Chris Boswell didn't just break the will to live of every process-oriented fantasy footballer in Week 15 when the Pittsburgh kicker totalled 23 fantasy points against the Bengals.
Boswell also drew the attention of the NFL's powers that be. People in power suits gathered in a dimly-lit board room filled with cigar smoke and the scent of excessive cologne covering the stench of excessive booze saw Boswell's six field goal performance against Cincinnati and ordered the league's agents to drug test the kicker.
These American psychos had not one Boswell share between them in Week 15. They were angry. The fourth beach house would have to wait until the sweet, sweet tax cuts hit. But first, get Boswell.
The Steelers' kicker, barely fantasy relevant in 2016, was “randomly” drug tested the day after his point-scoring bonanza against Cincy.
“If I'm on steroids,” the kicker tweeted, “I definitely need a refund cuz I got the wrong juice.” This, quite naturally, prompted fans to wonder aloud whether the Steelers' kicker was as accurate with his urine stream as he was with his kicks against the Bengals. This struck me as a potentially good niche for up-and-coming football analysts, if nothing else.
The NFL did not test Boswell after he attempted the worst onside kick in the history of organized football -- in case you were wondering.
And who among us could argue against forcing a kicker to submit to a drug test? The guy who likely can't run on the treadmill for more than ninety seconds -- the one surrounded by men inflated to superhuman dimensions, out of their minds with blind rage and the intent to maim -- is the guy who should be tested. Of course.
The suits jumped the shark.
Let's get into Week 17 kicker options. It's been a pleasure offering some sort of process in selecting fantasy kickers. Never concede to the anti-kicker forces among us. Many are driven by something other than the improvement of our little game.
Adam Vinatieri (IND) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars ($5,200): Vinatieri has attempted an average of 2.28 field goals this season when the Colts win. They come into Week 17 as six-point home favorites against the dismal Jaguars. The case for the old man as this week's prime high-priced kicker is simple: kickers are scoring 11.43 fantasy points per game against Jacksonville, only two kickers have scored less than eight fantasy points against the Jags, and the aforementioned stat about the kicker's opportunity in Indianapolis wins.
Dustin Hopkins (WAS) vs. New York Giants ($4,800): When the NFL leader in field goal attempts collides with the team allowing the second most field goal chances per game, you select that kicker and log off. You might want to log back on to pick the rest of your team though. Hopkins, who has failed to score eight fantasy points thrice in 2016, broke the simulation in which we exist the last time he played Big Blue, scoring 19 fantasy points. That's the good stuff, as we say in the business. Kickers have struggled against the Giants of late as New York's pass defense has proved stingy. No matter (because the Giants' starters might rest): Washington has a hearty implied point total and Hopkins has attempted multiple field goals in all but three games this season. Perhaps the most encouraging stat for the Washington kicker: he has the same amount of field goal tries in losses as he does wins this year. That's rare. And good.
Graham Gano (CAR) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers ($4,800): Only eight teams allow more passing yards per game than the Bucs, who also just happen to give up a tasty 2.1 field goal tries, on average. It's true: Gano flamed out to the tune of two fantasy points when these teams battled in October. The Bucs have since become a borderline fantastic kicker matchup, with enemy kickers notching 38 fantasy points against Tampa over the past three weeks. I like Gano the least of all the players mentioned in this space for Week 17, but he's a viable play and he'll have microscopic ownership.
Roberto Aguayo (TB) vs. Carolina Panthers ($4,500): The Panthers give up the most passing yards per game and, quite coincidentally, allow the most field goal opportunity per contest. Get this: kickers have racked up 60 fantasy points against Carolina over the past five games. One of Aguayo's many disastrous early season outings was against these Panthers, when the rookie shanked two field goals and still came out with nine fantasy points. Game script has proven vital to Aguayo's fantasy prospects: he's been unuseable in Tampa losses, getting a meager 0.84 field goal tries. He's seen 2.75 field goal opportunities in Tampa wins this season. There's no other minimum-priced kicker that has a clear floor in FanDuel's Week 17 main slate.
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