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WEEK 15 IDP SLEEPERS: Semi-Final Snooze-Stars

Gary Davenport is here with his favorite Week 15 IDP sleepers to help you plug the holes and keep you going that ‘one more week’ as we continue into the fantasy football playoffs.

I was asked a question just about a week ago—”What’s the point of an IDP Sleepers article this late in the fantasy football season?”

The person asking it had a point—as we enter Week 15, there are only four teams still playing in most IDP leagues. Said teams are either very good, very lucky or both—if they weren’t, then they wouldn’t still be playing.

But consider this.

In the first game of Week 14, star linebacker Roquan Smith of the Chicago Bears suffered a season-ending pectoral injury. On Sunday New Orleans Saints edge-rusher Marcus Davenport went down with a foot injury that ended his 2019 season. And while New York Jets safety Jamal Adams still hasn’t been officially ruled out for Week 15 yet, even Gang Green probably isn’t dumb enough to risk Adams’ long-term health in games that don’t matter.


Consider this as well—the two linebackers I recommended in this very article last week (James Burgess of the Jets and Donald Payne of the Jacksonville Jaguars) combined for 27 total tackles and a forced fumble in Week 14. Both finished among the top 10 linebackers in fantasy points in many IDP scoring systems.

Burgess and Payne helped some fantasy owners make it to Week 15. I’m not going to take credit in the bump in ownership for both those players of over seven percent in the last week at Fantrax. But if this article helped guide one person toward those players—and that person advanced to the semis in part because of it—then this column did its job.

That’s the point of pointing out individual defensive players owned in 20 percent or less of the IDP leagues at Fantrax who could be of use to fantasy managers in Week 15.

You know—provided I’m right.

Looking for more playoff reinforcements? Check out our Waiver Wire and FAAB Guide to see which players you should be targeting.


Vic Beasley  — DE, Atlanta Falcons (at SFO) (11 Percent Owned)

Back in 2016, Beasley led the NFL with 15.5 sacks and appeared on the verge of becoming one of the best edge-rushers in the NFL. Since then, the fifth-year pro has tallied just 16 sacks total and will more likely than not hit free agency and leave town in the offseason. However, as Walton Spurlin wrote at Fantasy Pros, last week against the Carolina Panthers Beasley offered a glimpse of that dominant edge-rusher from a few years back.

“Always a streaky IDP option,” Spurlin said,  “the veteran DE has been streaking in a positive direction lately. Last week, in a very positive matchup against Carolina, he took care of business. He finished the game with four solo tackles, two sacks, two forced fumbles, as well as a tackle for a loss. He was the top-scoring DL in most balanced scoring formats in Week 14. Unfortunately, the matchup this week is a much tougher one against the 49ers’ offense. In their past three games, they have allowed just 1.5 sacks to opposing DL. There are likely better, more consistent, options this week.”

Spurlin’s not even a little wrong about this week’s matchup being a lot tougher. But as the season winds down Beasley has literally millions of reasons to try to end the year on a strong note. He’s a risk-reward play to be sure, but you aren’t going to find a higher fantasy ceiling on the waiver wire.

Jeffery Simmons – DT, Tennessee Titans (vs. HOU) (19 Percent Owned)

When Simmons was drafted 19th overall by the Titans back in April, the general belief was that after tearing his ACL in February the former Mississippi State standout would miss his entire rookie season. As Kristopher Knox pointed out at Bleacher Report, that’s not even close to what has actually happened during his inaugural season.

“The Titans took a major risk by drafting Simmons 19th overall after he suffered a torn ACL while preparing for the scouting combine,” he said. “There was a chance that he wouldn’t debut until 2020, and there was no guarantee that he would be the same disruptive player following the injury. Not only did Simmons make it back to the field by Week 7, but he’s been a difference-maker since entering the lineup. He’s been dominant at the point of attack, stonewalling ball-carriers and making life miserable for opposing quarterbacks.”

Simmons has now tallied 26 tackles in seven games, and he picked up his second sack of the season last week against the Raiders. Add in a top-five IDP matchup in this week’s big AFC South showdown with the Houston Texans and you have the recipe for a solid fantasy fill-in up front.

Donald Payne – ILB, Jacksonville Jaguars (at OAK) (17 Percent Owned)

Over the past two games, Payne has now piled up a jaw-dropping 29 total tackles at middle linebacker in place of the injured Myles Jack. And as John Oehser wrote for the team’s website, at a time when not much is going right for the Jags defensive coordinator Todd Wash continues to be impressed by the performance of the third-year pro.

“I thought Donald did a nice job,” Wash said. “He’s been taking reps (in practice) and communicating. Obviously, it was the first time he’s ever done it in a game. He got us in the right checks. The more and more he plays, the more and more we can put on his plate. It’s a challenge for Donald, obviously, because he hasn’t done it, but we’re very encouraged by what we’ve seen out of Donald.”

The injuries at linebacker for the Jaguars have officially hit ridiculous—the Jags grabbed Preston Brown off waivers after placing rookie Quincy Williams on injured reserve earlier this week. Payne’s all but the last man standing, and he’s seeing as many individual tackle opportunities (if not more) right now than any linebacker in the NFL.

Kevin Pierre-Louis – ILB, Chicago Bears (at GBP) (1 Percent Owned)

When the Bears lost their second starter at inside linebacker to a serious injury this past week when Smith went down, it was Pierre-Louis who was called on to deliver in a game against the Dallas Cowboys that was critical for Chicago’s lagging playoff hopes. The sixth-year veteran told Nathan Smith of the team’s website that he intends to deliver yet again on Sunday in an equally big matchup with the rival Packers at Lambeau Field.

“It’s times like this when you lean on your brothers,” said Pierre-Louis. “Ro’s down right now, and he’s going to need us for moral support. He’s going to be there morally as well, helping us in the meetings. We’ve just got to pick up where he left off.”

For coming in cold off the bench, Pierre-Louis played well against Dallas, racking up six total tackles and adding a pair of passes defensed. This week’s matchup with the Packers isn’t great from an IDP perspective, but Pierre-Louis is a three-down ILB available in 99 out of 100 IDP leagues.

For a lot of folks, he’s going to be the best option available on the waiver wire to replace Smith.

Sheldrick Redwine – S, Cleveland Browns (at ARZ) (5 Percent Owned)

The safety positions have been something of a revolving door for the Browns this season. But if last week’s win over the Bengals was any indication, the team may have found a long-term answer in rookie Sheldrick Redwine. As Ellis Williams reported for, veteran cornerback Travis Carrie certainly thinks so.

“Being in the secondary, you need the confidence to make open-field tackles, confidence in defending big tight ends that are larger than you. Confidence to come down and make a tackle on a back that we know is shifty and elusive,” Carrie said. “Those things stem from the confidence and mentality that you know you have an ability to do it. That confidence only will catapult (Redwine) and take him wherever he wants to go.”

Redwine played over 85 percent of the team’s defensive snaps against the Bengals, racking up eight total tackles and nearly securing his first career interception. A similar workload should mean similar production on the road this week at Arizona.

Khari Willis – S, Indianapolis Colts (at NOS) (14 Percent Owned)

Willis shined once again last week for the Colts, piling up a season-high 11 total tackles in a loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The big game wasn’t surprising—as Kevin Hickey reported for Colts Wire when he’s been healthy Willis’ versatility and nose for the ball have made it difficult to keep the rookie from Michigan State off the field.

“Khari has done a great job with his playmaking ability. He knows where he fits into the defense,” said defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus. “He’s really intelligent and he’s functioning well. Guys that do that – Khari or whoever that may be – are going to increase their playing time and continue to play.”

This Sunday’s trip to face the New Orleans Saints isn’t as favorable a matchup as last week’s tilt with Tampa was. But Willis has shown a knack for producing, the Saints are going to pull out all the stops and there’s something to be said for having a player going in the last game of the week. Keep hope alive and all that good stuff.

Got a few IDP sleepers of your own? Let us know about them in the comments below. You don’t get to say, “I told you so,” if you don’t tell us so. 

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