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Defensive Scheme Matters in IDP
Steve Gallo
September 2, 2011
 

Back in 2009, RB Chris Johnson set a new NFL record for yards from scrimmage.  His 2,509 yards bested former record holder Marshall Faulk’s 2,429 yards.  Johnson also became the 6th player ever to rush for over 2,000 yards in a season.  Then prior to the start of the 2010 season Johnson went public with a lofty goal, to break Eric Dickerson’s NFL rushing record (2,105) by running for 2,500 yards.  Yes, 2,500 yards, but then he did hedge a bit saying he would at least be happy if he broke the record.  Well, Johnson came up short of his goal, rushing for 1,364 yards.  This year Johnson was not making predictions about what he would run for, instead he was holding out for a new contract, which he did get.  Now just imagine that while he was holding out that Johnson put on 40 pounds and lost all of his speed and elusiveness.  When he gets to camp, it is apparent that he will not be able to be the teams feature RB so rather than not have him on the field, considering all the coin the Titans spent on him they decide to move him to fullback to let him block for rookie Jamie Harper.  Fantasy owners would be outraged to say the least because as a lead blocking fullback Johnson would effectively lose all of his fantasy value.  That scenario may seem far-fetched but in the IDP world, it is an unfortunate reality, not the part about coming back out of shape but the position change.  As an example, there is David Thornton.  In 2003, David Thornton was playing weak side linebacker (WLB) for the Colts and he had a phenomenal season ranking as the #2 fantasy linebacker (20.4 points/game {PPG}) after posting 112 solo tackles, 33 assists, 1 sack and 3 passes defended.  The following season Thornton moved to the strong side linebacker (SLB) position and ranked as the 37th overall linebacker, recording only 69 solo tackles and 23 assists.

When it comes to offensive players, it is pretty easy to tell if a running back is on a run first team or if a wide receiver is on a pass friendly team but when it comes to IDP the different defensive schemes can make a dramatic difference in a player’s value.  Before we get into those differences here is a brief summary on each of the base defenses that NFL teams will be employing this year.

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