Cleat Geeks

Who to Draft Instead of a Kicker

As the NFL season quickly approaches, it is finally draft season for fantasy football! Many people smartly wait until the end of the preseason, but if you enjoy a little extra risk in your life, you may have already drafted a league (like myself). Hopefully you do your homework before you show up to your draft. You definitely should have some sort of a strategy going in. If you do not have one, you’re in luck! I am about to share one of my favorite strategies that I use every time it is possible (ESPN.com doesn’t allow it). Ready for it?

Do NOT draft a kicker.

I know there is a portion of you happy because you feel like kickers should not even be included in fantasy football! Another group is angry because you feel like you need to win every position, because having a difference-maker will lead you to a championship! The rest of you just want me to hurry up and get to the juicy details, so here we go.

I looked at the top-10 kickers chosen in 2015 according to their ADP (Average Draft Position). Out of those ten, only ONE finished in the top-10 in fantasy points per game! That one of course was Patriot Stephen Gostkowski. He was generally selected in the 12th round last season, because he is a “difference maker” at his position. Well, he scored the same points per game as Steeler’s kicker Chris Boswell, who of course was undrafted. The difference between the 1st and 12th ranked scoring kickers was only 1.5 points, so not much.

My point: do not waste a valuable draft pick on a player with the same value as someone who goes undrafted.

Now I know you all are clamoring for who you should be selecting with these picks. It is pretty simple; you should draft a player whose value would skyrocket if there was an injury. Many of these types of players are drafted earlier in the draft to “handcuff” the star players (if you’re confused by this strategy, just ask). If someone happens to get injured before week one, you could end up with a starter from your last pick! If nothing happens, you can just drop them before kickoff to pick up your kicker. No risk, high reward.

Last year's example--Thomas Rawls

Last year’s example–Thomas Rawls

Instead of discussing all of these handcuffs that are obvious and will already be taken, I will give you ten guys who currently have an ADP of later than 140 since they should be there on your last pick in a standard 10-team league.

I will list the player, then in parenthesis name the player who would need to get injured for the handcuff to have value. Here are my ten in no specific order:

  1. Jerick McKinnon (Adrian Peterson)
  2. Cameron Artis-Payne (Jonathan Stewart)
  3. DeAndre Washington (Latavius Murray)
  4. Jordan Howard (Jeremy Langford)
  5. Wendell Smallwood (Ryan Mathews)
  6. Tim Hightower (Mark Ingram)
  7. Mohamed Sanu (Julio Jones)
  8. Robert Woods (Sammy Watkins)
  9. Martellus Bennett (Rob Gronkowski)
  10. Tyler Kroft (Tyler Eifert)

I’ll give one example just to explain my strategy more clearly. Instead of selecting a kicker in the 15th round, let’s pretend you picked Jerick McKinnon of the Vikings. Through some unfortunate circumstance, Adrian Peterson happened to break his foot. You now have the starting running back for the Vikings from your pick in the 15th round, and he could easily have more value than Matt Forte, who was selected in the 4th round. Simple right?

If you want to discuss this strategy further, have questions/suggestions, or want me to rate your draft, talk to me @FantasyFlurry on Twitter. Hopefully this season I can help you win your championship! #ConquerTheCrown

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