Week 12 lineup calls: Kickers
We’re in the final throes of the regular season in this fantasy realm.
• Perhaps you still have an outside shot at the final playoff spot in your league.
• Perhaps you can improve your seeding.
• Perhaps you just enjoy the idea of playing “spoiler” and tormenting your friends, co-workers or family.
Whatever your motivation, it’s time to go steal a few points in this stretch run. We do it every week, but the stakes are even higher now. Go forth, make a claim and dominate.
(Other than Mason Crosby, Dan Carpenter, Rob Bironas, Sebastian Janikowski and David Akers)
Nick Folk vs. Cincinnati
Folk is on the verge of joining the “Automatic Starts” as a result of his recent point barrages. He’s converted at least one field goal in nine of 10 games this season and has been borderline ridiculous in the past three weeks (with eight field goals with seven PATs).
Mark Sanchez has been playing very well, stretching the field with Braylon Edwards and Santonio Holmes to complement the stout run game. Cincinnati ranks 26th in total defense at 26.2 points allowed per game. Look for the Jets to pile up points again in front of the home crowd with Folk finishing off stalled drives.
Shayne Graham at Detroit
Graham has converted three field goals and seven PATs since assuming the placekicker job in New England. This could become a score-a-thon for the Patriots against this 22nd-ranked Lions squad (23.7 points allowed per game). The Patriots have established a running game with BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Danny Woodhead, and Tom Brady is, well, Brady. Pick up Graham for some Thanksgiving leftovers.
Billy Cundiff vs. Tampa Bay
There’s some argument as to whether Cundiff could be considered the Ravens’ MVP through 10 games. He’s converted at least one field goal in nine games, including four multi-field goal games in his past five outings. Cundiff has also converted multiple PATs in eight consecutive points.
Tampa Bay is tied for 10th in total defense at 20.6 points allowed per game. Joe Flacco will have to contend with two strong cornerbacks and a defense that gets stingy in the red zone. As such, you’ll see Cundiff frequently on Sunday.
Olindo Mare vs. Kansas City
Matt Hasselbeck has topped 300 passing yards in back-to-back games, thereby opening the door to huge performances for Mare. He converted 9-of-10 field goals in these games and has attempted three or more field goals in four of the Seahawks’ past five games. Hasselbeck figures to find success downfield against the 25th-ranked Kansas City pass defense, effectively putting Mare in line for another big day.
Lawrence Tynes vs. Jacksonville
Changes are afoot in New York as Tom Coughlin’s squad combats injuries in the receiving corps and fumbling issues in the backfield. This issues will affect the dominance of Eli Manning and the passing attack (no Hakeem Nicks or Steve Smith), thereby making Tynes a top-notch contributor this week.
Josh Brown at Denver
Brown has quietly pieced together a very efficient season. He’s converted at least one field goal in every game this season with multiple PATs in eight of the past nine games. Brown is on the radar against the struggling 31st-ranked Denver defense in the mountain air. Sam Bradford and Steven Jackson will get the offense moving (they return Danario Alexader to the receiving corps) and Brown will be there to close out the drives.
Phil Dawson vs. Carolina
Dawson has converted at least one field goal in eight consecutive games (with four straight of at least two field goal conversions) as this team has started to play better on both sides of the ball. He’s clearly benefited from the growth of Peyton Hillis as a powerhouse tailback, and I expect to see the offense move the ball behind Jake Delhomme in his return to the lineup. Carolina allows 25.2 points per game and continues to be plagued by offensive woes.
Matt Bryant vs. Green Bay
Bryant has converted at least one field goal in every game this season. I’m certainly not anticipating a shutout this week at home against the Packers, but opportunities figure to be few. The Packers allow only 14.6 points per game and may be the team to snap Matt Ryan’s dominant home streak.
Robbie Gould vs. Philadelphia
Gould converted three field goals in Week 11 against the Dolphins, his second straight game with multiple field goal conversions. He’d attempted only two field goals in the previous two games and his confidence and follow-through were being questioned.
With the Chicago offense sputtering (19.1 points per game), I’m not expecting a tremendous output against this surging Philadelphia squad. Gould may be limited to long-range tries in this one.
Adam Vinatieri vs. San Diego
Vinatieri remains a weekly contributor to fantasy lineups with a strong PAT base. He’s also been more frequently called upon for field-goal tries than we’ve seen in the recent past (17-of-19). This is a difficult spot against one of the league’s most efficient defensive units. Peyton Manning won’t be shut out altogether, but I suspect that we’ll see decisions by Indianapolis to eschew field goal tries while keeping pace with the Chargers.