One of the more frustrating aspects of IDP is when a defensive end gets re-designated to an outside linebacker. Last season, IDPers laughed endlessly when Ty Montgomery was re-designated from WR to RB and the non-IDP fantasy world nearly passed out from panic. Welcome to our world every year, when we never know if Khalil Mack will be a DE or an OLB, or we have to scramble when several players move from 4-3 teams to 3-4 teams.
It might not seem like a big deal, but if a player like Mack is an OLB (and thus an “LB”), he can’t keep up with other LBs who stay back and rack up tackles like Luke Kuechly. It’s just not a fair comparison from a fantasy perspective.
At some point, the idea was floated that – since literally the only difference between some players is that they either put their hand on the ground (DE) or they don’t (OLB) – perhaps we could group these types of players under one umbrella. Thus, the “EDGE” player was born.
An EDGE player (more commonly known as an edge rusher) is any player who lines up outside the offensive tackles whose job it is to set the edge and/or go after the QB. These players generally rack up 5-15 sacks and 30-70 tackles per year. A 3-4 defense uses their OLBs for this job, but a 4-3 defense uses their DEs.
This season, ESPN has introduced the EDR as a position designation for an EDGE rusher. This is the first big step in seeing this designation become a reality for IDP leagues. And while there will be some bumps and bruises in the correct implementation of the EDGE designation, this is a good start.
Perhaps this brief example will show why this designation can bring fantasy relevance to some great football players:
If we take last year’s players and install the EDGE designation…
Now THAT looks like a top-10 list of dominant football players who belong together. See? We’re all about bringing folks together. Miller and Mack should be at the same cookout. A cookout where Jared Allen (DE) and DeMarcus Ware (OLB) should be the old men asleep in the Lay-Z-Boys while Dante Fowler (DE) and T.J. Watt (OLB) run around in the backyard.
I’m not really sure where that was going, but the point is: These guys all have the same job. And the implementation of the EDGE position in fantasy could prevent great football players like Miller and Clowney from wasting away on the waiver wire because they can’t compete with the tackling LBs.
It’s not all sunshine and roses just yet. There’s an art to selecting which players are actually EDGE players. For example, not every OLB is an edge rusher. Thomas Davis is an OLB, but he’s certainly not an edge rusher (with rare exceptions depending on the play calling). A lot of DEs on 3-4 defenses aren’t edge rushers (that’s what their OLBs are for). Some linemen and linebackers bounce around a lot and sometimes play the edge, but other times rotate inside. It’s likely that it will take a few years to create a standard for selecting the group of players who truly belong in this category.
Also, if you wanted to add the EDGE (or EDR on espn.com) designation to your IDP league, do you eliminate a position? Or just add the EDGE? Replacing the DE or DL slot means you may lose out on the chance to use some monster DLs.
There are certainly some bugs to iron out (likely through trial and error), but at least there’s hope that some of the most exciting football players to watch can become fantasy relevant through this innovation.
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Initially a subscriber to Fantasy Guru, Justin became the company’s IDP Analyst in 2015. He produces both preseason and in-season content geared towards IDPers, including weekly defensive player previews. Follow him on Twitter at @downwithIDP.