CHEAP SEATS – Fantasy Football Preview, Kickers

Posted: August 19, 2010 by The Cheap Seat Fan in Gaming, NFL
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In many cases the kicker position gets put off as a need slot that only is picked due to it being a must take. That is an off base way to view the kicker spot, because while it does not have the point potential that many of skill position spots have, the kicker’s point contribution can be the slight edge that puts you over the top in tightly contested week, much like real life.

This makes the careful selection of the kicker one the biggest details of any fantasy draft and team makeup. However, a great error can be made by jumping the gun and taking one too early, just to land the cream of the crop. Even a backup running back or insurance wide receiver can have greater worth than taking the kicker too high. Many drafts advisors say don’t take one before the last couple of rounds, which I find to be an error in judgement from experience. This does hold true for many second-rate kickers, where they will give the same output regardless of who you get, but many of the premier kickers are healthy picks anywhere after the 10th round. They are every week starters, that usually hold healthy throughout the entire year, which makes virtually every one of them a high value sleeper pick.

Bironas will get plenty of scoring chances, but don't waste a high pick because of it.

Here are the cream of the kicking crop, draft patiently and wisely. Don’t get caught up in the trend if someone makes the mistake and drafts one too early and  you’ll have a valuable difference maker in your pursuit of your championship.

Kicker

1. Nate Kaeding-San Diego Chargers

–          2009: 32 for 35 (91.4%), Long of 55; 50 for 51 extra points

–          3 year average: 83 for 94 (88%), Longest: 57 yards; 142 for 143 extra points

–          Summary: Will get plenty of opportunities to be within range with impressive Chargers offense and has the leg to score from far out if need be. Plenty of extra point opportunities. Class of all kickers overall, but don’t jump too early to take him because of this. Trend: Steady

Kaeding is the perfect storm of accuracy, distance and playing for the right team.

2. David Akers-Philadelphia Eagles

–          2009: 32 for 42 (86.5%), Long of 52; 43 for 45 extra points

–          3 year average: 89 for 109 (81%), Longest: 53 yards; 124 for 126 extra points

–          Summary: Consistent long distance leg (13 made from 40 yards out last year, 3 from 50+) means big point pay out. With an offense in transition, he may get more chances than ever before. Trend: Steady

3. Rob Bironas-Tennessee Titans

–          2009: 27 for 32 (84.4%), Long of 53; 37 for 37 extra points

–          3 year average: 91 for 104 (87.5%), Longest: 56 yards; 105 for 105 extra points

–          Summary: Gets plenty of chances to score from far out and connected on 18 chances from 40 yards or greater, with 6 from 50 or greater. In many cases they will opt for him kicking over a long downfield pass for the score, so he will get lots of long distance chances. Trend: Steady

4. Mason Crosby-Green Bay Packers

–          2009: 27 for 36 (75%), Long of 52; 48 for 49 extra points

–          3 year average: 85 for 109 (78%), Long of 53; 142 for 143 extra points

–          Summary: Has one of the strongest legs in the NFL, but consistency has been a problem. He is young still and that should work out soon. A high risk, high reward type, he had the most attempts in the league last year and that should continue with the Packs highly capable offense. This also means plenty of extra point scores. Trend: Upwards

5. Stephen Gostkowski-New England Patriots

–          2009: 26 for 31 (83.9%), Long of 53; 47 for 47 extra points

–          3 year average: 83 for 95 (87.3%), Long of 53; 148 for 148 extra points

–          Summary: Consistently will get plenty of looks to contribute in New England’s consistent offense. He’s gotten stronger and stronger every year and he is usually deployed between 30 to 39 yards out, but gets an even allotment of chances from all distances. Good safe pick. Trend: Steady

6. Ryan Longwell

–          2009: 26 for 28 (92.9%), Long of 52; 54 for 55 extra points

–          3 year average: 75 for 86 (87.2%), Long of 55; 133 for 135 extra points

–          Summary: One the most efficient overall kickers in the league. He kicks a low amount of field goals, but hits on nearly all of them. Has the potential to hit from far out as well. His value lays in a combination of FG’s and volume of extra points, which he led the league in a year ago. Trend: Upwards

With the strong Vikings offense, Long takes aim at the uprights more than any other kicker.

7. Lawrence Tynes-New York Giants

–          2009: 27 for 32 (84.4%), Long of 52; 45 for 45 extra points

–          3 year average*: 74 for 90 (82%), Long of 52; 120 for 123 extra points (Excludes 2-game 2008 season)

–          Summary: Is not the long distance threat that many of the above players are, but he kicks in great volume from between 20 to 40 yards out and the bulk pays out where the distance points are missed out on. With the ever improving Giants offense, he should get plenty of opportunities for extra points in 2010. Trend: Steady

8. Jay Feely-Arizona Cardinals

–          2009: 30 for 36 (83.3%), Long of 55; 32 for 32 extra points

–          3 year average: 75 for 87 (86.2%), Long of 55; 97 for 97 extra points

–          Summary: One of the most consistent mid-range kickers in the game, nailing 24 straight field goal attempts last season. There could be in for a decline in opportunities moving to uncertain Arizona, post Kurt Warner offense for 2010. Trend: Downwards

9. Matt Prater-Denver Broncos

–          2009: 30 for 35 (85.7%), Long of 51; 32 for 32 extra points

–          2 year average: 55 for 69 (79.7%), Long of 56; 71 for 72 extra points

–          Summary: He showed a big upswing in accuracy and overall production in his second season as a starter. His improved accuracy helped him showcase his big leg, and he connected on 13 scores of 40 yards or better. A good bet to see even more opportunities this year. Trend: Upwards

10. Sebastian Janikowski-Oakland Raiders

–          2009: 26 for 29 (89.7%), Long of 61; 17 for 17 extra points

–          3 year average: 73 for 91 (80.2%), Long of 61; 70 for 71 extra points

–          Summary: Janikowski had a career year in accuracy last year, so expect a more median year in 2010. Continue to expect plenty of long distance chances and an increase in extra points if Jason Campbell improves the consistency of the offense’s trip towards the red zone. Trend: Downwards

Oakland has no issues with deploying the cannon legged Janikowski from 50+ yards out frequently.

Top Sleeper Options: Garrett Hartley-New Orleans, Jeff Reed-Pittsburgh, Rian Lindell-Buffalo, Dan Carpenter-Miami, Olindo Mare-Seattle

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