Week 15 lineup calls: Kickers
Who says that the kicker position doesn’t matter?
We rarely receive calls, Tweets or e-mails related to the kicker position as we traverse the fantasy highways. However, the performances of Jay Feely (without the touchdown) and Adam Vinatieri in Week 14 demonstrated the importance of evaluating matchups and seeking out the sweet spot.
Will your kicker come through in Week 15? Do you need to consider the elements or personnel issues?
Adam Vinatieri vs. Jacksonville
Vinatieri was a PAT machine for three weeks heading into the Thursday night game against Tennessee in Week 13. He converted three field goals and three PATs in that contest, producing a tremendous effort for trusting fantasy owners.
I’m putting him on the board for another big effort this weekend against the Jaguars. He converted four PATS in Week 4 against Jacksonville and did not attempt a field goal. The Colts have scored 23 or more points in 11 of 13 games. Vinatieri will have his opportunities, particularly with the ground game getting healthy and Austin Collie back on the field.
Shayne Graham vs. Green Bay
How do you go away from the kicker on the highest-scoring team in the game? Graham has produced at least a field goal worth of PATs in the past five weeks while converting eight field goals in the past five weeks.
Even if the Packers are on their game, you’re looking at myriad field-goal tries behind Tom Brady. If the New England defense continues its surge, then you’ll pad your stats with several PATs as well.
Sebastian Janikowski vs. Denver
Janikowski is virtually unbenchable in 2009. He’s converted multiple field goals in seven games this season (at least one in 12 of 13 games) with multiple PATs in nine of 13 games. I don’t anticipate that the Raiders pull out the big stick and replicate the 59-point performance that they posted in Denver (he had eight PATs and a field goal in that game), but there will be opportunities. Darren McFadden and Jason Campbell are playing well, and the Broncos may be turning to Tim Tebow.
Robbie Gould at Minnesota
I am moderately fearful of the weather in Minnesota. However, the Vikings are limping to the finish line and will be playing behind a third-string quarterback. The Bears are eager to bounce back from the terrible performance against the Patriots, and that defense is eager to regain its swagger following that embarrassment.
Gould has converted at least one field goal in 10 of 13 games this season (seven multi-field goal efforts) with multiple PAT conversions in seven of his past nine games.
Neil Rackers at Tennessee
We continue to bemoan the weekly production out of the Texans (not this week, of course), but Rackers has been a tremendous weekly option. He’s converted at least one field goal in 12 of 13 games this season (seven multi-field goal efforts) with multiple PATs 11 games.
Rackers converted two field goals and two PATs in the first meeting between these teams.
Jay Feely at Carolina
Feely posted one of the games of the ages. He converted five field goals, four PATs and scored a touchdown in the blowout win over Denver. Feely has converted multiple field goals in four consecutive games, and he should benefit from the ground efforts of a resurgent Tim Hightower.
John Kasay vs. Arizona
I’m not anticipating much support from Jimmy Clausen and the passing game, but I can’t dismiss the brilliance of the two-headed running game with Jonathan Stewart and Mike Goodson. They’ll produce numbers against this Arizona defense (27 points allowed per game), thereby allowing Kasay to tack on a couple field-goal conversions.
Mason Crosby at New England
Crosby faces a daunting task this weekend. You have the potential for snow and high winds in this one, factors that Crosby is certainly used to playing through. However, I’m most concerned about the possibility of Matt Flynn appearing under center against this surging New England defense. He’s a start, but temper your expectations.
Ryan Longwell vs. Chicago
I’m not about to trust this unit behind Joe Webb or Patrick Ramsey. This team is sputtering down the stretch, and Longwell may not get much support, even from all-world runner Adrian Peterson. Longwell has only converted more than one field goal in two games this season. I’m not optimistic that you’re going to see a big effort here.