Thursday, July 3, 2008

Fantasy Football Rookies: Kickers

When looking for a Fantasy Football Kicker, you look for a player that is: accurate, has long distance capabilities and plays for a team that scores a lot of points. Even better, find a kicker on a team whose offense can't quite make it into the end zone and thus often opts for the 3 point play instead. It is very rare for a Kicker to be drafted high in the NFL Draft, and the same is said for Fantasy Drafts as well. This is a position where there are good odds you can find a wavier wire pick up out of the 32 teams resident kickers at any time during the season. In terms of Rookie kickers, more times than not you will want to pass for a more experienced player, unless the rookie plays for a good team, hence our 2007 class.

Last year, two of the top kickers in the whole league were: K Mason Crosby (Packers) 141 pts (31 FG made and 48 extra-points made); and Pro Bowl K Nick Folk (Cowboys) 131 pts (26 FG made and 53 extra-points made). Both of these players kicked for good teams that ended up making the playoffs. Crosby actually led the entire league in 'scoring'.

To put it into perspective, the 2007 kicking leaders for 'FG made' were: Rob Bironas (Titans) 35, Crosby 31, and Robbie Gould (Bears) 31. In terms of 'Extra Points made', the leaders were: Stephen Gostkowski (Patriots) 74; Folk 53; and Adam Vinatieri (Colts) 49. Both Crosby and Folk should be considered in the top 5 kickers heading into 2008.

This past NFL Draft in April, only two kickers were drafted: 6th rounder Taylor Mehlhaff (Redskins) and 7th rounder Brandon Coutu (Seahawks). While each of these players have potential to be solid kickers and compete for starting jobs with their respected teams, neither of them should be considered during the Fantasy Draft and at best late season wavier-wire pick ups. If you have to choose, go with Coutu who has the stronger leg and will battle an aging K Orlindo Mare in Seattle.

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