2011 IDP Sleepers
LB Sean Lee, DAL - Sleeper (undervalued)
Keith Brooking is reaching the twilight of a long and distinguished NFL career. He's earned league-wide respect and no coach or owner in his right mind would say during the preseason that it's time for the team to move on. Instead, Cowboys management have been careful to use the language of "transition" and "role-sharing" when asked about the likelihood of Sean Lee taking over Brooking's starting spot. Yes, it's possible the two could split time to start the season. But the younger, faster, more dynamic Lee is bound to take matters into his own hands sooner rather than later. The 35-year-old Brooking only has one year left on his contract as does his partner in the middle, Bradie James. The likeliest scenario is that by late fall Lee will be a starter and Brooking will be splitting time with James.
LB Sean Weatherspoon, ATL - Sleeper (undervalued)
As a first round pick in the 2010 draft, Weatherspoon faced exceedingly lofty expectations in his rookie season and there were no doubt plenty of fantasy owners who were disappointed with his play (or lack thereof). Weatherspoon battled injury and lost playing time because of it to Stephen Nicholas. In the long term Weatherspoon projects as a versatile WLB, but is blocked at the position by Mike Peterson. If Peterson departs in free agency, Weatherspoon will have a clear starting role. If Peterson returns, Weatherspoon likely gets the nod over Nicholas as the starting SLB.
S Craig Dahl, NYG - Sleeper (undervalued)
Dahl had nearly 100 tackles last season and is in line for plenty more now that he'll no longer be sharing a defensive backfield with ball hawk O.J. Atogwe (who priced himself out of St. Louis and landed with the big-spending Redskins). Dahl only had two interceptions and six passes defended last season, but his expected shift to free safety this year should allow him to make more plays in space.
S Malcolm Jenkins, PHI - Sleeper (undervalued)
A CB his first season, a free safety his second, Jenkins can do it all on defense -- and that includes unseating a five-time Pro-Bowler (Darren Sharper) for a starting gig. Jenkins is expected to make a full recovery from the knee injury that knocked him out of the playoffs and will be set to go at full speed whenever camp opens up. A bona fide playmaker, he'll continue to find ways to force turnovers and make things happen on defense in his third pro season.
S Glover Quin, DET - Sleeper (undervalued)
Quin's capabilities as a corner are justifiably suspect, given that he was a member of the NFL's worst secondary last year. Sure he wasn't the only liability, but he did look badly outclassed being asked to routinely cover opposing number one receivers. Though he often got burned in coverage, he still put up solid fantasy numbers. Now he looks set to take his unremarkable play to free safety -- a position which, on a team that gets passed on as often as Houston does, could facilitate a major uptick in tackles and pass breakups. And the big upshot is that Quin may continue to qualify for CB eligibility in some fantasy leagues. Corners who can be relied on to put up numbers like a safety are a rarity and a welcome treat in IDP leagues.