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Just Kickin’ It

Stay away from kickers until the last round! This advice seems to be agreed upon by all fantasy analysts. Only 30 total points separated the Top 12 kickers last year. In a standard 10- or 12-team league, it is practical to wait until the last round to snag a top kicker. However, if you compete in a deep league, it is important to recognize some of the key differences between kickers.

Nate Kaeding – With significantly less red zone attempts in 2009 than previous seasons,

San Diego
will need Kaeding to provide much needed consistency to their offense. He knocked down better than 91 percent of his attempts last season, and was 3-for-4 from 50-plus yards.

Stephen Gostkowski – Now that he is more than just
New England’s extra point processor as in 2007, Gostkowski has been very consistent over the last three years. Expect another reliable year as a Top 5 kicker with around 85 percent accuracy.

David Akers – Finishing in second place for kicker points over the last two years, will this be Akers’ year to reach first place? His percentage seems to only blemish with longer kicks as he does not have the leg to consistently hit attempts over 50 yards.

Ryan Longwell – With No. 4 captaining the offense,

’s Longwell seems to thrive. The former

Green Bay
kicker had career highs in accuracy and total points at age 35. With nearly twice as many red zone attempts from 2008 into 2009, Longwell will be in store for another monster season assuming his favorite quarterback, Brett Favre, returns.

Rob Bironas – Although, Bironas’ leg in recent years may not be as remarkable as Hulk Hogan’s 24-inch pythons in the 80s, he did successfully land 5-of-6 field goals of at least 50 yards last season. In fact, he even owns a 60-yarder on his resume

Garrett Hartley – Although, he did not own the job as Saints’ kicker until Week 13, Hartley’s first impression was memorable as he nailed the game winner against

. He went on to knock down every attempt in the playoffs, which included five kicks of at least 40 yards. The Saints offense is dynamic, so Hartley should have a huge 2010


Mason Crosby – Percentage wise, Crosby may not top your list of kickers.
   However, he will continue to earn a ton of attempts as

Green Bay
’s offense has been consistently strong over the last few seasons.

Kris Brown/Neil RackersBrown’s inconsistency last season was devastating to
Houston as two of his field goal misses led to losses to
Indianapolis and

. Whether Brown or Rackers wins the job this season, they will have high upside kicking for one of the NFL’s elite offenses


Lawrence TynesTynes had another year of solid numbers despite

New York
’s rollercoaster season. I expect very similar numbers in 2010, especially if

New York
continues to struggle converting in the red zone.

Robbie Gould – Although, his total points have gradually declined over the last four seasons, Gould’s career accuracy is above 85 percent. With more prolific results expected for

’s offense, expect a slight jump in points this year.

Jay FeelyFeely may be well-traveled, but

may be prove to be an excellent destination for the veteran. Over the last five years, he has knocked down over 83 percent of his kicks. The

offense will not be the same without Kurt Warner, which may end up providing more field goal attempts.

Matt Prater – Although, he struggled in his first season with

, Prater delivered consistency last season. With a strong leg that knocked down 7-of-9 career attempts of at least 50 yards and the advantage of the thin air at Mile High Stadium, expect a similarly productive season.

Truthfully, there are many other priorities that will consume your time prepping for your draft. Although, kickers are an important component of any fantasy football team, it is not recommended to draft them before the last two rounds. However, selecting an accurate kicker on a high-scoring team may prove to be the difference between winning a key matchup.

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