Thursday, June 2, 2011

Fantasy Football Insider: Who could the Top Kickers be in 2011?

Kickers really don’t matter right? In fantasy football that’s not entirely the case. Just like in the actual game on the field game, kickers can mean the difference between winning and losing. And sometimes teams that can’t generate much offense may only have their kicker to score points for them and that means a lot of points for that one single player.

You can’t be without a kicker on your roster and it’s not only important that you have one but that you should try to have a good one. No one kicker is the same and some are better at some things while others are better at other things.

So what should you look for in a good fantasy kicker? First, you need to find someone who is consistent. There are 32 starting kickers in the NFL and each one has different consistency when compared to the others. Some are virtually automatic while others struggle to kick field goals in any situation.

You must also be wary of the health of the kickers that are available in your fantasy draft. Kickers get hurt just as often as some of the regular players out there (running backs, quarterbacks etc.) and you have to investigate their injury history to make sure that they won’t leave you in a bind during the season.

Finally, when you are looking at kickers you have to look at the kind of offense that kicker’s team has. If they have an offense similar to that of the Indianapolis Colts, the kicker may not have a lot of opportunities to kick field goals and thus bring you a lot of points. But, if the kicker is part of a team with an offense like the Kansas City Chiefs there may be plenty of opportunities to kick field goals.

So which of the 32 NFL kickers may end up being the top five kickers heading into the 2011 season? Let’s find out as we take a look at five of the best kickers in the NFL and see if they might be someone that you will want on your fantasy team.

1. Nate Kaeding-San Diego Chargers-You can count on the Chargers to put up a lot of points during any NFL season and Kaeding has been there to help them add to their point’s totals for a while now. There are times when Kaeding’s accuracy has been questioned (most of that came in his earlier years) but being a part of a high scoring offense has helped cement him as one of the top fantasy kickers in all of fantasy football.

2. Mason Crosby-Green Bay Packers- The Packers have a high scoring offense so their kicker stays pretty busy game in and game out. Crosby has been as accurate as they come and he gets a lot of opportunities to score points. Keep an eye on him as you work through the later rounds of your fantasy draft.

3. Garrett Hartley-New Orleans Saints-The Saints are another one of those teams that tend to score a lot of points and their kicker has helped keep them scoring on a regular basis. Hartley has struggled with his field goals at times last season but gets many more opportunities to kick than some other kickers in the league making him a valuable commodity in any fantasy format.

4. Stephen Gostkowski-New England Patriots-We all know just how well the Patriots score points and with that, Gostkowski has come on to be one of the best fantasy kickers in the NFL. He’s been one of the top kickers selected in fantasy football drafts (according to last year’s statistics) and will surely be one of the top ones selected again this season.

5. Rob Bironas-Tennessee Titans-Fantasy owners who have had the opportunity of owning Bironas in their leagues have found out that he is one of the most productive kickers in the history of fantasy football. Bironas should get several opportunities to kick field goals next season with a change coming at the quarterback position so the Titans are going to want to score whenever they can. This could mean that Bironas is going to get used a lot making him one of the most valuable fantasy kickers of the 2011 season.

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