Welcome to The Huddle’s Deep Sleeper Report for Week 2. Here, we’ll take a look at a few linebackers, defensive linemen and defensive backs that are “one injury away” (that is, a backup to a stud and just one injury away from being a fantasy somebody), or players worth a look in extremely deep leagues. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to discuss the players in further detail or recommend a name or two. For purposes of this article, we’re pulling players that are free agents in a 12-team dynasty league.
Stephen Nicholas (ATL): While he does play the least desirable LB spot, he does have a good deal of talent. Rookie Sean Weatherspoon is technically the starter, but either Spoon or Nicholas could take the wily vet Mike Peterson’s spot once he hangs up his cleats. Should Spoon take the spot, Nicholas would once again have a chance at a starting spot.
Week 1 stats: 4 solo tackles, 1 assisted tackle
JoLonn Dunbar (NOS): The no-name with the funny first name is the starting SLB for the Saints. As discussed above, the SLB spot isn’t the best in terms of accruing fantasy stats, but Dunbar has shown some promise and Scott Fujita made the most of the Saint SLB spot, earning decent fantasy worth for a few years.
Week 1 stats: 4 solo tackles, 3 assisted tackles
James Anderson (CAR): Dan Connor is a no-duh add as the starting MLB for the Panthers. Anderson, yet another SLB recommended here, had a solid opening week for 2010 and should be on your radar. He’s posted decent fantasy stats in the past and there may just be enough stats to go around for all three Panther LBs.
Week 1 stats: 7 solo tackles, 3 assisted tackles, 1 INT, 1 pass defensed
Other to Consider: Jason Hunter (DEN)
Red Bryant (DE – SEA): Chris Clemons may be the better DE and Bryant isn’t built like your typical DE, but fact remains that Bryant had the better start to the 2010 season and is at least worth keeping your eye on.
Week 1 stats: 3 solo tackles, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble
Juqua Parker (DE – PHI): Parker’s been a mainstay on many of The Huddle’s sleeper lists for a few years now. With the addition of Darryl Tapp, Parker took a back seat fantasy-wise to Tapp and the stud Trent Cole. However, it’s been the play of rookie Brandon Graham that has limited Parker’s potential, not Tapp’s. Either way, Parker continues to show promise and could definitely be an option in deep IDP dynasty leagues.
Week 1 stats: 2 solo tackles, 2 sacks
Other to Consider: Fred Robbins (DT - STL)
Eric Smith (S – NYJ): We highlighted another Jet safety here last week (Jim Leonhard) and he had a solid Week 1. So too did Smith, who is sharing time with the veteran Brodney Poole at FS and can actually back up on the strong side too. The Jet D is obviously quite good and its IDPs will have value this year and in coming seasons too.
Week 1 stats: 7 solo tackles, 3 assisted tackles
Bradley Fletcher (CB – STL): Fletcher is purely a stash-away type of DB. Being such a deep position, it seems there’s always a bevy of potential on just about any waiver wire. We like the fact that he plays on a defense that will continually give up chunks of yardage. We don’t like the fact that he is less than a year past ACL surgery, but do like that he started the 2010 season off well.
Week 1 stats: 5 solo tackles, 1 fumble recovery
Other to Consider: Jason McCourty (CB – TEN)