Adjusting IDP Scoring to Level the Playing Field

published 08/01/19 10:47:47 PM EDT
by Justin Varnes

One of my pet peeves in #IDP land is how often I see leagues where the defensive players barely move the needle on a league’s scoring. Some of this comes from some antiquated scoring systems. As innovations on the offensive side like PPR, and bonuses for long TDs and reaching a yardage goal became the norm, too many IDP scoring systems were being left behind.

There’s an easy way to tell if your league has an issue with IDP scoring. Take a look at the top 100 in FP for your league. If there are fewer than 10 IDPs on that list, your league could use some sprucing up. If none of them crack the top 100…oh boy. And the bigger issue is that drafting players like Luke Kuechly and Bobby Wagner – superstars on the field – might feel like drafting a kicker. Errr, no offense to any kickers who may be reading this.

If this is the case in some of your leagues, let’s flip that script.

Mingle with the Offense

I’ll show you my favorite scoring below, but what really matters is how your league scores offense and making sure IDPs are mixed in at every level with the QBs, WRs, RBs, and TEs. (Again, sorry kickers…I’m sure someone will write you fellas an article one day!) That’s all that matters.

A Suggested Scoring System

Below is my favorite IDP scoring system. It creates a more even playing field not only in comparison to offensive players but also with each other. DLs and DBs can hang a little closer to those 3-down LBs who normally dominate IDP leaderboards. (After all, they’re the QBs of the IDP world).

Solo Tackle1.5 pts
Assisted Tackle0.75 pts
Tackle for Loss3 pts
Sack4 pts
INT5 pts
Pass Defensed2pts
Forced Fumble2 pts
Fumble Recovery2 pts
Blocked Punt4 pts
TD6 pts
Some Points of Clarification
  • Some fantasy sites give credit for a tackle AND a tackle for loss (also called a “stuff”). If your site does, then adjust the TFL to 1.5 pts. The idea is that we want a tackle behind the line of scrimmage (in essence a “sack” of a non-QB, or a running QB) to equal about 3 pts, or twice what a normal tackle is worth.

  • I prefer giving credit for the forced fumble, even if the IDP doesn’t get the fumble recovery. That way if they do both, they get credit for a “big play,” which is worth 4 pts, but if not, they’re still rewarded for forcing the fumble.

  • Speaking of big plays, I prefer weighting most significant plays at 4 pts, which pairs nicely with the 1.5 pts for a Solo Tackle.

  • INTs are a little more valuable to help our DBs out. That plus 2 pts per PD can noticeably raise the elite DBs into offensive scoring territory. It also helps out talented CBs who don’t get as much tackle opportunity as some of their less-talented CBs. I hate penalizing a player for being good at real football.

Now let’s take a look at an example of this scoring system in action. Below is a selected list of the top scorers from a league I ran last year with some of my Twitter followers to test out the EDGE designation. I used the above IDP scoring system and a typical PPR scoring system for offensive players.

Saquon Barkley – 387 FPTS

Darius Leonard – 378 FPTS

Luke Kuechly – 321 FPTS

Michael Thomas – 317 FPTS

James White – 278 FPTS

Jamal Adams – 272 FPTS

Aaron Donald – 227 FPTS

Philip Lindsay – 225 FPTS

When scored like this, it becomes more important to draft your elite IDPs in the early-to-middle rounds, just as it does for some of your top offensive weapons.

If you are a commissioner of a league, it’s easy to take a peek at your top scorers and make some adjustments if needed. If you don’t run your league, consider using the top scorers as evidence as to why your league might need an IDP facelift. At one point, there was no PPR. And before that, QBs got 6 points per TD pass. Some leagues adjusted to level their playing field. It might be time to do the same on the other side of the ball.

If you enjoyed this article and/or this free site please consider donating to the Fantasy Free Agents so we can continue to produce quality content. Donations are accepted at the following link:

Justin Varnes
Justin Varnes


When he isn't glued to the TV every Sunday in the Fall, Justin plays drums professionally and drives his daughter to basketball practices. A Jacksonville, FL native, Justin currently resides in Atlanta, GA. Justin grew up idolizing Dan Marino (the Jags hadn't made it to Jax yet) and his appreciation of defensive players started with the '85 Bears and cemented with former Dolphins LB Zach Thomas.