2007 Fantasy Kickers : Ranking Analysis

As your fantasy season approaches, we break down our top ranked 2007 NFL Fantasy Kickers.

  

ELITE
Adam Vinatieri - Indianapolis Colts
The Indianapolis Colts have put up more than 120 annual 
kicking points for most of the last decade...pretty much 
since Peyton Manning joined the league.  Although Vinatieri
kicked for just 113 total points in 2006 (missing weeks 3-5 
with a groin injury), he remains a virtual lock to put up 
130+ in 2007.  As long as Vinatieri stays healthy (and no 
reason to think otherwise), his point total should increase
with the expected increase in point total for the Colts.  AV 
doesn't have an extremely strong let, but he's extremely 
accurate...and playing most of his games indoors certainly
helps.  As the Colts score - so does Vinatieri.  And the 
defending Superbowl Champs are going to score often.  

2006 Stats       XP-38/38       FG-25/28     TTL PTs–113


Stephen Gostkowski - New England Patriots
Similar to Vinatieri for one reason, Gostkowski kicks for a 
top AFC offense that will score bushel loads of points each 
week.  But the similarities stop there.  Young Gostkowski 
struggled the first half of last season...missing 4 of his 6 
missed field goals in his first 8 games.  And Gostkowski also
missed 4 of his kicks from less than 40 yards.  But as 2006 
progressed, so did Stephen Gostkowski.  The young Pats' kicker 
began to groove and looked more like the future of the 
kicking game in New England.  The Patriots didn't score much 
last year, but didn't have alot of scoring weapons on offense
(somehow were still extremely close to another Superbowl 
berth).  This offseason, however, New England maxed out their
offensive talent with the addition of WRs Randy Moss and 
Donte Stallworth.  Like the Colts, the Patriots will score 
huge points in 2007...and Steven Gostkowski is the benefactor 
of being their kicker.  The new synthetic turf in New England 
should help off-set the nasty Foxboro weather.

2006 Stats       XP-43/44       FG-20/26     TTL PTs–103 

NOTE: (Before we get to Gould, Graham, Kaeding, and the rest 
of the Kickers, our advice is to keep from drafting a kicker 
until the end of your fantasy draft.  Sure, Vinatieri and 
Gostkowski are more likely to score points than some of the 
others...but selecting weekly fantasy kickers is a variable 
science that alters based upon weather and opponents perhaps
more than any other position.  Kickers like Olindo Mare for 
New Orleans...not even in my top 10...could surprise and be 
huge this year with 11 games being played indoors.  And then
there is Matt Stover, Jason Hanson, Josh Scobee, Josh Brown,
etc...all of whom who could finish in the top 5 in scoring by 
season's end - and aren't ranked in the preseason top 10.  
I'll say this - draft a kicker only when all other positions 
have been filled and supported.  Other than the top couple of 
kickers, the rest don't have enough to distance themselves 
and risk jeopardizing a selection prior to the final rounds 
of your fantasy draft.)



ROCK SOLID


Robbie Gould - Chicago Bears
17 of Gould's 32 2006 field goals (well over half) came by 
week 5.  The Chicago Bears were not known as an offensive 
powerhouse (and still aren't), but Gould surprisingly led 
the league last season with his unexpected 143 kicking 
points...which is why FFL owners shouldn't draft kickers in 
the early rounds.  Even though the Chicago Bears aren't a 
huge scoring machine and play often in nasty weather, they 
have a great schedule and are still possibly the cream of 
the NFC...all relating to points for their offense and their 
kicker. 

2006 Stats       XP-47/47       FG-32/36     TTL PTs–143


Shayne Graham - Cincinnati Bengals
Graham's only 2006 miss less than 40 yds (39) came in the 
last game of last season with only 8 seconds left...a kick 
that would have put Cincy in the playoffs.  But Graham 
missed and put the exclamation mark on a tough season for
Bengal fans and players.  However, Shayne Graham is a solid
NFL kicker and there should be no reason the Cincy offense 
(and Graham) will turn things around.  Providing Cincinnati 
and head coach Marvin Lewis learned from last season's off-
field issues...the Cincy offense will be one of the NFL's top
scoring machines.  If so, Graham will be very productive.

2006 Stats       XP-40/42       FG-25/30     TTL PTs–115


Nate Kaeding - San Diego Chargers
15 of 26 total 2006 field goals made by Nate Kaeding were 
kicked by week 6.  But then, Kaeding made only 3 fgs (on 4 
attempts) over the next 6 games (and that's with San Diego 
scoring 32+ points in 4 of the games...including a 49 point 
game against Cincy with no FG attempts).  Kaeding is a very 
strong kicker, but hasn't always gotten the chance to kick in 
likely FG situations.  The departure of Marty Shottenheimer 
(who liked to go for it instead of kicking the field goal) 
should help.  Nate Kaeding kicks in a potent offense (last 
season's 58 XPs should be an indication) and will again have 
a strong year in 2007.  And if not for San Diego's ability to 
score in nearly every red zone opportunity, we'd have Kaeding 
rated higher than the 5th spot.

2006 Stats       XP-58/58       FG-26/29     TTL PTs–136 



SOLID      


Jason Elam - Denver Broncos
Not only was Jason extremely accurate last season, he was 
also very consistent.  Fantasy owners with Elam on their 
roster didn't experience the "feast or famine" nature of the 
typical fantasy kicker.  Elam scored at least one field goal 
in all 16 games!  It's tough to predict, but the change at QB
from Jake Plummer to the stronger arm of Jay Cutler should 
help Elam and the Denver offense in 2007.  The Denver Broncos
have scored at least 115 team kicking points for the last 10 
seasons...a trend which bodes well for fantasy owners looking 
at Elam and seeking a consistent kicker in the later rounds.

2006 Stats       XP-34/34       FG-27/29     TTL PTs–115


Neil Rackers - Arizona Cardinals
Don't let Rackers' 9 missed field goals scare you...6 were 
from 50+ and the other 3 were from from 40+.  Surprisingly,
Rackers only hit one FG from 50 or more yards after an 
incredible 2005 season - where he nailed 6 of 7 from 50+.  
Arizona has several strong weapons on offense and should 
score more wins and more points in 2007.  Regardless, Neil 
Rackers proved that NFL kickers can score primo kicking 
points on a team with a lousy record - he's done it for the 
past two seasons.

2006 Stats       XP-32/32       FG-28/37     TTL PTs–116 


Jeff Wilkins - St. Louis Rams
Like Robbie Gould and Nate Kaeding, Jeff Wilkins scored most 
of his 2006 field goals early in the season.  Wilkins hit 18 
of his 32 FGs by number week 5...incling 6 in game 1!  All 5 
of Wilkins' misses were from 41-48 yards out and 3 of his 
scores were from 50+.  Wilkins may not achieve the whopping
131 points he kicked last year - but he could...and anything 
close should be a very satisfying number for his fantasy 
owners.  Wilkins kicks better in a dome - which is a good 
thing for JW and his owners since the Rams play the bulk of 
their games indoors.

2006 Stats       XP-35/35       FG-32/37     TTL PTs–131


David Akers - Philadelphia Eagles
Akers seemed to have lost his field goal brilliance over the 
last two seasons with just 18/23 last year.  And, three of 
his 2006 misses came from less than 40 yards (including a 23 
yard miss in the last game of season).  But, due to Akers'
past success and age of only 32, we can't discount him.  The
Philly offense is still formidable (especially with a healthy
Donovan McNabb) and Akers surely can't have already lost his 
once incredible leg.

2006 Stats       XP-48/48       FG-18/23     TTL PTs–102


Mike Nugent - New York Jets
After shaking early jitters in game 1 of 2006 (field goal 
misses of 34 and 30 yards plus a missed extra point), Nugent 
missed only 1 FG for the remainder of season - and that was 
from 52 in Cleveland.  Nugent has a young booming leg and 
came on toward the end of season with 16 field goals over his 
last 6 games (including makes of 54 and 52 yards).  Nugent 
will quickly become one of the best kickers in the NFL...it's 
just a question of how many chances the Jets give him.

2006 Stats       XP-34/35       FG-24/27     TTL PTs–106




 
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