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.
Frank Zombo (GBP): The Z-man has appeared on this list at least once before, and for good reason. He has 3 sacks on the season and a pair of fumble recoveries. With Clay Matthews (and a healthy Nick Barnett) stealing most of the big LB stats for the Packers, you’d think there wouldn’t be much else to go around. Zombo, though, is proving you can get some value from the “other” LBs in the Packers’ 3-4 scheme. In deeper leagues, he’s worth a taxi squad spot.
Brandon Siler (SDC): Siler started the season off well, logging 11 solos, a sack and an INT in Weeks 2 and 3, when injuries had decimated the Bolt LB corps. With some injury-prone LBs ahead of him, Siler could be a valuable handcuff in deep leagues.
Akin Ayodele (BUF): He’s certainly no spring chicken, so you won’t be able to stash him on your dynasty league taxi squad. But for those looking for a backup LB come 2011, keep the Bill LB on your radar. He could provide cheap solo tackles.
Jacob Ford (DE – TEN): It’s been a merry-go-round type situation on the Titan line for a few years now, as they’re struggling to find a consistent pass-rusher. Ford has 3 sacks on the season, which isn’t mind-blowing. He did, however, have 5.5 last year (with only 16 solos) and 7 last year (with 22 solos). So his sack to tackle ratio has been pretty impressive. Owners in leagues that give big points for sacks might want to keep an eye on Ford. He’s only 28 and has very average talent ahead of him on the depth chart (and was actually the “starter” during several games this season.
Roy Miller (DT – TBB): Yes, Gerald McCoy is going to be a stud; a perfect fit for the Tampa-2 scheme. But the Buc staff raved about Miller in the off-season, noting that he’s a solid complementary interior lineman. He’s been pretty consistent since mid-season, getting 3 solos a game. In extremely deep leagues that start DT, he’s worth a taxi squad spot.
Captain Munnerlyn (CB – CAR): First of all, the dude’s got one of the best names in the NFL. Secondly, with Chris Gamble shelved, he’s the starter opposite Richard Marshall, a highly underrated talent. Munnerlyn is also the team’s punt returner, so there’s added value there. He should be on your radar.
Usama Young (S/CB – NOS): Young had a decent 2008 season before giving way to Darren Sharper. Young has position flexibility and with Sharper dinged and not getting any younger, Young may have some value moving forward.