People think it's so easy
To kick a field goal from the 30 yard line
They forget to add seven yards for the snap
And 10 more 'cause the goal posts are pushed way back
From “The Lonesome Kicker” by Adam Sandler
Most fantasy players ignore their kickers - and for good reason. They are usually a late-round pick, first to be cut and generally only get attention when they make a mistake.
On the whole, there’s nothing terribly wrong with that practice. Kickers are hard to predict because they have no control over their own involvement in a game meaning that even a “good” kicker can easily have a terrible fantasy week just because the coach decided to go for it on 4th and goal or attempt a two-point conversion.
That said, it’s coming down to the time of year where you want to capitalize on every advantage that’s available and kicker certainly falls into that category. What that means is your top waiver-wire addition following Week 10 should be New York Jets kicker Nick Folk.
Folk is only owned in 29 percent of Yahoo! leagues yet he currently ranks second in points amongst kickers. The only kicker who has more points than him, Stephen Gostkowski of the New England Patriots, is 92 percent owned. The Jets kicker currently leads the league in kicks made from 40-49 yards out (11) and is tied for first in kicks from 30-39 yards away (eight).
The Jets are not exactly an offensive powerhouse, but that actually works in Folk’s favor. Rex Ryan’s team is decent at moving the ball downfield but consistently gets bogged down in the red zone because they have almost no talent at wide receiver which lets opposing defenses focus on snuffing out and stuffing the run. They also play good defense, so Ryan is more inclined to settle for three points when other coaches feel like they have to score a touchdown to win.
As a result, Folk has been getting a lot of opportunities to kick...and he’s made the most of them. He has made at least three field goals in four out of his last five games and also has gone 12-12 on kicks from 30 or more yards during that time span. In fact, Folk has yet to miss a kick all year and has drilled all 23 field goals and 14 extra points that he has attempted.
Kickers are kind of like dentists. No one really wants to deal with them but they are a part of life, so once you find one that you can handle and doesn’t cause you too much pain, you stick with them; the devil you know is better than the one you don’t, as they say.
Still, were he at a position other than kicker, Folk would’ve been snagged long ago considering how much of an upgrade he is over other players at his spot. Make the switch.
Evan Bleier is a freelance writer based out of wherever he can plug in his laptop. You can send him questions, comments and Buffalo wing suggestions @itishowitis or "like" CraveOnline Sports on Facebook.
Photo Credit: Getty