fantasy football     JOIN THE HUDDLE    
HOME ARTICLES NEWS DRAFT GUIDE REGULAR SEASON STATISTICS NFL TEAMS MESSAGE BOARDS

FANTASY FOOTBALL ARTICLES

The History of Place Kickers
David M. Dorey
2004
Team 2000 2001 2002 2003 Average Current Kicker
GB 7 4 4 7 6 Ryan Longwell
DEN 6 3 9 5 6 Jason Elam
STL 2 1 24 1 7 Jeff Wilkins
PHI 8 9 2 9 7 David Akers
IND 7 2 19 2 8 Mike Vanderjagt
BAL 3 8 22 4 9 Matt Stover
SF 10 15 10 8 11 Todd Peterson
OAK 12 6 4 22 11 Seb.Janikowski
PIT 16 4 8 19 12 Jeff Reed
NE 11 17 10 10 12 Adam Vinatieri
TEN 10 23 14 3 13 Joe Nedney
NO 17 18 3 16 14 John Carney
ATL 23 7 1 26 14 Jay Feeley
CAR 1 25 30 5 15 John Kasay
KC 13 27 7 12 15 Morten Andersen
MIA 11 20 13 20 16 Olindo Mare
TB 30 5 4 28 17 Martin Gramatica
SEA 28 17 17 9 18 Josh Brown
NYJ 9 19 16 27 18 Doug Brien
NYG 24 16 17 14 18 Open
CHI 25 13 23 14 19 Paul Edinger
MIN 13 31 15 16 19 Aaron Elling
WAS 22 18 27 18 21 John Hall
BUF 14 29 12 31 22 Rian Lindell
DET 21 27 21 23 23 Jason Hanson
JAX 19 28 25 25 24 Open
CLE 30 22 20 23 24 Phil Dawson
CIN 31 30 28 12 25 Shayne Graham
DAL 20 26 32 20 25 Billy Cundiff
SD 29 26 26 28 27 Nate Kaeding
ARI 29 21 29 32 28 Neil Rackers
HOU -   31 28 30 Kris Brown

Kickers are notoriously unpredictable thanks in no small part to being little more than what happens when the offense gets close (but not close enough). They are entirely contigent on their team being able to reach their opponent's territory and yet not being able to score touchdowns. High scoring offenses normally have the better kickers, but more predictive than all those extra points are how well teams are able to gain sizable leads in games and then settle for field goals at the end of each game.

Certainly kicker ability to split the uprights have a lot to do with their success, but even the best kicker will have no fantasy relevence if his team never gives him opportunity. Kicker success is mostly about their team and less about the individual since the kicker never controls how many attempts he has.

As an interesting review, consider what teams have done over the past four years with kicking, regardless of who their kicker(s) were that season. Below is how each team ranked (1st to 32nd) in standard kicking points over the last four seasons. As with most historical analysis, those teams that were consistently good or bad are the interesting ones that offer more reliability in making your own assessment of their chances for 2004.

This review tells two stories. First - there are some wildly varying performances by most teams year to year. No wonder so many mark the end of a draft with their kicker picks.

Secondly - there are a handful of consistently good kickers. Really. In a position marked by almost unpredictable behavior, three kickers stand above the rest - David Akers, Ryan Longwell and Jason Elam. Their teams have always been top ten in kicking over the past four seasons. They tend towards being a 6th best kicker or so, but neither have done worse than 9th and as good as 2nd. Next there is a set of three kickers that also have excelled in consistency except for a very statistically-odd crash in 2002. Three of the four years have been great for Mike Vanderjagt, Jeff Wilkins and Matt Stover.

Vanderjagt and Wilkins are the 2004 draft darlings for a good reason - they were hot last year AND they have done it before. Just as intriguing and available much deeper are Longwell, Elam and Stover.