Welcome to The Huddle’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.
David Hawthorne (CAR): Hawthorne amassed a ridiculous 15 solos in his pinch-start for Lofa Tatupu in the middle of the Seahawk linebacker corps. He also had an INT. Could Hawthorne be the best young Seahawk LB? Aaron Curry is a monster, no doubt, but Hawthorne could prove to be a huge value. Get him signed to your DTS immediately.
H.B. Blades (WAS): London Fletcher, at 34 years old, is the #1 LB in most fantasy formats. Blades is the heir apparent, at least at this point, to Fletcher. Is Blades as good as Fletcher? There’s definitely more than one similarity, so do the math.
Gerald McRath (TEN): McRath is a beast and played for a solid defensive unit in college. He’s already seeing playing time at MLB behind Stephen Tulloch, who has become a very solid fantasy LB.
Other to Consider: Scott McKillop (SFO)
Jason Hunter (DE – DET): I mentioned Hunter on my weekly sleeper article, and he produced 11.5 fantasy points last week. He’s not setting the world on fire, but 9.3 fantasy points per game isn’t anything to shake a stick at. He hails from Appalachian State, known for their upsets. It wouldn’t be an upset if Hunter outperformed the more heralded Cliff Avril for the best pass-rusher on the Lion line.
Connor Barwin (DE – HOU): It’s only a matter of time before Barwin starts getting significant time opposite Mario Williams. He’s already seeing a few snaps here and there, and is a heady, high-motor end that reminds some of a young Aaron Kampman.
Other to Consider: Anthony Adams (DT - CHI)
Jim Leonhard (S – NYJ): Leonhard has the advantage of knowing Rex Ryan’s system, and had a few decent fantasy seasons under his belt for the Ravens. He’s gonna get you to 10-12 fantasy points per game, which is solid for a backup DB. DB is ultra-deep every season, but it’s nice to know you can plug a guy in and get double digits when you need it.
Terence Newman (CB – DAL): Newman is kind of a tease. He looks like one of those corners that could dominate and be a “shutdown corner”. He sometimes looks like one of those corners that can come up and make big tackles like Antoine Winfield. And then he sometimes looks like a guy that can get burned at any moment and then go down with an injury. If you’re in a dynasty league that starts CB, Newman is certainly worth a look.
Other to Consider: Dawan Landry (S – BAL)