Week 8: IDP Sleepers
Grant and the entire Saints' defense seem to have turned a corner recently. After a terrible start, New Orleans has now won two straight, thanks in large part to the resurgent play of their two stalwart ends, Charles Grant and Will Smith. Smith is the better-known and flashier of the two players, but Grant is coming on strong with sacks in consecutive games. Both can be dominant (Grant recorded double-digit sacks in '03 and '04, Smith in '06) and if either player is still available, he should be added in time for the game against San Francisco. The 49ers are currently 5th in sacks given up – this, despite having already had their bye week.
White leapt into the IDP mix in week 1 with a tremendous performance that included 6 solo tackles, a sack, an interception, 2 forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and a pass defended. Many owners likely jumped on the bandwagon and scooped him up right out of the gates, only to be disappointed with four consecutive quiet showings that likely got him dropped in many fantasy leagues. In week 7, White struck again with a monster 3-sack performance – this time against his former team, Tampa Bay. White is getting much more opportunity with the Lions than he ever got with the Buccaneers. Though fantasy owners shouldn't count on consistency, White can be a very rewarding play when facing a favorable opponent…like the Bears this weekend.
Beason – a popular pre-season sleeper pick – was projected to be a decent IDP choice as a will linebacker but has recently been thriving in the middle linebacker role, filling in for the injured Dan Morgan. Morgan is coming off a partially torn Achilles tendon AND a series of serious concussions that jeopardized his playing career. The Panthers are likely to think twice about re-instating him as the starting MIKE at this point, especially with Beason playing so well. If he's still available, Beason is a smart add. He's the face of the future and Carolina would do better to let the rookie develop, rather than sticking with an injury-prone veteran.
Overshadowed by superstar teammate London Fletcher-Baker, Roger "Rocky" McIntosh is quietly having an exceptional sophomore season with the Redskins. Along with fighting for the league-lead in tackles, he's also shown a knack for the big play with two sacks and two forced fumbles. McIntosh is the real deal and will surely reward owners with plenty more big plays as the season progresses. While those big plays may not come this weekend, plenty of tackles will. New England's offensive juggernaut continues to lead the league in terms of providing tackling opportunities to opponents.
Though he's unlikely to be available in an IDP league with any depth, there is the chance that Peterson – coming off an injury-shortened 2006 – may still be lingering in the shallower leagues. His numbers so far this season have been deceptively modest, though he did come out of a recent low-tackling funk against the Colts on Monday Night Football (10 total tackles). Peterson is a difference-maker and, as a big play middle linebacker, should be universally owned in IDP leagues.