One thing I’ve always put stock in for fantasy football is consistency. If my player is supposed to be a RB1, how often does he actually score enough points to be ranked as such in any given week. Other fantasy sites have consistency rankings for offensive players that are based off of certain stat milestones and spit out a percentage rank that give you a clear indication of the “odds” of your player performing as you expect him to. It’s a great way to make decisions on who to draft/trade for when you view two players as equals otherwise.
I got to thinking, why not do the same with defense? Sure, there is a greater measure of chance when it comes to predicting defensive stats. Plays are rarely designed to incorporate defensive players into the game (with the exception of blitzes or robber zones); in fact, often the opposite occurs as the offense gameplans to keep the ball away from an impact player on the defense. IDPs are usually matched up man-on-man or assigned gaps or zones and only the offense determines where the ball goes. In that respect, defense is rather difficult to predict. That being said, I still think that the cream regularly rises to the top regardless of how the offense chooses to address the defense it is playing against. I believe that scheme and talent have a greater part in determining IDP production than sheer opportunity, although opportunity is a big contributor.