Words and Rankings by Harley Schultz
1. Dan Carpenter @ JAX (London)
Week 6 marked the first time all season that Jacksonville has allowed fewer than two successful field goals. It is also the first time they have allowed fewer than three field goal attempts. In fact, prior to holding Nick Novak to seven points, the Jaguars were allowing 10.6 points per game to the position. Dan Carpenter has kicked multiple field goals only twice this year, but with E.J. Manuel under center the odds are good that they’ll stall out a few times. Tyrod Taylor wants to play this week, but he is questionable at best. If he cannot go then we will see more E.J. Manuel. Last year (mostly with Manuel under center) Buffalo led the league in field goal attempts per game.
2. Justin Tucker @ ARI
Justin Tucker has multiple field goals in four of six games and he likely would’ve had three last week (for the third time this year) if not for the dreaded turf-monster. Meanwhile, Arizona just got done allowing four field goals to the field-goal-averse Pittsburgh Steelers. This was the third time in six games where they had allowed at least three successful field goals. Arizona has a great defense and Baltimore has a good-not-great offense. The combination of these two forces should equate to a few stall outs for Joe Flacco and company.
3. Steven Hauschka @ SF
Steven Hauschka broke the double-digit kicking points mark for the third time last week. This is the type of performance you’d like to see from him every week. Of course, in those other three games he is still averaging an acceptable six points per game, so it isn’t like he is completely wetting the bed. Over the last two years, Hauschka has faced San Francisco four times. In those games, he is averaging eight points per game. San Francisco has allowed multiple field goals in each of their last two contests, posting an average of ten points allowed to the position.
4. Stephen Gostkowski vs. NYJ
For the first six weeks, New England has pretty much done whatever they please. This week will be their toughest test to date. The Jets cannot be beaten through the air where they are top four in passing touchdowns allowed. The Jets also cannot be beaten on the ground where they are third overall with just one rushing touchdown allowed. Considering that no other position can score touchdowns against New York, you might think kickers would be all the rage against them. Sorry to disappoint you, but kickers have been hapless against them as well scoring a total of 21 points over five contests. You can’t bench Stephen Gostkowski because he remains a premiere kicker on the leagues’ best offense, but perhaps curb your heels on a huge week here. He is not going to score the 14 points he has averaged the last five weeks, every week.
5. Chandler Catanzaro vs. BAL
Baltimore has allowed three or more field goal attempts in five of six games, and four field goal attempts in four of those games. Throw in a bakers’ dozen worth of extra points and this calculates out to over 10.6 kicker points allowed per week. Chandler Catanzaro has only nine field goals on the year but his numbers have been buoyed by 24 extra points for an average of 8.5 points per game. This is a pretty impressive scoring average for a guy who has four games with one or zero field goal attempts.
6. Josh Lambo vs. OAK
A true testament to the extra-point terrorism this season, Oakland has allowed a perfect 14-14 on field goals (including multiples every week) but their opponents have missed two of their extra points attempts. Josh Lambo has missed only one extra point all year (that was way back in Week 1). He also has multiple field goals in every game but one en route to a 7.7 point per game average.
7. Adam Vinatieri vs. NO
The season started slowly for Adam Vinatieri as he scraped out only six points the first three weeks with Andrew Luck at the helm. With Matt Hasselbeck at quarterback in Weeks 4 and 5, Vinatieri was much more fantasy-worthy scoring 19 total points. Unfortunately, the return of Luck in Week 6 brought back bad-performance Adam Vinatieri who netted a lowly three points again. New Orleans held Matt Bryant in check last week, but before that they had allowed an average of 10.5 points per game to the position over the prior four weeks.
8. Josh Brown vs. DAL
Josh Brown is quietly amongst the league leaders in scoring amongst kickers. He has three or more field goals on three different occasions and only twice has he scored fewer than eight points. This includes a four field goal fest versus Dallas Week 1. New York is still short-handed in their wide receiver corps, so expect more stall outs for Eli Manning. They already rank fifth from the bottom with a 40% red zone touchdown scoring percentage. If they cannot get everyone healthy that number will continue to dip and that should mean more and more attempts for Brown.
9. Travis Coons @ STL
Since Josh McCown returned as the starter for the Browns back in Week 3, Travis Coons is averaging nearly ten points per game. For their part, St. Louis has allowed multiple field goals in three of five contests including a five field goal orgy by Chandler Catanzaro in Week 4. The fact also remains that St. Louis has a pretty stout defense, especially in the red zone where only the Jets are allowing a lower rate of touchdown conversion.
10. Dan Bailey @ NYG
Matt Cassel will take over for Brandon Weeden in what can best be defined as rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Neither quarterback has what it takes to lead this offense to the Promised Land. Ultimately the Cowboys chances this season rest on how soon Tony Romo can return to the active roster. In the meantime, Dan Bailey will continue to get a lot of reps as the Cowboys are failing to score touchdowns on half of their red zone visits. The Giants have allowed multiple field goal attempts in five of six to start the year, including a nine point outing by Bailey Week 1.
11. Sebastian Janikowski @ SD
Oakland has ten field goal attempts over their last four games. If Sebastian Janikowski didn’t miss a pair in Week 5, he would be averaging over eight points per week. As it is, he still is averaging a very respectable seven points per week. San Diego is allowing the seventh-most total points per game. With all these points they are allowing, you’d think they would give up a bunch to kickers as well. They are. Through six games they are allowing 7.5 points per game to the position.
12. Phil Dawson vs. SEA
I never like to count on big production from members of the San Francisco 49ers. If I’m going to, Phil Dawson is probably their safest option. As long as they are not being blown out, the 49ers certainly have an offense capable of providing Dawson some field goal attempts. Of course, they have been blown out in half of their contests so far, leading to them abandoning the kicking game. Seattle doesn’t have the offense to blow them out. This game will be lower scoring as only one team (Seattle) is allowing fewer points at home this year than San Francisco. Their home-road split is ridiculous. The Niners are allowing 27 points per game more in their three road contests than in their three home games. “Keep it close,” is all that Dawson is asking. In those three home games, Dawson is averaging eight points per game.
13. Caleb Sturgis @ CAR
It didn’t take long for Caleb Sturgis to resurface following his getting cut by the Dolphins. His first week with Philadelphia was not a hit as he netted only two points in addition to missing an extra point and a field goal. Fortunately for him, he recovered in Weeks 5 and 6 to the tune of six field goals and 24 points. Those numbers are in alignment with the fantasy-team-carrying numbers that Cody Parkey was producing for the Eagles in 2014. Meanwhile, Carolina has allowed multiple field goal attempts in three of five contests, including back-to-back games with three attempts allowed.
14. Matt Prater vs. MIN
In two road games this season, Minnesota has allowed six field goal attempts and five successful field goals. Going into Week 6, Detroit had struggled to get opportunities for Matt Prater. Enter Chicago and their ever-friendly defense and Prater (along with the rest of the Lions’ offense) returns to his former reliable self. Prater had three attempts in each of Detroit’s matchups with Minnesota in 2014, but he was held to only one field goal attempt and four points in their matchup back in Week 2. That said if Stafford can replicate his success of Week 6, then Prater has the chance to ride his coattails to fantasy relevance once again here.
15. Greg Zuerlein vs. CLE
Greg Zuerlein gets to face a Browns’ defense that has given up 12 field goal attempts over the last four weeks. Zuerlein continues to get opportunities because St. Louis is stalling out on a league seventh-worst 57% of their red zone visits. Unfortunately, Zuerlein was only one of four in Week 5 versus Green Bay. This doesn’t help me feel warm and fuzzy about Greg the Leg, especially since it pushes his career success rate down to just a smidge under 81%. Despite the accuracy issues, the sheer volume of attempts should equate to a plethora of points.
Chris Boswell @ KC
Earlier this season, it got so bad for Pittsburgh that they actually started foregoing field goal and extra point attempts because they just didn’t trust their kickers. Enter Chris Boswell, a second-year pro out of Rice who had 13 successful kicks of 50-yards plus during his college tenure to go along with a runner-up finish in the 2014 Quicken Loans All-Star Challenge. Boswell had just one field goal in his first game with the Steelers, but last week he blew up with four field goals, including three from 47 yards and beyond. Ben Roethlisberger wants to return for Week 7, but that is no guarantee. If he doesn’t go, look for Pittsburgh to give Landry Jones the start. Jones looked good in Week 6 but will he be able to handle the KC pass rush? If not Boswell could be facing some long opportunities against a Kansas City team that is giving up 7.3 points per game to opposing kickers.