Going to do things a little differently this week, with few leagues using Week 17 in their playoffs. Let’s take a look at some deep sleepers for the 2009 season. Should you want to discuss IDP sleepers, deep or otherwise, feel free to email me at email@example.com.
Buster Davis (IND): We touted this guy coming out of Florida State and once this season as he was lined up as the backup to MLB Gary Brackett. Brackett will be 29 when the 2009 season starts, and has battled injuries late this season. Davis has looked pretty good in the starting lineup (12 solos in two games). If you draft Brackett next year and have a pretty deep bench, grab Davis. If you’re a Brackett owner in a dynasty league, you should do your best to get Davis on your squad too.
Curtis Lofton (ATL): Lofton was heralded as one of the best rookie LBs this off-season and didn’t disappoint (60 solo tackles, 25 assists). Look for Lofton to develop into the leader of the Falcon defense next season. They will put Lofton in the best position to make plays (which could be WLB, as Keith Brooking is about to go on Social Security).
Keith Bulluck (TEN): Many owners soured on Bulluck after his weak 2007, followed by a rather slow start to the 2008 season. The vet battled some injuries this season, but showed the potential to put up huge fantasy stats a few times. If you’re able to get him as your third LB (or as a backup), you may be reaping the benefits if he can put up #2 (or heck, even #1) fantasy LB numbers.
Darryl Tapp (DE – SEA): Tapp had a breakout season in 2007, recording 7 sacks in limited action. This season, he was set to achieve greater numbers, especially with the attention Patrick Kerney was garnering on the other side. Unfortunately, Tapp’s game progressed slowly, and the rookie Lawrence Jackson was a solid pass rush option as well. When Kerney went out with injury, Tapp has stepped his game up (4.5 sacks in the last half of the season). Kerney has battled injury this season and is no spring chicken. Tapp should be the best pass-rush option on the Seahawks very soon.
Domata Peko (DT – CIN): Dynasty leaguers, pay attention: if there’s a DT that may fly under the radar that could accomplish a Haynesworth-type breakout in 2009, it could be Peko. Peko has a somewhat-astonishing 37 assisted tackles this season. The big man will be the fireplug in the middle of the Bengal defense again next year. With any pass rush improvement next season, Peko could become even more of a force in the middle. He won’t be an option for most re-draft leagues, but for dynasty league owners (especially those that must start a DT), you should take notice.
Brandon Flowers (CB – KCC): Dynasty league owners are pumpin’ their first with a “yes!” over Flowers’ solid rounding out of the 2008 season. Redrafters should be aware that the Chief defense (especially the secondary) will continue to improve, but may not have much of a pass rush again in 2009. This could mean big things for Flowers and the rest of the secondary. He will likely not come cheap in dynasty leagues, but in redraft leagues he’ll likely go pretty late. You can wait on drafting your DBs and grab gems like Flowers in the later rounds.
Michael Griffin (S – TEN): The Titan defense will again be stout in 2009, and their somewhat underrated (if you can believe that!) will again be making huge plays. Everyone knows Chris Hope and that Cortland Finnegan is an elite CB, but it could have slipped under the radars in many leagues that Michael Griffin outscored the bigger name in Hope. Griffin didn’t have any monstrous games, but was steady. He’s had a somewhat quiet last month of the season, so he may go later in redrafts.
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).