If you generally ignore the kicker position in your seasonal league, you are forgiven. However with all the teams on bye this week, and another early game in England, you have to at least give it a glance. With so many games projected, based on the spreads, to be close things will likely come down to the kicking game. This past week was not a good one for the position as there were a multitude of missed kicks, and we aren’t even talking about the Arizona/Seattle overtime game. Let’s take a look at how the kickers rank:
Stephen Hauschka – Seattle Seahawks – at New Orleans
Adam Vinatieri – Indianapolis Colts – vs. Kansas City
Matt Bryant – Atlanta Falcons – vs. Green Bay
Brandon McManus – Denver Broncos – vs. San Diego
Sebastian Janikowski – Oakland Raiders – at Tampa Bay
Mason Crosby – Green Bay Packers – at Atlanta
Josh Lambo – San Diego Chargers – at Denver
Dan Bailey – Dallas Cowboys – vs. Philadelphia
Stephen Gostkowski – New England Patriots – at Buffalo
Cairo Santos – Kansas City Chiefs – at Indianapolis
Nick Novak – Houston Texans – vs. Detroit
Will Lutz – New Orleans Saints – vs. Seattle
Matt Prater – Detroit Lions – at Houston
Blair Walsh – Minnesota Vikings – at Chicago
Nick Folk – New York Jets – at Cleveland
A good way to manage the kicker position, and also to find yourself an upgrade, is target those who are coming off their bye. That brings us to Dan Bailey, who is an elite option and I wouldn’t pay too much attention to the fact that the Eagles allow the second fewest fantasy points to opposing kickers. The Cowboys are at home, which also bodes well for Bailey who is 11 for 13 on field goals this season while converting all 18 of his extra point attempts. After some of the kicking performances we have seen as of late, his efficiency on extra points cannot be overlooked.
The by-product, and perhaps silver lining, to Houston’s struggles on offense is the opportunities it has created for Nick Novak. While the Texans struggled to move the ball on Monday in Denver, Novak came through for fantasy owners by converting all three of his field goal attempts. So far this season he has already attempted 19 kicks, converting 16. However his three misses have all come from beyond 40 yards (two greater than 50 yards) while making six kicks of more than 40 yards. Novak will continue to hold value as long as Houston struggles and he is accurate.
Entering this week the Jaguars have allowed the most points to opposing kickers, and that means there is an opportunity to find some value in Ryan Succop. The main problem for him this season has been lack of chances as he has attempted just 10 field goals, making eight. We should note that both of his misses came from beyond 50 yards, but he is perfect from between 40 and 49 yards this season (five for five).
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