Forgot Log-in or  Password? |  Help  Not a member, Register Now!
      
Fantasy Football Today
Fantasy Football Today Blog
Gameday Inactives
2014 Draft Prep Guide
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Get Your Draft Board
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Scores
Fantasy Games
Playoff Challenge
Commissioner
Prize Leagues
Free
Office Pool Manager
Game Pick'em
Player Challenge
Fantasy Baseball Today
Fantasy Baseball Today Blog
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Rankings
Projections
Schedules
Probable Pitchers
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injuries
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Message Boards
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Downloadable Draft Kit
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
No Fantasy Teams Found
 
 
 

2011 Draft Prep: Kicker and DST draft strategies

Senior Fantasy Writer
  •  

Dave Richard's Strategies & Tiers: QB | RB | WR | TE

Kickers miss field goals at the buzzer. Defenses go from bad to worse in the fourth quarter. The Giants punt to DeSean Jackson with 14 seconds left. Things happen, and they impact our Fantasy universe for better or worse because, for reasons I cannot explain with grace and civility, we have a need to use kickers and defense/special-teams units (DSTs).

Follow us, Like us, Join us
Want more? Join the discussion on our Facebook page and Google+ and follow us on Twitter for additional insight while interacting with a community geared toward Fantasy Football.

That's right. If it were up to me, we wouldn't have kickers getting us three points at a time or DSTs taking up the last spot of our active roster (we'd use individual defensive players). But since I'm not the Unquestioned Emperor of Fantasy Football, I respect the laws of everyone's leagues and will address kickers and DSTs.

Kickers and DSTs are late-round choices. I habitually take a kicker with my last pick except for rare situations where I'll spend a second-to-last round pick on a guy just because I want to get a guy I feel is a quality option before the people picking after me in Round 172 have a chance to get him. DSTs are a bit different and deserve more attention.

DST keys

There are two schools of thought to drafting a DST: Take one that you're willing to ride with all season (except for the bye), or take one that will get you off to a good start to the season and then play "DST Roulette."

You probably know all of the elite DSTs worth drafting already: The Steelers, Jets, Packers and Eagles top the list. Unless some nutball in your league is a fan of the hometown team, those four will be the first to go in every league. The recommendation here is to only reach for one of these DSTs if you're in Round 10 or later and you're really happy with your first nine picks. If you're not happy and would rather add depth, or if you just want to add depth, there is no obligation whatsoever to take a DST until your draft is almost over.

And that's the smart play, especially since there are some really good DSTs that should perform as well or better than the elite DSTs, and they'll go very late. No one is giving the Patriots, Chargers, Bears or Giants any respect. But they'll be good. And you can get them in or around Round 172.

But some would say that the smarter play would be to spend that 172nd-round pick on a DST that has easy matchups to begin the year. After all, Fantasy Football is about the matchups, right?

You might not draft any of these defenses because of their stout run D or impressive secondary, but you might draft them because of who they're playing.

Early-season matchups Just Week 1
Broncos (vs. OAK, vs. CIN, at TEN) 49ers (vs. SEA)
Cardinals (vs. CAR, at WAS, at SEA) Browns (vs. CIN)
Titans (at JAC, vs. BAL, vs. DEN, at CLE) Chiefs (vs. BUF)

Likewise, here are some DSTs that I have ranked highly but face tough matchups to begin the season -- maybe drafting them isn't such a good idea, though picking them up later on should be.

Bears (vs. ATL, at NO, vs. GB) Rams (vs. PHI, at NYG, vs. BAL)
Falcons (at CHI, vs. PHI, at TB) Saints (at GB, vs. CHI, vs. HOU)

The last point I'd like to drive home on DSTs: The only time when it's OK to carry more than one is if one is a top DST that's on a bye. Don't draft two unless mandated by your league's rules. You could ask me 100 times and I'll tell you 100 times that I'd rather spend a roster spot on a sleeper or a flier off waivers or a backup quarterback or a player that might help my opponent this week than a second DST.

Get your kicks

Check out our Fantasy Football podcast!
There is no better source for entertaining Fantasy advice than our Fantasy Football Today podcast. Dave Richard, Jamey Eisenberg and Adam Aizer will help you pass the time as you anticipate Draft Day 2014!
Latest episode | Subscribe today!

Thinking about picking a kicker that will finish at the top of your league in Fantasy points? Good luck. The difference between last season's top Fantasy kicker, Sebastian Janikowski, and last season's 10th-best Fantasy kicker, Billy Cundiff, was 33 points. That's basically two points per week on average. And get this -- not many people drafted either kicker last year!

Kicker production is dependent primarily on the accuracy of a player and the opportunities that player gets. So, one could easily assume that kickers who have good career field-goal accuracy and play on teams with powerful offenses that create field goal chances are good. However, there's no guarantee from week to week that they'll have said opportunities, or kick accurately when they get on the field.

Would you believe that the Raiders and Dolphins led the league in field-goal attempts (41), with the Jets and Rams finishing behind them (39)? Would you call those offenses poweful? And, would you believe that only one of those teams hit on more than 80 percent of their field-goal attempts (the Rams)?

Obviously there's not much stability or consistency with kickers. Only one kicker -- David Akers -- has finished as a Top 10 Fantasy producer at his position in standard leagues over the last three seasons (second in '08, '09 and '10). So why not take a page out of our DST Strategy Playbook and play Kicker Roulette from week to week with free agents, starting in Week 1?

Using our trusty Interactive Defensive Matchup Tracker or my exclusive schedule analysis, we can find the teams with favorable early-season matchups and get the kickers from those teams. The Bengals, Browns, Chiefs, Giants and Patriots all start the season with mostly favorable slates (and the 49ers, Bears, Panthers, Raiders and Seahawks could struggle).

Or, you could just draft Akers, except even he's a wild card since he's now on the 49ers after the Eagles cut him loose for rookie Alex Henery.

But whatever you do, don't sweat kickers and DSTs. Put that energy toward the important players in Fantasy Football -- the ones that will be the catalysts for success in 2011.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter @CBSFantasyFB . You can also follow Dave at @daverichard and on Facebook .

Get player news notifications, manage your team and check scores
- all updated in real time. Download the CBS Fantasy App.

  •  
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
 
 
Player News
Texans RB Arian Foster officially questionable for Sunday
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(3:33 pm ET) Texans running back Arian Foster was unable to practice again on Friday due to a nagging groin injury. According to ESPN, the Texans have ruled him as questionable for Sunday's game against the Bengals. He'll be a game-time decision for Week 12, per the Houston Chronicle.

Foster has already missed two games this season due to a couple of injuries and remains stuck at 822 yards rushing on the season. Even if Foster returns this week, he'll likely share carries with rookie Alfred Blue in order to ease him back into game action.


Dolphins list lengthy injury report for Week 12 at Denver
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(3:24 pm ET) The Dolphins listed a lengthy injury report for Week 12 at Denver.

Miami will be without the services of Jonathan Freeny after missing practice the entire week because of a hamstring injury. The team also labeled Charles Clay (knee, hamstring) and Cortland Finnegan (ankle) as doubtful. Daryn Colledge (back) and Lamar Miller (shoulder, knee) were deemed questionable.

Meanwhile, the following players were ruled as probable: Jarvis Landry (shoulder), Koa Misi (ankle), Mike Pouncey (hip), Kelvin Sheppard (hip, groin), Ryan Tannehill (left shoulder), Jordan Tripp (chest), Mike Wallace (calf) and Jimmy Wilson (hamstring).


Eight Falcons probable for Sunday game against Browns
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(3:18 pm ET) The Falcons are all but perfectly healthy for their Sunday game against visiting Cleveland. Cornerback Robert Alford (wrist) and offensive tackle Jonathan Scott (hamstring) are out, but the other eight players on their injury report are probable.

That group includes guard Jon Asamoah (shoulder), defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux (knee), wide receivers Drew Davis (foot), Harry Douglas (foot), Julio Jones (illness) and Devin Hester (wrist) and running backs Steven Jackson (illness) and Patrick DiMarco (illness).


Dolphins TE Charles Clay doubtful for Denver game
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(3:17 pm ET) After being a limited participant in practice Wednesday, Dolphins tight end Charles Clay was unable to practice Thursday and Friday due to injuries to the knee and hamstring, and as a result he has been deemed as doubtful for Sunday's game against the Broncos in Denver, per the Miami Herald.

If Clay is unable to play Week 12, the team will likely rely on Dion Sims as their primary tight end on Sunday.


Dolphins list RB Lamar Miller as questionable for Week 12
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(3:12 pm ET) Dolphins running back Lamar Miller was a limited participant for the second consecutive day in practice on Friday due to injuries to the shoulder and knee. Although he has not missed practice this week, Miami has labeled him as questionable for Week 12 at Denver, per the Miami Herald.

Miller ran for 86 yards on 15 carries in Week 11 against the Bills. He has 614 yards and five touchdowns on the ground this season.


Eight probables pepper injury report posted by Vikings
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(3:08 pm ET) A first glance at the injury report produced Friday by the Vikings for their Week 12 game against Green Bay might lead one to believe that many will be among the missing. But a closer look reveals eight probables among the 13 players listed.

That group includes seven who are ailing. They are running back Jerick McKinnon (lower back), offensive tackle Mike Harris (ankle), linebacker Anthony Barr (knee), cornerback Xavier Rhodes (ankle), defensive ends Scott Crichton (hip) and Everson Griffen (neck) and tight end Kyle Rudolph (abdomen/groin).


Titans injury report includes four players listed questionable
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(3:07 pm ET) Titans tight end Delanie Walker is the only player on Tennessee's final injury report listed as probable for Week 12 against Houston. Walker is working his way back from a concussion he suffered Week 10 against the Ravens. He was medically cleared by an independent neurologist this week.

Meanwhile, Marqueston Huff (hamstring) was ruled as doubtful after missing practice all week. Justin Hunter (knee), Derrick Morgan (knee), Daimion Stafford (shoulder) and Blidi Wreh-Wilson were all deemed questionable.


Browns enter Week 12 with eight players on final injury report
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(3:05 pm ET) The Browns ruled Jordan Cameron (concussion) and Marlon Moore (hamstring) out for Sunday's game against the Falcons. Karlos Dansby (knee) was the only player deemed doubtful, while Jabaal Sheard (foot) and Johnson Bademosi (concussion) were labeled questionable on Cleveland's final injury report for Week 12.

Meanwhile. the following players were ruled as probable: Barkevious Mingo (shoulder), Ahtyba Rubin (knee) and Desmond Bryant (wrist).


Bengals final injury report includes seven probables for Week 12
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(3:03 pm ET) Bengals running back Giovani Bernard is the most notable player listed as probable on Cincinnati's final injury report for Week 12 against Houston. He joins Wallace Gilberry (back), Terence Newman (knee), Cedric Peerman (hip), Mike Pollak (knee), Andre Smith (ankle) and Kevin Zeitler (calf) on the list.

Meanwhile, Vontaze Burfict (knee) and Margus Hunt (ankle) were the only two players ruled out for the game.


Vikings list four questionable on Friday injury report
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(3:02 pm ET) A lengthy Vikings injury report posted Friday for the Week 12 game against visiting Green Bay features four questionable players. They are wide receivers Jarius Wright (hamstring) and Greg Jennings (rib), defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd (knee) and offensive tackle Matt Kalil (knee). Running back Matt Asiata (concussion) has already been ruled out.

 
 
 
Rankings