Sports Magazine

Football Fantasyland 2012 Sleepers: Peas Under the Mattress (D/ST)

By Brettclancy @thebrettclancy

Decided my original sleeper post was too long, so I’m breaking it down by position. Intro paragraph is always the same.

You know the story of the Princess and the Pea, right? Well, the gist is that there’s this princess who can’t sleep if you put a single pea under her mattress because it hurts her back…or something. Look, the point is, in your fantasy draft this year you are the princess (deal with it, it’s a good thing.) If you can find those players (or “peas”) buried deep in the draft (or “mattress”) you will be able to sleep easy knowing your fantasy roster is ready for anything…like say losing 3 of your top four picks in the first two weeks of the season (trust me, it happens.) So, without further confusion, I present, your peapods at the Defense/ST position:

Washington Redskins: I know, they’re in a tough division full of offenses, but they also have assembled an excellent pass rush and that division is run by QB’s who can be prone to throwing INTs along with their TDs. Ryan Kerrigan now has the benefit of a whole offseason, and they’re getting back Jarvis Jenkins on the D-Line (quick google revealed Jenkins has struggled to find his groove so far, but he did miss his entire rookie season, so I don’t expect that to last)  They lost LaRon Landry, but they’re already used to playing without him. The secondary has some things to prove, but so far Shanahan’s been making all the right moves on both sides of the ball.

Buffalo Bills: Yes, they have to play the Patriots twice, but they also get the Mark Sanchez/Tim Tebow coupling and some version of David Garrard/Matt Moore and Ryan Tannehill twice each. (And the rest of the schedule won’t scare anyone) I’m a big believer in what Mario Williams can bring to the team in terms of pass rush, and as long as the offense allows them enough time to breathe on the sidelines, it could be a big year. They’re better than you think and should be waiting in the second to last round once the perennial top picks are gone.

Atlanta Falcons: Love a Mike Nolan defense. The addition of Asante Samuel will help add turnovers. True, facing Brees and Newton twice a year isn’t ideal, especially when you’re a team looking to air it out. I imagine them being similar to the Packers last year, they’ll get scored on, but they’ll make up for it with turnovers.

Kansas City Chiefs: If you haven’t guessed yet I’m big on the Chiefs this year. They were decimated by injuries last year and still only missed the playoffs by one game. Everyone in the division should be better this year, but the Chiefs remain my favorites now that Brandon Flowers and Eric Berry are back in the line-up. I’m still not sold on Peyton Manning and I don’t buy that Rivers and Palmer will magically return to form this year (though both should play better than in 2011) They could be a steal if you’re willing to take a chance.

St Louis Rams: I really don’t know what’s wrong with me, but I have to mention them! First round pick Michael Brockers will help anchor a front line that includes promising pass rusher Chris Long and second round pick Janoris Jenkins has been impressive as advertised in camp. Put him with Cortland Finnegan on a Jeff Fisher defense? They need guys to step up and the offense to hold up their end of the bargain.  For those reasons I can’t recommend grabbing them except maybe as a #2 squad as they should go undrafted in most leagues and be an easy grab off the wire if you decide you want insurance for a top end unit like the Suggs-less Ravens. 

*Note: I tend to like Matthew Berry (and probably most other analysts) advice of waiting until the 2nd to last round to grab a D/ST. Of course I’ve also been known to jump at a high caliber defense a few rounds early, particularly if I’m not completely sold on my roster or the skill position options available in the late mid rounds.

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