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Fantasy Makeover: Kickers Edition

  “Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods are out there performing all
the time. As kickers, we’re not out there much. Our teammates build the cake,
and sometimes we’re fortunate enough to put the icing on it.”- Adam Vinatieri

Do you ever wish that kickers could be more than just fantasy chum?

  I know I’m not the only one who notices that
every year when draft day rolls around it always seems like the one position
that is pretty much ignored, value wise, is kicker.

  It’s the position every draft owner waits
until the last couple of rounds to fill.

 
Why?

  And what can fantasy leagues
and owners do to change it?

For starters there really is no big superstar at the kicker
position as the only skill involved is being able to kick the ball through the
uprights.

  I mean, correct me if I’m
wrong, but you never really see kickers running 60 yards downfield to practice
their golf game in the end zone.

  And
it’s not like they’re throwing 30 yard darts and taking on nasty hard-hitting
linebackers on an every down basis.

 
Yeah, we come up with rankings, but basically in a nutshell they mean
nothing because any kicker on that short list could rise up and be the leader
in the stat column.

  So, on the outside
it looks like there is little skill involved, which ultimately equates to
little value for fantasy owners come draft day, but what if we were to change
that?

 

To keep the evolution of fantasy football we must come up
with new ideas to make every position and player important in achieving the ultimate
goal; winning!

  There have been
advancements in scoring when it comes to skilled position players (long yardage plays,
completion percentage, etc), but the one position that always stays the same is
kicker.

  Why?

  Why can’t we make the kickers score more/less
points?

  So what if they only trot on the
field a couple of times per game; we can still make them a factor in the
fantasy world.

  How you ask?

  Listed below are three ways we can make
kickers important from a value perspective come draft day and the season as a
whole.

 

1. Change in Yardage
Increments

Like stated above some fantasy leagues have been implementing scoring that
allows kickers to score bonus points for incremental yardage.

  See Chart 1 for a detailed example.

 

Chart 1

Yardage

Ranges

Points
Values

0-39

3

40-49

4

50-59

5

59+

6

 

Suggestion: Cut
the increments in half.

  See Chart 2 for
a detailed example.

Chart 2

Yardage

Ranges

Points
Values

0-34

3

35-39

4

40-44

5

45-49

6

50-54

7

55-59

8

60+

9

Chart 2 works, and here’s why: Last season only three kickers converted four or
more field goals of 50+ yards, and only nine converted three or more.

  It rewards the proper way based on each
kicker’s talent.

 


2. Bonus Points

A vast majority of fantasy leagues use the traditional 1 point per extra point
made, and 3 points per every field goal made.

 
Some leagues have gone one step further and have started to give bonus
points for longer field goals made like shown above, but is this enough of a
reward?

For example, if a kicker converts five field goals perfectly
in a game he should be rewarded more than just what each field goal is
worth.

  Yes, kickers should have no
problems kicking a pigskin between two goal posts, but to do it five to six
times in a single game without missing is pretty impressive, and deserves to be
recognized.

 

Suggestion: How
about giving him 1 bonus point per every field goal made if he has a perfect
day?

Example: Mason Crosby connects on
field goals of 30 and 32 yards, and doesn’t attempt another field goal.

  Not only would he get three points for each
field goal made because it’s in the 30 yard range, but he would also get two
bonus points for not missing one.

  Now,
this may seem minor, but in the big picture if a team wins by just one or two
points it could be huge for we all know that in fantasy football every point
counts.

 

 

 

3. Negative Points

This goes hand in hand with additional bonus points and change in yardage
increments as noted above, with one exception; a kicker cannot receive negative
points for any field goal attempt at or above 50 yards.

  This means that kickers like Sebastian
Janikowski, who converted six of 11 field goals of 50+ yards, would hold more
value, which theoretically makes sense because it takes a lot more talent/athleticism
to convert longer field goals.

 

Suggestion: Give
negative points for missed field goals. See Chart 3 for a sample of this.

Chart 3

Yardage

Ranges

Points
Values

0-29

-3

30-39

-2

40-49

-1

This chart also works well.

 
Think about it, not only will you have think real hard on which kicker
to take and when on draft day, but from a week to week basis as well.

  This is where weather conditions could play a
huge role in deciding who you’re going to start.

“It was a straight crosswind, a little in my face.
I’ve never seen anything like it. Mother Nature had a tough night and
decided to take it out on us and the Bears.” -Joe Nedney

Overall, here’s how I see it:

  Kickers only get so many opportunities to
score points in the fantasy world, so by rewarding them a little more for doing
their job, and at the same time subtracting points when they don’t do their job
we ultimately create a more balanced fantasy team and draft which also makes
the draft experience as a whole a little more exciting.

 

Just imagine how much more challenging and fun drafting and
maintaining the kicker position could be if we could evaluate them using other
stats besides just extra points and field goals made.

  I know it’s hard to change and adapt to
something new, but if fantasy football is to keep evolving change must happen.

 

 

If you want to implement this scoring system, watch for part two to this
article which will include rankings and reasons to draft certain kickers.

 

  

Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

 

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