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IDP focus: Cooper a postseason sleeper

By Ted Rossman

Everyone knows the big IDP names in this year's postseason. Here are some less-heralded names to consider.

  1. London Fletcher (LB, WAS): He made the sixth-most tackles in the NFL during the regular season, but he's a playoff sleeper because the Redskins are projected by most observers to make an early exit from the postseason. Tackles are the easiest defensive category to project, especially in the playoffs when sacks and turnovers should be more limited than during the regular season. Fletcher averaged 8.0 tackles (6.3 solo) per game this season and should give you at least one solid playoff performance.

  1. Stephen Cooper (LB, SD): Cooper is much more anonymous than defense-mates Shawne Merriman and Antonio Cromartie, but don't underestimate his ability to help your playoff fantasy squad. Cooper led the Chargers with 108 tackles (73 solo) during the regular season, and San Diego will avoid New England until the AFC Championship, a fact that boosts the Chargers' chances to play deep into January.
  1. Jermaine Phillips (S, TB): Tampa Bay opens the playoffs against the New York Giants, who threw more interceptions during the regular season (20) than any other playoff team. The Giants also had the worst turnover differential (minus-9) of all playoff teams. If the Bucs win, their most likely second-round opponent is Dallas, which threw the second-most interceptions (19) among playoff teams. Phillips led Tampa Bay with four picks this season and ranked among the leading tacklers at his position until he was rested in Weeks 16 and 17.
  1. Paul Spicer (DE, JAC): Spicer led the Jaguars with eight sacks in 2007. Jacksonville's Wild Card opponent, Pittsburgh, allowed 47 sacks this season, the most among playoff teams. Spicer picked up one of those in Week 15 when the Jags won in the Steel City. He missed Jacksonville's last game with an ankle injury, but is expected to start in the playoffs.
  1. Leroy Hill (LB, SEA): Hill made 81 tackles (58 solo) and three sacks this season while forcing three fumbles. Seattle's first-round opponent, Washington, lost 18 fumbles in 2007, the second-most in the NFL. The Redskins also allowed nearly two sacks per game. Seattle would play at Green Bay in round two, and the Packers committed 24 turnovers during the regular season. Hill is a solid tackler who also offers value in other categories.
  1. James Sanders (S, NE): With the Patriots expected to go deep into the postseason, Sanders is a good under-the-radar pickup as the team's fifth-leading tackler. He made 71 stops (52 solo) during the regular season with two interceptions and a forced fumble.
  1. Anthony Henry (CB, DAL): He only started 10 games this season because of an ankle injury, but Henry still led the Cowboys with six interceptions. The NFC playoffs include a lot of turnover-prone offenses, so Henry is a good pickup.

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