FOX Sports Exclusive
Week 9 lineup calls: Kickers
"Games are won in the trenches."
"Defense wins championships."
"The best defense is a good offense."
All of these tried-and-true adages come into play during the fantasy season. You get the big running efforts behind the offensive line. You sometimes get those bonus points on a big return or benefit from the horribly thrown flat pass that gets returned for a touchdown. And, of course, you need to score a ton of points to beat your opponent.
Nobody gives any love to kickers. Listen to any wrap-ups following a missed kick, even if we’re talking about a 55-yard try. I’m not going to vehemently argue the point nor will I denigrate the position. In the fantasy realm, owners frequently employ the matchup game and “churn-and-burn” strategy to eke out the extra PAT or field goal try. Where will a defense generate turnovers and short fields? Which team has a terrible red zone attack?
Top 5 Kickers
Robbie Gould at Buffalo (Toronto)
Gould was released in most leagues because of the Bears’ Week 8 bye. He’s a prime-time pickup for Week 9 against the Bills. The Bills surrender 30.1 points per game. In fact, the Bills had allowed at least 34 points in five consecutive games prior to last week’s hard-fought overtime loss to the Chiefs. Buffalo’s best defensive efforts came against the Dolphins and that loss to the Chiefs in Week 8. They allowed two field goals in each of those games.
Matt Bryant vs. Tampa Bay
Bryant has been one of the most consistent performers at the position this season. He’s converted at least one field goal in every game this season, including five games with at least two conversions (14-of-17 overall). Matt Ryan is unstoppable at home, and Michael Turner should chew up turf against the Tampa Bay run defense.
Mason Crosby vs. Dallas
Crosby accounted for all of the Packers’ scoring in Week 8. He converted three field goals against the Jets, his fifth game with multiple field goal conversions. The Dallas defense has been confusing, to say the least, and we can reasonably anticipate that Aaron Rodgers and his offense gets back on track this week.
Dan Carpenter at Baltimore
It’s that time of year. It’s time to dust off the “Super Jock” term for 2010. This year, the honor goes to Carpenter. He’s converted multiple field goals in five of seven games this season, including three straight huge efforts (13-for-13 in the past three weeks).
I don’t anticipate that the Dolphins produce a big point total against a Baltimore defense that is motivated to move past the terrible Week 7 effort against the Bills. However, Chad Henne should still find some success downfield against the Baltimore secondary, thereby setting Carpenter in position for multiple tries once again.
Nick Folk at Detroit
Folk was afforded just one short field-goal attempt in Week 8 against the Packers. He promptly missed it. Despite the tepid effort in Week 8, I’m jumping right back onboard the Folk bandwagon this week. He’s converted 13 field goals in the first six weeks and should be afforded ample opportunities against a Detroit team that surrenders nearly 24 points per game.
Ryan Longwell vs. Arizona
The Vikings’ offensive struggles sent one of the preseason’s top kicking options to the waiver wire in a high number of leagues. Longwell gets back on the map this week against the Cardinals. He’s converted one field goal in six of seven games this season (four games with multiple PATs). The Cardinals rank 31st in total defense at 28.3 points allowed per game. Brett Favre and this offense will provide scoring chances. Look for Brad Childress to kick the field goal if the opportunity presents itself this week.
Jeff Reed at Cincinnati
Reed stands as a prime candidate for a big game this week. He’s converted multiple field goals in three different games (10 field goals in those games) and has attempted multiple field goals in five of seven games. The Bengals are tied for 24th in total defense at 23.3 points allowed per game. Cincinnati doesn’t generate much pressure up front (Antwan Odom is out for the season) and the defense has been ravaged by injuries. Reed will have his opportunities this week.
Garrett Hartley at Carolina
Hartley did not practice on Wednesday, but it appears that he’ll be ready for this week’s game against the Panthers. He’s converted 4-of-5 field goals with eight PATs in three games since returning to the lineup. The Panthers rank 18th in scoring defense at 21.4 points allowed per game. The New Orleans offense isn’t clicking on all cylinders just yet, leaving several opportunities per game for the kicking game.
David Buehler at Green Bay
If the Packers put forth an effort equivalent to last week’s work against Mark Sanchez, then Jon Kitna is going to have a long day. Buehler’s accuracy from long-range will be tested. Buehler has converted multiple field goal tries in four games, and five of his nine conversions came from distances of at least 40 yards.
David Akers vs. Indianapolis
This is an interesting test for Michael Vick and the Philadelphia offense. Similarly, the Indianapolis secondary is facing much different passing attack. The Colts are tied for 12th in total defense (20.3 points allowed per game) and rank in the middle of the pack in terms of yards allowed (336.4 yards allowed per game). Akers has converted multiple field goals in four of seven games this season, including five conversions from distances of at least 40 yards. He’s a start and waiver-wire acquisition, but I’m tempering expectations.