2011 IDP Sleepers - Defensive Backs

I always hesitate to use the word sleeper because readers often associate that word with "no-name players." I prefer the word "undervalued." As a drafter, this is what I am always looking for: value. If I can get a 3rd round value in the 6th round, it gives me a significant relative advantage over my opponent. The following players (e.g. Cliff Avril) most people have heard about and really aren't considered "sleepers." However, this doesn't mean Avril can't provide just as much relative value as a no-name player that comes out of nowhere.

In this article, I recommend defensive backs who I believe will be significantly undervalued heading into the 2011 fantasy season. This list will be continually updated throughout the off-season.

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Quintin Mikell FS Quintin Mikell (STL) - After 8 years in Philadelphia, "Q" decided to go to St. Louis to play for head coach Steve Spagnoulo. Spags will move Mikell around a lot to help mask deficiencies in the Rams secondary as they are now without playmaker O.J. Atogwe. He's been putting up great numbers so far in pre-season and should see plenty of tackle opportunity playing behind a weak set of outside linebackers. Mikell is set up for the best year of his career statistically.

George Wilson SS George Wilson (BUF) - The strong safety position in Buffalo has proven to be absolute fantasy gold over the last few seasons (in 2009 with Wilson and Bryan Scott and last season with Donte Whitner who led all players at his position in tackles). With Donte Whitner leaving for San Francisco, Wilson will have the starting strong safety position to himself. I'm fully expecting DB1 production from Wilson in tackle-heavy scoring systems as long as he plays well enough to remain in the starting lineup.

William Moore SS William Moore (ATL) - Moore played well enough last season to usurp veteran Erik Coleman from his starting position. Coleman had been IDP staple in tackle-heavy leagues for us veteran owners. Although Moore probably won't put up the 80+ solo tackles Coleman was putting up, he is a serious threat in the big play department. He had 5 interceptions in his first full season of significant action and I expect those numbers to increase this year. DB2 value in most leagues in a reasonable assumption.

Morgan Burnett SS Morgan Burnett (GB) - I was high on Burnett last season and if not for injuries, I think he would have had a breakout season. The injury and consequent lost time pushes Burnett even further into IDP oblivion in the majority of IDP leagues, which is great news for experienced owners. Burnett is a talented player in a position that has great fantasy potential. He's worth a selection in later rounds as he presents a good value relative to his current ADP.

Kam Chancellor SS Kam Chancellor (SEA) - If you read my site at all last year, you know that I was very high on both LaRon Landry and Patrick Chung during the preseason. Well, in some ways, Chancellor falls into that category of sleeper for me this year. He's got top 15 upside and will likely go undrafted in even in the deepest of leagues. He has the size of a linebacker and will be used as such as Seattle is relatively weak at outside linebackers. As long as he shows the coaching staff enough to allow him to stay on the field every down, I see no reason why Chancellor can't have low-end DB1 value in tackle-heavy leagues.

Melvin Bullitt SS Melvin Bullitt (IND) - Bullitt has received quite a bit of playing time for a backup over the last several seasons due to former Colt Bob Sanders being injured often. He's played well while filling in and projects to have 70+ solo tackles with a couple of big plays sprinkled in this season. He's a very solid DB4 and can even be used as a DB3 in a pinch.

Major Wright SS Major Wright (CHI) - Wright, a powerful hitter out of Florida, will assume the starting strong safety responsibilities this season and depending on how quickly he catches on to the system, could provide good matchup value for owners down the road. He hasn't played extremely well so far this preseason, but he is definitely a player to keep your eye on in deeper leagues.

Patrick Peterson LCB Patrick Peterson (ARI) - Peterson was the best cornerback prospect in this year's draft and should have a pretty clear road to a starting job in Arizona. Although extremely talented, offenses will test him often and early as a rookie which should led to good fantasy production. Exploit this "rookie corner rule" for all it's worth as it has been historically a good trend to follow.

Captain Munnerlyn RCB Captain Munnerlyn (CAR) - Besides having one of the best names in the NFL, Munnerlyn will be one of the more underrated corners in the league this year. The Panthers were comfortable enough with his skillset to let long-time Panther corner Richard Marshall walk in free agency. Munnerlyn will be a beneficiary of Carolina's heavy use of Cover 2 and should provide owners with above average tackle numbers. He had 5 or more solo tackles in 4 of his last 6 games last season which gives you a glimpse of his year long potential. Additionally, for those in return leagues, he has been known to handle return duties on occasion.

Last Updated: August 24, 2011

Looking for help with your 2011 Fantasy Football draft(s)?  Please support The IDP Guru and purchase a $5, 2011 Fantasy Football IDP Draft Guide. It's over 13,000 words and 28 pages long! To purchase or for additional details, click here.

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