by Ray Kuhn
Don’t underestimate the kicker position. I know I sound like a broken record, but I certainly wasn’t thinking that as I watched Matt Prater convert field goal after field goal Sunday night. Getting all those points from your kicker is always a great feeling. Trying to find the right kicker, really this is true for any position this season, is an inexact science. However, that doesn’t mean we aren’t going to try. Let’s take a look at how this week’s options rank:
- Jake Elliot -Philadelphia Eagles – vs. Denver
- Will Lutz – New Orleans Saints – vs. Tampa Bay
- Greg Zuerlein – Los Angeles Rams – at New York Giants
- Harrison Butker – Kansas City Chiefs – at Dallas
- Matt Prater – Detroit Lions – at Green Bay
- Ryan Succop – Tennessee Titans – vs. Baltimore
- Ka’imi Fairburn – Houston Texans – vs. Indianapolis
- Stephen Hauschka – Buffalo Bills – at New York Jets
- Robbie Gould – San Francisco 49ers – vs. Arizona
- Matt Bryant – Atlanta Falcons – at Carolina
- Justin Tucker – Baltimore Ravens – at Tennessee
- Mason Crosby – Green Bay Packers – vs. Detroit
- Josh Lambo – Jacksonville Jaguars – vs. Cinncinnati
- Blair Walsh – Seattle Seahawks – vs. Washington
- Phil Dawson – Arizona Cardinals – at San Francisco
- Everyone talks about Stephen Gostkowski, Greg Zuerlein and Justin Tucker, but for some reason Will Lutz gets ignored. Maybe it is me, but as far as kickers go Lutz is someone who seems to be slightly undervalued. My basis for that statement is that he is only owned in 69.1% of ESPN leagues. For a kicker who has been relatively consistent and is part of one of the top offenses in the league, that is a little too low. He has missed three of his 18 attempts this season, but all three were from more than 40 yards. It’s not like Lutz is lacking leg strength, as he has made eight of 10 attempts from between 40 and 49 yards, although he has attempted just two kicks from beyond 50 yards (making one). It also works in Lutz’s favor that the Saints are home this week so weather is not a concern, and for the rest of the season that should be the case most weeks thanks to the NFC South. He has also been consistent as he has just one week without at least two field goals and only week with less than two extra points (on which he is 20 of 21).
- We mentioned Prater earlier, and while he is on the road this week (in Green Bay) he is worth another look. On average the Packers place opposing kickers in the Top 12, and that is really all you can ask for. Regardless of anything else you can say, what you have to love about the Detroit kicker is his leg strength. There is only one other kicker in the NFL who has attempted seven field goals from beyond 50 yards, and Prater has converted on five of those kicks. What is even better is that those are the only two field goals Prater has missed all season. Additionally he has been perfect on all of his 15 extra point attempts.
- Speaking of Tucker, instead of being one of our top options each week he has been a borderline K1. Part of that is on Tucker, as he has missed one kick from between 40-49 yards and two from beyond 50 yards. That is normally where he really earns his value, but Tucker has converted on three kicks from that distance. He has made all of his 15 extra point attempts, but he has fallen victim to Baltimore’s struggles on offense. All indications are that Joe Flacco will be under center this week, but the way the Ravens have been going that might not be a good thing. It does work in Tucker’s favor that the Titans have given up the third most points to opposing kickers.
Make sure to check out all of our Week 9 rankings: