Welcome to the third installment of The Huddle’s IDP Deeper Sleepers. This bi-weekly article will highlight some sleepers on the IDP side that are backing up injury-prone starters or that have a chance down the road to put up solid fantasy stats. Should you want to discuss IDP sleepers, deep or otherwise, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Daryl Smith (JAX): Smith has been on “sleeper” articles before, mainly because he’s the primary backup to Mike Peterson, who’s been a stud LB for the Jags for years. When small-school darling Justin Durant was drafted, it was thought that he would be the incumbent. But Durant has spent more time on the WILL side, allowing Smith to retain his primary MIKE backup status. Smith has been starting on the weak side, with Durant injured, and has decent numbers. In larger or dynasty leagues, Smith should be rostered.
Tavares Gooden (BAL): I think this is a name you’re going to hear a lot of in the next couple of years. Ray Lewis is 33 years old. Gooden is being groomed as the next to step in, and is of the Miami linebacking bloodline. If Lewis were to get injured this season, Gooden would have immediate value. Until then, just keep your eye on him.
Stephen Nicholas (ATL): Nicholas’ name came up on many radars last season, as he looked pretty good in limited game action (and was a preseason stud). With the drafting of Curtis Lofton, Nicholas faded a bit. No need to forget this name, though, as he has the ability to play the MIKE spot (should Lofton fail) or the WILL spot (should Brooking get hurt or retire – Brooking is nearly 33 years old).
Juqua Parker (DE – PHI): I’m not overly excited about Parker. He’s 30 years old and has never had more than 29 solo tackles or 6 sacks in a season. But he’s neck-and-neck in terms of fantasy scoring with fellow DE Trent Cole. That may speak more to Coles’ regression than Parker’s worth, but still, Parker is worth a look in larger leagues. If Coles heats up, Parker could reap the benefits.
Calais Campbell (DE – ARI): OK so his 2008 numbers are nothing special, but look at the physical stats: 6’7”, 290 lbs. Whoa. He’s got the pedigree (University of Miami) and some underrated players to learn under (Darnell Dockett, Antonio Smith). Those in dynasty leagues looking for a DE that may make an impact in the next 2-3 years should be grabbing at guys like Campbell.
Ko Simpson (S – BUF): The Bill secondary has been productive in terms of fantasy output over the past few years. Simpson has actually been one of the more disappointing performers in this group, but has shown some signs of consistent play thus far in 2008. He’s averaging 9 fantasy points per game, and doesn’t have too much competition behind him (unless fellow Bill safety Donte Whitner). If Simpson could bump up his per-game fantasy numbers and still remain consistent, he could be a decent #2 or #3 DB in deep leagues.
Josh Wilson (CB – SEA): The Seahawks’ coaching staff has already put a significant amount of trust in Wilson’s game, allowing the 2nd-year player to return kicks. He’s not backing Marcus Trufant (who holds the very productive LCB spot), but the depth behind Trufant is paper-thin. If Trufant were to go down, the Seahawks would likely consider Wilson.
Notes: Scoring system used for this report – solo tackle (2), assisted tackle (1), sack (3), forced or recovered fumble (3), interception (3) and pass defensed (1).