Over the past couple of weeks my mate Lord Zola has written a lot about the impact of defense in fantasy football on his Fourth and Goal articles.
I confess that I do have a tendency to favor defense, usually targeting selecting my squad around the sixth or seventh round. This year I have the Bears, Niners, and Texans in the three leagues where I play defensive squads, and needless to say I am very happy with the production of all three.
However, as any of you who might have these defenses on your squads understands, while teams like the Niners can have those wonderful weeks against the likes of the Jets, they can similarly have those awful weeks, as San Francisco did playing the Vikings.
Of course a bad week is simply what happens from time to time, be it a down week from a running back, a QB, or the defense, the three slots on a fantasy team that I think are the steadiest and easiest to predict results from.
However, when it comes to kickers, things get stranger.
For, it does seem that we would want to pick our kickers from teams with the greatest potential to score points. However, the inverse suggests that a team who has a harder time scoring touch downs is the better point gamble as that kicker will have more opportunities for field goals, and that means more point potential.
Surely kickers can be just as steady—as well as the bigger point producers—as player on a team.
However, for the most part kickers are picked late in the draft, and shuffled around as interchangeable parts.
If we look at the NFL kickers performing this season, with standard scoring, there is about a 45 point spread between the best kicker (Blair Walsh and 83 points with the Vikings) and the worst (Dan Carpenter, with 37 points for the Dolphins).
And, though that seems a big spread, over the course of this year this only breaks down to around a 4.5 point difference in scoring a week, or one long field goal.
Still, things are so iffy from week-to-week, for example, as I was looking for a Bye kicker a few weeks back I noticed that Greg Zuerlein—aka Leg-a-tron—was available, so I jumped on him only to hit it the week his numbers tail with just 15 total points between Weeks Five and Six.
Last week Zuerlein bounced back with a much more comforting 12 points, but in one other league, I had Nate Kaeding who was beyond useless.
So, I dumped the broken up—and now former—San Diego kicker and snatched up Jay Feely who had done well scoring for the up-until-then 5-0 Cardinals.
Three points was my reward, and though that was better than the zero Kaeding would have produced, it was still far short of what I expected, let alone hoped for.
The thing is it is all just, as my mate Monsieur Zola attests, largely a dart board.
Just one that happens to be rewarding when you hit it right, and deflating when you don’t.
But, I have come to the conclusion that over the long haul, kickers are indeed interchangeable parts.