For those of you in IDP leagues, here is a subject that’s very important to you that often isn’t covered on your normal fantasy sites. With offseason trades and drafts, a lot can change from one season to another and there are always sleepers to uncover over the summer to take advantage of during the fall. Here is my list of sleepers that you can look to for fantasy points during the 2012 season. This list probably isn’t comprehensive; I’ve tried to pick out a few players at each position that had no value or very little value last year, but due to offseason moves have shown to have the potential to score big points in 2012.
Kelvin Sheppard, MLB BUF
Here’s a guy who played well last year as a rookie, but played inside backer in a 3-4 defensive scheme. During the offseason, Dave Wannstedt became the defensive Coordinator and Buffalo is moving to a 4-3 defensive scheme. The team has announced that Sheppard will be the starting middle linebacker this year. If that holds true, Sheppard will be the benefactor of a defense geared toward getting him tackles – that’s all I really need to know to identify him as a sleeper for 2012
Brooks Reed, OLB HOU
Mario Williams left Houston this offseason, paving the way for Brooks Reed to become starting outside linebacker in his place. Brooks was a rookie last year and played very well when Williams was injured. That being said, he didn’t make a ton of tackles, but showed a penchant for getting to the quarterback. With a year under his belt and a lock to be a starter, he should have a great chance to breakout and increase his tackle totals with a chance for double digit sacks.
Robert Quinn, DE STL
Quinn was also a rookie last year and saw time in spot duty behind the starters at defensive end in St. Louis. This year he has the opportunity to take over the starting role and shoot for double digit sacks. Quinn was considered the top defensive end last year and has a lot of athleticism – he showed that during the second half of the year, getting to the quarterback five times. It’s quite possible to double that sack volume in 2012 with the possibility of moving into the top 20 defensive ends in terms of fantasy scoring for 2012.
DeMeco Ryans, MLB PHI
Many people probably don’t see Ryan’s as a sleeper, but I do. Ryans is a quintessential 4-3 MLB, small and speedy with the potential for lots of tackles. Unfortunately, Ryans was in the wrong scheme last year and he was hurt most of the year coming back from an Achilles injury and also facing elbow problems. Fortunately for the savvy fantasy owner, all of those problems have washed away this offseason. Ryans was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles where he will be the starting MLB. He also has had plenty of time to heal the injuries that caused him mobility and strength problems last year. Look for him to get back to the top of the linebacker scoring in 2012. He does come with some injury risk, but his upside is now much clearer. If healthy, he can be a quality LB2.
Darian Stewart, DB STL
Here is another St. Louis defender who is young and showed a lot of potential last year. Stewart is a rangy safety who played on a defense that was on the field long time. He was a rookie last year, but showed the ability to come up with enough big plays (three sacks, two forced fumbles, one INT) to go along with 66 tackles and 17 assists, showing he could be very fantasy relevant. This year he could vault into the top 20 with a year under his belt, the full time job his and by playing on an up-and-coming team that will play a lot of defense next year.
Sam Acho, OLB ARI
Acho was a rookie last year from Texas. He is one of the most intelligent people in the NFL. He’s strong, rangy and took over the starting job in the middle of last year when Joey Porter showed he had nothing left in the tank. With the full time job now his, he has tremendous upside and should finish in the top 30 without much of a problem. If he can increase his sacks to double digits, he could finish in the top 20.
So, now that the draft has come and gone, who are some of your IDP sleepers this year?