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
Short week will make it hard for Brandon Flowers to play
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(10:23 pm ET) Chargers starting cornerback Brandon Flowers, who suffered a concussion Sunday against the Chiefs, "very well could be sidelined" for Thursday's game at Denver, reports the San Diego Union-Tribune. The paper noted it's generally difficult for players who sustain concussions on Sunday to play on Thursday.

Flowers has 23 tackles and two interceptions this season.


Steelers RT Marcus GIlbert out with concussion
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(10:08 pm ET) Steelers right tackle Marcus Gilbert has a concussion and won't return to Monday's game against the Texans. Mike Adams will continue to fill in.

Report: Bucs reach deal with return man Trindon Holliday
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(10:06 pm ET) The Buccaneers agreed to terms with receiver/returner Trindon Holliday, reports the Tampa Tribune. He was released by the Giants this month after going on IR with a hamstring injury in late August.

Steelers RT Marcus Gilbert checked for concussion
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(9:25 pm ET) Steelers right tackle Marcus Gilbert left the game against Houston in the second quarter and was being evaluated for a concussion. Mike Adams came in to replace him.


Report: Colts WR Reggie Wayne could miss one or two games
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(9:14 pm ET) Colts wideout Reggie Wayne, who had an MRI on his elbow Monday, could miss one or two games, reports WRTV in Indianapolis. Wayne sustained the injury in the first quarter of Sunday's win over the Bengals.

The MRI results have not been released.


Seahawks CB Byron Maxwell might return Sunday
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(8:50 pm ET) Seahawks cornerback Byron Maxwell, who missed the loss at St. Louis with a calf injury, has a chance to play Sunday at Carolina, coach Pete Carroll told reporters. Maxwell suffered the injury Week 6 against Dallas.

Seahawks TE Luke Willson, C Max Unger could return Week 8
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(8:02 pm ET) Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said tight end Luke Willson (groin) almost certainly will play Sunday at Carolina, and that center Max Unger (foot) has a chance to play, reports the Seattle Times. Both missed the Week 7 loss at St. Louis.

Jeff Fisher: Zac Stacy 'could get 25 carries this week'
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(7:46 pm ET) Rams coach Jeff Fisher said the team's running back situation will continue to be a "week-to-week thing," adding Zac Stacy's lack of playing time Sunday wasn't an indicator of things to come. Stacy played one snap and got zero carries in the win over the Seahawks.

"We’ve got three outstanding runners," Fisher said, referring to Stacy, Benny Cunningham and rookie Tre Mason. "And as I mentioned, we think Trey Watts can also help us, so we’re going to use them all. It’ll be a week-to-week thing. Zac could get 25 carries this week. We had some things in early this week. It was working so we decided to stay with ‘Mase.' It’s nothing that Zac has done or hasn’t done. He’s been a little banged up the last couple of weeks, but obviously he’s an outstanding runner as well. We clearly have significant depth there at the position."

Fisher noted Stacy missed practice time the past couple weeks due to calf and ankle injuries.

"The good thing about this is he’ll come back and should be 100 percent this week and just see where it goes," Fisher said.

The Rams visit the Chiefs in Week 8.


Injured Texans cleared for action
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(7:35 pm ET) Several Texans who were on the injury report are active for Monday's game at Pittsburgh.

The list includes defensive end J.J. Watt (thigh), guard Brandon Brooks (illness), linebacker Brian Cushing (knee), wideout DeAndre Hopkins (hand), defensive end Tim Jamison (groin), cornerback Johnathan Joseph (knee), offensive tackle Derek Newton (elbow), linebacker Brooks Reed (groin), linebacker Jeff Tarpinian (knee). All were listed as probable.

Also suiting up is linebacker Mike Mohamed, who was questionable with a thigh injury.

Arian Foster, Andre Johnson set for MNF
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(7:23 pm ET) Texans running back Arian Foster (groin) and wideout Andre Johnson (ankle) are active as expected for Monday's game in Pittsburgh after being listed as probable.

 
 
 
Rankings