2012 Fantasy Football Sleepers: Place kicker

by Cory J. Bonini on August 27, 2012 @ 14:40:36 PDT

 


Each year fantasy football owners gain a leg up on their competition by finding sleepers in their drafts. KFFL.com has identified these candidates for the 2012 season and analyzed why you want them on your team.

Other players fall into the undervalued category: Their fantasy stock isn't as high as it should be, and you often can land them on the cheap to help bolster your lineup. Generally, undervalued players are veterans that are coming off a down year or returning from injury and have slipped below the radar of most fantasy owners. KFFL will help you take advantage of their oversights on your quest to building a championship roster!

Note: All Average Draft Position (ADP) figures are based on standard-scoring, 12-team leagues. The caveat with place kickers is that regardless of the ADP statistic, no kicker should be drafted before the final round of your draft.

Sleepers

Matt Prater | Denver Broncos | ADP: 18th round

2012 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

XPA XP% FGA FG% FG 1-19 FG 20-29 FG 30-39 FG 40-49 FG 50+ Tot FGs
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi
5962100252886017981057352225

Denver's offense should be quite competent if Peyton Manning (neck) is able to come close to playing like his former self on the field. They have a potentially strong running game, a capable offensive line and enough targets for Manning to make the passing game competitive.

Prater's accuracy slipped last year to 76.0 percent (19-for-25) after an 87.0 percent conversion rate the prior two seasons. He struggled (42.9 percent) from 40 to 49 yards in 2011, which is down from an 80.0 percent rate each of the two seasons before.

It is no secret that Denver's thin air assists kickers' ability to get a few more yards out of their legs; Prater has successfully knocked through two kicks of 59 yards since 2009.

Draft Prater as a midrange No. 1 kicker in the final round of your draft.

Shayne Graham | Houston Texans | ADP: 16th round

2012 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

XPA XP% FGA FG% FG 1-19 FG 20-29 FG 30-39 FG 40-49 FG 50+ Tot FGs
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi

Houston's veteran kicker enters a quality situation after the loss of rookie Randy Bullock (leg) for the season. The powerful Texans offense afforded Neil Rackers 68 three-point tries and at least 40 extra point attempts over the past two seasons. A healthy Matt Schaub (foot) should make the offense run more efficiently and give Graham consistent opportunities.

Matt Prater, PK, Denver Broncos
Manning improves everyone

Graham should be drafted as a No. 1 shortly after the surefire choices at the position come off the board. He likely isn't in the the long haul with Houston and may be kicking for a job elsewhere in 2013, which gives him added incentive to excel.

Connor Barth | Tampa Bay Buccaneers | ADP: 18th round

2012 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

XPA XP% FGA FG% FG 1-19 FG 20-29 FG 30-39 FG 40-49 FG 50+ Tot FGs
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi

Barth's accuracy has improved each of the last two years, topping out at an impressive 92.9 percent in 2011. He made 26 of the 28 field goal attempts he faced, including a career-long 55-yarder. The Bucs scored 16 fewer touchdowns in '11 from the year before, which severely hampered Barth's fantasy football value.

He will see more extra point tries and, perhaps, a few additional three-point kicks in the upcoming season with Tampa's retooled offense. New faces Vincent Jackson, Dallas Clark, Doug Martin and Carl Nicks all should immediately upgrade the O, while head coach Greg Schiano's no-nonsense style will keep everyone in line.

Barth has the confidence of the organization, as they deemed him their franchise player before he signed a four-year extension this offseason. You can show the same faith in him by drafting Barth as your fantasy kicker for the 2012 season.

Undervalued

Nate Kaeding | San Diego Chargers | ADP: 17th round

2012 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

XPA XP% FGA FG% FG 1-19 FG 20-29 FG 30-39 FG 40-49 FG 50+ Tot FGs
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi

A Week 1 torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee cost Kaeding the 2011 season and paved the way for Nick Novak to have a quality campaign. The Chargers have both players on roster, but Kaeding is fully expected to beat out Novak this offseason.

Assuming that he does, Kaeding is a top-10, if not a top-five, fantasy kicker. Keep an eye on the situation, and hope that your leaguemates have forgotten Kaeding's name on draft day. As long as he is healthy, confidently draft him as your fantasy footer.

Nick Folk | New York Jets | ADP: N/A

2012 Projected NFL/Fantasy Football Statistics

XPA XP% FGA FG% FG 1-19 FG 20-29 FG 30-39 FG 40-49 FG 50+ Tot FGs
Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi Lo Hi
2629100283177017981035352225

Folk staved off veteran Josh Brown to retain the starting place kicker chores in New York. The offense's anemic start could benefit Folk, who will be granted significant work if the O continues to falter.

New York's cast of receivers is below average, and their running game remains largely unproven. However, the defense may be good enough to give this suspect offense a short field with regularity. Consider Folk in deep leagues.

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Fantasy football sleepers: QB | RB | WR | TE | PK | DT

 

About Cory J. Bonini

Cory is KFFL's General Manager. In late 2002, he joined the KFFL staff as a research analyst and has been involved in fantasy sports since 1996. A member of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, as well as Fantasy Sports Writers Association, Bonini has been featured in print, on radio and on scores of websites. Bonini co-hosted Big Lead Sports on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio from 2011 to 2012.

Bonini was recognized with the 2010 Best Article in Print Award from the FSWA and was a finalist for the same award in 2011. In '11, he finished first overall in the FSWA NFL experts challenge that featured 60 of the industry's best competitors.

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