IDP Sleepers: AFC West

Eric Olinger


As preseason football gets underway and the NFL season inches closer, the opportunity for players to pick up momentum as sleepers increase as the media covers every inch and second of these training camps, joint practices and preseason games. We spend a lot of time focusing on the offensive sleepers of fantasy football, but there are a large number of IDP leagues looking for the next Everson Griffin or Chris Borland.

We are going to go through, division by division, and highlight IDP sleepers for each team. Some will be players who find themselves in new starting opportunities or currently in a rotation with another player but have the potential to stake claim sooner than later.

Today our focus is on the AFC West.

Denver Broncos

Bradley Roby, S

Roby is making the transition from part time nickel corner to a hybrid safety/corner role. In an effort to keep him on the field as much as possible, the Broncos plan on starting him at free safety to replace the departed Rahim Moore. Roby is a sound tackler and has the ability to run and cover. He finished his rookie year with 63 solo tackles, two assists, a sack and two interceptions while breaking up 13 passes.

With an increase in playing time, he presents a great value in IDP leagues as someone who you can pick up later but get DB2 numbers week to week. He currently has an ADP of 288.

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Kansas City Chiefs

Eric Berry / Husain Abdullah / Tyvon Branch / Ron Parker, FS/SS

Some combination of these four will win the starting gig at free safety and strong safety. Nobody expected Berry to return from his battle with cancer so soon, but it’s incredible news for an incredible guy. From everything I’ve heard and read so far, he hasn’t lost anything during his brief time away. If he truly is 100% healthy, he will have the starting free safety job locked down with Abdullah backing him up. I wouldn’t invest in Abdullah, regardless.

The starting strong safety job on the other hand is a completely different story. Ron Parker was given a five year, $25 million contract in March, a bit of a surprise for someone who didn’t really put it all together until last year, but his versatility made him a hot commodity with his ability to play safety and corner. If Tyvon Branch, who has battled injuries the last two years himself, can stay healthy the most likely scenario is a rotation where all three play quite a bit. Berry will presumably lead the group in snaps at safety with Parker kicking down to corner on passing downs to get Branch’s hard hitting ability on the field.

Oakland Raiders

Sio Moore, LB

It appears the Raiders are moving Khalil Mack to defensive end this season in an effort to get as many playmakers on the field as possible. That means someone has to fill Mack’s position and the most likely scenario is Sio Moore joining Curtis Lofton and Malcolm Smith in the starting lineup. He has been a solid player since entering the league and he’s versatile. He has the ability to play all three linebacker positions and he’s a capable pass rusher, having accumulated eight sacks in his first two years.

His biggest hurdle will be recovering from the offseason hip surgery which prematurely ended his 2014 season. In just 11 games, he totaled 67 solo tackles, 22 assists and three sacks. Extrapolate those numbers over a 16-game season and he would have had 97 solos, 32 assists and 4.5 sacks, or LB3+ numbers. With all the attention being given to Mack right now, see if you can acquire Moore on the cheap.

San Diego Chargers

Jerry Attaochu, OLB

Attaochu had a mostly quiet rookie year in 2014. He missed five games and played only 161 snaps, but he did manage to collect a pair of sacks and force a fumble in limited action. He now finds himself the unquestioned starter opposite Melvin Ingram. Attaochu is a 6’3”, 250 pound speed rusher who left Georgia Tech its all-time leader in sacks, a position the Chargers have been desperate for since the early days of Shawne Merriman. It should be noted during the draft process last year, noted film guru Greg Cosell favored Attaochu to Auburn’s Dee Ford. Ford was selected 23rd overall by the Kansas City Chiefs in 2014, Attaochu lasted until pick #50 and has a much clearer path to playing time and production. Look for him to surpass double digit sacks as a serious sophomore breakout candidate.

Follow me on Twitter @OlingerIDP.



eric olinger
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