Say When
Of course, the time will come when one bad game turns into two. Then into three. Then into four. And at that point, you have to ask whether that player can break out of their funk and rebound or whether it's time to consider moving on and searching for a replacement on the waiver wire.
With defensive linemen, there are a few considerations—while bearing in mind that this is the most high-variance position in IDP. Is the player in question still posting hurries and QB hits but just not getting home? Have their snaps been scaled back for some reason? Are they nicked up? Being able to differentiate between a temporary slump and a troubling trend can mean the difference between whether a drop is justified.
With linebackers, there's just one real factor to consider—snaps. If a linebacker's snap counts have dropped from 85 percent to 65 percent for multiple weeks, then that's a problem. But if a linebacker's snap counts have remained relatively stable, odds are good that he'll rebound at some point.
At defensive back, snaps are a consideration. But so are where those snaps are being spent. Is a safety we thought would spend more time in the box instead of playing deep? Have the big plays dried up for a player who relies on them for fantasy production?
Finally, take a look at the matchups. It's possible that an IDP just hit a bad patch of opponents who don't allow many fantasy points to their respective position.
For what's it worth, my level of patience with IDPs is usually proportionate to both what it cost me to acquire that player and the value of their position. Linebackers get a longer leash than edge-rushers. Edge-rushers get a longer leash than defensive backs. That last position doesn't get much of a leash at all—one of the reasons I advise not investing big-time draft capital in IDP's most volatile position is that it makes it easier to cut bait if a guy isn't pulling his weight.
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