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Football > Preseason > IDP sleepers

IDP sleepers

Highlighting the underrated lineman, linebackers and defensive backs Profiled players include Chandler Jones, Anthony Spencer, David Harris, Brad Jones, and Nick Roach.
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Chosen by the Jaguars with the first pick in the second round of the 2013 NFL draft, Johnathan Cyprien may have too high a profile for a true sleeper tag. Still, none of the 18 defensive players selected ahead of him may match his fantasy impact this season. Cyprien is equal parts tackling machine and rangy ball-hawk. As a collegian, he set career records at Florida International for the most tackles and forced fumbles in team history. He reportedly flashed those multi-level skills at training camp and OTAs this spring too. Inhibited by a strained hamstring, Cyprien then missed most of preseason play. The injury isn't thought to be severe and should have no bearing on his regular season participation. The dynamic rookie will start the season open and is still slated for a big role in Jacksonville. Playing behind a shaky front seven, he could put up some monster tackle numbers.

Back in 2010 T.J. Ward was on top of the IDP world. His 123 tackles and 10 passes defended were both elite marks from the safety spot and the sky seemed to be the limit for the former Oregon Duck. Unfortunately, he followed his rookie breakout campaign with two disappointing, injury-shortened seasons. Though durability concerns will push him down draft boards, owners shouldn't turn a blind eye to any safety playing in a Ray Horton-led defense. Horton coached the Pittsburgh secondary during six of Troy Polamalu's seven Pro Bowl seasons. Now Cleveland's defensive coordinator, Horton still champions the Steelers style of aggressive, blitz-heavy D that places a lot of emphasis on the strong safety position. A healthy T.J. Ward should not only thrive in that environment, he could very well finish as one of the top safeties in all of fantasy.

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