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.
Larry Grant (STL): Grant started the season off well and showed signs of life last week. There’s definitely enough tackles to go around for the Ram LBs.
Brad Jones (GBP): Clay Matthews is set to return this week, so Jones loses a ton of value in the short term, but if Matthews were to go down again, Jones could see a good uptick in value.
Pisa Tinoisamoa (CHI): In incredibly deep leagues, you can reach at a guy like Tino, who has a track record of putting up decent tackle numbers. If Lance Briggs is out again, the value is even better.
Jacob Ford (DE – TEN): We’ve highlighted Dave Ball and Jason Babin here and on the weekly sleeper list a couple of times, but somewhat surprisingly, neither Ball nor Babin are technically starters. Ford and Williams Hayes are the official starters, and Ford has a few decent games under his belt this season.
Ahtyba Rubin (DT – CLE): With Shaun Rogers nursing a variety of bumps and bruises, Rubin has stepped in as the nose tackle for the Brownies. He’s got a grip-load of tackles in the past couple of weeks, and could be a nice fill-in for those in leagues that must start a DT.
Paul Oliver (S – SDC): Eric Weddle has been wildly inconsistent this season and Oliver, despite just a part-timer, had been far more reliable. Weddle’s a free agent this summer, and with Oliver playing solid football, he could be the starter in San Diego come 2011.
Kyle Arrington (CB – NEP): The Patriot corners have never been fantasy relevant. But in the past two contests – where he’s been giving significant playing time – he’s got 5 solos in each. Keep your eye on him in deeper formats.