This week’s article focuses on those players who line up opposite the offensive line, the Defensive Ends (DF) and Defensive Tackles (DT) of the IDP realm. These players can rack up the tackles for your defensive squad, and offer some big-play production, though generally less in that format than last week’s subject, linebackers, and those still to be featured the last half of the month, the defensive backfield performers.

To repeat the first suggestion set forth last week, you will be benefited immensely by examining and comprehending your league settings intimately. This will allow you to take full advantage of any idiosyncrasies that your commissioner or the platform your league plays within have inserted in your league’s scoring system. Once you have studied the settings, you should be able to determine what on-field results are most valuable for defensive players. 

Essentially, there are three types of IDP leagues: tackle-oriented, big-play or hybrid schemes. Those three league formats are fairly self-explanatory, but in short, tackle-oriented leagues reward heavily for tackles collected, while big-play leagues compensate for interceptions (INT), sacks, fumbles forced (FF) and fumbles recovered (FR). Hybrid IDP leagues combine both those systems, remunerating in an even-handed manner for IDP that either tackle a ton or shake things up on the field by generating turnovers or loss of yardage. For an example of a hybrid scoring system, the following point structure is one used in certain leagues that I have participated in over the years:

Scoring Category

Points Awarded

Solo Tackle (or Total Tackles)

1 point

Assisted tackle

1/2 point


4 points


6 points

Pass defended

1 point

Fumble forced

4 point

Fumble recovered

2 points


2 points

Blocked FG/PAT/Punt

6 points

All defensive TDs

6 points

One additional proposition is that touchdowns are generally set at a standard six points, no matter how achieved.

Reiterating the second suggestion put forth last week: Do not to get caught up in any one player that will make or break your draft. There will (almost) always be another player that can provide the same or nearly the same results as that player that your opponent drafted before you had the opportunity to select him. Instead, you can improve your confidence and provide yourself with some peace of mind by grouping your IDP into tiers as part of your draft preparation. Figure out, based upon whatever projections you gather from the experts or that you compile yourself, which players are relatively comparable in the overall fantasy production they will provide you over the course of the NFL season. Then, when you are in the middle of your draft, you can keep track of when the set of IDP in a particular category (LB/DL/DB) is being diminished to a point where you will have to settle for lesser value if you do not jump into the pool this round.

To aid in your drafting efforts, and understanding that no rookies are included in the tables below, and further realizing that these projections are subject to adjustment over the next few months, below are tables that set forth the top 25 defensive linesmen for tackle-oriented, big-play and hybrid leagues, with rough tiers (1/2/3 and in two sets, 4) within the groups. 

Over the course of the next couple of weeks, we will cover defensive backs, safeties and cornerbacks, in separate articles, in the same fashion. Once the draft takes place, rookies as appropriate will be included in the tables.

Tackle-Oriented DLs

Big-Play DLs

Hybrid-League DLs

The big plays that DLs provide are generally sacks and forced fumbles, and as would follow from forcing the ball out of a ball carrier's hands, fumble recovery. Due to the nature of the position, therefore, you will see more DTs as being valued in Tackle-Oriented leagues than either of the other two formats. If you are not playing in a Tackle-Oriented league, and your setting require a DT slot to be filled in your active roster, act fast to pick up a top DT over the DEs that are available, due to position scarcity.

As ever, godspeed and best of luck in your fantasy endeavors. If you have any questions regarding IDP, or fantasy football in general, you can send an inquiry to for a personalized suggestion (or two, if the spirit moves).