Welcome to The Huddle’s Deep Sleeper Report for Week 12. 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. Now that you’re likely jockeying for playoff spots (or out of the race), it’s a great time to land those deep sleepers that can help dynasty league owners. 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.
Dannell Ellerbe (BAL): Tavares Gooden suffered his second concussion of the season last Monday night and the rookie Ellerbe has stepped in to take his place. Gooden has been said to have the inside edge to eventually replace Ray Lewis. With Gooden showing some penchant for injury, Ellerbe could be a dynasty league find.
Andy Studebaker (KCC): Mike Vrabel isn’t getting any younger and is actually dinged up, so Studebaker has had the chance to start opposite the converted DE Tamba Hali on the edge of the Chiefs’ 3-4 base set. He’s a small school prodigy with decent size and could contribute at some point. Dynasty owners should take note.
Other to Consider: Chris Chamberlain (STL)
Jason Hunter (DE – DET): The Lions are – gasp – actually showing some promise on the offensive side of the ball, but still have some room to grow defensively. Honestly, there isn’t a clear-cut stud in the front seven, with Ernie Sims battling both the injury bug and mediocrity. The secondary has a young buck in Louis Delmas that will make plays for years to come, but the front seven is still looking for an identity. Hunter has a few decent games under his belt this season and started the season out by getting a pair of sacks. Hunter could be the best chance the Lions have at a pass rush, so dynasty leaguers should take a look if they’re weak at the position.
Desmond Bryant (DT – OAK): In dynasty leagues that start DT, you should have a DT stewing on your DTS. The position is always in flux fantasy-wise, and young guys have just as much chance as the older vets to make big plays. Bryant is a rookie from Harvard that is getting some time with Tommy Kelly dinged. The Raiders need some “smarts” on their defense, so maybe the Ivy Leaguer will make some noise in a year or two.
Other to Consider: Roy Miller (DT - TBB)
Michael Huff (S – OAK): Huff, an ultra-talented ex-Longhorn, was the prize pick of not only the Raiders, but many dynasty owners back in 2006. He had a decent rookie season followed by a very good sophomore campaign, but took a huge step backwards in 2008. He’s at his best when he’s helping in pass coverage (fantasy-wise), so when he’s able to defend passes, his fantasy value goes way up. As he improves in this category, so does his potential to help in larger leagues.
Glover Quin (CB – HOU): Now that the rookie is getting regular playing time, he’s been batting balls down with some regularity and has 15 solos in his past three contests. The position is deep, but Quin’s a guy you want to keep your eye on.
Other to Consider: Jordan Babineaux (S – SEA)