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FANTASY FOOTBALL PRE-SEASON FEATURES

2006 Player Rankings: Kickers
Updated: September 5, 2006
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Tier 1
Adam Vinatieri - IND YEAR TM GMS FGA FGM FG% LONG XPA XPM PTS
Performance: 5
TD Only: 5
Keeper: 1
Auction: 3%
2003 NEP 16 34 25 74% 48 38 37 112
2004 NEP 16 33 31 94% 48 48 48 141
2005 NEP 16 25 20 80% 49 41 40 100
Avg   16 31 25 81%   42 42 117
PROJ IND     20       62 122

Adam Vinatieri came off a banner 2004 season when he led all NFL kickers with 141 points. Like almost all #1 kickers, he took a big dive last year when he only managed 100 points and a mere 19th ranking for kicking points. During the offseason, he finally left the rich offense of the Patriots and joined the elite Colts. No reason to expect a drop off here.

The Colts have not been worse than 7th best in kicking for the last three seasons and Vinatieri comes in almost as accurate as the departed Vanderjagt. Given the lack of any downside here and yet the potential for a monster year thanks to the loss of Edgerrin James and all his short scores, figure that Vinatieri is the first kicker taken this summer in drafts. If he isn't, you need to make him second.

08-31-06 Update: Vinatieri slides down on the news that he has a small broken bone in his non-kicking foot. He has not been ruled out for week one yet and kicking for the Colts is a good thing, but he is a kicker and there's no reason to take a chance with the first kicker drafted. If you take him, ensure you have a back-up.

Jay Feely - ARI YEAR TM GMS FGA FGM FG% LONG XPA XPM PTS
Performance: 1
TD Only: 1
Keeper: 2
Auction: 2%
2003 ATL 16 27 19 70% 46 33 32 89
2004 ATL 16 23 18 78% 47 40 40 94
2005 NYG 16 42 35 83% 52 43 43 148
Avg   16 31 24 77%   39 38 110
PROJ ARI     26       55 133

Jay Feely ended up as the #1 scoring NFL kicker in 2002 with the Falcons and then dropped all the way to 24th and 22nd for the next two seasons. Ends up that his big year in 2002 was actually more indicative of what he could do than his two lesser seasons. Feely ended up as #1 yet again last year when he changed teams to the Giants and racked up 148 points.

Feely actually came in 8th in 2001 which makes three top ten finishes in the last five years and two of them were #1. The Giants have enjoyed a very nice maturation of Eli Manning and the offense in New York appears to be no less productive for 2006. Expect a nice season once again from Feely but he won't come cheaply after scoring more than any other kicker last year - and he shouldn't. In a position with scant consistency, Feely has become one of the elite.

Jason Elam - FA YEAR TM GMS FGA FGM FG% LONG XPA XPM PTS
Performance: 2
TD Only: 2
Keeper: 3
Auction: 2%
2003 DEN 16 31 27 87% 51 39 39 120
2004 DEN 16 34 29 85% 52 42 42 129
2005 DEN 16 32 24 75% 51 44 43 115
Avg   16 32 27 84%   42 41 122
PROJ FA     25       53 128

Jason Elam is the safest possible pick for a fantasy starter. He has remained in the top ten for kicking points in each of the last five seasons which included a #2 (2004) and #3 (2001) ranking. His 121 points last year left him ranked only 9th but he only had three points in the final game.

Elam falls in drafts this year because he was not a top three kicker but he was in 2004 and he has remained a top ten kicker almost every season - ridiculously consistent for a position that rarely sees such.

Given that he has fallen a bit this year, figure on him still being around after the first few kickers are taken and then run to the draft board to claim him. There is practically no downside with Elam.

Shayne Graham - NOS YEAR TM GMS FGA FGM FG% LONG XPA XPM PTS
Performance: 3
TD Only: 3
Keeper: 4
Auction: 2%
2003 CIN 16 25 22 88% 48 40 40 106
2004 CIN 16 31 27 87% 53 41 41 122
2005 CIN 16 32 28 88% 49 47 47 131
Avg   16 29 26 90%   43 43 121
PROJ NOS     20       65 125

Graham was a delightful surprise in 2004, taking the normally average Bengal kicking game up to 4th best in the league and that was with no points scored in the final week. His 88% accuracy last year is outstanding and fell into line with what he does every season. While the number of field goals by Graham went down last year, his extra point totals rose to 47 - only three kickers had more in 2005.

With Palmer as quarterback, the Bengals have needed Graham enough to make him the 5th and 3rd best kicker for the last two seasons. Plenty of reasons why Graham ranks highly again this year and why he won't come cheaply in fantasy drafts.

He is a very accurate kicker and for the opportunities he receives, Graham is about as good as any kicker in the league. Since both Feely and Rackers had such monster seasons in 2005, they typically are drafted far ahead of the rest of the kickers but Graham deserves to be one of the first taken once those top two are gone.

David Akers - FA YEAR TM GMS FGA FGM FG% LONG XPA XPM PTS
Performance: 4
TD Only: 4
Keeper: 5
Auction: 1%
2003 PHI 15 29 24 83% 57 42 42 114
2004 PHI 16 32 27 84% 51 42 41 122
2005 PHI 12 22 16 73% 50 23 23 71
Avg   14 28 22 79%   36 35 101
PROJ FA     23       53 122

Akers had never fallen out of the top ten for five straight seasons until he pulled a hamstring in 2005 after only three weeks and then missed four games while he healed. When he returned in week nine, the Eagles had lost Owens and were soon to lose Donovan McNabb and Brian Westbrook. It was a nightmare season in Philly which naturally affected Akers' numbers.

Akers has been a great fantasy kicker until last season and there is every reason to believe he will reassume his normal perch near the top of the kicker rankings. Prior to 2005, Akers had finished 6th, 2nd, 8th and 4th - a very rare level of consistency for place kickers. And those two years with 6th and 2nd place finishes? The two seasons before Terrell Owens showed up...

Tier 2
Neil Rackers - FA* YEAR TM GMS FGA FGM FG% LONG XPA XPM PTS
Performance: 6
TD Only: 6
Keeper: 6
Auction: 1%
2003 ARI 7 12 9 75% 49 8 8 35
2004 ARI 16 29 22 76% 55 28 28 94
2005 ARI 15 42 40 95% 54 20 20 140
Avg   13 28 24 86%   19 19 91
PROJ FA*     22       55 121

Talk about magic.

After five seasons in the NFL, Neil Rackers had never scored more than 94 points in a season nor been better than 21st in the league. His first full season in Arizona only produced 94 points. Then last year the stars all aligned for Rackers who ended the season with 140 points - 2nd best in the NFL even with his missing one game. He set an all-time NFL record with 40 consecutive successful field goals and he even ended with a 95% conversion rate which was better than any other kicker. Most opportunities for field goals and the most accurate - nice combo.

His holder (punter Scott Player) returns this year but the Cardinals brought in Edgerrin James to breathe life into the running game (which was entirely dead last year). That alone should result in less field goal attempts unless James is going to just score two rushing touchdowns like the Cardinals did last year - highly unlikely.

Figure Rackers to be drafted too early after his glorious 2005 season. The offense should be more balanced and more effective. His extra points will rise but at the cost of his field goals.

John Kasay - FA YEAR TM GMS FGA FGM FG% LONG XPA XPM PTS
Performance: 7
TD Only: 7
Keeper: 7
Auction: 1%
2003 CAR 16 38 32 84% 53 30 29 125
2004 CAR 14 22 19 86% 54 28 27 84
2005 CAR 16 34 26 76% 52 44 43 121
Avg   15 31 26 84%   34 33 111
PROJ FA     22       53 119

(+Upside) 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. In 2004 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. But last year, Kasay once again rose up and ended the season with the 5th best points.

The addition of Keyshawn Johnson and DeAngelo Williams should help the offense improve this year which will cause more extra points in Carolina at the least. With the offense still not at a level where they score an obscene amount of touchdowns (and ergo extra points), it is a safe bet that Kasay should at least maintain his numbers from 2005.

Consider Kasay as a safe pick for your kicker and one with upside this season.

Matt Stover - FA* YEAR TM GMS FGA FGM FG% LONG XPA XPM PTS
Performance: 8
TD Only: 8
Keeper: 8
Auction: 1%
2003 BAL 16 38 33 87% 49 35 35 134
2004 BAL 16 32 29 91% 50 30 30 117
2005 BAL 16 34 30 88% 49 23 23 113
Avg   16 35 31 89%   29 29 122
PROJ FA*     22       51 117

Matt Stover was a fantasy gem for many seasons, always ranking between 8th and 3rd best in the league each year for amazing consistency and last year he still ended 10th best in the NFL. He had a very slow start to the season but picked it up later on, especially when he scored 34 points in the final three weeks. He may have ended as 10th best but it really never felt like it along the way.

Stover is one of the most accurate kickers in the league and his fall last year will cause him to last much longer in drafts. With the addition of Steve McNair this year, there are good reasons to expect that the Ravens will improve their scoring which benefits Stover the most.

As deeply as he is going in drafts, Stover makes an excellent choice for kicker that can wait until the run on the position is well underway. Since the Ravens have never had a top quarterback during their entire history, only good things will happen if Boller gives way to Steve McNair. Even if he does not - Stover is still a solid pick.

Josh Brown - NYG YEAR TM GMS FGA FGM FG% LONG XPA XPM PTS
Performance: 9
TD Only: 9
Keeper: 9
Auction: 1%
2003 SEA 16 30 22 73% 58 48 48 114
2004 SEA 16 25 23 92% 54 40 40 109
2005 SEA 16 25 18 72% 55 57 56 110
Avg   16 27 21 78%   48 48 111
PROJ NYG     15       69 114

Brown has hung out between 9th and 13th best during his three seasons in Seattle but his biggest role has been just kicking extra points - he led the NFL with 56 in 2005. Brown has been less effective on field goals and ranked near the bottom of the league with a mere 72% success rate. Only two kickers were worse.

Brown plays on a highly effective offense and with Shaun Alexander around, there will continue to be more extra points to kick this year. But fantasy success stems from rising above the pack to make a difference and Brown has not truly done that. He could get more field goal attempts which would obviously help, but his success rate is pretty low. While he always seems to be a fantasy starter, he's only managed to be a marginal one though his consistency (thanks to extra points) keeps him worthy of consideration.

Jeff Reed - FA* YEAR TM GMS FGA FGM FG% LONG XPA XPM PTS
Performance: 10
TD Only: 10
Keeper: 10
Auction: 1%
2003 PIT 16 32 23 72% 51 32 31 100
2004 PIT 16 33 28 85% 51 40 40 124
2005 PIT 16 29 24 83% 44 45 45 117
Avg   16 31 25 81%   39 39 114
PROJ FA*     19       57 114

Reed had 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. In 2005, Reed fell back slightly to 117 points that ranked him around 7th best in the league thanks to a late season push.

That makes two straight seasons as a top ten kicker and the Steelers offense may not be quite as productive this year without Jerome Bettis and Antwaan Randle El (who also figured into the punt returns). The sound defense and run-first mentality of Pittsburgh should keep Reed with fantasy relevance and the loss of Bettis as a goal line runner could actually increase field goal attempts. Reed is a reasonably accurate kicker and more kicks means more points.

His only downside is the potential for bad weather later in the season but he starts the year strongly and even finished that way in 2005. Consider him a deep starter for your team but without much upside from an offense that will never challenge the league leaders for points scored.

Lawrence Tynes - FA YEAR TM GMS FGA FGM FG% LONG XPA XPM PTS
Performance: 11
TD Only: 11
Keeper: 11
Auction: 1%
2003                  
2004 KCC 16 23 17 74% 50 60 58 109
2005 KCC 16 33 27 82% 52 45 44 125
Avg   16 28 22 79%   53 51 117
PROJ FA     16       66 114

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 for 2004. His 125 points in 2005 boosted him up to 4th best in the league and makes him almost a guaranteed early pick for a kicker in drafts this summer.

Oddly enough, Tynes started the season very well and then tailed off before tacking on 13 points in the final game. The Chiefs will attempt to retain much the same offense from last year even with the addition of new HC Herman Edwards but realistically there has to be considered more risk than meets the eye. The Chiefs are also featuring one of the oldest passing games in the league with Trent Green (36), Tony Gonzalez (30) and Eddie Kennison (33).

Larry Johnson will be a like a new toy for Edwards who suffered though a very pedestrian rushing attack in New York last year. Expect that Tynes merits a starting role on a fantasy team but there is enough risk to consider him as one of the last starting kickers drafted.

Nate Kaeding - FA YEAR TM GMS FGA FGM FG% LONG XPA XPM PTS
Performance: 12
TD Only: 12
Keeper: 12
Auction: 1%
2003                  
2004 SDC 16 25 20 80% 53 55 54 114
2005 SDC 16 24 21 88% 49 49 49 112
Avg   16 25 21 84%   52 52 115
PROJ FA     17       59 110

(+Upside) 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 though he had none last year.

Kaeding ended 2005 as the 12th best scoring kicker which already makes him a candidate for being a fantasy starter. The good news is that only five kickers had a better success rate than Kaeding last year and he only missed three field goals over the season. The change in quarterback in San Diego will likely depress scores at least a bit, making Kaeding a risky fantasy starter but a very solid back-up.

Tier 3
Jeff Wilkins - FA YEAR TM GMS FGA FGM FG% LONG XPA XPM PTS
Performance: 13
TD Only: 13
Keeper: 13
Auction: 1%
2003 STL 16 42 39 93% 53 46 46 163
2004 STL 16 24 19 79% 53 32 32 89
2005 STL 16 31 27 87% 53 36 36 117
Avg   16 32 28 88%   38 38 122
PROJ FA     15       63 108

Jeff Wilkins has established a very odd statistical pattern. In odd-numbered years, he scores more than 100 points and often is one of the best kickers in the league. In even-numbered years, he has not crested 94 points during the last nine seasons. There is no real reason why which only serves to make it odder.

The Rams finally go to a different offense this year with the addition of new HC Scott Linehan and the demise of the Mike Martz "go deep" philosophy. That will likely make it yet again a down year for Wilkins since the Dolphins only managed to rank 14th best in kicking points last year while Linehan manned the offense.

There is risk here given the new offense being installed but Wilkins is reasonably accurate and the Rams are already much better staffed offensively than the Dolphins were last year. In his last two seasons in Minnesota, Linehan offenses only ended up producing the 16th and 19th best kicking points. Expect Wilkins to be drafted a bit too early on his name alone but he will make a very solid back-up if you can reach him that way - and he has upside enough to make him an earlier back-up.

Stephen Gostkowski - NEP YEAR TM GMS FGA FGM FG% LONG XPA XPM PTS
Performance: 14
TD Only: 14
Keeper: 14
Auction: 1%
2003                  
2004                  
2005                  
Avg   0 0 0   0 0 0
PROJ NEP     15       63 108

(+Upside) The Patriots drafted Gostkowski in the fourth round and he was one of only two kickers taken in the 2006 NFL draft (the other went in the 6th round to San Diego). That speaks volumes about the need that the Patriots recognized when they lost Adam Vinatieri to the Colts during the spring. Gostkowski will compete with Martin Gramatica to be the starter, so there is no guarantee that Gostkowski will become "the next Vinatieri".

Gostkowski has a big leg and converted three 50+ yard field goals as a senior at Memphis. He has the raw skills to succeed mainly because kickers have a rather limited set of "desirables". The Patriots grabbed Gostkowski despite the fact that he was not invited to the NFL combine to show his stuff.

Once the Patriots have settled on a starting kicker, that player will rise in the rankings given the amount of opportunities that the Patriots give their kickers but until then - stay away.

08-24-06 Update: The Patriots have released Martin Gramatica and awarded the kicking job to the rookie Gostkowski who has yet to miss a field during a preseason game. The Patriots only produced 20th best kicking points last year and have typically placed in the top ten in previous years.

Sebastian Janikowski - OAK YEAR TM GMS FGA FGM FG% LONG XPA XPM PTS
Performance: 15
TD Only: 15
Keeper: 15
Auction: 1%
2003 OAK 16 25 22 88% 55 29 28 94
2004 OAK 16 28 25 89% 52 32 31 106
2005 OAK 16 30 20 67% 49 30 30 90
Avg   16 28 22 79%   30 30 96
PROJ OAK     18       54 108

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 the successive years, he only managed 22nd (2003), 19th (2004) and 26th (2005).

To make matters worse, he only managed a 67% success rate with field goals last year - dead last in the league among all full-season kickers. That was a big step down from previous seasons and reflects a small problem - he never had a 50+ yard field goal in 2005. The man with the supposed big leg could not connect on a single kick outside of 49 yards.

Janikowski invariably gets drafted too early and that will likely be the case with a new offense being installed in Oakland which will spawn more optimism. That is likely unfounded and Janikowski should not be considered for anything more than a back-up.

Rian Lindell - FA YEAR TM GMS FGA FGM FG% LONG XPA XPM PTS
Performance: 16
TD Only: 16
Keeper: 16
Auction: 1%
2003 BUF 16 24 17 71% 44 24 24 75
2004 BUF 16 28 24 86% 43 45 45 117
2005 BUF 16 35 29 83% 53 26 26 113
Avg   16 29 23 79%   32 32 101
PROJ FA     22       41 107

Sure, the Bills have struggled the last two seasons to win games and score enough points, but that has not hit Rian Lindell that much - he's actually blossomed and become a surprisingly decent fantasy kicker. He ended 2005 tied for the 10th most points in the league and was 8th best in 2004. While the Bills offense has not produced much lately, Lindell has been taking advantage of all those field goals. His 29 last year fell 4th highest in the NFL.

Lindell is not particularly accurate and normally falls middle of the pack with his success rate but his opportunities have been going up and bring his fantasy value along with it. The Bills will be installing yet another offense this year and that will likely take some time to produce more extra points, but at least his field goal rate should remain high enough to warrant him being one of the first back-ups taken in drafts this summer. He's still risky considering the lack of apparent firepower in Buffalo this year, but he has proven to merit consideration.

John Carney - FA* YEAR TM GMS FGA FGM FG% LONG XPA XPM PTS
Performance: 17
TD Only: 17
Keeper: 17
Auction: 1%
2003 NOS 16 30 22 73% 50 37 36 102
2004 NOS 16 27 22 81% 53 38 38 104
2005 NOS 16 32 25 78% 49 22 22 97
Avg   16 30 23 77%   32 32 101
PROJ FA*     19       49 106

While Carney will play in his 16th NFL season, at the age of 42 he's pushing the boundaries even for a kicker. He comes off a 97 point season last year which was his lowest in five seasons and his leg strength is not what it once was and 2005 was a rare season that had no 50 yard kicks. Carney has not scored more than 104 points in a season for the last three years which leaves him as a marginal back-up kicker for a fantasy team.

Leave Carney for your second kicker and even then don't expect too much. The Saints are installing a new offense this season that won't likely start to gel until later in the year if not 2007. In a dynasty league, it's a pretty safe move to forget about all 40 year old kickers.

Ryan Longwell - FA YEAR TM GMS FGA FGM FG% LONG XPA XPM PTS
Performance: 18
TD Only: 18
Keeper: 18
Auction: 1%
2003 GBP 16 26 23 88% 50 51 51 120
2004 GBP 16 28 24 86% 53 48 48 120
2005 GBP 16 27 20 74% 53 31 30 90
Avg   16 27 22 81%   43 43 109
PROJ FA     20       44 104

Ryan Longwell has long been an outstanding fantasy kicker with a string of 120+ point seasons for three years until 2005 when the Packers fell apart offensively. Longwell switched teams to the Vikings during the offseason and has plummeted in fantasy value.

That is realistic. The Vikings have not ranked higher than 16th in kicking points for several years despite being a dome team with superior kicking conditions. The new offense by Brad Childress should spawn more optimism in the kicking game given that the Eagles typically had a top ten kicker every year.

Once that offense takes hold, Longwell will likely be a top ten kicker once again in 2007 but for the first year of the scheme, make him a back-up this year if you can or at least a deeply selected starter.

Mike Vanderjagt - FA YEAR TM GMS FGA FGM FG% LONG XPA XPM PTS
Performance: 19
TD Only: 19
Keeper: 19
Auction: 1%
2003 IND 16 37 37 100% 50 46 46 157
2004 IND 15 25 20 80% 47 60 59 119
2005 IND 16 25 23 92% 48 52 52 121
Avg   16 29 27 93%   53 52 133
PROJ FA     16       54 102

Mike Vanderjagt, AKA "the idiot kicker", remains the most accurate kicker in league history but there is a big change this year. He no longer is a Colt. Acquired by the Cowboys who finally tired of renting temporaries as kickers, Vanderjagt will be expected to kick all those extra points stemming from Terrell Owens touchdowns this year.

This will be interesting. The Cowboys have not ranked above 20th in kicking points during Bill Parcels tenure there but the offense has definitely loaded up for a big 2006 season. Figure that Vanderjagt will likely be drafted a bit too early from his name alone but there is upside with the Cowboys this year. Dallas was tired of losing close games last year that could have been won with a better kicker.

08-25-06 Update: Vanderjagt has been surprisingly errant in training camp in Dallas and he continues to be bothered by a groin injury. He really needs this time to get used to his new holder and field. Dallas hasn't produced a kicker that has exceeded 20th best in the NFL in years and Vanderjagt is getting a bothersome slow start in his new home.

09-01-06 Update: Vanderjagt 's kicking woes in Dallas had never been as bad as when he missed both 30-yard field goals in overtime during the final preseason game. Consider him only as a deep back-up until he can prove that his magic wasn't completely left in Indianapolis.

Jason Hanson - FA YEAR TM GMS FGA FGM FG% LONG XPA XPM PTS
Performance: 20
TD Only: 20
Keeper: 20
Auction: 1%
2003 DET 16 23 22 96% 54 27 26 92
2004 DET 16 28 24 86% 48 28 28 100
2005 DET 15 24 19 79% 52 27 27 84
Avg   16 25 22 88%   27 27 93
PROJ FA     16       52 100

Hanson used to kick inside a dome and therefore attract fantasy consideration but it was usually unwarranted. He seemed like a decent choice for your fantasy kicker but the reality is that other than 132 points in 1995, Hanson almost always ends up around 20th to 30th best each season. That's just good enough to sneak in as a back-up in most leagues if even that much. He ranked 29th in 2005.

This season has a new offense being installed by ex-Ram HC Mike Martz which brings optimism to the Lions but until that comes together; there is no reason to consider Hanson as anything but the deepest back-up and bye week filler. He still has a strong leg but he just never gets enough opportunities to matter.

John Hall - FA YEAR TM GMS FGA FGM FG% LONG XPA XPM PTS
Performance: 21
TD Only: 21
Keeper: 21
Auction: 1%
2003 WAS 16 33 25 76% 54 27 26 101
2004 WAS 8 11 8 73% 46 13 13 37
2005 WAS 10 14 12 86% 45 27 27 63
Avg   11 19 15 79%   22 22 67
PROJ FA     15       55 100

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. In 2005, Hall suffered a strained quadriceps muscle and missed five games.

While Hall ended the season with just 63 points and that pace would have only resulted in about 91 points even if had he remained healthy. The Redskins haven't produced kicking numbers even in the top half of the NFL for years despite being under several head coaches. Under Joe Gibbs, the Redskins have only ranked 24th and 18th in kicking points the last two seasons.

It is troublesome that he has missed time during the last two seasons with injuries and even had he played the entire seasons, he still would have only been worthy of being a deep fantasy back-up. The Redskins offense is looking improved this year which should give Hall more opportunities (if he stays healthy) but he remains worth only being a back-up or bye week filler.

Josh Scobee - JAC YEAR TM GMS FGA FGM FG% LONG XPA XPM PTS
Performance: 22
TD Only: 22
Keeper: 22
Auction: 1%
2003                  
2004 JAC 16 31 24 77% 53 21 21 93
2005 JAC 16 30 23 77% 53 39 38 107
Avg   16 31 24 77%   30 30 102
PROJ JAC     17       48 99

Josh Scobee had a career high 107 points last year and with just two seasons under his belt, he remains purely a function of what the offense gives him to do. Consider that he has turned in a 77% success rate for field goals during his two seasons and he does not appear to be improving. That rate of conversion only leaves him around 24th best in the league.

The Jaguars have an undecided situation at running back and Jimmy Smith has retired. Throw in that Byron Leftwich seems incapable of lasting an entire season and there are plenty of reasons to expect that Scobee might take a step backwards this year. His accuracy has not been particularly good and his opportunities will not reasonably increase this year.

Olindo Mare - FA YEAR TM GMS FGA FGM FG% LONG XPA XPM PTS
Performance: 23
TD Only: 23
Keeper: 23
Auction: 1%
2003 MIA 16 29 22 76% 52 34 33 99
2004 MIA 11 16 12 75% 51 18 18 54
2005 MIA 16 30 25 83% 53 33 33 108
Avg   14 25 20 80%   28 28 88
PROJ FA     16       49 97

With the Dolphins playing so much better last season, Olindo Mare had a decent season. He ended ranked 14th among all NFL kickers and ended the season on a strong note with 37 points in the final four games. Mare has not been a top kicker since 1999 but there is optimism that the Fins are on the right path and that points could increase yet again this year.

Figure Mare to remain just a fantasy backup this year with new quarterbacks in Miami but keep an eye on him for 2007 when the offense should really get into gear. Playing in Miami late in the season is also an attractive reason to make him a back-up.

Phil Dawson - SFO YEAR TM GMS FGA FGM FG% LONG XPA XPM PTS
Performance: 25
TD Only: 25
Keeper: 25
Auction: 1%
2003 CLE 13 21 18 86% 52 21 20 74
2004 CLE 16 29 24 83% 50 28 28 100
2005 CLE 16 29 27 93% 44 21 19 100
Avg   15 26 23 88%   23 22 91
PROJ SFO     19       39 96

Dawson is an excellent kicker who only needs more opportunities to step up into being a fantasy starter. His 93% success rate last year was second only to Neil Rackers but he only had 27 attempts and a paltry 19 extra points - tied for the lowest of any full-time kicker last year. The Browns will be into the second season of installing a new offense and while that may suggest more points are coming this season, there are several concerns which will impact the kicking points.

The Browns have lost Antonio Bryant and acquired Joe Jurevicius. Braylon Edwards looks to be slow in returning from his late season knee injury in 2005 and the backfield is apparently the spawning ground for wife beaters since both William Green and now Rueben Droughns have had domestic problems.

Figure Dawson to be safe enough for a back-up player but shy away from him being your starter until the Cleveland offense shows more punch.

Rob Bironas - FA YEAR TM GMS FGA FGM FG% LONG XPA XPM PTS
Performance: 26
TD Only: 26
Keeper: 26
Auction: 1%
2003                  
2004                  
2005 TEN 16 29 23 79% 53 32 30 99
Avg   16 29 23 79%   32 30 99
PROJ FA     15       49 94

The Titans went with Rob Bironas in 2005 and the results clearly show that he is about an average kicker. While he ranked 26th in points, his 79% success rate with field goals ranked 19th in the league. In almost all measurements, he falls between the tenth and twentieth best for kickers making him worth a consideration as a fantasy back-up.

The Titans should have an improved rushing game with the addition of LenDale White and David Givens should boost the passing game potentially, so the opportunities could be greater this year. By the same token, the Titans could opt to use Vince Young and the scoring could go down while he learns. Best bet - let someone else have him as a backup.

Kris Brown - FA* YEAR TM GMS FGA FGM FG% LONG XPA XPM PTS
Performance: 27
TD Only: 27
Keeper: 27
Auction: 1%
2003 HOU 16 22 18 82% 50 27 27 81
2004 HOU 16 24 17 71% 50 34 34 85
2005 HOU 16 34 26 76% 53 24 24 102
Avg   16 27 20 74%   28 28 88
PROJ FA*     15       45 90

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 20th 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. In the unlikely even that a first year offense takes off, you can always grab him later.

Mike Nugent - CIN YEAR TM GMS FGA FGM FG% LONG XPA XPM PTS
Performance: 28
TD Only: 28
Keeper: 28
Auction: 1%
2003                  
2004                  
2005 NYJ 16 28 22 79% 49 24 24 90
Avg   16 28 22 79%   24 24 90
PROJ CIN     17       39 90

Nugent was selected in the second round of the 2005 NFL draft which speaks volumes about how badly the Jets wanted to cure their kicking woes from the previous season. Unfortunately for him, he went to a team that imploded in 2005 and his rookie season only produced 90 points - tied for 25th best in the league.

Nugent came into the league noted for being accurate but the swirling winds affected him far more than Jay Feeley with the Giants. Of his six misses last year, all but one came at home. The Jets offense will start over again this year and there are still questions at quarterback and running back. Not a situation worth considering for your kicker.

Matt Bryant - ATL YEAR TM GMS FGA FGM FG% LONG XPA XPM PTS
Performance: 29
TD Only: 29
Keeper: 29
Auction: 1%
2003 NYG 11 14 11 79% 47 17 17 50
2004 MIA 4 4 3 75% 47 12 12 21
2005 TBB 15 25 21 84% 50 31 31 94
Avg   10 14 12 86%   20 20 56
PROJ ATL     14       48 90

Bryant missed most of 2003 with a hamstring pull and was released with the new Tom Coughlin regime for the Giants. He filled in for Olindo Mare for about a month but didn't stick with the Dolphins in 2004. He finally landed a fulltime job again with the Buccaneers last year and ended ranked 23rd in total points for kickers.

Bryant is about an average kicker. He doesn't possess an unusually strong leg and has rarely kicks a field goal longer than 47 yards (he had a 50 yarder last year). His accuracy is moderate at best though his 84% last year was a career high.

There is no reason to consider Bryant for anything more than filler for bye weeks. The Buccaneers have been 30th and 27th in kicking points and the offense is not changing anytime soon.

Dave Rayner - FA YEAR TM GMS FGA FGM FG% LONG XPA XPM PTS
Performance: 30
TD Only: 30
Keeper: 30
Auction: 1%
2003                  
2004                  
2005 IND 14 1   0%        
Avg   14 1 0 0%   0 0 0
PROJ FA     12       48 84

Rayner has won the kicking competition for now with the release of Billy Cundiff. There is no lock that the Packers won't bring in yet another kicker at this point.

Joe Nedney - FA YEAR TM GMS FGA FGM FG% LONG XPA XPM PTS
Performance: 31
TD Only: 31
Keeper: 31
Auction: 1%
2003 TEN 2 1 1 100% 50 1   3
2004                  
2005 SFO 15 28 26 93% 56 19 19 97
Avg   9 15 14 93%   10 10 52
PROJ FA     16       34 82

Joe Nedney was a very accurate kicker in 2005 but he turned in his first full season after two years of injuries. Unfortunately, his continual injury problems led to his release by the Titans last year and he was picked up by the 49ers. That - naturally - led to a rather limited role in the lowest scoring offense in the league. He tied with Robbie Gould for the least amount of extra points in the league last year (19).

The 49er offense may improve this year, it almost has to, but that doesn't mean that Nedney should be considered for even back-up duty if at all possible. Leave Nedney on the board this year and expect that 2007 will be the earliest that he will have fantasy value.

Robbie Gould - CHI YEAR TM GMS FGA FGM FG% LONG XPA XPM PTS
Performance: 32
TD Only: 32
Keeper: 32
Auction: 1%
2003                  
2004                  
2005 CHI 13 27 21 78% 45 20 19 82
Avg   13 27 21 78%   20 19 82
PROJ CHI     16       37 85

Robbie Gould hung on last summer to become the starting kicker for the Bears but that didn't have much fantasy bearing on the year. Gould ended with just 82 points which was the worst of any NFL kicker who played a full season. His 19 extra points also ranked last. There are just not that many opportunities thanks to a stifling defense and a rather punchless offense in Chicago.

Gould is reasonably accurate but he never connected on any field goal longer than 45 yards last year. Leave him on the draft board and even when you are looking for a free agent to fill in for a week, there's bound to be better than Gould.

   
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