As the 2012 NFL playoffs get underway and four teams advance on to the divisional round, the savvy fantasy owner have already turned their attention to the 2013 season. Taking careful notice of players that may be able to help take their fantasy teams to the championship and finding excellent sleeper candidates is a year-round task.
They will often turn late-season opportunities for playing time into a chance to move up the depth chart for the following season or at least the chance to garner more snaps. The Individual Defensive Player (IDP) side of fantasy football tends fluctuate more from year to year than the offensive oriented formats, and deducing who is likely to sneak up draft boards before next August can never be started too early.
As we sit back and enjoy some excellent NFL playoff action, let's also look ahead at some names that could be sneaky good fantasy sleepers on the IDP side of things. As it is very early in the ‘offseason,' we'll sprinkle in a few names at each defensive alignment and examine their fantasy appeal for the 2013 season.
Don Carey, FS, Detroit: The Lions brought Carey on board in early November to help bolster a secondary beset by injuries and he produced some very nice totals down the stretch. He finished the season with 39 total tackles and a pair of interceptions while appearing in nine games. He was solid in run support and surprisingly effective in coverage with five passes defensed and allowed the Lions to release veteran safety Erik Coleman during the season.
Carey recently signed a one-year, $630,000 contract extension and is thought to be slotted into a reserve and special teams role for 2013. Louis Delmas has trouble staying healthy and is a free agent who may not be brought back, and the rest of the Detroit safeties are a motley group in disarray. Keep Carey in mind late in fantasy drafts as a stash with nice upside.
Nigel Bradham, SLB, Buffalo: Bradham stepped in Week 6 to replace Arthur Moats at the SLB position for Buffalo and looks to have cemented a starting gig heading into 2013. His Week 17 total of 11 combined stops helped him reach 57 for the season along with a pass defended. The entire Bills defense played much better as the season progressed and Bradham led the way. He also produced his numbers in limited playing time as the rookie out of Florida State averaged only 30 snaps a game, leaving the field when the Bills employed their nickel package.
He was a solid compliment to veteran WLB Nick...