Punch Drunk Wonderland

2014 Fantasy IDP Sleepers and Under-Valued Players

The 2014 NFL season is upon us and it’s time to start finding those fantasy football IDP diamonds in the rough. Here’s a look at some under the radar defensive players to keep an eye on in 2014.

Christian Kirksey (ILB, Cleveland Browns)

Anyone that’s been following me for the last several weeks knows that Kirksey is my guy. I’m predicting him to be the top breakout rookie IDP of 2014. Coach Mike Pettine is likely to use Kirksey in a similar fashion to how he used Kiko Alonso in Buffalo last season. In the Getting Defensive IDP Mocks he had an ADP Value of 15.800 and was ranked #175 among all IDPs. This means he could be a draft, waiver wire, or free agency steal. Big sleeper potential here.

Koa Misi (MLB, Miami Dolphins)

Misi has transitioned well to middle linebacker for the Dolphins and has pushed Dannell Ellerbe down the depth chart. He should be an every down man in the middle, and could be a very decent IDP option. It’s worth tracking a shoulder injury, but there’s no reason to think he won’t be good to go for Week 1. Misi had an ADP Value of 18.156 in our offseason mocks which puts him at #216 among all IDPs. I have him ranked #35 among linebackers going into Week 1, and he has good potential to climb. He’s another very good sleeper option, but folks won’t be sleeping on him long.

C.J. Mosley (ILB, Baltimore Ravens)

Mosley will be stepping into a good situation with a good defense as he will play alongside Daryl Smith for the Ravens at inside linebacker. Most rankings have him the highest ranked rookie defensive player for 2014, and he certainly seems to have the most clear upside. He was the #102 IDP in terms of ADP in our mocks which means he could be a mid-round steal, and may still be on the waiver wire in your leagues that have already drafted.

Emmanuel Lamur (SLB, Cincinnati Bengals)

After missing all of 2013 Lamur has been turning heads throughout preseason with the Bengals. He’s a lock for the strongside linebacker spot and he has great value and upside. The only real downside is SLBs aren’t typically very consistent fantasy producers since their success often hinges on big plays. He was #258 among all IDPs in terms of ADP in our mocks, and he isn’t being taken in most leagues that only have a handful of IDP slots per team. He’s certainly a reasonable sleeper candidate in deeper IDP leagues.

Keenan Robinson (ILB, Washington Redskins)

Robinson has gotten high praise in the preseason for his athletic ability and closing speed. He’s a lock to start at inside linebacker alongside Perry Riley for Washington. He was #264 in terms of ADP in our offseason mocks, so he could be a real value with excellent upside. I have him ranked as the #25 linebacker going into Week 1.

Manti Te’o (ILB, San Diego Chargers)

Te’o had a so-so rookie campaign in 2013 in which he struggled through injury. A full season of experience and with the catfish fiasco behind him, he stands to be a nice option for the 2014 season. He very likely will be an every down linebacker in San Diego’s defense and he should have significant upside if he can stay healthy. We was the #178 IDP in our mocks, so his upside could come at a value.

Kevin Minter (ILB, Arizona Cardinals)

There’s really no telling what’s going to happen with Minter, but the Cardinals defense certainly is going to need him to perform.  He’ll be starting inside next to Larry Foote, and he’ll likely be a two-down linebacker. The upside is that he’s going to see opportunities on a depleted team, but the downside is there’s just no body of experience to predict what he’s going to look like as an NFL linebacker. He was the #76 IDP in our offseason mocks and that may be overvaluing him a bit at this point, but he’s definitely worth watching. He could be a nice under-the-radar addition.

DeAndre Levy (WLB, Detroit Lions)

Levy isn’t so much of a sleeper since he was the #10 fantasy linebacker in 2013, but he has been very undervalued throughout the offseason. Last season he played weakside linebacker, but was moved around in the system quite a bit. For 2014 he will likely be used strictly as WLB. PFF ranked Levy the #4 linebacker in coverage last season, so he has shown that he has the speed and close skills to succeed. He was ranked at #26 among all IDPs in terms of ADP in our offseason mocks, which is probably too high to call him a sleeper per se. However, he’s likely going to be a top 15 guy so you can likely get him at a value.

Deone Buccanon (SS, Arizona Cardinals)

The rookie is going to see a good deal of variety in terms of his role on the Arizona defense. The team sorely needs his athleticism to fill gaps in a defense struggling with personnel. He should be the starting strong safety and could see work at linebacker in nickel and dime packages. Defensive Coordinator Todd Bowles isn’t afraid to maximize the potential of athletic players by moving them around. In 2013 safety Tyrann Mathieu was moved between safety and corner all season, and had great success. Bucannon should be the top rookie defensive back of 2014, and he could come at a value as he was the #180 IDP in terms of ADP in our mocks.

Stevie Brown (FS, New York Giants)

After missing the 2013 season Brown should get plenty of opportunity as center fielder after the departure of Will Hill in NYG. He’s going to see a good chunk of time on the field and has definite big play potential. He was going #131 in our mocks in terms of ADP and I feel like he’s being slightly under-valued. He could be a good option at defensive back, especially if he returns to 2012 form.


K. Smelser About K. Smelser
Kelly Smelser is Owner/Senior Writer for Punch Drunk Wonderland and PDFantasy Sports. Architect of the PDW fantasy football world and general spinster of NFL and Fantasy Football news and analysis. Long walks on the beach, sunsets, and other such niceties are also fine...