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IDP Sleepers 2024

By Matt Schauf | Updated on Fri, 28 Jun 2024 . 8:05 AM EDT


Who to Target … and HOW You Should Draft Them

Go get your guys!

How many times have you heard that draft advice? Probably a lot … and for years.

It’s not wrong. But it is incomplete.

You don’t want to miss out on your favorite draft targets simply because you waited too long to select them. But if you pay no attention to the market, then you’ll inevitably give away value.

When you’re buying concert tickets, you don’t immediately offer above-market price to secure your seats … or wait until the very last row is available. Do you?


How to Treat IDP Sleepers in Your Draft

We introduced our ADP Market Index this year to help you prepare for when you’ll have to jump to get your guy … and perhaps guide whom you should ignore.

It’s a great tool for the offensive side. But there aren’t nearly as many IDP drafts to supply data. And the bulk of those that do happen will come late in the summer.

So you’ll see ADP data even for your IDP league in your Draft War Room. But those numbers won’t prove as trustworthy for the defenders as they will the offensive guys.

Be Smart with Your Decisions

That means it’ll be more challenging to figure out when you can wait on a player and when you can’t. But there are two key ways to help your process.

1. Pay attention to your draft-room rankings.

In nearly all cases – at least in my experience – your league mates won’t know the IDPs nearly as well as the offensive players. That means their picks figure to rely even more on the draft-room rankings.

So if the next IDP up in your Draft War Room sits way down the list in your Yahoo draft room, feel free to wait another turn. Maybe even two. But …

2. Think about how willing you are to miss a player.

Not every guy who hits the top of your draft recommendations is a must-have. Maybe the next guy listed plays the same position and carries a near-identical projection. Maybe another option sits a few spots lower but wins on ceiling projection.

The further you get into your draft, the more you’ll need to consider whether you’ll be OK missing out on that player before you pass on him. 

Even if you’re “sure” he’ll make it back to you, it just takes one other league mate liking him (or, you know, wisely subscribing to Draft Sharks).


You'll find players separated into tiers by position in your Draft War Room, to further help you recognize when it's OK to pass on a certain player.

Now let’s get to those IDP sleepers …


IDP Sleepers: DL

You’ll notice that all the sleepers here sit much higher in our IDP rankings than the guys we’ve included among our offensive sleepers. There are two key reasons for that:

  1. Far fewer defensive players than offensive players get drafted in the average IDP league.
  2. You’ll find much more variation in IDP rankings … and less effort put into differentiating this year’s projections from last year’s results (at least on other sites).

All six players in this article sit among the top 15 in our site rankings at their positions. Of course, that placement could differ in your Draft War Room, depending on your league’s settings.

Matthew Judon, New England Patriots

Draft Sharks ranking: DL9

Matthew Judon looks like an IDP sleeper, with drafters wary of his age and injury return.

This veteran will be easy to overlook because he missed the final 13 games last season after suffering a biceps tear in Week 4. Before that, however, he was on his own tear.

Judon – in his age-31 season – delivered 2+ QB hits in each of the first four games, with 4 sacks and 5 tackles for loss along the way.

Had he averaged 2 QB hits per game for the season, he would have finished seventh in the league, 1 ahead of Maxx Crosby. He also would have been 1 short of his own career high.

Judon did finish 2022:

  • Tied for fourth in QB hits
  • Tied for fourth in sacks
  • Tied for first in forced fumbles
  • And 13th among all players in total pressures

His three Patriots seasons have found him 21st, eighth, and eighth among D-linemen in fantasy points per game (depending on your format).

Jared Verse, Los Angeles Rams

Draft Sharks ranking: DL14

I highlighted my biggest issue with Verse in our Top IDP Rookies article. His lackluster 3-cone drill time suggests he won’t win with agility around the edge in the pros.

But he sits right behind a guy on this list who posted a terrible 3-cone time (7.67 seconds to Verse’s 7.30) and has still become a leading sacker. And there are other similar examples.

Verse also tied for fifth among all FBS edge players last year in total pressures. He averaged 1.18 TFLs per game for his career. Only Will Anderson beat that among D-linemen drafted over the past two years.

His landing with the Rams presents an immediate path to full playing time, while Verse’s record of tackle production makes him look like a high-floor option.


IDP Sleepers: LB

As I alluded to in the opening, you probably don’t need to draft most of these guys where our 3D Values rank them. That’ll be especially true of this duo.

How do 3D Values work?


In some cases, I’ll modify my initial projections for a player to get him a little closer to where I actually think you should draft him. But I’m certainly not adjusting everyone to just be a little above or below the market.

Wouldn’t you rather know when I believe a player is on track to blow away his market price – rather than simply find him a little ahead of ADP?

This duo starts with such a player …

Troy Andersen, Atlanta Falcons

Draft Sharks ranking: LB11

Troy Andersen is back from the torn pec that cost him nearly all of last season. He's a prime IDP sleeper for 2024.

I might not ever know where you can draft him (i.e. how long you can wait), because I won’t be willing to leave Andersen on the board long enough to find out. Why?

He’s a 2022 second-round pick who ran a 4.43-second 40 at the Combine – at 243 pounds. That followed a college career in which he racked up 25.5 tackles for loss, 8.5 sacks and 15 passes defensed over his final two years … after beginning his career on offense.

Oh by the way … 

  • Andersen earned Big Sky Conference Freshman of the Year as a RB. 
  • The next year he shifted to QB after the starter got ruled ineligible and earned first-team all-conference honors. 
  • Then he went first team all-conference at LB as a junior, while also playing some fullback. 
  • And he finished with a Big Sky Defensive Player of the Year award his final season – after sitting out 2020 to recover from multiple lower-body injuries.

Injury Behind Him, Opportunity Remains

Andersen played behind a pair of veterans as a 2022 rookie but started the final four games. He opened 2023 as a full-timer but suffered a pectoral tear in Week 2 and missed the rest of the season.

Now over that, he needs only to hold off third-year undrafted free agent Nate Landman for the starting gig in a Raheem Morris scheme that helped Bobby Wagner and Ernest Jones score as top-12 fantasy LBs the past two years.

E.J. Speed, Indianapolis Colts

Draft Sharks ranking: LB15

E.J. Speed ranks among 2024 IDP sleepers in a role that helped Bobby Okereke two years ago.

Shaquille Leonard’s release last fall elevated Speed to full-time status. He played 90% or more of Colts defensive snaps in each of his final six games and close the year with four straight outings of 10+ tackles (with 8+ solos in each).

Speed finished 37th among LBs in total fantasy points last year despite spending 10 of his games as a half-timer.

Now he should be poised for full-time duty in a scheme that ranked both Zaire Franklin and Bobby Okereke among the top 16 LB scorers in 2022 – DC Gus Bradley’s first year in Indy.

I recently drafted Speed as the No. 37 non-edge LB in an all-IDP industry redraft league on Sleeper.


IDP Sleepers: DB

At this position, you especially don’t need to dig too deep for IDP sleepers – or chase anyone too hard.

There’s lots of year-to-year (and even week-to-week) volatility in DB scoring, thanks to the impact of big plays.

So treat these two safeties not as “must haves” but rather barometers of when to hit DB. As long as both remain available, you can keep waiting. If one’s still on the board, decide whether to draft or keep waiting.

Either way, there will be enough DB scorers to feed your entire redraft league for the year.

Julian Love, Seattle Seahawks

Draft Sharks ranking: DB3

Julian Love is set for a full-time role that makes him an IDP sleeper.

Love might not stay on the board long enough to count as a sleeper in your league after finishing last season among the top 6 DB scorers.

However, I know he sits 17th among DBs in the Sleeper draft list. And that’s bound to help him go later than he should.

Why You Should Choose Love

Love was met with some 2023 role uncertainty thanks to a crowded safety room. But Seattle dumped Jamal Adams and Quandre Diggs this offseason and re-signed Love for $12 million over two years.

That positions him and import Rayshawn Jenkins (also two years, $12 million) as the clear safety duo for 2024.

Despite that 2023 role uncertainty and a team switch, Love leads all DBs in tackles and solos over the past two years, ranking third in assists. He’s also coming off career highs in passes defensed and INTs and has increased his Pro Football Focus coverage grade two straight years.

Brandon Jones, Denver Broncos

Draft Sharks ranking: DB6

Brandon Jones ranks among 2024 IDP sleepers for his new starting role in Denver.

If you’re like “Cool, but Love’s not a sleeper,” then this guy should suit you. I grabbed Jones as DB29 in that aforementioned all-IDP draft.

He has started just 30 games through four NFL seasons since hitting Miami as a third-round pick. Blame part of that on a 2022 ACL tear. But blame at least as much on Jones leaving coaches uncomfortable with keeping him on the field.

Denver, however, gave him $20 million over three years in free agency, including $11 million guaranteed. That clearly points to full-time plans.

Broncos Highlight His Versatility

HC Sean Payton says they’ll likely play their safeties as “right and left maybe more so than designated as strong or free.”

We’ll see exactly how much time that means “in the box” for Jones, but it’s clear he won’t just get stuck playing deep – a range that can limit a safety’s fantasy scoring.

GM George Paton added, “I like the range, I like the toughness, and I like his ability to blitz.”

Tackles, Sacks Will be Key

That last item is important. Blitzing is the thing Jones has done best relative to others at his position so far. He has eight career sacks through four limited seasons. His busiest year – 2021 – found Jones rushing the QB 93 times, 28 more than any other safety, according to PFF.

What he didn’t do particularly well until last season was cover. Check out Jones’ PFF grades in that category …

Pro Football Focus graded Brandon Jones much higher in coverage in 2023 than his previous three years.

If he continues that 2023 turnaround in coverage – cool. We get the versatile player the Broncos believe they got, capable of scoring across categories.

If he backslides in coverage – also cool … for us. The fat contract means that coverage struggles are more likely to push Jones shallow and his corps mates into deep coverage than to slide Jones to the bench.


Where Do IDPs Fit in Your Draft Plan?

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Matt Schauf Author Image
Matt Schauf, Editor
Matt has earned two Fantasy Pros accuracy awards for IDP rankings and won thousands of dollars as a player across best ball, dynasty, and high-stakes fantasy formats. He has been creating fantasy football content for more than 20 years, with work featured by Sporting News, Rotoworld, Athlon, Sirius XM, and others. He's been with Draft Sharks since 2011.
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