by Jim O'Dell
September 18, 2003
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    Fantasy football has been a passion of mine for many years now.  I was turned on to fantasy football by my next door neighbor while just a sophomore in high school.  It’s been tweaked over the years, but the scoring system his league used is still the basis of the league I commission today.

    One thing I thought my league needed was individual defensive players.  Being a huge New York Giants fan during the heyday of Lawrence Taylor, I thought to myself,  “Wouldn’t it be great to have LT on my squad?”  So, I devised my own defensive scoring system (which looking at it today, heavily favors the defensive players).  I always loved defense, and a favorite quote of mine is “Defense wins championships.”  Just look at the Steel Curtain defenses of the Pittsburgh championship teams of the 70’s, the 85 Bears, the 86 and 90 Giants, the Ravens in 2000, and most recently, the current Super Bowl champions, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

    If you are wanting to incorporate individual defensive players (IDP’s) into your league, there are a few things you need to consider.

    First, you need to create scoring categories and points for each one.  In my league, we keep track of tackles (which you can break down into solo and assisted if you’d like), sacks, interceptions, forced fumbles, fumble recoveries, safeties, and of course, touchdowns.

    Second, create how many players you’d like to start in your lineup. You can choose any combination that you want to.  Most leagues use two defensive linemen, three linebackers, and three defensive backs, which include the safety positions.  In my dynasty league, we start six players:  two linemen, two linebackers, and two defensive backs.

    IDP’s create more realism for the guys in my dynasty league.  Not only am I watching for Jamal Lewis to bust a big run, or Brad Johnson to throw a pair of touchdowns, or Eric Moulds’s catching that long bomb from Drew Bledsoe, but I am also watching for Ray Lewis to crush the opposing quarterback for that sack, or Lawyer Milloy to pick off that errant pass and run it back for a score.  It simply makes watching a football game more complete, and more fun!

    If you are as hardcore about fantasy football as I am, then consider adding IDP’s to your league.  You won’t regret it!

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