Andrew Franks isn't dumb. In fact, he's smart. Maybe really smart.
He might be a genius. Forget his 3.2 college GPA. Keep reading.
Franks, the Miami Dolphins kicker from Division III Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), reportedly resisted a “strong arm" attempt by recruiters who wanted him to take easier college courses so he could focus on booting the pigskin through the towering yellow posts. He pushed back against the pressures -- and lure -- of breezing through college with unchallenging classes, even as people in the know told him it was the surest way of making the pros. That's either commendable or stunningly brave. Maybe both.
Franks majored in biomedical engineering at RPI in upstate New York, according to the Palm Beach Post, and “plans to create total hip and knee replacements to help fellow athletes" when his professional playing days are over.
In summary: Franks is intelligent and benevolent. And he's an NFL player. I'm not sure I can hold both of those thoughts in my head without my skull exploding, Scanners style. Miami Dolphins decision makers were able to put aside Franks' frighteningly bad 66 percent field goal rate at RPI, so you should too. His Week 3 matchup is a plush one, as you'll see below. Take advantage.
Kickers highlighted last week in this space mostly managed just fine, with Graham Gano and Brandon McManus -- the pricey and mid-priced plays of the week -- finishing among the top-three kickers. Both guys had everything working in their favor, and good process led to good results. That's refreshing.
Now on to Week 3.
Justin Tucker (BAL) at Jacksonville Jaguars ($4,800): I'm more than happy to fade Steven Hauschka, this week's highest priced kicker on FanDuel, because, in short, Seattle's offense is a fiery pit of fantasy death right now and I don't want anything to do with it in DFS. That leaves Tucker as my preferred play among Week 3's highest priced kickers. Jacksonville's sieve-like defense allowed four red zone trips to the Packers in Week 1 and five trips inside the 20 to the Chargers in Week 2. They haven't stopped anyone. Opponents are converting when they breach the red zone against Jacksonville, but no matter: we want opportunity, and our (limited) numbers from 2016 show that he has as good a chance as any kicker of seeing a few field goal tries in Week 3. The Jags-Ravens matchup sports one of Vegas' four highest projected totals. Tucker notched 2.2 field goal attempts in Baltimore wins in 2014, the last year Joe Flacco was healthy and starting the whole season for the Ravens. The Jags-Ravens game is listed by Vegas as a pick 'em.
Dan Bailey (DAL) vs. Chicago Bears ($4,700): Bailey, with 26 fantasy points through two weeks, has everything we look for in a kicker in Week 3. Dallas is a home favorite with a solid Vegas total, and the Dak Prescott-led Cowboys have eight red zone trips through two games -- more than all but four teams in the season's early going. Bailey averaged a healthy 2.25 field goal attempts per game in four 2015 Dallas wins. Bailey is a full $400 cheaper than Week 3'd most expensive kicker option, and it'd be tough to find a higher upside play.
Andrew Franks (MIA) vs. Cleveland Browns ($4,500): Not only do the Dolphins have one of the week's highest implied Vegas point totals, but Cleveland has proven generous with field goal attempts -- and pretty much everything else that could be beneficial to an opposing offense. Each of the first two 2016 Cleveland opponents have attempted three field goals. Miami, thanks to deficits faced in the season's opening weeks, hasn't been in position to offer solid opportunity for Franks. That should change this week. There's no better low-cost option than the aforementioned Franks in Week 3.
Josh Lambo (SD) at Indianapolis Colts ($4,500): The Colts' injury-ravaged defense can't stop anyone, as Indianapolis opponents have given up the sixth most red zone opportunities over the season's first two weeks. Remember that passing yardage correlates well with kicker fantasy production, making this a potentially juicy matchup for Lambo. Philip Rivers and company showed in Week 2 that they can matriculate the ball just fine against a garbage defense, even without Keenan Allen. When all else fails, we chase total points, and only one game has a higher over-under than the Colts-Chargers in Week 3. I'd prefer Franks over Lambo.
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