Top 10 IDP Sleepers

 
 
 
 
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Top 10 IDP Sleepers

The top ten underrated, under-appreciated, unknown, or otherwise under-the-radar IDPs for 2008. Profiled players include Curtis Lofton, LaMarr Woodley, Justin Tuck, Nedu Ndukwe, and Tamba Hali.

Last year's Big 12 defensive player of the year has the chance to make a big splash in his rookie season. The Falcons used their second pick in the draft to obtain the speedy playmaker and going into the summer, it looks like Lofton already has the inside track on the MLB position. He will likely open the season starting alongside Keith Brooking and Michael Boley in a talented, if undersized, linebacking corps. Though he can't be expected to approach the ridiculous numbers Patrick Willis put up last year, Lofton might just end up as this year's rookie defensive standout.

Strong side backer is an oft-avoided position in IDP drafts, but there are exceptions to every rule and Woodley is one of them. Like Shaun Phillips in San Diego, Woodley will have plenty of pass-rushing opportunities working out of Pittsburgh's attacking 3-4 defense. He only started two games last season, but managed 4 sacks in limited playing time and largely out-performed fellow rookie Lawrence Timmons (who was selected 30 picks before him in the draft). With Clark Haggans' defection to the Cardinals this off-season, Woodley finds himself with a starting role. This Michigan alum was an end/linebacker hybrid in college and has ideal size to play outside backer in Dick LeBeau's scheme.

Doubters need look no further than last season's stat sheets to see that Justin Tuck is the real deal. Used in various roles, but most often as an under tackle on passing downs, Tuck was the spark plug that put an already imposing Giants pass-rush into the realm of the truly terrifying. Michael Strahan's retirement this off-season allows Tuck to shuffle over to Left End full-time. He was a surprise fantasy star last year filling the utility role and will no doubt build on that success with a full season working exclusively as a defensive end.

This exciting playmaker could knock Dexter Jackson out of his starting gig in '08. The Bengal secondary is rife with young talent, so it may be time for the team to hand over the reigns to the next generation of safeties in Marvin White and Chinedum Ndukwe. Ndukwe gets the edge because of his more physical play and his ball-hawking abilities. He had as many picks as he did starts (3) last season and should bully his way into the starting lineup by opening day. Cincinnati's ambidextrous safety rotation (strong safety and free safety are interchangeable) lends itself to fantasy production, so keep a close eye on which players survive the pre-season battle.

With Jared Allen now the richest new member of the Minnesota Vikings, Tamba Hali steps into the primary pass-rushing role for the Chiefs. Hali posted decent sack and tackle numbers in his first two seasons playing second fiddle to Allen, but will be asked to significantly elevate his play in 2008. The Chiefs have faith in him and so should you. Hali is an every down player who's decent against the run and won't be a tackling liability in standard IDP leagues. He's also a good bet to post double-digit sacks in his first season rushing from the weak side.