Welcome to this week's Deep Sleeper Report. 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.
Rob Ninkovich (NEP): Is Ninkovich the next “Mike Vrabel”, do-everything LB for the Pats? Could be. Worth a shot. He’s already filled up the box score nicely thus far in the 2010 season and could be a solid bye-week filler in larger leagues.
Season stats: 11 solo tackles, 2 INTs, 1 sack
Akin Ayodele (BUF): This is really reaching deep into the pool. Ayodele has posted back-to-back good efforts and could provide the Bill defense with a consistent veteran presence if Poz or Andra Davis were to get injured again.
Week 4 stats: 4 solo tackles, 6 assisted tackles
Clark Haggans (ARI): With Gerald Hayes still out, a couple Card LBs have stepped up nicely. Haggans has had 3 out of 4 games with double digit fantasy points.
Season stats: 17 solo tackles, 1 sack, 1 pass defensed
Other to Consider: Takeo Spikes (SFO)
Kenyon Coleman (DE – CLE): Coleman’s a wily vet that has shown he can make solos from the edge while getting the occasional sack. In extremely deep leagues, he’s worth a look as a backup.
Week 4 stats: 3 solo tackles, 2 fumble recoveries, 1 sack
Derek Landri (DT – CAR): Landri was the “other to consider” last week, and he came through with 10 fantasy points. No one on the Panther line really seems to be stepping up, but Landri appears to be gobbling up runners pretty well.
Season stats: 15 solo tackles
Other to Consider: Spencer Johnson (DE - BUF)
Craig Dahl (S – STL): With O.J. Atogwe nursing a sore thigh, Dahl moved into the starting SS spot and put up respectable numbers. Dahl can play either safety spot for the Lambs, so that gives him instant value.
Season stats: 19 solo tackles, 1 fumble recovery (and he missed Week 3)
David Jones (CB – JAC): Jones flew under the radar in 2008 but did defend 6 passes and racked up 36 solos in limited action. He’s put up pretty darn good stats thus far opposite the veteran Rashean Mathis.
Season stats: 20 solo tackles, 1 forced fumble, 1 INT
Other to Consider: Zack Bowman (CB – CHI)