I'm a longtime member of Team Opportunity in fantasy football. I attend the meetings, I bring the donuts, I print the “Give me volume or give me death" t-shirts, and I badger family and friends about whether they've been saved by promise of opportunity.
They almost never call the police.
It's a philosophical question I could talk about until you're begging me to delete my Twitter account -- if you're not already -- but I believe the most egregious oversight in fantasy football in prioritizing talent over opportunity. Pinpointing a low-cost running back who seems to be very good at football things and could get a chance to see a starter's workload can work out fine and dandy. But relying on talent to naturally rise to the top is somewhere between misguided and delusional, in my not-so-humble opinion.
The same goes for kickers. Many of the (sparse) kicker taeks on Twitter are centered around how good a kicker has been -- how accurate he is. My retort: who cares? If a kicker with laser accuracy is only getting one field goal try per game, it doesn't matter that he's good. We should be singularly focused on opportunity, as I've stated time and again and again and again and, well, again.
Below are fantasy football's top-10 kickers through 14 weeks. We prayed over this data at last night's Team Opportunity meeting, right before the blood sacrifice. Don't judge me, you filthy heathen.
2016 rank (through Week 14)
Field goal attempts
Seven of fantasy's 10 best kickers this season are in the top-10 in field goal attempts. Probably that doesn't come as a stunner, but consider this: some of these kickers are in the bottom half of the league in field goal accuracy, including Dustin Hopkins, who is among the least accurate kickers in the NFL.
Janikowski has been downright below average in 2016 (80.5 percent accuracy), but sits at seventh in fantasy points. Ryan Succop, meanwhile, is the fourth most accurate field goal kicker of 2016. He's 19th in fantasy points.
Let's get into Week 15 FanDuel kicker options. There are more than a couple good ones.
Matt Bryant (ATL) vs. San Francisco 49ers ($5,100): Bryant managed six fantasy points last week without attempting a field goal. That's what we in the business call “something." He goes from the worst possible kicker matchup -- the Rams -- to one of the best: the ghost of the 49ers. Kickers are notching two field goal tries per game against San Francisco. Only six teams have allowed more kicker fantasy production in 2016. Eight kickers have scored double digit fantasy points against the Niners. Bryant has been particularly lethal in home tilts this season, averaging 11.5 fantasy points per game inside the dome. With the Falcons' stupid high Vegas total, Bryant is one of the most appealing high-priced kickers you'll see this season.
Nick Novak (HOU) at Jacksonville Jaguars ($4,700): Only one kicker -- just one -- has failed to post eight fantasy points against the Jaguars in 2016. His name is Dan Carpenter and he was mentioned in this space last month. Alas. Novak, fresh off a performance in which he outscored Mike Evans and Antonio Brown combined, goes against a Jacksonville team allowing 2.6 field goal attempts per game. Only Dustin Hopkins has more field goal tries than Novak this season. It all adds up to a potentially hefty fantasy floor for Novak in Week 14. Novak had three field goal tries in Week 12 against Jacksonville. It doesn't matter that he only made one. We're unashamedly chasing opportunity here. I expect Novak to have considerable cash game ownership in Week 15.
Matt Prater (DET) at New York Giants ($4,800): Prater, the son of two GOATs, delivered once again in Week 14 with 10 fantasy points in a plush matchup against Chicago. He now has at least two field goal attempts in every 2016 game except for two. That's unbelievably consistent opportunity. No team gives up more field goal attempts than Big Blue (2.7), so Prater's streak is set to continue in Week 15. Let it be known: I'm bailing out on Prater if Matthew Stafford's hand injury keeps him sidelined against the Giants. Don't let Dan Bailey's Week 14 disaster against the Giants scare you off Prater if the Detroit offense is at full health.
Kai Forbath (MIN) vs. Indianapolis Colts ($4,500): I made the glaring error of not touting the kicker squaring off against the Colts in Week 14. Nick Novak, as you may know, proved a difference maker in all formats with 19 fantasy points. Welp, as the kids say. Forbath gets his shot to be the next kicker to go nuclear against Indy. The new Vikings kicker has (very) quietly put up 26 fantasy points over the past two weeks as the Minnesota offense has consistently sputtered inside the 20. He has 10 field goal tries in four games as the Minnesota kicker. Only the Giants give up more field goal chances to enemy kickers than the Colts, and 10 kickers have managed at least eight fantasy points against the horseshoes in 2016. My taek: Forbath is the only viable minimum-priced FanDuel kicker for Week 15.
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