Have you heard the Adam Sandler song, “The Lonesome Kicker?”
Because I consider it a personal failing that until earlier this summer I had not. I am not judging you, dear reader. Yet given my encyclopedic knowledge of songs about football mixed with a strong affinity for Adam Sandler (how many other people do you know who can say they saw him in concert?), this was shocking.
But check out the video. Or don’t. You want to miss out on one of the better performances by Jerome Bettis, that’s your prerogative. Either way, Sandler’s words are as true now as they were 20 years ago: “Extra points, field goals at your service
“Extra points, field goals at your service
One might think it comes with glory
You might think different after you listen to my story…”
Because even Fantasy players don’t respect kickers. They’re often afterthoughts in the Fantasy world, typically drafted in the last round. Even one of the biggest DFS websites completely ignores kickers.
But here at SCFE, we believe that kickers are people too. Maybe we should do even more, but for now, we give you a kicker bust, breakout, and sleeper.
Steven Hauschka, Buffalo Bills
On nearly every site, I see has Hauschka ranked in the Top 12, meaning that someone will likely draft him.
Don’t be that person.
Does going from Seattle to Buffalo sound like a move in the right direction if you’re a kicker? You don’t need to be Al Roker to know that the weather in Buffalo is worse than the weather in Seattle. Not that the division rival Jets and Patriots homes are exactly tropical paradises and ideal for kicking either.
But even if that doesn’t cause you to drop Hauschka out of K1 status, what exactly has he done to warrant that ranking? In Hauschka’s nine year career, he’s never finished higher than the fourth best Fantasy kicker and he’s usually much lower. Furthermore, did Hauschka’s season last year really impress you?
His FG% from under 30 yards was bested by 32 other kickers last year! Of course, those two he missed were half of what he missed all year. Admittedly, four missed FGs is not too bad, but what about the six missed extra points? That’s a lot of missed extra points! Hauschka didn’t even crack the Top 20 for extra points made. What makes you think he will do so this year?
Jason Myers, Jacksonville Jaguars
Myers is entering his third season in the NFL and has yet to finish in the top half of the NFL kickers. But that ends this year.
Why such optimism? Only three other kickers made more FGs from 50-plus yards than Myers last year. That alone is enough for me to trust that he can make the long ones. Despite the Jaguars scoring less last year, Myers also saw his touchbacks increase. Furthermore, have you seen the Jags schedule this year? Cleveland, San Francisco, and the Jets are probably match-ups where you would stream Myers anyway because you know the Jags will score and avoided the dreaded zero. Playing in the domes and warm weather locations of the AFC South doesn’t hurt either.
Cleveland, San Francisco, and the Jets are probably match-ups where you would stream Myers anyway because you know the Jags will score and avoid the dreaded zero. Playing in the domes and warm weather locations of the AFC South doesn’t hurt either.
In addition to all those concrete reasons, there is also an intangible reason I like Myers to break out. Hailing from the football powerhouse of Marist, Myers knows something about overcoming the odds. Don’t be surprised if he once again beats the odds and kicks his way into the K1 ranks this year.
Greg Zuerlein, Los Angeles Rams
Finally, we come to a kicker not even ranked in the Top 20 on most sites. And I understand the hesitancy to include a Ram kicker. However, Greg “The Leg” Zuerlein was one of only five kickers who hit 100% of his extra points. Okay, the Rams might not score a ton of touchdowns, but given the improvements they made on offense during the off-season, they have to score a few more than 24 this year, right?
But it is not just the “gimme” extra points where Zuerlein excels. He’s got the distance too. This past year his longest FG was “only” 54 yards. After all, you can’t kick a 61-yard FG like he did the previous year every year.
Unlike most of the fans that Mr. Sandler’s lonesome kicker moans about, I appreciate what kickers do. I know that if your FG% is around 85%, you are likely to be right around the top dozen kickers in the league. Well, Zuerlein hit 86% of his FG attempts and was 100% from 39 yards or less.
Should he be the first kicker grabbed? No. But the amount of “expert rankings” not including him in the Top 25 shows the lack of research most Fantasy experts put into kickers. If you could find sleepers this easily at other positions your league-mates might be singing their admiration like “Opera Man”. And even that would make a lonesome kicker smile.
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