FANTASY FOOTBALL ARTICLES

Death of the Extra Point? The Fantasy Fallout
David Dorey
January 22, 2014
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The National Football League can currently claim to be the most popular American sport which naturally begs the question "How can we change a really, really good thing?" The answer may be to kill the extra point as we know it. The NFL commissioner Roger Goodell recently spoke to that possibility while on "NFL Total Access" on the NFL channel. The reasoning is to remove the need for a "going through the motions" play that results in a successful kick in over 99% of all attempts. In 2013, there were only five misses over the 1,261 attempts. And never more than one per team. Over the last three years, 3,687 extra point attempts resulted in only 19 failures for an overall success rate of 99.5%. Not exactly "edge of your seat" stuff.

One proposal is to award seven points for a touchdown. A team would have the option to either accept that or try for one additional point via a run or pass. Success makes it an eight point score same as if a two point attempt was made in the current rules. BUT... failure to score would then deduct a point from the score essentially making a touchdown revert back to being a six point score like a failed two point conversion. Bottom line - if you can live with seven points then get ready for the kickoff.

The net result would likely prove to be inconsequential other than eliminating a play that succeeds 99.5% of the time anyway. It truly would not impact how often a team goes for that extra point because the current two point play already is really just an attempt to risk the one point to get a second point.

How this plays out in fantasy terms would be quite different. And in less than obvious ways.

Kickers are already the bane of fantasy drafts. You have to get one and yet aside from the likes of Matt Prater or Stephen Gostkowski, anyone you take is going to be more hunch than certainty. And the difference between the top kicker and the tenth best one is rarely more than one or two points per game. Would removing the extra point from the kicker's production significantly change how he eventually ranks for the season? How big of a hit does his point total take?

2013 Leaders
All Kicking Points
Pts FG XP   Rank
W/ XP
Rank
No XP
2013 Leaders
No Extra Points
Pts FG

Pts
Lost

PPG
W/ XP

PPG
No XP
1 Stephen Gostkowski 158 38 44   1 1 Stephen Gostkowski 114 38 44 9.9 7.1
2 Matt Prater 150 25 75   7 2 Justin Tucker 114 38 36 9.4 7.1
3 Nick Novak 144 34 42   8 3 Adam Vinatieri 105 35 39 9.0 6.6
4 Steven Hauschka 143 33 44   3 4 Nick Novak 102 34 41 8.9 6.4
5 Mason Crosby 141 33 42   4 5 Steven Hauschka 99 33 42 8.8 6.2
6 Phil Dawson 140 32 44   5 6 Mason Crosby 99 33 41 8.8 6.2
7 Justin Tucker 140 38 26   9 7 Dan Carpenter 99 33 41 8.8 6.2
8 Adam Vinatieri 139 35 34   13 8 Nick Folk 99 33 40 8.7 6.2
9 Dan Carpenter 131 33 32   6 9 Phil Dawson 96 32 35 8.2 6.0
10 Dan Bailey 131 28 47   11 10 Shaun Suisham 90 30 41 8.2 5.6
2012 Leaders
All Kicking Points
Pts FG XP   Rank
W/ XP
Rank
No XP
2012 Leaders
No Extra Points
Pts FG

Pts
Lost

PPG
W/ XP

PPG
No XP
1 Stephen Gostkowski 153 29 66   4 1 Blair Walsh 105 35 48 9.6 6.6
2 Lawrence Tynes 145 33 46   2 2 Lawrence Tynes 99 33 46 9.1 6.2
3 Matt Bryant 143 33 44   3 3 Matt Bryant 99 33 44 8.9 6.2
4 Blair Walsh 141 35 36   6 4 Jason Hanson 96 32 45 8.8 6.0
5 Shayne Graham 138 31 45   5 5 Shayne Graham 93 31 45 8.6 5.8
6 Jason Hanson 134 32 38   13 6 Sebastian Janikowski 93 31 41 8.4 5.8
7 Matt Prater 133 26 55   8 7 Justin Tucker 90 30 43 8.3 5.6
8 Justin Tucker 132 30 42   1 8 Stephen Gostkowski 87 29 45 8.3 5.4
9 David Akers 131 29 44   9 9 David Akers 87 29 44 8.2 5.4
10 Dan Bailey 124 29 37   10 10 Dan Bailey 87 29 37 7.8 5.4

What the above tables show is that there is not much change in how a kicker ranks without extra points other than for Matt Prater who dropped from #2 last year to only #16 thanks to all those Bronco touchdowns. But basically, a top ten kicker with extra points is a top ten kicker without extra points.

The average top ten kicker loses around 40 points per season without extra points. That's roughly a third of his total points and kickers are the lowest of fantasy scorers anyway. Top ten kickers dropped from an average of 8.9 to 6.4 points per game last year. For 2012, it would have been 8.6 points falling back to only 5.9 on average. So about 2.5 fewer points per game.

Overall, eliminating extra points doesn't really change who is good and who is bad much at all (apologies Matt Prater). And you only lose around 2.5 points per game on average. All that happens is that mostly the same set of guys are scoring two or three points less per game. At least it seems.

So is it correct to say that eliminating extra points is a non-event for what is already a low scoring position? Maybe not. One thing starts to suffer and that is the worst of all.

Consistency.

First off, there were only seven times that a kicker failed to score in a game during 2013. None of them were top ten kickers. When you started your kicker, you at least could count on a few points. But there were 81 instances in which a kicker failed to kick a field goal last year. Stephen Gostkowski was the only NFL kicker who recorded at least one field goal in every game. Matt Prater kicked nothing but extra points on four separate occasions. Mike Nugent and Josh Brown racked up six games with no field goals while .Sebastian Janikowski was left with five such instances. Accept you will have a week or two with the big, fat zero for your kicker score. And plenty of three point weeks as well.

Predicting how many total points a kicker scores is tough enough. Predicting how many times an offense stalls between the goal line and 35-yard line is impossible. And that assumes they make the kick.

Weekly Fantasy Points for Top Kickers 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16
Stephen Gostkowski 11 7 11 12 6 12 9 9 13 B 8 10 10 7 8 11
Field Goal only 9 6 9 9 6 9 6 6 6 B 6 6 6 6 6 6
Justin Tucker 9 2 12 8 14 5 10 B 4 8 8 13 16 3 18 1
Field Goal only 6 0 9 6 12 3 9 B 3 6 6 12 15 0 18 0
Adam Vinatieri 3 8 9 13 8 9 13 B 7 0 12 3 16 4 11 11
Field Goal only 0 6 6 9 6 9 9 B 6 0 9 3 15 0 9 9
Nick Novak 4 15 5 12 5 13 6 B 6 8 10 11 4 13 9 14
Field Goal only 0 12 3 9 3 12 3 B 3 6 9 6 3 9 6 12
Steven Hauschka 6 9 9 11 14 8 10 2 9 15 11 B 10 5 11 4
Field Goal only 6 6 3 9 12 6 6 0 6 12 6 B 6 3 9 3
Matt Prater 7 11 13 10 15 5 9 9 B 4 9 7 5 15 8 13
Field Goal only 0 6 9 3 9 0 6 3 B 0 6 3 0 9 6 9

The take-away from the concept that extra points are eliminated is that the game would speed up. There would be zero impact to all positions besides kickers who experience around a 30% drop in total points on average. And a low scoring, already inconsistent position becomes even more of a nightmare to project because their production relies solely on the number of fourth downs that occur inside the opponent's 35-yard line.

Worse yet, even the best of all kickers are going to end up with a lot of zero or three point weeks. The lack of extra points only drops most kickers about two or three points per week but those were points preventing a kicker shutout in many cases. The proposed rule changes would improve the speed of the game.

And it renders the lowest scoring fantasy position to nothing more than a lottery scratch-off ticket each week. Given that you want to minimize random luck, it makes it hard to continue to include kickers as fantasy players.


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