VOTED #1 FANTASY FOOTBALL SITE
1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 & 2002
PRIORITY NEWS   MESSAGE BOARDS JOIN   
HOME ARTICLES STATISTICS WEEKLY FEATURES TEAM LINKS NFL RESOURCES  
Looking Back - Kickers
by David M. Dorey
July 21, 2003
 
Quarterback Running Back Wide Receiver Tight End Kicker Defense

Kickers - everyone needs one, no one wants to be the first to take one. There is good reasoning behind the notion.
Drafted Actual Kicker NFL PPG
1 17 Vanderjagt,Mike IND 6.4
2 22 Wilkins,Jeff STL 5.9
3 7 Elam,Jason DEN 7.5
4 2 Akers,David PHI 8.3
5 5 Gramatica,Martin TB 8
6 6 Janikowski,Sebastian OAK 8
7 11 Mare,Olindo MIA 7.1
8 4 Longwell,Ryan GB 8
9 9 Vinatieri,Adam NE 7.3
10 3 Carney,John NO 8.1
11 29 Peterson,Todd PIT 3.8
12 20 Stover,Matt BAL 6
13 1 Feely,Jay ATL 8.6
14 21 Edinger,Paul CHI 5.9
15 12 Nedney,Joe TEN 6.9
16 39 Conway,Brett --- 0.4
17 8 Andersen,Morten KC 7.3
18 18 Hanson,Jason DET 6.3
19 19 Dawson,Phil CLE 6.3
20 27 Brown,Kris HOU 4.4
Actual Drafted Kicker NFL PPG
1 13 Feely,Jay ATL 8.6
2 4 Akers,David PHI 8.3
3 10 Carney,John NO 8.1
4 8 Longwell,Ryan GB 8
5 5 Gramatica,Martin TB 8
6 6 Janikowski,Sebastian OAK 8
7 3 Elam,Jason DEN 7.5
8 17 Andersen,Morten KC 7.3
9 9 Vinatieri,Adam NE 7.3
10 23 Hollis,Mike BUF 7.2
11 7 Mare,Olindo MIA 7.1
12 15 Nedney,Joe TEN 6.9
13 NA Bryant,Matt NYG 6.8
14 22 Hall,John NYJ 6.7
15 NA Lindell,Rian SEA 6.7
16 NA Cortez,Jose WAS 6.4
17 1 Vanderjagt,Mike IND 6.4
18 18 Hanson,Jason DET 6.3
19 19 Dawson,Phil CLE 6.3
20 12 Stover,Matt BAL 6

Last season, Vanderjagt was easily the favorite kicker to be selected first and almost inexplicably he ended up as a major disappointment. Throw Jeff Wilkins in the same boat and you can see why squandering a pick on the first kicker so rarely matters.

At least we saw a total of seven kickers taken in the first dozen remain in that top starting group for the season. Other than Olindo Mare, the third to the tenth kicker panned out about as well as was expected.

The top dozen started out with two duds and then ended with two relative duds in Todd Peterson and Matt Stover. The rest of the kickers taken are inconsequential to analysis really since most of them were selected on the basis of their bye week for filling in when the starter was gone. After the first dozen are taken, there is little rhyme or reason to how they fall.

Jay Feely and John Carney were the nicest surprises for kickers, though Feely was aided in large part by his five field goal, three extra point game in week sixteen. If you still were playing that late in the season, you were very richly rewarded for having Feely and that will play in the minds of drafters this season as well.

The top dozen kickers were almost all taken in the first 13 kickers drafted, exception to only Mike Hollis and the Bills high scoring offense last season.

This shows a nice amount of predictability to kickers when so many of them lived up to expectations and the reality is that only about a point and a half overall separated the best starting kicker from the 12th berst kicker. Not a lot of crowing when your advantage is only one point per game. At least for being afterthoughts in the draft, kickers came through better than any other position. But does that always happen? Let's look at the last three drafts and remember - there is not a huge amount of difference in the top 20 anyway.

Draft Actual 2002 PPG Draft Actual 2001 PPG Draft Actual 2000 PPG
1 17 Vanderjagt,M. 1 4 Vanderjagt,M. 1 6 Vanderjagt,M.
2 22 Wilkins,Jeff 2 10 Stover,Matt 2 15 Hollis,Mike
3 7 Elam,Jason 3 15 Gramatica,M. 3 9 Janikowski,S.
4 2 Akers,David 4 5 Elam,Jason 4 16 Elam,Jason
5 5 Gramatica,M. 5 20 Longwell,Ryan 5 8 Mare,Olindo
6 6 Janikowski,S. 6 3 Wilkins,Jeff 6 21 Wilkins,Jeff
7 11 Mare,Olindo 7 8 Janikowski,S. 7 4 Gramatica,M.
8 4 Longwell,Ryan 8 22 Mare,Olindo 8 34 Conway,Brett
9 9 Vinatieri,Adam 9 27 Nedney,Joe 9 7 Del Greco,Al
10 3 Carney,John 10 34 Hollis,Mike 10 18 Hanson,Jason
11 29 Peterson,Todd 11 12 Akers,David 11 26 Peterson,Todd
12 20 Stover,Matt 12 35 Anderson,Gary 12 2 Longwell,Ryan
13 1 Feely,Jay 13 24 Hanson,Jason 13 1 Stover,Matt
14 21 Edinger,Paul 14 7 Carney,John 14 10 Anderson,Gary
15 12 Nedney,Joe 15 30 Seder,Tim 15 19 Andersen,M.
16 39 Conway,Brett 16 13 Vinatieri,Adam 16 14 Vinatieri,Adam
17 8 Andersen,M. 17 25 Andersen,M. 17 ND Kasay,John
18 18 Hanson,Jason 18 19 Christie,Steve 18 32 Stoyanovich,P.
19 19 Dawson,Phil 19 21 Hall,John 19 11 Christie,Steve
20 27 Brown,Kris 20 32 Gramatica,B. 20 35 Cunningham,R.

While 2002 looked like the average drafter knew their kickers, that was more of an abberation than a rule. In 2001, only half of the first twelve kickers ended up scoring that way and in 2000, the same rule of six applied. Mike Vanderjagt has been the default first drafted kicker for the past three years and it makes sense that last season when kickers were most predictable, he turns in his worst season.

In the end, the main caveat to take from this is that kickers are not as predictable as they seemed in 2002 and with the marginal decrease from player to player, it makes no sense to take a highly ranked one. Look for a return this season of the 50% rule and when you select your second kicker, do it for more than merely covering a bye week.

Quarterback Running Back Wide Receiver Tight End Kicker Defense