Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Kickers are people, too!

You shouldn't be using anything higher than a 16th or 17th round (penultimate or last round) pick on any kicker. But when you do pull the trigger, you want to get it right.

There's been some movement at the position over the last 48 hours or so that you should be aware of, especially if you're drafting this week.

1. The Jets have settled on incumbent Nick Folk following his preseason battle with Nick Novak. Folk was the #3 kicker in Fantasyland last season, thanks to New York's good, not great, offense. He is an excellent draft pick, now that any doubts have been removed about his status.

2. The Cowboys now have more kickers in camp than they do QBs, with the recent addition of Dave Rayner (formerly of the Lions, Bengals, Chiefs, Packers and Colts -- all in the past six years!). He'll compete with ex-Bengal and Patriot Shayne Graham, rookie free agent Dan Bailey and incumbent David Buehler. While Graham would appear to have the edge based on his experience, his kickoffs in last weekend's preseason game were not terribly impressive. The fact that the team is looking at Rayner suggests this competition is certainly not settled. Whomever emerges will be a viable fantasy candidate.

3. Garrett Hartley "tweaked" his hip the other day, and now we're hearing that John Kasay is heading to New Orleans. Kasay could be no more than a preseason fill-in while allowing Hartley to rest, or he could stay on for a while longer if Hartley's injury proves to be more serious. Keep this in mind if you're targeting the Saints kicker in your draft.

4. Lawrence Tynes is dealing with a thigh bruise, and he could potentially miss Week 1. Rhys Lloyd is covering for Tynes during the preseason, and would presumably handle the kicking duties until the starter returns. Avoid Tynes for now.

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