It was being reported Friday that Sebastian Janikowski, fantasy football’s second-best kicker, may have to sit Sunday and several weeks thereafter due to a left hamstring injury.
It is not that often that fantasy kickers get any glory as we always tell you to wait until the last or second-to-last pick of your drafts to select the position. But Sebastian Janikowski brings what no other kicker in the league does on a consistent basis - the long ball. If your league awards bonus points for distance kicks, then Janikowski is the man to have. Through six weeks, he already has five 50-plus field goals and 12 field goals altogether.
The Raiders play host to Kansas City this week and then go on their bye. So if you are a fantasy player that doesn’t hold two kickers on your roster you were probably set to dump him next week anyways. But if you like the consistency he has brought you with the long ball over the years and 2.6 PATs per game he is averaging this season, you might have considered holding on to him through the bye week.
Janikowski was added to the injury report on Thursday, and the Raiders were trying out kickers on Friday.
It doesn’t help as a fantasy player that some of the better kickers are on bye weeks themselves. David Akers (3rd), Mike Nugent (9th), Stephen Gostkowski (9th), Rian Lindell (11th), Alex Henery (14th) and Lawrence Tynes are all idle this week.
Some of the top-20 options available are Tampa Bay’s Connor Barth, Minnesota’s Ryan Longwell, Miami’s Dan Carpenter, San Diego’s Nick Novak, Indianapolis’ Adam Vinatieri and Jacksonville’s Josh Scobee.
All of the aforementioned have scored at least 44 fantasy points this season (in Athlon’s format), and here is a breakdown of their Week 7 match ups.
Connor Barth (52 fantasy points) vs. Chicago (in London)
The Bears are 17th in the league at eight points allowed per game to kickers. It could be a soggy field, could bog down the offenses. This could be a field goal kicker kind of day.
Ryan Longwell (47 points) vs. Green Bay
The Packers are 4th in the league at six points per game to kickers. I don’t see much work for Longwell as rookie Christian Ponder gets the start against the Super Bowl champs.
Dan Carpenter (46 points) vs. Denver
Carpenter has the most potential as the Dolphins face a Denver team that has allowed a league-leading 10 points a game to kickers.
Nick Novak (46 points) at New York Jets
The Jets are middle of the road at 16th, allowing 7.8 points per game to kickers. I see this as a pretty good match up for Novak and the Chargers. They should be able to move the ball, but if they can’t punch it across the goal line in steps Novak.
Adam Vinatieri (44 points) at New Orleans
The Saints are 23rd in the league at 8.2 points per game to kickers. It’s indoors, so that’s always good. I doubt the Colts can go toe to toe with the Saints offensively, but they might move it enough to make Vinatieri relevant.
Josh Scobee (44 points) vs. Baltimore
The Ravens are No. 1 in the NFL against kickers, surrendering just 4.6 points per game. Say no to Sco.
If I’m on the waiver wire to replace Janikowski this week (and I am in three leagues), then I go Carpenter first then Novak, Barth and Vinatieri.
By Corby Yarbrough, @Corby_Yarbrough