I declared a while back that it was high time to make kickers great again, amid all the unthinkable missed extra points by these pampered pigskin booters.
I've been alerted by the purveyors of so-called facts that the kickers of yesteryear -- the guys you remember so fondly from your childhood -- were actually quite bad. Some of them, according to these fact-heads, were terrible.
Pete Stoyanovich was my kicking hero during my days as a diehard Miami Dolphins fan, living and dying with every game, loving the hot starts Dan Marino and company had every season and emotionally collapsing with every late-season swoon. I remembered Stoyanovich as veritable money in the bank, banging through long field goals and drilling game winners after Marino willed the offense down the field with two minutes to go.
Turns out Stoyanovich had a career 79.4 percent accuracy rate. Fifty kickers have been more accurate, including Joe Nedney, who I remember as a loose cannon of a kicker. Greg Zuerlein is just barely less accurate than Stoyanovich was, and Zuerlein is an almost comically bad kicker by modern standards.
Then there's Mark Moseley. My dad, who worked as a new car salesman in the early-1980s, once took a picture of 18-month-old me in Moseley's arms after the Washington kicker bought a car from Sport Chevrolet in Silver Spring, Maryland. Moseley was a hero in those parts. We named our first cat after him. My uncle bought Moseley jerseys for me and my cousins. There was a signed Mark Moseley football in a glass case stored in our basement.
Turns out Moseley sucked.
His career 65.6 percent field goal accuracy ranks 102nd in NFL history. A player who failed to crack the 80 percent mark, much less 70 percent, would be cut and banished forever in today's NFL. Moseley's field goal percentage was an abomination even by Reagan era standards. It seems Moseley became a legend in the greater Washington area by nailing 95 percent of his kicks in 1982 -- a never-before-seen accuracy that gained Moseley cult status among Washington fans, who have since gone extinct.
The fact-heads would tell you that kickers don't need to be made great again because they are great, and they used to be awful at their jobs. But let your dad rant and rave next time a kicker shanks an extra point. It's good for him.
Matt Prater (DET) vs. Chicago Bears ($4,900): Here's a little-known fact about Detroit's kicker: his parents are both goats, making Prater an actual GOAT. Wow your friends with that little tidbit at the next party and thank me later. Prater, highlighted last week in this space, went off for a cool 18 fantasy points against New Orleans in Week 13. He's now scored more than a dozen fantasy points in three of his past four games. Kickers average 2.2 field goal tries per game against Chicago, who allow the sixth most fantasy points against kickers. Only four kickers have failed to eclipse eight fantasy points against the ghost of the Bears in 2016. Prater is fourth in field goal attempts through 13 weeks. I expect him to get another chunk of opportunity against the Bears, with the Lions sporting the week's fourth highest Vegas point total.
Dan Bailey (DAL) at New York Giants ($4,700): Bailey, once the apple of Kicker Twitter's eye, has been downright replaceable of late. The Cowboys' offense being a ruthless killing machine inside the red zone might have something to do with that. But here we are, getting Bailey at a decent FanDuel discount against the team giving up the most field goals per game to enemy kickers. Dallas has a 25.25 Vegas point total, which is absurdly high for a road team. Seven kickers have managed double-digit fantasy points against Big Blue, including Bailey, who dropped a 17-point nuke on the Giants in Week 1.
Josh Lambo (SD) at Carolina Panthers ($4,600): Lambo, our early season kicking hero, has the 12th most field goal tries in 2016 and gets his shot at a Panthers' defense allowing 2.5 field goal attempts per game. Only Jacksonville and the Giants allow more. Lambo has been ice cold of late, but that's strictly because of opportunity: the Bolts' kicker hasn't had more than one field goal try since Week 10. Kickers are notching 11.3 fantasy points against Carolina over the past month, as opposing offenses have moved the ball against the Panthers with ease. Lambo's recent struggles put him just above rock-bottom pricing on FanDuel. This is the week to take full advantage.
Roberto Aguayo (TB) at New Orleans Saints ($4,500): Recommending the mercurial Tampa kicker in Week 13 didn't kill me, so I suppose it made me stronger, even if it trimmed 11 months off my life. Aguayo notched eight fantasy points for the third time in four games despite missing a field goal against San Diego. The Bucs come into Week 14 with a fat Vegas total (26.5 points) facing off against one of the NFL's most odious defenses. New Orleans not only gives up 2.4 field goal tries per contest, but is also one of only seven teams being gouged for more than 370 total yards per week. Every kicker but one has scored at least nine fantasy points against the woeful Saints since Week 7. Aguayo is once again your minimum-priced special.
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