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2024 Fantasy Football: IDP Sleepers – Linebackers

Given the wide range of IDP leagues, providing specific advice is difficult, especially when trying to provide fantasy football IDP sleepers at the linebacker position. There are huge dynasty leagues that go six or seven players deep at each position group (defensive line, linebackers, and defensive backs). Then, there are shallow redraft leagues with only one or two IDP starters who can be picked from any position. Sometimes the advice is too shallow or too deep.

Generally speaking, my ideal league settings and the starting point for all my advice will be directed at an IDP league with 11 starters. That means you would start 1 DT, 2 DE, 3 LB, 1 CB, 2 S, and 2 IDP Flex (DL/LB/DB).

The ideal IDP scoring system would be 1.5 points per Tackle, 1 point per Assist, 4 points per Sack, 3 points per Forced Fumble, 2 points per Fumble Recovery, 4 points per Interception, 1.5 points per Passes Defensed, 4 points per Safety, and 6 points per Defensive Touchdown.

I clarify all of this because IDP is still a niche format. The vast majority of fantasy football leagues do not use IDPs, so there just isn’t that “mainstream” or “established” way to conduct your league. My ideal view provides a contextual lens through which to view my advice.

Anyway, let’s get to the good stuff. These linebacker sleepers need to be outside the top 36 (since you need to start at least 3 LBs per team in my ideal IDP league.) So, if you play in a shallow or especially deep league, keep that in mind before targeting my choices since your league falls outside my advice’s targeted range.

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Fantasy Football IDP Sleepers: Linebacker

Lavonte David, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
K.J. Britt, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

A common issue in fantasy football is wanting to make calls instead of taking the more obvious or safe veterans. This is one of those examples. David is not a sleeper in a traditional sense. He’s a borderline Hall of Fame caliber player who has been consistently good since 2012.

He finished the 2023 season with 134 combined tackles, his best total since 2015. There’s even more room for potential growth because the Bucs moved on from Devin White, who’s now in Philadelphia, and Tampa Bay will be testing K.J. Britt as the starter alongside David.

Britt is an even deeper sleeper to consider. Tampa Bay is one of the few teams that uses two linebackers nearly 100% of the time.

Given David’s age, there is some bust potential, so keep an eye on Britt in deeper league formats.

Ivan Pace Jr., Minnesota Vikings
Blake Cashman, Minnesota Vikings

Anytime an undrafted rookie makes a big impact, the fantasy football community has difficulty grappling with that success. We’re so attached to draft capital that we subconsciously overvalue those early-round selections when undrafted players hit the ground running in ways we didn’t foresee. Pace is an excellent example of that.

Pace had a hot start to his rookie year, tallying eight combined tackles in Week 1 and another eight combined tackles and a half-sack in Week 2.

Coming over from the Houston Texans, Cashman had a couple of nice games in 2023 that put him on the IDP radar, including a Week 11 contest with 19 combined tackles, one sack and a PD that saw him finish as the IDP1.

Cashman (LB63) is the deep league target, but I prefer Pace between the two. Pace is the early favorite to wear the green dot (he receives and makes the play calls via radio in his helmet and is almost always on the field).

Tyrel Dodson, Seattle Seahawks

Due to the Seahawks moving on from Bobby Wagner and Jordyn Brooks, it’s anyone’s ball game. Dodson is my favorite of the group, but adding former Dolphins starter Jerome Baker will provide competition.

Dodson had a couple of breakout games with the Bills in 2023, though he was the second-best linebacker behind Terrel Bernard.

The fifth-year ‘backer out of Texas A&M had one of his best games when he saw 96% of defensive snaps in Week 9 when he collected 10 combined tackles, two TFLs, and one QB hit. I point that out to illustrate that when he played most, he was equally productive. Unfortunately, playing time wasn’t quite there consistently in Buffalo, as he had only one other game with more than 85% of snaps.

Who will lead Seattle in tackles is anyone’s guess, but Dodson is the early odds-on favorite.

Demario Davis, New Orleans Saints

Davis has been a beast for years, and his age is making him unappealing to the fantasy masses.

And last year, I was guilty of buying in a little too much on Pete Werner while Davis continued to dominate with big snap totals. Davis is as versatile as they come at middle linebacker, illustrated by his 2023 season being his seventh straight year with at least 100 combined tackles and three sacks. That’s exceedingly rare.

I do have a gut feeling Werner will continue to blossom and possibly overtake Davis’s production with the Saints, evidenced by Werner’s much higher rank (LB23) compared to Davis’s (LB39). That said, many of us assumed that we may have just been a year too early last year. But I’d rather wait for Davis later in drafts than reach for Werner when he still needs to produce up to his draft position.

DeMarvion Overshown, Dallas Cowboys

I’m probably a year early, but Overshown should be a fan favorite among dynasty IDP managers. Blessed with tremendous speed, Overshown could be a breakout star for the Cowboys. We just have to wonder who will emerge as the starter. Eric Kendricks, rightfully so if earned, is the on-paper favorite to be the team’s starting middle linebacker.

The Cowboys used a third-round pick on Marist Liufau out of Notre Dame, so it’ll be interesting to see who will be the starters as Liufau and Overshown push Kendricks and Damone Clark.

Got a few IDP sleepers of your own? Let Matt hear about them in the comments below.

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