Kickerland HQ is the place to be right now. We have pizza parties, some cool segways, and bros lounging in bean bag chairs. It’s great to be a Kickerland employee with another good week in the books. The kicker position is never an easy one to predict, as it often is so reliant on situation, not only week-to-week but often play-to-play. A bad penalty here or there or a missed tackle can turn a chance for four points into a chance for one. But so far, through four weeks, I feel pretty good about my performance here, all things considered. Especially considering the fact that I am reduced to taking guys owned in less than 50% of leagues (though I shouldn’t complain too much, as the rule, after all, is self imposed).
Here’s a quick recap of last week’s picks:
Steven Hauschka – 13 points (T-4th)
Jay Feely – 8 points (T-14th)
Where I Went Wrong
Last week, I vastly overestimated Arizona’s ability to move the ball, even against a defense that has not been all that great. I also took Arizona in eliminator, so I was sweating it out. A late FG try for Feely allowed him to sneak into the top-14, just one point shy of being tied for 11th this week. It’s a little unfair to look at it that way, but it just goes to show that, in this kicker streaming game, one or two plays can make a ton of difference. Tampa’s defense held up fairly well in the loss and, though many times that means opportunity for kickers, it only resulted in Feely having two attempts (both good). I’m not sure if it’s a product of the improved performance of Tampa Bay’s defense or Arizona’s run game being the worst ever, but I will keep an eye on this moving forward.
Where I Went Right
I got a little lucky, but I figured Steven Hauschka would get some chances, and chances were what he got. Haushcka’s three attempts (including one in OT) against Houston were the most he’s had all year and he converted all three for a huge day. Houston’s defense is pretty decent, but as a whole, I felt they were a bit overrated. With a decent offense and a nice running attack, I figured the Seahawks would be able to move the ball, but also had a good chance of being stymied in positive territory.
Without further speeches about my failures, here’s my kicker picks for Week 5.
Greg Zuerlein – STL v. JAX – Owned in 30.8% of ESPN Leagues
The last time I picked Zuerlein was in week 2 and he turned in a putrid six point performance. He has not been much better in the following weeks, scoring only 1 and 4 points respectively. Do you know what’s also terrible? The Jacksonville Jaguars. They are somehow double digit underdogs to the FREAKING RAMS. The Jags are terrible, but with how Sam Bradford looked last week, I am not confident in this offense’s ability to score touchdowns on a consistent basis. I am, however, intrigued by the possibility that the Rams should be able to sustain some drives against Jacksonville. The Leg is still very good in long yardage situations and playing indoors should extend his range. I think this is kind of the “sweet spot” game for a guy like Zuerlein. He should be able to have his offense put him in positions to kick. I missed the first time I picked Zuerlein and I hope I don’t miss again.
Caleb Sturgis – MIA v. BAL – Owned in 15.5% of ESPN Leagues
Quietly, Caleb Sturgis has emerged as a solid week-to-week kicking option. Sturgis has never had less than 5 points (last week against New Orleans) and in the first three weeks, he scored above 10 points twice. Miami is not a bad offense and they have put Sturgis consistently in the position to make kicks. He has seven attempts in the first four weeks, converting all seven, including five attempts from 40+ yards. That’s a lot of points in fantasy kicking land. On the other side of the ball, I think Baltimore has the reputation of a stout defense, but I think it’s a little bit overrated. They had nice games against Houston and Cleveland, but they also gave up big points to the Bills and huge points to the Broncos (which I can’t really fault them for). That being said, Baltimore has given up double digit fantasy points to kickers each of the last two weeks, and with the way Caleb Sturgis is playing, I like his chances to convert any opportunities he receives.