IDPwithBEE 5 LB SLEEPERS in 2013
As deep as the LB position is, as high of a scorer they are, you still want an elite LB or two and however much your league starts; your LB3 is your player with upside or in other words; sleepers. I’ve gone thru my rankings, participated in many drafts and found 5 LB’s entering 2013 that get the sleeper label and have the ability to provide solid value at their ADP spot. As I look at this list I’m probably going to nickname it the “Sophomore Sensations” and that’s what I see, a few second year LB’s are ready for lift off.
- NIGEL BRADHAM, BUFFALO BILLS: Bradham saw limited snaps in his rookie season, now his opportunity is prime to stamp his name in the IDP World. Nick Barnett is gone, Kelvin Sheppard’s gone and he’ll partner up with a solid rookie prospect; Kiko Alonso. Nigel has freakish speed, is athletic and will be moving to his strength position; weakside LB. Playing weakside in the Bills new hybrid 3-4 benefits and utilizes Bradham’s strengths, speed and power. He also brings versatility as he’s accustomed to playing all 3 LB positions; so if someone where to go down the Bills have a fill in. Bradham will be all over the ball and should be a lock for 100+ tackles and even better if he is in fact going to be a 3-down LB, which he believes; I believe and you should too. Bradham is about to breakout, post strong LB2 numbers and you’ll be getting him cheap right now in drafts so don’t walk, run.
- DEMARIO DAVIS, NEW YORK JETS: With Bart Scotts departure, Demario has been upgraded to start at ILB next to David Harris. Demario is a predator, he’s going to attack the ball carrier and his attitude stands out; Demario is a humble player. Demario knows it’s his time to shine; and his HC Rex Ryan draws the Ray Lewis comparison card, so the pressure is on. Sooner rather than later Demario can get there because he can be a great leader on the field (especially after Harris leaves) and is already a leader off the field with his attitude and work ethic. Hop on board before his value rises, but you can get him as a LB3/4 right now and that’s a steal. He’s a hard hitter, physical and ready to take over; are you going to join him? Has a LB1 ceiling soon as he takes over the defense but entering ’13 he’s a solid LB2 candidate and he is thee NYJ IDP to own this season, strong chance he leads team in tackles.
- NICK ROACH, OAKLAND RAIDERS: Roach steps into a great opportunity to put his name on the IDP map. I expect Roach to be the starting MLB at week 1 and there’ll be no slowing him down. He started a good amount of games when he played for Chicago, is a hard worker and he’ll be an IDP that’ll sneak up on you. Roach is a little balanced in everything and should be the leader of the defense with Houston. It’s not far fetched to say Roach should be a lock for at least 90 tackles, and is definitely worth a grab as your LB3 or if you need depth. His draft stock is low right now so it’ll give you an opportunity to fill other positions before you fill up your LB slots. Roach is a solid LB3 (especially if he starts as expected), can match the numbers Phillip Wheeler put up in OAK last year.
- PHILLIP WHEELER, MIAMI DOLPHINS: Wheeler turned down money to stay in OAK and joined the revamped and renewed LB Corps in Miami. Coming off a career year in OAK (109 tackles 3QB Sacks) I believe he’s capable of topping those numbers in Miami. Yes, he plays the same position as newly acquired LB Ellerbe; Wheeler is capable of playing either LB positions but I highly expect him to be the starting weakside LB taking over Misi. Wheeler is capable of getting to the QB as well (14 hits/13 hurries). I have no doubt that Wheeler racks up 100+ tackles again, could get a few more sacks and a little bit more. Lock him in as a solid LB3 with LB2 potential, draft him with confidence – I already did.
- JAMES MICHAEL-JOHNSON: Currently behind Robertson and D’Qwell but I believe JMJ will take over Robertson in no time. JMJ is a great tackler (D’Qwell comparison) and will be ready in 2013. Nonetheless JMJ is a solid dynasty stash and if D’Qwell or Robertson gets hurt the JMJ train will be long gone. The main question for JMJ would be whether or not he’ll be a 2 or 3 down LB, if he gets to the 3 down mark then JMJ value rises tremendously; in which you’ll probably ask how are the tackles going to split amongst D’Qwell and JMJ all you have to do is think Bowman/Willis situation in San Fran. Being a great tackler, you got to be sure not many ball carriers are going to get away from JMJ and you’d be able to draft JMJ as a LB4/5 right now and come season time & he lands the starting gig, you just got yourself a strong LB3.