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Fantasy Football Week 7: Just Kicking It

C.D. Carter

C.D. Carter is a reporter, author of zombie stories, writer for The Fake Football and XN Sports. Fantasy Sports Writers Association member. His work  has been featured in the New York Times.

I found myself this week, recording a segment on the Fantasy Sports Network’s Rob Silver Show, discussing the process behind pinpointing the week’s best kicker plays and reminding the show’s dutiful host that I check my sanity at the door before penning this column.

This space is populated by kicker options filtered through myriad statistics and factors, and to have those guys tank while objectively terrible kicking options thrive is, well, life shortening. Even machines can’t accurately predict kicker performance. What hope, I ask you, do we really have?

My sanity is saved by remembering that process is everything, especially if it gives me a chance to shamelessly plug my latest book.

Our Week 6 streaming kickers weren’t horrendous, with Matt Bryant notching 11 fantasy points thanks to a couple 50-yard bombs and Cody Parkey finishing with 10 points in the Eagles’ demolition of Big Blue. Buffalo kicker Dan Carpenter was a disaster in a high-scoring affair, scoring just two points.

Let’s move on to Week 7, our collective sanity barely intact, but our willingness to follow good process — including Vegas projections, favorable matchups, and red zone stop rate — on our way to the loony bin.

Chandler Catanzaro (ARI) at Oakland Raiders

Fantasy football’s 10th highest scoring kicker is still available in 90 percent of leagues. No kicker has a better Week 7 matchup than Catanzaro, according to the Rotoviz Streaming Kicker app.

Oakland has one of the league’s best red zone stop rates, with 48 percent of red zone possessions against the Raiders ending in a touchdown. Only five teams are better. Even better for Catanzaro: Teams are attempting an average of 2.2 field goals per game against Oakland — one of the highest marks in the NFL.

Catanzaro has reached double digit fantasy points three times this year, and I see him as a top Week 7 option, streaming or otherwise.

 

Billy Cundiff (CLE) at Jacksonville Jaguars

It might be tough to roll with a guy who’s made seven field goals all season. Against a Jacksonville team allowing a league-worst 10.8 schedule-adjusted fantasy points to opposing kickers, that little inconvenient fact might be easy to ignore for one week.

Jaguars opponents are averaging 2.5 field goal attempts per game — pretty much all we can ask for when seeking a favorable kicker matchup. Remember that kicker fantasy production is closely correlated with quarterback production, and (almost) no signal caller has a tastier Week 7 matchup than Brian Hoyer.

While usually avoid talk of a kickers’ fantasy floor and ceiling, I dare say that Cundiff’s Week 7 floor is very high in a game that will see Cleveland march up and down the field on a nonexistent Jacksonville defense. Cundiff is owned in less than 2 percent of leagues.

 

Robbie Gould (CHI) vs. Miami Dolphins

Gould, a regular in this space, faces a Miami team seeing two field goal attempts per game against them. Kickers are averaging 8.7 adjusted fantasy points against the Dolphins through six weeks.

One red flag for Gould in Week 7: Opponents are scoring touchdowns on 58.8 percent of red zone possessions. That’s a hefty percentage. Chicago is favored — a good thing for fantasy kickers and defenses — and Vegas projects this game to be relatively high scoring.

Gould, who is yet to eclipse double digit fantasy points in 2014, is an inferior option to our other Week 7 streamers. He’ll do in a pinch though.