|Welcome to the primer edition of my IDP Deeper Sleeper column. Each week, I will highlight several IDPs at the “typical” IDP positions (LB, DL and DB) that have a chance to put up solid fantasy numbers, starting with the upcoming week. These recommendations will be based on past performance and their upcoming opponents. All players will be free agents in the available pool from The Huddle’s “IDP Expert League”. To start you out this preseason, I will take a look at some deeper sleepers that may have early impacts.
Brian Simmons – CIN: Simmons tops my list of sleeper linebackers that may be available in your league; in fact he tops all IDPs that may be available. If you had the misfortune of drafting Odell Thurman before his suspension, Simmons is a must-grab. If you took Thurman as a mid-to-late round flier, Simmons could certainly help you get by. He’s slated to start at MLB for the Bengals, a position that netted Thurman a top-20 LB finish to 2005. Cincy plays @KC, CLE, @PIT and NE the first four weeks of the season (supposedly Thurman’s suspended 4 games). Those are four critical games for the Kitties where solid linebacker play will be essential. Simmons averaged over 10 fantasy ppg last season, so he should easily put up solid numbers to start the season.
Jay Foreman – NO: With preseason MLB hopeful Albert Fincher posting a goose-egg in the Saints' opener, Foreman is now currently slated to start. As we all know, MLB is the elite IDP position that typically nets the biggest fantasy numbers. Not saying Foreman (or Fincher for that matter) is going to put up top-5 LB numbers, but the fact remains: he’s playing MLB for a team that might just struggle offensively AND defensively (meaning he’ll be on the field a bit). The Saints start the season off playing @CLE and @GB, two teams that will have offensive difficulties, especially to start the season. If you’re desperate at LB, the veteran Foreman should do in a pinch. If you have the roster room, add him and cross your fingers that he pans out.
Peter Sirmon – TEN: Yes, Keith Bulluck is by all intents and purposes THE premier fantasy LB, so choosing a linebacker mate of his could be construed as a bit of a reach. But consider that Sirmon plays the MLB position, traditionally the higher-scoring spot. Sirmon scored approximately 8 ppg last season, but finished off the last 6 weeks of last season scoring just under 10 ppg. Nothing to write home about, mind you. But it’s common knowledge that the Titans will be among the worst of NFL teams come September. Add in the fact that they face the Jets (will also struggle) and the Chargers (Bulluck can’t deal with LT and Gates on his own). If Sirmon puts up decent numbers, he certainly can be added to deep leagues’ rosters, especially if you’re a Bulluck owner and believe in handcuffing your stud LBs.
** Bonus Recommendation **
Landon Johnson – CIN: With Simmons slated to start in the middle, Johnson will man the WLB spot and could potentially help out a depleted IDP corps in larger leagues.
Philip Daniels – WAS: Daniels closed out the 2005 campaign with three solid efforts, the best coming in Week 15 four sack game against the hated Cowboys. The Redskin defense will again be stout, and faces Minnesota, Dallas and Houston in the first three weeks of the 2006 season.
Ty Warren – NE: Warren is not going to set the fantasy football world ablaze or anything, but at least he gets to face the Bills and the Jets to start the season. Warren had some solid outings in the middle of the 2005 season (2 of those outings were against the Bills) and in very deep leagues, could prove useful.
Will Demps – NYG: Demps is in mid-season form, knocking receivers senseless, or in this case, the receiver had little sense to begin with. Demps knocked Giant TE Jeremy Shockey out cold in practice last week. A veteran coming from the Baltimore Raven system, Demps will pair up with stud DB Gibril Wilson to form a nice 1-2 punch in the Giant secondary. The Giants’ first three games won’t be easy, but at least there’s going to be opportunities to cause havoc in the defensive backfield; they face the Colts, Eagles and Seahawks, three teams that will certainly air it out.
Derrick Gibson – OAK: Gibson started the 2005 season on a tear before getting hurt in Week 7. Gibson’s slated to start again at SS for the hapless Raiders, whose defense will be on the field plenty. Yes, super stud rookie Michael Huff is waiting in the wings, so jump on Gibson now before he loses his job. The Raiders open the season against their rival San Diego Chargers and then visit the Baltimore Ravens. Both of these teams will be going with new QBs, and could be starting the season off with a little rust and confusion.
Ty Law – KC: I’ll throw in a CB for those of you in leagues that force you to split up cornerbacks and safeties. Law was recently signed by the Chiefs to shore up a ridiculously bad secondary. He joins veterans Patrick Surtain, Greg Wesley and Sammy Knight to form a decent (albeit rather old) secondary that may surprise some people in 2006. Sandwiched by a Week 3 bye, the Chiefs face Cincinnati, Denver, San Francisco and Arizona. By then we should know how good the Chief secondary is. These teams will be throwing the ball a bit.
Good luck this season, and don’t hesitate in emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org anytime during the season if you have a question, or want to recommend an “IDP Deeper Sleeper”!