2020 IDP Sleepers (Redraft)

I hesitate to use the word sleeper too much because the term has been overused to the point of losing its meaning and readers often associate that word with no-name fantasy football players. I prefer the word "undervalued." As a drafter, this is what I am always looking for: value. If I can get a third round value in the sixth round, it gives me a significant relative advantage over my opponent. The following players (e.g. Christian Kirksey, Karl Joseph) most people have heard about and really aren't considered "sleepers" in the traditional sense. However, this doesn't mean they can't provide just as much relative value as a no-name player that comes out of nowhere.

In this article, I recommend three players at each of the three defensive positions (DL, LB, DB) who I believe will be significantly undervalued heading into the 2020 fantasy season.

I will periodically update these throughout the off-season to reflect changes in free agency, defensive schemes, playing time, draft selections, etc. However, keep in mind that the information listed here is just a small sample of a much larger set of rankings and descriptions that are accessible through purchasing my 2020 IDP Fantasy Football Draft Guide.

Scoring System:
Solo Tackle = 1.5 points
Assist = 0.75 points
Tackles for Loss = 2 points
Sack = 4 points
Interception = 5 points
Forced Fumble = 4 points
Fumble Recovery = 4 points
Pass Deflection = 1.5 point
Defensive TD = 6 points
Safeties = 2 points


DEFENSIVE LINEMEN
1Dante Fowler Jr. DE - ATL (10), +7 vs. ECR 
Sleeper
Fowler was the top pass rush prospect coming out of the 2015 draft but never really got a fair shake in Jacksonville. He missed his entire rookie season after tearing his ACL in minicamp. Then with the Jaguars possessing great depth along their defensive line, he never was able to truly crack the starting lineup. After being traded to the Rams however, Fowler became a starter and posted a career-high 11.5 sacks (and 56 total tackles) in his first full year with the team. He parlayed that year into a big payday with the Falcons who are depending on him to be their primary source of sacks. I'm projecting a 35/15/10 stat line for the 25-year old Florida alum.

2Brian Burns DE - CAR (13), +20 vs. ECR 
Sleeper
Burns performed well in his rookie season as a 3-4 pass-rushing OLB, racking up 7.5 sacks. With the move to a 4-3 scheme this year, he gains defensive end eligibility in most leagues which is very appealing to fantasy owners. At minimum, I think he's a DL3 matchup play/sack reliant pass-rushing specialist. If he can put on some weight and withstand the rigors of increased playing time down in the trenches on early downs, he'll have a great chance of jumping up into the next tier of DLs.

3Ifeadi Odenigbo DE - MIN (7), +13 vs. ECR 
Sleeper
Odenigbo, a 7th round selection in the 2017 draft, managed an impressive seven sacks on just 372 snaps last year in a situational pass-rusher role. He finished with the #1 sack frequency per snap rate for any player above 350 snaps. With Everson Griffen gone in free agency, Odenigbo will assume a full-time defensive end role. Based on his performance in a limited role last year, he's well primed for a breakout season playing opposite Danielle Hunter who will draw all the attention of opposing offenses. Ifeadi is one of my favorite late-round IDP sleepers this year.


LINEBACKERS
1Christian Kirksey LB - GB (5), -1 vs. ECR 
Sleeper
In his last full season, Kirksey racked up an impressive 142 total tackles and 3.5 sacks. However, he's missed most of the last two seasons due to injury so figures to be undervalued heading into 2020. He's taken over the productive ILB spot in Green Bay which was just vacated by Blake Martinez. I consider the two fairly equal in talent, so if Kirksey can stay healthy, he's in for a big fantasy season. He'll likely be a player I target as my low-end LB2, high-end LB3 in a lot of leagues.

2Jerome Baker LB - MIA (11), +0 vs. ECR 
Sleeper
Being the sole every down linebacker on one of the league's worst teams made Baker a popular sleeper pick heading into the 2019 fantasy season. A lot of owners lost faith after a slow first half start but Baker turned things around in his final 10 games, averaging nearly 9 total tackles per game on his way to finishing the year with 126 total tackles and LB3+ status. With a full year under his belt in this system, we could see him build on his production from last year.

3Logan Wilson LB - CIN (9), +11 vs. ECR 
Sleeper
Wilson has the unique size/speed combination to immediately become an every-down linebacker in the NFL. If he can secure the starting MLB spot (which I think he can), Wilson will be well set up for a very nice rookie fantasy season. Much of the rookie IDP attention at this position has been focused to Patrick Queen, Kenneth Murray, and Isaiah Simmons, but Wilson has a shot of being in their league given his situation and opportunity. This will be a camp battle to watch closely.


DEFENSIVE BACKS
1Jeremy Chinn S - CAR (13), +6 vs. ECR 
Sleeper
The departure of Eric Reid in free agency leaves a gaping hole at strong safety for Chinn to immediately fill. Reid put up monster numbers in that role last year and with Luke Kuechly retired, expect even more tackling opportunities to flow into the secondary. Chinn has elite speed for his position and is the frontrunner to lead all rookie secondary players in tackles. One of my favorite sleeper picks this year.

2Grant Delpit S - CLE (9), +11 vs. ECR 
Sleeper
Delpit has great size and a well-rounded skill set that will make him hard to keep out of the starting lineup come kickoff week. The Browns lost two of their top linebackers in free agency, so I expect the secondary to see a ton of tackle opportunity. He's my dark horse candidate to finish the year as the top rookie DB.

3Karl Joseph S - CLE (9), +20 vs. ECR 
Sleeper
Joseph, the former 14th overall pick in the 2014 draft, has failed to do much during his first four seasons in the league. Perhaps he was overrated coming out of West Virginia, but he's also struggled with injuries (hasn't played a full season yet) and playing in Oakland sure didn't help his cause as many defensive players have underperformed there in recent years. He now finds himself with another dysfunctional team in the Browns. However, the safety position in Cleveland has been fairly productive in recent years and with big gaps at the LB position, Joseph has a really good opportunity to restart his career and finally blossom into a fantasy relevant player. He's a great gamble later in drafts as your third or fourth defensive back.

Like what you've read so far? Looking to dominate your 2020 Fantasy Football draft(s)? For $8.49 you can get complete access to The IDP Guru's comprehensive and exhaustive 2020 IDP Fantasy Football Draft Guide.

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Questions, comments, or concerns with any of these rankings? If so, please let me know by posting a comment below or emailing me at theidpguru@idpguru.com. You can also hit me up on Twitter


Last Updated: August 1, 2020
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