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Fantasy Football 2006: Kickers

On this day full of trades in baseball, it has a feel that could rival fantasy football.  One team is in need of a player from a certain position, and another team has that guy.  The two teams will go back-and-forth with counteroffers, and just when you think your deal will go through, another team jumps in to prevent you from getting that player.  Although it would not be likely to happen with any of the players in this preview, the earlier ones are prime candidates.

The kicking position is somewhat like a tight end when it comes to points output, but they have it much easier when it comes to actually getting points.  A converted field goal could easily get you three points, even if it is only 20 yards out.  If you get a guy that has great range, then a 50+ yarder will get you even more than three points.  

When finding a kicker, you can't just look at how much talent he has.  You also have to look at one that is on a team that kicks a lot of field goals.  There could be a kicker that has the range and accuracy, but is on a team that almost always scores touchdowns.  That's a different factor when drafting a kicker.

BEST OF THE REST - Players who can make a big kick on your fantasy team.
**Adam Vinatieri (Colts) Vinatieri is best known for his clutch kicks in the playoffs during his time with the New England Patriots.  The Colts got a huge addition when Vinatieri was signed during the offseason.  With a missed field goal that ended the Colts season, they were on a mission to find someone that has not only more talent, but more character then Mike Vanderjagt.  If Vinatieri could be such a great kicker in the rough New England weather, then imagine how good he can be in the RCA Dome.

**Neil Rackers (Cardinals) In 2005, Neil Rackers was unbelievable for fantasy players.  He converted 6/7 kicks from 50+ yards, and was 13/14 from kicks 40+ yards out.  With a 95.2 conversion percent, he was by far the best in the league.  An addition of Edgerrin James to the offense may bring down the amount of field goals he kicks, but Rackers is still going to be one of the best from a fantasy football standpoint.

**Jay Feely (Giants) Don't think too much about the blowup Feely had in Seattle.  That was just a bad moment for the kicker.  Feely scored 148 points last season, which led all kickers.  With an offense that is not much different from 2005, expect another great season out of Feely.    

SLEEPERS - These players are kicking their way to the top.
**Nate Kaeding (Chargers) After missing a field goal that ended the Chargers season two years ago, Kaeding came back in 2005 and had a very good season.  Although he may not have the leg for the longer field goals, Kaeding can have the accuracy with those chip shots.  Also, the exit of Drew Brees will have to create more chances for Kaeding as the offense will not be as successful with Phillip Rivers.

**Lawrence Tynes (Chiefs) Tynes ranked near the top in points last season as he became a great kicker near the end of the year.  With a star running back like Larry Johnson who can convert those third downs, you may not see that many attempts, but when he gets his chance, he won't come up short.

**Ryan Longwell (Vikings) Longwell was a great franchise kicker in Green Bay.  Much like the change of scenery for Adam Vinatieri, Longwell will benefit greatly.  Instead of having to kick a 50-yarder in the cold rain and wind, he'll have a domed stadium and turf to kick off of.  That will increase his makes from long distances which is good news for any fantasy owner.

Don't go anywhere.  Coming up soon is the final fantasy football 2006 preview.  Pride of Detroit will take a look at the defenses/special teams that top off as best in the NFL.

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