Top IDP Fantasy Football Players for the Playoffs

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Individual Defensive Player (IDP) leagues have become more and more popular each year, and while many fantasy owners out there are stocking up on playoff skill position players like Aaron Rodgers and LeSean McCoy, there are likely some out there craving the knowledge of who to pick in their IDP league.

In my fourth season of action, I remain absolutely hooked on IDP leagues and I was fortunate enough to land Jerrod Mayo and Brian Urlacher this year. I stole Donte Whitner late and got lucky with DeAngelo Hall, which gave me my second consecutive IDP victory and ensured that I’ll be doing this every season. As we look into the NFL playoffs, those brave people out there embarking on playoff IDP leagues must look somewhere for advice, and there’s nowhere better than! Therefore, the following are some of the top IDP prospects to look at for the NFL playoffs.



In many IDP leagues, linebackers are the cream of the crop, the top point getters, and the go-to-guys for fantasy success. With studs like Patrick Willis, Stephen Tulloch, and Chad Greenway home for the playoffs, who do you turn to?


Jerrod Mayo, New England – Mayo was just a monster this season, and is probably the reason I won my league. He led the league with 175 total tackles (16 more than the second place Stephen Tulloch), and he added 2 sacks and a forced fumble. In just his third season, Mayo has become a star in New England and has become the anchor for the Patriots young and inexperienced defense. He has over 100 total tackles in each of his first three years in the league and he’s quickly become an elite IDP fantasy option.

Ray Lewis, Baltimore – Every year, I expect Lewis to begin his decline as he’s now 35 years old and has logged 15 years in the NFL. Every year, I’m surprised that the decline doesn’t come. Lewis once again racked up loads of tackles (139 total) and proved that he’s still capable of making big plays by adding 2 sacks, 2 fumbles, and 2 interceptions as well. Lewis is feared by opposing offenses and he always seems to ramp up the intensity when it comes to the playoffs. He remains a steady fantasy option.

James Harrison, Pittsburgh – Harrison gets this spot for his tremendous playmaking ability. While his teammate Lawrence Timmons gets more tackles, Harrison makes more plays than just about any linebacker in the league. This season, Harrison managed to reach 100 total tackles but he also added 10 and a half sacks, 7 passes defended, 2 interceptions, and a stunning 10 forced fumbles! There are other playmaking linebackers to consider (Matthews, Hali, etc.) but for my money Harrison is the most complete fantasy option and a player who dials it up during the playoffs.

Other linebacker prospects to be noted: Desmond Bishop, Brian Urlacher, Lawrence Timmons, Derrick Johnson, Curtis Lofton, LaMarr Woodley, Tamba Hali, and Clay Matthews.


Defensive Line

Defensive line players aren’t traditionally the cream of the IDP fantasy crop, but this year several top linemen from the season will be in the playoffs as well. I would suggest getting a hold of one of them if your league requires you to start a defensive lineman.


Trent Cole, Philadelphia – Cole is always a top option, and even though he battled some injury issues this season, he still finished with 10 sacks and 65 tackles. He has an especially good match-up this weekend going up against an underwhelming Green Bay offensive line. Cole is a player I usually try to put in my lineup because he’s a defensive end who often puts up OLB numbers. He’s a very solid fantasy option.

Robert Mathis, Indianapolis – Mathis finally started getting the credit he deserves a couple of years ago with some Pro Bowl recognition, but most people still view Dwight Freeney as the guy most notable on the Indy defense. In fantasy however, Mathis racks up just as many sacks but gets a lot more tackles. Teams run more often behind the right tackle, and that’s exactly where Mathis lines up. Mathis put up 60 total tackles and 11 sacks this season, which was just sick for a DE. If you can secure him in your IDP league, you won’t have to worry about the DE position.

John Abraham, Atlanta – Abraham is a relentless pass rusher who managed to get 13 sacks this year and 40 tackles. Most impressive is that he did it in only 13 starts this season. Heading into the playoffs, the Falcons will rely on Abraham to make plays from his rush end position, which he’s fully capable of doing. In addition to being fifth in the league in sacks this season, he forced two fumbles and added an interception. Abraham is worth having on your IDP squad.

Other defensive linemen to be noted: Haloti Ngata, Dwight Freeney, Will Smith, Chris Clemmons, Julius Peppers, and Glenn Dorsey.



The value of secondary players depends greatly on the league you’re in. Most leagues favor tackles, so these are the players that I’ll focus on here. Sometimes a sleeper safety will rack up enough points to win your league for you (as Donte Whitner did for me), so be meticulous when drafting your secondary starters.

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