Kickers are generally drafted in the last 2 rounds of Fantasy Football Drafts. Since most Fantasy Football leagues have 12 owners, your goal is to pick one of the top 12 scoring kickers in the league. There are 32 NFL teams, so you have a better than even chance to get a top 12 kicker, even in a blind draw. The difference between the best kicker and the 12th ranked kicker is only about 2 points per game. Everyone knows Gostkowski et al, but who are the true sleepers out there? Read on and pick up some extra points about sleeper kickers.
Rian Lindell of the Buffalo Bills finished the 2008 season as the 11th ranked fantasy producer at his position. However, that came in a year that saw one of his worst conversion rates ever, 79%. Because of this, he will fall in most owner’s eyes. When one looks deeper into his stats, you see that he was forced to attempt as many kicks from 40+ yards last year as his previous 2 years combined! This means that with the coming of WR Terrell Owens to Buffalo opposite Lee Evans, more attempts from 25 to 35 yards are almost guaranteed, due to the fact that Buffalo has the 13th easiest schedule for WRs. I look for production in the 138 point range, a steal as your last draft pick.
Garrett Hartley was perfect as a rookie for the New Orleans Saints last year, while playing in only 8 games. In a standard scoring format, he scored 67 points, which extrapolates to 134 points in a complete season. Getting 8+ points from a kicker you may be able to pick up in the last round is a great value, and you know Drew Brees, Marques Colston, Devery Henderson, Reggie Bush and Pierre Thomas are going to move the ball. Kicking in a dome doesn’t hurt either, and I look for the second year kicker to see about 135 points this year.
Every year, one owner gets itchy and takes a Gostkowski or Akers with 3 or 4 rounds to go, and touches off a kicker run. DO NOT get caught up in this, pick your kicker last, and take one of the sleepers mentioned above to produce maximum value. Sure a steak dinner for $15 is nice, but if you can get a hamburger for a nickel, it sure as heck tastes better.