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FANTASY FOOTBALL PRE-SEASON FEATURES

2005 Player Rankings: Kickers
Updated: September 5, 2005
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Tier 1
Mike Vanderjagt - FA YEAR TM GMS FGA FGM FG% LONG XPA XPM PTS
Performance: 1
TD Only: 1
Keeper: 1
Auction: 3%
2002 IND 16 31 23 74% 54 34 34 103
2003 IND 16 37 37 100% 50 46 46 157
2004 IND 15 25 20 80% 47 60 59 119
Avg   16 31 27 87%   47 46 127
PROJ FA     26       63 141

The Colts were scoring last year at an astounding rate and while Vanderjagt was considered a minor disappointment early in 2004, he ended the year very strong and claimed the #7 spot in spite of missing one game and kicking through a hamstring injury.

Other than 2002, Vanderjagt has been golden for the last five years and twice ended as the first or second best kicker for the year. He?ll be healthy in 2005 and the Colts offense returns with all the same superstars that make Vanderjagt a near guarantee for a top five finish. If he ended as #1 again, no one would be surprised.

Vanderjagt should be considered as the first kicker taken in every league because of the high-powered offense in Indianapolis. When he is healthy, he?ll always get your team about five or six points and on a good day, he?ll reach double digits as he has twelve times in the last two seasons. Vanderjagt may only be an ?idiot kicker?, but he can make you look very smart.

David Akers - FA YEAR TM GMS FGA FGM FG% LONG XPA XPM PTS
Performance: 2
TD Only: 2
Keeper: 2
Auction: 3%
2002 PHI 16 34 30 88% 51 43 43 133
2003 PHI 15 29 24 83% 57 42 42 114
2004 PHI 16 32 27 84% 51 42 41 122
Avg   16 32 27 84%   42 42 123
PROJ FA     28       45 129

Considering that kickers routinely vary up to 20 ranking spots from year to year, a player like Akers has consistency that makes him one of the most valuable kickers every season. He?ll never hurt your fantasy team and typically he will make those two or three extra fantasy points each week that can make the difference between a loss or win.

Akers has never fallen out of the top ten for the last five seasons ? almost unheard of level of production from year to year. The worst he has posted is 9th and he?s been as high as 2nd best in the league. His 2004 season saw him finish as 9th but that is obscuring the fact that the Eagles stopped trying for the last three weeks when he only produced five points. Until that point he had turned in five double digit games. Had he continued the final three weeks as he did his first thirteen games, he would have ended with 144 points ? better than any kicker in the league.

Of course, you cannot dismiss how badly it hurts when this great kicker disappears right during your fantasy playoffs, but the fact remains ? he can be a big help getting you that far.

Jason Elam - FA YEAR TM GMS FGA FGM FG% LONG XPA XPM PTS
Performance: 3
TD Only: 3
Keeper: 3
Auction: 2%
2002 DEN 16 36 26 72% 55 43 42 120
2003 DEN 16 31 27 87% 51 39 39 120
2004 DEN 16 34 29 85% 52 42 42 129
Avg   16 34 27 79%   41 41 122
PROJ FA     28       41 125

Along with Matt Stover, and probably even more so than Stover, Jason Elam is the fantasy equivalent of a guaranteed good kicker on a yearly basis. He?s been a top ten kicker for longer than most have played fantasy football and never fallen out of that range. He?s certainly not getting any younger but in the thin air in Denver, he remains a tremendous benefit in leagues rewarding long field goals. After 12 seasons, he has never failed to kick at least one field goal over 50 yards in a season ? a remarkable string. He had three last year and tied the NFL record with a 63 yarder in 1998.

Elam ended as the #2 kicker last year in most leagues and #1 in some with distance points. He won?t come nearly as cheaply in 2005 but regardless when he is taken ? he always delivers a great performance. In a position that is more inconsistent than most, he remains the most consistently productive kicker in the history of fantasy football.

This year most leagues will see Vinatieri (Super Bowl) and Vanderjagt (high scoring Colts) taken early along with stalwart Akers. Throw Elam into that mix of four and there?s no going wrong. And with Elam, there?s never getting it wrong ? ever.

Adam Vinatieri - IND YEAR TM GMS FGA FGM FG% LONG XPA XPM PTS
Performance: 4
TD Only: 4
Keeper: 4
Auction: 2%
2002 NEP 16 30 27 90% 57 36 36 117
2003 NEP 16 34 25 74% 48 38 37 112
2004 NEP 16 33 31 94% 48 48 48 141
Avg   16 32 28 88%   41 40 124
PROJ IND     28       40 124

The introduction of a running game in New England certainly played major dividends for Vinatieri. Always a solid kicker, Adam almost always ended around 11th best each season which just barely made him a fantasy starter. Then last season he ended as the best kicker on the board. No doubt that will cause him to be a hot commodity in drafts this year (in so far as any kicker is hot),

Vinatieri had six games in double digits and those are the ones that make a difference for the week. The Patriots return almost the exact same team in 2005 that came off winning the Super Bowl so it is reasonable to expect a good season from Vinatieri once again. He won?t likely repeat as the very best, but he will be inside the top 12 as he always is and that sort of consistency is golden for kickers.

Consider Vinatieri only if you really believe he will duplicate 2004 because his value will see him often going as the first or second kicker taken. And know that the best overall kicker each year rarely repeats the same performance.

Matt Stover - FA* YEAR TM GMS FGA FGM FG% LONG XPA XPM PTS
Performance: 5
TD Only: 5
Keeper: 5
Auction: 2%
2002 BAL 15 25 21 84% 51 33 33 96
2003 BAL 16 38 33 87% 49 35 35 134
2004 BAL 16 32 29 91% 50 30 30 117
Avg   16 32 28 88%   33 33 117
PROJ FA*     31       30 123

Matt Stover is a secret that most veteran fantasy players keep to themselves. He is never the best kicker in the league so he has never been a true difference maker on a fantasy team. But he is almost always a top ten kicker. As long as Jamal Lewis is healthy, Stover has never done worse than the 8th best and has been as good as 3rd best. That is consistency almost unheard of from a kicker.

Regardless of the addition of Derrick Mason, the Ravens are a rushing and big defense team and those always lead to good kicking points. Stover is one of the safest picks you can make for a kicker and one that never hurts your team. You can wait for the run to begin and know that Stover is the ace in your pocket even after six or more kickers are already taken.

Tier 2
Ryan Longwell - FA YEAR TM GMS FGA FGM FG% LONG XPA XPM PTS
Performance: 6
TD Only: 6
Keeper: 6
Auction: 1%
2002 GBP 16 34 28 82% 49 44 44 128
2003 GBP 16 26 23 88% 50 51 51 120
2004 GBP 16 28 24 86% 53 48 48 120
Avg   16 29 25 86%   48 48 123
PROJ FA     27       41 122

Longwell is another kicker that astute fantasy players are very familiar with - he?s been a top 7 kicker in three of the last four years including 2005 when he ended fourth. He?s always available later than he ends up producing and there is reason to believe that he could be better in 2005.

His only down year (of sorts) recently was in 2002 when NFL kicking points went nuts but didn?t include him. That was the year that the Packers had their best rushing game. In other years, Longwell has had to trot on the field more often. The Packers have lost both starting guards this season and the offensive line will not be as good. That could end up forcing Green Bay to settle for more short yardage field goals that might have been converted into touchdowns in seasons past.

But there is just as realistic a chance that the downgrade to the blocking merely means the Packers will not be getting as close to the goal line this season. Longwell has been a solid fantasy producer and low risk and while this year he could be even better, there is more risk that he could decline. Since he has a ?bigger? name, he?s probably a risk that another team in your league should take.

Jeff Wilkins - FA YEAR TM GMS FGA FGM FG% LONG XPA XPM PTS
Performance: 7
TD Only: 7
Keeper: 7
Auction: 1%
2002 STL 16 25 19 76% 47 37 37 94
2003 STL 16 42 39 93% 53 46 46 163
2004 STL 16 24 19 79% 53 32 32 89
Avg   16 30 26 87%   38 38 116
PROJ FA     27       41 122

Wilkins kicks for one of the highest scoring offenses in the league and while that can prove to be a huge benefit, it only happens every other year. In 2001 and 2003, Wilkins ended as the #1 kicker. In 2002 and 2004, he was the 24th and 25th best kicker. Consistency typically is preferred to be every year, not every other year.

For what it is worth, Wilkins has the chance to be the #1 kicker in an odd-numbered near for the third time. There is good reason to assume that he will greatly improve on his poor showing last season. The Rams will be rushing the ball better with Steven Jackson as the primary runner and with that more balance for the offense. The Rams have one of the easiest schedules in the NFL this year as well. And Wilkins can get the job done ? he?s proven such several times.

Wilkins will be available much deeper in drafts than warranted and realize that each year he seems to come off a #1 ranking and then disappoint. Then the following year he drops seriously in the rankings (naturally) and he ends up available far deeper than should be. All kickers are risks of some extent, but few can claim to have been top two for three of the last five years.

Jeff Reed - FA* YEAR TM GMS FGA FGM FG% LONG XPA XPM PTS
Performance: 8
TD Only: 8
Keeper: 8
Auction: 1%
2002 PIT 6 19 17 89% 50 11 10 61
2003 PIT 16 32 23 72% 51 32 31 100
2004 PIT 16 33 28 85% 51 40 40 124
Avg   13 28 23 82%   28 27 96
PROJ FA*     29       30 117

Reed has increased his production every year and in 2004 during the most glorious regular season in Pittsburgh ever, the team ended with the 3rd most productive kicking game in the league. This was further made possible thanks to a very accurate 85% success rate on field goals.

What Reed produced was very strong but while he had 28 successful field goals, he only hit on seven which came from the 40-yard line or farther. His stock drops in a league which awards distance points since he nailed most of his scores from within the 25-yard line. His three year progression upwards would have to make him the #1 kicker this year if it continued ? that?s not likely.

The Steelers as a team had a career year on offense with a tremendous rushing game balanced by one of the best defenses in the league. While history says that such a great performance will not repeat, the fact is that Pittsburgh does have an easier schedule this year than in 2004 and will return all but Burress to the offense. If Staley maintains his health and Bettis once again defies the aging process, the Steelers could be just as good. Consider Reed as a definite fantasy starter this season with some risk but likely more upside.

Josh Brown - NYG YEAR TM GMS FGA FGM FG% LONG XPA XPM PTS
Performance: 9
TD Only: 9
Keeper: 9
Auction: 1%
2002                  
2003 SEA 16 30 22 73% 58 48 48 114
2004 SEA 16 25 23 92% 54 40 40 109
Avg   16 28 23 82%   44 44 113
PROJ NYG     24       44 116

Brown fell from 8th to 12th best in 2005 but it was hardly his fault. He has yet to miss an extra point in the NFL and last year connected on an astounding 92% of his field goals ? all told he had 65 kicks last year and only missed two long field goals. That?s exactly what the Seahawks were looking for when they drafted him in 2003.

Playing on a productive offense and possessing such accuracy demands that Brown is a fantasy starter every week. Thanks to playing in the NFC West, the Seahawks are a lock for an easier schedule than most and return the same offensive starters as last year. More importantly, their defense should be upgraded in 2005 which would result in more late game, ?extend the winning margin? field goals.

Brown should improve in his third year as the offense around him should succeed. So far his opportunities have not been enough to elevate him to a level of being a fantasy star. He?s one of the best kickers in the league already and since he finished farther back in the pack last year, he?ll make a great pick-up in a draft well after the kicker run has began.

Rian Lindell - FA YEAR TM GMS FGA FGM FG% LONG XPA XPM PTS
Performance: 10
TD Only: 10
Keeper: 10
Auction: 1%
2002 SEA 16 29 23 79% 52 38 38 107
2003 BUF 16 24 17 71% 44 24 24 75
2004 BUF 16 28 24 86% 43 45 45 117
Avg   16 27 21 78%   36 36 99
PROJ FA     26       32 110

What a difference a year makes. When the Bills were stumbling in 2003, Lindell ended up as the 31st best kicker in the league. Last year when the rushing game and top defense showed up, he shot all the way up to 8th best. Those two characteristics ? a sound running game and a top defense ? almost always equate to a good kicking game.

His higher finish last year has placed him more on the radar of fantasy owners and he won?t be a waiver wire pick in 2005. But he?ll still be around well after the run on the position has started and he?s a solid choice. Looking at the table above, you can witness how much better Lindell was once the running game with McGahee really took off. He had 72 points in his final seven games ? that would extrapolate out to 164 points and a new NFL record.

Kickers are always hard to guess since they change so much season to season, but Lindell is an excellent selection and one with upside for 2005. He could be within the first ten kickers taken and yet could end up better many of them.

Shayne Graham - NOS YEAR TM GMS FGA FGM FG% LONG XPA XPM PTS
Performance: 11
TD Only: 11
Keeper: 11
Auction: 1%
2002 CAR 12 18 13 72% 50 21 21 60
2003 CIN 16 25 22 88% 48 40 40 106
2004 CIN 16 31 27 87% 53 41 41 122
Avg   15 25 21 84%   34 34 97
PROJ NOS     24       39 111

Graham was a delightful surprise last year in fantasy leagues, taking the normally average Bengal kicking game up to 4th best in the league for 2004 and that was with no points scored in the final week. His 87% accuracy last year (and 88% in 2004) is outstanding and the Bengals offense is improving with Carson Palmer entering his second season as the starter.

Graham won?t be a major bargain in fantasy drafts this year but he?s still likely to remain a decent value. The Bengals have a better chance at converting some of those drives into touchdowns instead of field goals this year and that would lead to fewer points from Graham.

He is a very accurate kicker and for the opportunities he receives, Graham is about as good as any kicker in the league. He?s likely to be taken a little too early this year after his great finish last season and actually has a better chance of more extra points ? but less field goals ? than he had in 2004 which will yield less overall fantasy value.

Nate Kaeding - FA YEAR TM GMS FGA FGM FG% LONG XPA XPM PTS
Performance: 12
TD Only: 12
Keeper: 12
Auction: 1%
2002                  
2003                  
2004 SDC 16 25 20 80% 53 55 54 114
Avg   16 25 20 80%   55 54 114
PROJ FA     20       49 109

The rookie with the monster leg came to San Diego with some incredibly well placed timing. The Chargers had gone for years with almost exclusively 24+ rankings on their kicking points and Kaeding managed to end 2004 as the 10th best kicker in the league thanks to good accuracy and plenty of opportunities. He had three kicks over 50 yards to inspire even more confidence in 2005.

The Chargers discovered a once dormant passing game last year and with a more balanced offense should be able to move the ball even better in 2005. That can only benefit Kaeding who has yet to miss a field goal while playing at home. For a young kicker, Kaeding?s first season was promising for his fantasy outlook and the improvement in the offense justifies his drafting this summer as a fantasy starter.

Kaeding may not yet be to the point where he?ll be a difference maker, but he has the leg and accuracy to fill the role if given the opportunity. He has more upside than risk to repeat and since his name is still new, he?ll likely be drafted lower than warranted.

08-14-05 Update: Kaeding has been shaky in practice and just missed three straight field goals in the season opener. He falls a bit in the rankings from likely shaken confidence.

Tier 3
John Carney - FA* YEAR TM GMS FGA FGM FG% LONG XPA XPM PTS
Performance: 13
TD Only: 13
Keeper: 13
Auction: 1%
2002 NOS 16 35 31 89% 48 37 37 130
2003 NOS 16 30 22 73% 50 37 36 102
2004 NOS 16 27 22 81% 53 38 38 104
Avg   16 31 25 81%   37 37 112
PROJ FA*     23       37 106

Carney has played at a high level for almost his entire career but at the age of 41 years old, he?s likely in his final season. His leg strength has not waned though and he remains one of the more accurate kickers in the league. Over the last five seasons, Carney has never done worse than 18th best and as recently as 2003 he was the 3rd overall kicker.

As a product of an offense that ranks in the upper half of the NFL in scoring and inside a dome, Carney?s allure remains strong in spite of his age. He is typically right around the scoring range that merits him being the last starter taken or the first back-up selected. There is little risk that he won?t turn in a moderately above-average season, but his upside of being a difference maker is pretty small.

Leave Carney for your second kicker but don?t hesitate on grabbing him in those final rounds as you fill out your roster. He won?t turn in many double digit games but as a weekly replacement, he?s almost a guaranteed five or six points.

Sebastian Janikowski - OAK YEAR TM GMS FGA FGM FG% LONG XPA XPM PTS
Performance: 14
TD Only: 14
Keeper: 14
Auction: 1%
2002 OAK 16 33 26 79% 51 50 50 128
2003 OAK 16 25 22 88% 55 29 28 94
2004 OAK 16 28 25 89% 52 32 31 106
Avg   16 29 24 83%   37 36 108
PROJ OAK     25       35 110

The Polish Cannon has always been a favorite pick by many fantasy owners because he has the ability to nail a 55 yard field goal. Plus his antics off the field have given him more of a name than most kickers (even if it is not very good). Janikowski did have two great seasons during 2001 and 2002 when he ended 6th and 5th best for the year. In 2003 during the demise of the Raider offense, he fell to only 22nd best and in Norv Turner?s first season, Janikowski came in 13th best overall ? not quite worthy of being a fantasy starter.

Assumedly the Raider offense will be improved this season ? it almost has to be after 2004 and with Randy Moss and Lamont Jordan on the team, there?s optimism that Sebastian will be getting more opportunities.

His name and big leg will mean he?s going to be taken as a starter in your league but the chance he?ll be a big difference maker is not as strong as him remaining marginally productive as a fantasy starter. The offense is still new and there are two major players now to integrate. Figure that Janikowski likely gets better as the year (and offense) progresses.

Neil Rackers - FA* YEAR TM GMS FGA FGM FG% LONG XPA XPM PTS
Performance: 15
TD Only: 15
Keeper: 15
Auction: 1%
2002 CIN 16 18 15 83% 54 32 30 75
2003 ARI 7 12 9 75% 49 8 8 35
2004 ARI 16 29 22 76% 55 28 28 94
Avg   13 20 15 75%   23 22 67
PROJ FA*     25       29 104

Rackers came over from the Bengals last year during the rebuilding by Denny Green and turned in a career best season. Problem is that his 94 points still only landed him as the 16th best fantasy kicker last year and you just cannot get any more average than that.

There is optimism that the Cardinals offense will improve again in 2005 and with that Rackers could rise into the elite top half of the league for all kickers. The Cardinals brought in Kurt Warner and added J.J. Arrington in the draft which instantly upgrades both the rushing and passing games. Arizona already had a surprisingly effective defense last year and in the second season of Green?s system, it would be a surprise if Arizona did not show significant improvement.

Rackers still cannot be considered as more than a back-up fantasy kicker, but one that is likely very cheap to acquire and yet who could end up as one of the best back-ups in your league.

Jason Hanson - FA YEAR TM GMS FGA FGM FG% LONG XPA XPM PTS
Performance: 16
TD Only: 16
Keeper: 16
Auction: 1%
2002 DET 16 28 23 82% 49 31 31 100
2003 DET 16 23 22 96% 54 27 26 92
2004 DET 16 28 24 86% 48 28 28 100
Avg   16 26 23 88%   29 28 97
PROJ FA     22       34 100

Hanson always seems like a decent choice for your fantasy kicker since he is inside a dome late in the season, but the reality is that other than 132 points in 1995, Hanson almost always ends up around 20th to 25th best each season. That?s just good enough to sneak in as a back-up in most leagues. Add in that Hanson turns 35 years old and he?s less attractive as a kicker.

His only interesting factor this season is the addition of Mike Williams which gives Detroit an incredible arsenal for the passing game if Harrington is able to connect. Kevin Jones was impressive during the second half of last year as well. If Detroit can only meet the promise of their offense, Hanson should be a lock for a decent season even if only from more extra points.

Even with the intriguing offense that is forming in Detroit, Hanson still cannot be considered as anything more than kicker depth for a fantasy team and merely a bye week filler. If you subscribe to the need for an indoor kicker (and it actually doesn?t serve as well as commonly thought), then Hanson will make a reasonable back-up for your team.

Mike Nugent - CIN YEAR TM GMS FGA FGM FG% LONG XPA XPM PTS
Performance: 17
TD Only: 17
Keeper: 17
Auction: 1%
2002                  
2003                  
2004                  
Avg   0 0 0   0 0 0
PROJ CIN     23       33 102

Nugent was selected in the second round of the NFL draft which speaks volumes about how badly the Jets wanted to cure their kicking woes from last season. Most kickers are never drafted and for most NFL teams, the position is considered little more than a replaceable slot to be filled with the cheapest guy they can rely on. The Jets lost some critical games last year thanks to Doug Brien?s inability to connect when it counted most and that only helped line Nugent?s pocket with second round money.

Nugent is a tremendously accurate and powerful kicker out of Ohio State and there is obviously no doubt that he won?t sustain his talent in the NFL. His problem, as with any NFL kicker, is what opportunities he will be getting and having to compensate for the odd winds that often whistle through the stadium in New York.

The Jets haven?t produced a top 12 kicker since 2000 and last year the great defense and rushing game should have given Brien a shot at a career year. He only ended 14th best in the league. Figure that level to be the most likely for Nugent though he will have upside with a big leg.

John Kasay - FA YEAR TM GMS FGA FGM FG% LONG XPA XPM PTS
Performance: 19
TD Only: 19
Keeper: 19
Auction: 1%
2002 CAR 2 5 2 40% 27 5 5 11
2003 CAR 16 38 32 84% 53 30 29 125
2004 CAR 14 22 19 86% 54 28 27 84
Avg   11 22 18 82%   21 20 74
PROJ FA     21       33 96

When the Panthers had a great defense and running game in 2003, Kasay had a career best 125 total points to rank 5th best in the league. Last year when all the stating running backs were sidelined and Carolina was forced to throw like a madman at Muhsin Muhammad, Kasay?s numbers plummeted and that is including the freak 20 point game he had against the Saints in week 13.

The Panthers enter 2005 with the same injury prone runners but drafted Eric Shelton just in case that could do more to sustain a good ground game. The defense should be healthy again and more able to slow down games which leads to more field goals.

Kasay is not considered a fantasy starter because his team situation has more risk than most thanks to a set of untested or injury-prone runners, but he has the upside to deserve to be an early back-up selected.

Jay Feely - CHI YEAR TM GMS FGA FGM FG% LONG XPA XPM PTS
Performance: 20
TD Only: 20
Keeper: 20
Auction: 1%
2002 ATL 16 40 32 80% 52 43 42 138
2003 ATL 16 27 19 70% 46 33 32 89
2004 ATL 16 23 18 78% 47 40 40 94
Avg   16 30 23 77%   39 38 107
PROJ CHI     22       30 96

Feely came over as a free agent from Atlanta and assumes the starting role in New York. His leg strength is only average as is his accuracy and he?ll be kicking in one of the worst stadiums thanks to swirling winds and bad weather later in the season. This will be a big change for a kicker used to working inside a dome in warm Atlanta.

The Giants have not produced a top kicker for many years and the new offense last year only ended 20th best in kicking ? almost a surprise it did that well given the listless passing game. The best the team has produced in the last five seasons was only 16th best and that doesn?t qualify for a fantasy kicker you can rely on each week.

Figure Feely to get selected earlier than warranted in most fantasy drafts since many will recall his huge 2002 season. That was in a different city, inside a dome and with a far different offensive scheme. Expecting Feely to do more than be bye week filler won?t pay any dividends. Let another team grab him as they rekindle thoughts of a 2002 season that will not repeat.

Josh Scobee - JAC YEAR TM GMS FGA FGM FG% LONG XPA XPM PTS
Performance: 21
TD Only: 21
Keeper: 21
Auction: 1%
2002                  
2003                  
2004 JAC 16 31 24 77% 53 21 21 93
Avg   16 31 24 77%   21 21 93
PROJ JAC     22       28 94

Scobee used his first season in the NFL to produce 93 points ? just enough to make him a marginal fantasy back-up for 2004. The Jaguars lost Foster and Taylor last year and while the offense passed like a fiend, the effect to Scobee was not that dramatic but there reason to expect an improvement for 2005.

In only his first year, Scobee turned in three games of ten or more points and his overall numbers were depressed by the inability of the offense to score early in the year and a shutout in week 16 that robbed him of any opportunity. The Jaguars will start the year with a full set of running backs and just as important is Byron Leftwich being back to full health.

Don?t bother with Scobee until you are one of the final teams grabbing a back-up kicker (and who would blame you really) but for one of the deeper kickers, he will have some upside in 2005 and is bound to improve.

Kris Brown - FA* YEAR TM GMS FGA FGM FG% LONG XPA XPM PTS
Performance: 22
TD Only: 22
Keeper: 22
Auction: 1%
2002 HOU 16 24 17 71% 51 20 20 71
2003 HOU 16 22 18 82% 50 27 27 81
2004 HOU 16 24 17 71% 50 34 34 85
Avg   16 23 17 74%   27 27 78
PROJ FA*     20       33 93

No real reason to spend much time here. Since Brown became the kicker for the Texans, he has been mired at the bottom of the league each of the last three seasons. The Texans have never risen above 27th best in the NFL during their existence for kicking points.

Even if the Texans magically turn into a scoring dynamo this season, Brown is unlikely to be drafted and will be available on the waiver wire. Just don?t expect much in 2005. Like in 2004. And 2003. And in? you get the picture.

Phil Dawson - SFO YEAR TM GMS FGA FGM FG% LONG XPA XPM PTS
Performance: 23
TD Only: 23
Keeper: 23
Auction: 1%
2002 CLE 16 28 22 79% 52 35 34 100
2003 CLE 13 21 18 86% 52 21 20 74
2004 CLE 16 29 24 83% 50 28 28 100
Avg   15 26 21 81%   28 27 90
PROJ SFO     21       25 88

(-Risk) Dawson is a good kicker and typically ranks in the middle of the league on a yearly basis and his 2004 season imploded after mid-season which yielded a typical year for him but in the oddest manner. He had four games over 10 points and in the final six weeks, he had 28 points in just two games and yet only three points in the remaining four games. That is not exactly the consistency you want from a fantasy kicker.

The Browns are installing a new offense this season and while Dawson could hold promise for the future, he has to be considered a bad fantasy risk in 2005. The Browns play a fairly tough schedule with lesser players and a new scheme to learn.

Let someone else remember the handful of big games that Dawson turned in last year. You just need to remember that five of his final seven weeks only produced a total of four points. Let this sleeping Dawg lie.

Lawrence Tynes - FA YEAR TM GMS FGA FGM FG% LONG XPA XPM PTS
Performance: 24
TD Only: 24
Keeper: 24
Auction: 1%
2002                  
2003                  
2004 KCC 16 23 17 74% 50 60 58 109
Avg   16 23 17 74%   60 58 109
PROJ FA     15       42 87

After coming from the CFL, Tynes finally won a starting job in the NFL and ended up as the 11th best kicker in the league last year. That?s not enough to make any difference as a kicker, but since he was a late addition to the team, he undoubtedly replaced a lot of other fantasy kickers as the starter. If the Chiefs would stop scoring touchdowns and let him kick a few more field goals, he could be something special.

This season pits the Chiefs against the AFC East for four games and that may end up causing a few more drives to end prior to the goal line. The Chiefs kicker is always fantasy relevant even if only in a ?just good enough to be starting? sort of manner.

Consider Tynes as a great fantasy back-up or even a starter if you waited too long. He has more upside this season with a tougher schedule and the worst he?ll do is ?just be a kicker?.

Doug Brien - FA YEAR TM GMS FGA FGM FG% LONG XPA XPM PTS
Performance: 25
TD Only: 25
Keeper: 25
Auction: 1%
2002 MIN 4 6 5 83% 42 7 5 20
2003 NYJ 16 32 27 84% 48 24 24 105
2004 NYJ 16 29 24 83% 53 34 33 105
Avg   12 22 19 86%   22 21 78
PROJ FA     20       26 86

Brien?s tenure in New York ended last year when he missed two field goals during the playoff loss to the Steelers (by only three points of course). The Jets wasted no time in grabbing Mike Nugent in the second round to cure their kicking woes of 2004. The Bears initially claimed to pick up Brien in early May to compete with Paul Edinger during training camp but released Edinger after only two weeks.

This makes the sixth NFL team to use the well-traveled Brien and he hasn?t stuck around for more than two seasons for any of his last three teams. He?s been considered only an average kicker and remains around 83% in almost every season. His leg strength has been reasonably good though he?s made only one of his last five attempts from 50+ yards and that one successful conversion was the only one in the last five years for Brien ? he?s not going to get many extra fantasy points for distance kicking.

Given the lackluster performance of any Bear kicker in windy Chicago for years, it?s better to leave Brien on the waiver wire.

John Hall - FA YEAR TM GMS FGA FGM FG% LONG XPA XPM PTS
Performance: 26
TD Only: 26
Keeper: 26
Auction: 1%
2002 NYJ 16 31 24 77% 46 37 35 107
2003 WAS 16 33 25 76% 54 27 26 101
2004 WAS 8 11 8 73% 46 13 13 37
Avg   13 25 19 76%   26 25 82
PROJ FA     18       31 85

Hall had two solid seasons performing as an average NFL kicker but was hampered by a lingering back condition for most of the season in 2004. The team brought in Ola Kimrin and Jeff Chandler to fill in and during the off-season re-signed Chandler.

The Redskins haven?t produced kicking numbers even in the top half of the NFL for years despite being under several head coaches. In 2004 with the first season for Joe Gibbs, they still ended up as 24th best overall while using three different kickers to reach even that much.

Hall is slated to be recovered and ready to participate in training camp but there is a reason why the Redskins also signed Jeff Chandler in the offseason. This unit doesn?t produce many kicking points regardless who plays and with a risk that Hall continues to have health problems or that Washington just opts for Chandler, it?s better to wait until the picture is clear before calling either name in the fantasy draft. Even once the starter is guaranteed, he?ll barely qualify as a back-up fantasy kicker anyway.

Matt Bryant - ATL YEAR TM GMS FGA FGM FG% LONG XPA XPM PTS
Performance: 27
TD Only: 27
Keeper: 27
Auction: 1%
2002 NYG 16 32 26 81% 47 32 30 108
2003 NYG 11 14 11 79% 47 17 17 50
2004 MIA 4 4 3 75% 47 12 12 21
Avg   10 17 13 76%   20 20 59
PROJ ATL     14       31 73

The Buccaneers always ended with a top ten kicker when they used Martin Gramatica until last year. Tampa Bay ended with the 30th ranked kicking game in the league thanks to an offense that lost its punch and a defense that is no longer strong enough to control games. Gramatica was given the boot during the season in 2004 and now Bryant joins his third NFL team.

Bryant missed most of 2003 with a hamstring pull and was released with the new regime for the Giants in 2004. He filled in for Olindo Mare for about a month but didn?t stick with the Dolphins.

Bryant is about an average kicker. He doesn?t possess an unusually strong leg and has never kicked a field goal longer than 47 yards. His accuracy is moderate at best. Now with the Buccaneers, his stock cannot be considered as anything but low with a team that had a horrible offense in 2004 and is trying to bounce back with a new running back in Cadillac Williams. The most important aspect ? the Buccaneers defense is no longer an elite unit and does not control games and allow for good field position late in games that naturally leads to field goals.

Olindo Mare - FA YEAR TM GMS FGA FGM FG% LONG XPA XPM PTS
Performance: 28
TD Only: 28
Keeper: 28
Auction: 1%
2002 MIA 16 31 24 77% 53 43 42 114
2003 MIA 16 29 22 76% 52 34 33 99
2004 MIA 11 16 12 75% 51 18 18 54
Avg   14 25 19 76%   32 31 88
PROJ FA     19       25 82

(-Risk) Mare ended a terrible season in 2004 with only 54 points thanks to a calf injury that forced him out for five weeks and a horrible offense while he did play. Mare was a great fantasy kicker back in 1999 and 2000 but he?s never been better than 13th in the last four years.

With a new offense being installed in Miami after the ?season of horror? of 2004, the chances that Mare will improve his numbers from his career standard is not likely. Complicating this is that Miami plays a brutal schedule this season and has lesser offensive players in a new scheme. Not a recipe for success.

Old timers can reminisce about 1999, but if you are playing in 2005 ? let Mare live on another roster. Chances are he won?t even crack the top 24 to justify him even as being a fantasy starter in most leagues.

Joe Nedney - FA YEAR TM GMS FGA FGM FG% LONG XPA XPM PTS
Performance: 29
TD Only: 29
Keeper: 29
Auction: 1%
2002 TEN 16 31 25 81% 53 36 36 111
2003 TEN 2 1 1 100% 50 1   3
2004                  
Avg   9 16 13 81%   19 18 57
PROJ FA     18       25 79

(-Risk) The 49ers bring Nedney aboard which can only prove what optimists are running the team now. Nedney was considered one of the better kickers while in Tennessee but missed both the last seasons with injury. He tore the ACL in his non-kicking right knee in the first game of 2003 and then last year he suffered a severely strained hamstring that placed him on injured reserve for the entire season.

Nedney has maybe the best leg in the league when it is not wrapped in gauze or plaster. At 6?5?, he is the tallest kicker and his bigger size is likely a reason why he is more often injured than any other kicker.

The 49ers were 29th in kicking points last year and that may be the high side of what this season could accomplish as the team rebuilds and installs all new schemes with new personnel. Given that the offense looks lackluster at best and Nedney comes off two years of injuries, he should be the one fantasy kicker with the guaranteed draft slot ? the last one taken only when 31 others are gone.

Jose Cortez - FA YEAR TM GMS FGA FGM FG% LONG XPA XPM PTS
Performance: 30
TD Only: 30
Keeper: 30
Auction: 1%
2002 WAS 14 32 23 72% 45 34 34 103
2003                  
2004                  
Avg   14 32 23 72%   34 34 103
PROJ FA     16       34 82

No analysis available.

Paul Edinger - FA YEAR TM GMS FGA FGM FG% LONG XPA XPM PTS
Performance: 31
TD Only: 31
Keeper: 31
Auction: 1%
2002 CHI 16 28 22 79% 53 29 29 95
2003 CHI 16 36 26 72% 54 27 27 105
2004 CHI 16 24 15 63% 53 22 22 67
Avg   16 29 21 72%   26 26 89
PROJ FA     15       30 75

(-Risk) The Viking kicker will be determined in a competition between Edinger and Elling with Paul the more likely candidate. The Vikings had pursued Edinger two years ago with a huge $7 million contract but the Bears had matched the offer. Edinger was released by Chicago after a disastrous 2004 season that yielded a terrible 63% success rate for field goals but that really mirrored the marginal success of any scoring effort by the Bears last year.

That level of consistently average production makes the MIN kicker nothing more than a fantasy back-up and their only saving grace is playing inside a dome late in the season when your starting kicker may be facing snow or gale force winds. Otherwise ? they?ve just never been productive enough to be a starter.

Watch the competition between Edinger and Elling this season with mild interest and know that whoever ends up being the starting kicker, he?ll only have marginal fantasy value. That spells a ?hands off? situation until the starter is guaranteed and likely a better waiver wire pick if you only took one kicker in your draft.

Rob Bironas - FA* YEAR TM GMS FGA FGM FG% LONG XPA XPM PTS
Performance: 32
TD Only: 32
Keeper: 32
Auction: 1%
2002                  
2003                  
2004                  
Avg   0 0 0   0 0 0
PROJ FA*     14       27 69

No analysis available.

   
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