Continuing from Friday’s column found here, I’m breaking down my top ten IDP sleepers of the 2018 season today. While a majority of these players may already be rostered in your leagues, in my mind they are targets worth acquiring before they experience an explosion in value.
The NFL season is just a few short weeks away, this is the time of year that can separate you from the herd to become a champion!
A highly touted first-round draft pick listed as an IDP sleeper? Hear me out. Everyone expects Edmunds to be among the top rookie performers on either side of the ball this season, but I think his ceiling is as high as any linebacker in the entire league. Buffalo’s offense is going to struggle throughout the year and it wouldn’t surprise me if they finished last in the league for time of possession. Edmunds will easily hit 100 tackles+assists this year but it wouldn’t surprise me to see him closer to 140-150.
From one brother to another on our list, I expect to see Terrell Edmunds all over the field for the Steelers this season. While he may not start the year with the most value, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Terrell become Pittsburgh’s most utilized defensive weapon, as he can line up either closer to the line of scrimmage to supplement for poor linebacker play or play a more traditional strong safety role for the Steelers. Wherever it is he lines up pre-snap for Mike Tomlin, the Steelers have big plans for their first-round pick.
In a weak rookie defensive line class, some fantasy owners may reach for linemen like Marcus Davenport or Da’Ron Payne, who were both selected in the first round of the draft in April. But I see value in Colts’ second-round selection Kemoko Turay, who has already earned first-string duties opposite of Jabaal Sheard in Indianapolis. Turay, formerly of Rutgers, is my number-one overall ranked rookie lineman for production in 2018, ahead of the aforementioned players being drafted before him.
Finally moving on from the rookies, comes Takk McKinley, a player who shined on the field as a rookie last season. McKinley looks to move forward and improve from his first season in the league when he managed to take down the quarterback six times, good for third amongst rookies.
Watts, a hard-hitting safety from Texas A&M, was a fourth-round draft pick of the Chiefs this past spring. He’ll have instant production on the field lining up in the box to stop the run and has the range to transition as a free safety when needed. He’s the type of player that when he makes full contact with a ball carrier, everyone takes notice. With an injury to Daniel Sorensen this preseason, Watts should slide right into the role that made Sorensen the #12 overall safety last season.
Another rookie looking to take advantage of injuries on the depth chart is rookie Fred Warner of BYU. Warner is an athletic linebacker who currently sits behind Malcolm Smith in San Francisco, but with Smith sidelined for the remainder of the preseason, Warner should be able to earn his spot in the starting lineup, which should come much sooner rather than later.
McMillan could rightfully be among the top tier of linebackers if not for an injury that derailed his rookie year before it ever left the station. We get to see him now at his full potential and loaded with the opportunity to shine with his main competition at his position in the form of Kiko Alonso and rookie Jerome Baker. McMillan should have an LB3 floor with LB1 ceiling if he stays healthy for all 16 games.
Recovering from an ACL tear that ended his 2017 campaign abruptly, Markus Golden looks to flourish across the line from Chandler Jones as a 4-3 defensive end this year. Golden should be prepared to start week 1 and has the upside of a low-end DL1 across all formats this year.
I touched on the Bills linebacking situation earlier when I mentioned middle linebacker Tremaine Edmunds and all of the same reasons to acquire him apply to his teammate Matt Milano. The benefit of selecting Milano instead of Edmunds is that you’re getting comparable production for pennies on the dollar. Milano was IDP gold at the end of last season, as Bills linebackers always are, and the same will be the case in 2018.
While Wright is another linebacker already highly known around the league, I think this is a breakout year for him as his stats really go to the next level to warrant him being listed as an IDP Sleeper. The Seahawks are on the decline, the team is going to be behind in more and more games this year, and Wright, alongside Bobby Wagner as well, has the chance to finish as an LB1. Wright has always shown consistency in his career, but this is the year he really makes the jump to the next level.
As always, thank you for reading, I’m sure every one of you is just as excited for the NFL season to officially kick off as I am. If you have any questions for me, related to IDP, NFL, or anything in general, reach out to me on Twitter @BrumleyNFL and I’ll be happy to chat!