The first of the bye weeks has arrived, thrusting the kicker “burn-and-churn” waiver activity into motion.
Additionally, the Saints have announced that veteran John Carney will take over the kicking duties following top selection Garrett Hartley’s early-season struggles and chipshot miss against the Falcons.
I know that you’re spending your time wringing your hands after reading injury report after injury report about running backs. Don’t forget to steal a point in the kicking game.
Let’s get it on.
Top 5 Kickers
(other than Stephen Gostkowski or Nate Kaeding)
Neil Rackers at Oakland
Rackers has become an automatic play given the proficiency and explosiveness of this Houston offense. He’s already attempted eight field goals (seven conversions) with eight PATs. The Texans are reeling following the Week 3 loss to Dallas, but I anticipate a bounce-back performance on the infield dirt in Oakland.
David Akers vs. Washington
Akers has been the beneficiary of the offensive explosion in Philadelphia. He’s converted three or more PATs in each of the Eagles’ first three games, although you’d love to see a boost in his field goal production (2-of-2 thus far). This is one of the more interesting games of the week (obviously) given the huge storyline about the quarterbacks, but I’ll be curious to see if the big plays keep flowing. I suspect that the Washington defense gets a stop or two along the way. Akers converted six field goals and four PATs in two games against the Redskins last season.
Lawrence Tynes vs. Chicago
The Giants enter Week 4 as one of the NFL’s biggest question marks. One thing is certain. This team can move the ball, regardless of the issues on the offensive line. Tynes has converted seven PATs and 2-of-4 field goal attempts this season. I suspect that we see more of the same this weekend, with the Bears forcing multiple tries following extended drives.
Robbie Gould at New York Giants
Gould converted the game-winner against the Packers on Monday night, and he’ll look to continue his strong start in a big road test against the Giants. He’s converted multiple field goals with five PATs in three consecutive games. The Giants rank 30th in total defense (28.3 points per game). Jay Cutler will go to work on this secondary again.
Matt Prater at Tennessee
You can say what you will about the Broncos. This offense will move the ball and generate opportunities for Prater. Prater has converted four field goals and seven PATs already, offering fantasy owners solid weekly performances. Look for Kyle Orton to move the ball against the secondary (Eli Manning passed for 386 yards last week), but for the defense to hold strong in the red zone.
Sebastian Janikowski vs. Houston
Fans and fantasy owners are kicking Janikowski to the curb following his rough, for lack of a better term, effort in Week 3 in a would-be victory against the Cardinals. I’m looking for a nice rebound game this week against the Texans. Houston is tied for 26th in the NFL in total defense at 26 points per game.
Olindo Mare at St. Louis/Josh Brown vs. Seattle
Mare converted multiple PATs for the third straight game against the Chargers. He also added his first two field goals of the season. Brown, on the other hand, has attempted seven field goals (four makes) with three PATs. I’m anticipating that the Seahawks and Rams move the ball behind the 20s this week, but that these defenses stiffen in the red zone. The Seahawks rank ninth in total defense (16.3 points per game), while the Seahawks are tied for 14th (19 points per game). It’s one of the games circled on my schedule this week.
Mason Crosby vs. Detroit
I know. Why is Crosby down here? I’m just fearful that we see nothing but PATs from Crosby in this week’s game against the Lions. Crosby has already converted five field goals (six attempts plus a block) and nine PATs.
Billy Cundiff at Pittsburgh
Cundiff has converted one field goal in each of the first three games. He did convert a 49-yard attempt last week, thereby allowing Baltimore fans to breathe slightly easier because of issues with long-distance tries. Cundiff has converted five PATs. I’m not expecting a high-scoring affair at Heinz Field this weekend, nor am I expecting many opportunities for Cundiff with a banged-up Ray Rice in the backfield.