Booting the pigskin in the often windy and wet and nasty conditions of Seattle is something of a yawn for Seahawks kicker Steven Hauschka.
It was Hauschka, a fledgling kicker whose stint with a couple NFL teams hadn't quite work out, who tied the UFL record with three field goals in an October 2010 game that was hurtling toward a tie before his last second kick in gusting Las Vegas winds.
Not only did Hauschka tie a league record and nail a field goal in the final seconds of overtime, but he said he “knew it was good" as soon as it left his foot. Cocky son of a gun, that Hauschka.
The Seattle kicker's circuitous path to NFL stardom includes myriad stops and starts -- enough to make me root for the guy after what proved to be a nightmarish start to the 2016 season. The Ravens, Falcons, Vikings, Broncos, and Lions all said thanks but no thanks to the future all-pro kicker and Super Bowl champ.
It's almost like -- and try to stay with me, because this concept is intense in its complexity -- a team doesn't have to invest in a kicker in the second round of the NFL Draft, but rather search for a good one bouncing between teams and professional leagues. It's almost as if the position is replaceable and doesn't demand massive draft capital. But what do I know? I'm only a haver of taeks.
Please @ me on Twitter if you'd like to hear more about this crazy theory of mine, Tampa Bay Bucs.
Graham Gano (CAR) at New Orleans Saints ($5,000): My bullishness about Gano's Week 6 prospects doesn't hinge on who starts under center for Carolina. It hardly requires an #elite signal caller to torch the Saints' defense, which is a key element in finding solid kicker option. Cam or no Cam, the Saints are allowing 2.2 field goal tries per game in 2016, which is the eighth most in the NFL. Only the Raiders and Colts are giving up more yards per play, and only Oakland allows more total yards per game. The Panthers should be able to move up and down the field in Week 6, which has been great news for Gano in 2016. He notched 18 fantasy points the last time the Carolina offense went nuclear, in Week 2 against the zombie franchise was known as the 49ers. Gano last year saw a nice, fat 2.3 field goal attempts per contest in Panthers wins. Carolina is a three-point road favorite as of this writing.
Chris Boswell (PIT) vs. Miami Dolphins ($4,800): This admittedly feels a little like chasing points, but the machine we know as the Steelers' offense is churning through all comers and now get the listless ghost of the Miami defense. Boswell has a pitiful five field goal attempts this season, in large part due to Pittsburgh scoring a bunch of long touchdowns and being unstoppable inside the red zone. But only one team gives up more field goal tries per game than the Dolphins, and the Steelers head into Week 6 with one of the week's highest implied totals. I'd feel much better about recommending Boswell if he were priced at the FanDuel minimum of $4,500, but almost every sign points to him having plenty of chances this week in Miami. The Dolphins' secondary should stand little chance of surviving the ruthless Pittsburgh aerial attack. Ruthless, I say. Without ruth. There is no ruth in the Steelers' pass game.
Steven Hauschka (SEA) vs. Atlanta Falcons ($4,800): Hauschka, the former apple of the early-round kicker truther's eye, has recovered nicely from a disastrous start to 2016, scoring 25 fantasy points over the Seahawks' past couple contests. The Falcons are not the prototypical great matchup for a kicker, but this week doesn't offer much in that department, so we'll take what we can get. Kickers are only scoring 6.75 fantasy points per game against Atlanta, attempting a meager 1.4 field goal tries per contest. The Falcons are, however, being gouged via the pass, allowing 291.1 pass yards on average. Seattle is a solid 6.5-point home favorite in this one, sporting one of Week 6's highest implied totals. I would prefer Hauschka over Boswell because I believe the former has a safer floor this week.
Connor Barth (CHI) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars ($4,500): I see Barth as the Week 6 low-priced option de jour, facing off against a Jacksonville defense giving up 2.2 field goal tries per game (sixth most in the league) and 11.5 kicker fantasy points per week. Chicago's once-dormant aerial game is clicking along with the team's best quarterback, Brian Hoyer, shredding defenses with massive pass volume over the past three weeks. Barth hasn't been what we might call accurate this season -- making 62.5 percent of his attempts -- but the matchup is right and he's available for $700 less than the week's highest priced FanDuel kicker. That's the difference between Melvin Gordon and Matt Jones.
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