NFL: Daniel’s Fantasy Football 2011 Top 15 Fantasy Kickers:

This is my projected list of the top 15 kickers in the league, based on last season’s statistics, schedule, team positions, and previous depth chart. This list is subject to change as a result of trades, depth chart changes, and injuries as I see fit. This is a discussion board from the mind of a fantasy football player. This is my take on the coming season to help you better your fantasy game. This will be my last post on the segmented parts of fantasy football, and I will not be doing a segmented defense list, so this is it. Let’s get started:

1. David Akers: Akers was the top scorer in the league last season. Historically in the last three seasons, Akers has been consistently at or near the top of the kicks made and scoring column. When thinking about kickers for your fantasy team, the most important aspect is getting a high scoring, consistent spot in place for your team. Last season, averaging 8.9 points per game (tied for first in the stat), Akers is an accurate, dominant kicker. Also, with Vick, McCoy, and Jackson on the Eagles racking up serious yardage and getting into the typical field goal range, he will be in position to make a serious impact for your fantasy team each week.

2. Nate Kaeding: Last season, Keading had a sub par season as compared to the fantasy world’s expectations. With only 28 field goal attempts, 23 made, and 40 extra points, I feel that Kaeding was under-used and underachiever of fantasy kickers last season. The reason for this blunder was all of the injuries that occured to the offense during the regular season for the Chargers. With the loss of Vincent Jackson due to conflicts and key playmaker Ryan Matthews, the offense suffered along with Kaeding. However, in 2011, expect Kaeding’s numbers to skyrocket with a fresh offense rolling in. Expect many more attempts for Kaeding next season.

3. Steven Gostowski: Historically, Steven Gostowski has been one of the premier fantasy kickers in the NFL. With Tom Brady, and the high octane New England offense, the only times that Gostowski does not get an oppurtunity for a field goal is when he’s kicking extra points. With as many extra points as he kicks, it is also very important to know that since 2007, Gostowski has yet to miss an extra point. Even though he was injured last season and only played eitht games, he was en route to another 50 xp season. Seeing as that kickers rarely get injured, expect Gostowski to come out of the gate swinging.

4. Neil Rackers: Through Neil Rackers brilliant career, he has been a top ten kicker in the fantasy world. Last season, he had an impressive season, putting up excellent numbers for the Houston Texans. With a 90% accuracy rate, 27 field goals, and 43 extra points, Rackers is a consistent kicker that has been a fantasy must for any league. With the Texans’ young and powerful offense, expect plenty of field goal attempts and extra points for the seasoned veteran.

5. Nick Folk: Folk, who averaged 7.9 points per game with 30 field goals and 37 extra points last season was key to the New York Jets season and playoff run last year. With LT’s and Shonn Greene’s dominant rushing game pushing the offense into position, Folk was able to have 39 attempts for the season (second highest in the league). The only thing that I have against Folk is that his field goal percentage was a sub par 77% for the season, compared to the normal 80% and up. In general, Folk will have many attempts, and with the improvements the Jets offense have made, expect Nick Folk to be a serious fantasy contender this year.

6. Josh Brown: Last season, the Rams kicker was tied for the most field goals made at 33, and was tied for second in field goal attempts at 39. With an 85% accuracy, Josh Brown was a fantasy monster, splitting the uprights at almost every oppurtunity. While only getting 26 extra points, expect that number to rise with Sam Bradford developing his passing skills, and Steven Johnson consistently being a dominant rusher in the league. With Brown being heavily depended upon by his team, expect that in 2011, that Brown will put up similar numbers.

7. Rob Bironas: Bironas has had a great NFL career so far. The never-injured, consistently accurate kicker of the Tennessee Titans, Bironas last season went 24 of 26 last year with 38 extra points. With an accuracy over 92%, 3rd best last season in starting kickers, Bironas is the consistency that your team can rely on to get you fantasy points. My only concern for the kicker is the strenth of the Titans’ offense at this point. But with Chris Johnson at the forefront of the offense, expect to see plenty of attempts go Bironas’ way.

8. Garrett Hartley: This season, Garrett Hartley took the starting kicker position for the New Orleans Saints, and he did not disappoint. With 40 extra points, and 20 out of 25 field goals, having averaged 80%, Hartley had a great starting season. While being his third season with the Saints, he really stepped up for the Saints and assisted them through the season and into the playoffs. Look for Hartley, as he develops into his new role, to develop a greater accuracy, and get more numerous opportunities to put points on the board.

9. Mason Crosby: Crosby has regularly been atop of the league in extra point attempts, due to the powerhouse offense that he plays for; the Green Bay Packers. While last season, he only made 22 field goals on 28 attempts, Crosby’s offense dealt with some serious injuries during the regular season. From Rodgers being injured for a few weeks, to the Ryan Grant season long injury, the Packers’ offense was watered down during the season. However, with the return of a healthy Ryan Grant, look for Mason Crosby to breakout as one of the elite kickers in the league.

10. Billy Cundiff: The Ravens’ kicker had an incredible second season with Baltimore last year. He made last season 26 of 29 attempts with 39 extra point attempts and averaged 89.9% on the field goal opportunities. As his first season as the primary starter for the Ravens, Cundiff excedded expectations. With the strength of the running game mixed with the talent of Joe Flacco and Anquan Boldin, expect Cundiff to become a dynamic scorer for any fantasy league.

11. Adam Vinaterri: Just out of my top ten is one of the most well known and dangerous kickers that has ever played the game. The former Super Bowl MVP, Vinaterri has been a consistently dominating force in the fantasy game. Last season, Vinaterri went 26 of 28, at a 92.9% field goal rate, with 51 extra points. Part of his consistent success has been the offenses he’s played for. From New Englad to Indianappolis, he has been placed in numerous attempts to make a difference, and has proven his worth time and time again.

12. Sebastian Janikowski: Last season, the Oakland Raiders, and Janikowski came into their own as impressive offensive machines. Janikowski ended the season tied for the lead in field goals made at 33, and had 43 extra points made. This was a breakout season for the kicker, but he has been improving up to this point. It would not surpise me to see these numbers from this kicker again next season.

13. Matt Bryant: Bryant had a stunning season for the Atlanta Falcons last season, coming out onto his own as one of the main fantasy threats at the kicker position. Last season, he made 38 out of 31 field goals with 44 extra points made, making him the fourth highest scorer in the league. With the rising power of the Falcons offense, expect these numbers to stay the same, or even rise, due to the numerous attempts he will receive from the good positions that the offense normally places him in.

14. Dan Carpenter: While Dan Carpenter was not very accurate last season, as many attempts as he got, he was able to make a huge impact in the fantasy world. Making 30 out of 41 attempts (73%) with 25 extra points, he was a strong fantasy contender for the 2010 season. Heading into 2011, while I do not expect Carpenter to get 41 opportunities, I do expect him to improve his accuracy and make about the same amount of fantasy points that he did in the previous season.

15. David Buehler: With his first season as the Dallas Cowboys’ field goal kicker, Buehler had a great first season. Having a 75% accuracy on 24 0f 32 attempts with 42 made extra points, Buehler came out into the open for fantasy talks at the kicker position. With the return of Romo from his injury, I forsee that the Cowboys offense will give Beuhler many more opportunities to score, and with his first season down, he will be able to breakout and give your team what it needs.

This is my list of potential sleepers below that you may want to look at in the draft and early in the regular season:
1. Robbie Gould
2. Jay Feely
3. Olindo Mare
4. Connor Barth
5. Lawrence Tynes
6. Matt Prater
7. Ryan Longwell

I hope you have enjoyed my columns on the potential fantasy hits of 2011. As the NFL fantasy season continues, I will be posting many more articles and columns to help better your fantasy season. Soon, I will be posting a complete Q and A section for fantasy beginnners, along with an easy to use walkthrough system for drafting, regular season movements, and playoffs processes. I hope you’re all looking forward to the fantasy season as much as I am.
Happy Drafting!

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