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Carson Palmer and the Arizona offense were determined to ruin our Week 7 kicker choice, as the Cardinals scored a couple red zone touchdowns on third down, no less.
Chandler Catanzaro, who had a top-5 Week 7 matchup, ended the week with six measly fantasy points, the same as Billy Cundiff — another streaming option. Robbie Gould tanked with the rest of his Chicago teammates as they were drubbed by the Dolphins last week.
Brandon Marshall reportedly gave Gould — among other teammates — an earful after the game. Probably BMarsh had Gould in his daily fantasy lineups.
Five defenses have distinguished themselves as particularly tough in the red zone as we approach the season’s midway point: The Lions, Jaguars, Ravens, Browns, and Texans all keep opponents out of the end zone on more than half of red zone possessions. On the other end of the red zone defense spectrum, Seattle and San Diego allow touchdowns on 72.2 percent and 82.5 percent of red zone chances, respectively.
This means that, in a given game, if a team has four red zone possessions, they’ll score 3.3 touchdowns against the Chargers and 1.3 touchdowns against the Ravens. The rest of those possessions aren’t guaranteed to end in field goals, but we’ll take out chances.
The ideal scenario from here on out: We find a widely-available kicker whose quarterback has a fairly favorable matchup against one of the aforementioned teams that have stonewalled opponents as they approach the end zone. We won’t always get the chance, but when we do, we’ll certainly take it.
Here are three kickers I’m targeting in Week 8.
Caleb Sturgis (MIA) at Jacksonville Jaguars
Miracle of miracles: it seems we’ve found the Holy Grail of streaming kickers, as Ryan Tannehill has a juicy matchup against a bad Jaguars secondary and Jacksonville has only allowed opponents to score touchdowns in the red zone 37 percent of the time.
Sturgis is 9-for-10 on the year, posting decent numbers despite very limited kicking opportunities in a Miami offense that has proven efficient near the goal line. The Dolphins average 4.7 red zone possessions per game — only the Colts have notched more through seven weeks.
Strugis, owned in less than 3 percent of leagues, has a top-3 kicker matchup in Week 8, according to the Rotoviz Streaming Kicker app. Get him if you can.
Chandler Catanzaro (ARI) vs. Philadelphia Eagles
We’re going back to the Catanzaro well here. Vegas projects this Eagles-Cardinals game to be among the week’s highest scoring, the Rotoviz kicker app gives Catanzaro a top-4 matchup, and Philly has a middle-of-the-road red zone touchdown rate.
Catanzaro has perfect on the season as the Arizona offense clicks along with Carson Palmer back at the helm. The Eagles have given up double-digit fantasy points to kickers three times this year, making Catanzaro — that dirty hippie — as good a play as any in Week 8. Get Cat Man if you can’t pick up Sturgis.
Nick Folk (NYJ) vs. Buffalo Bills
Folk, who is perfect on the season, looked to be headed for a nuclear performance last week against New England. He had 12 fantasy points at halftime, and finished with 13. Alas, he’s had limited opportunities in 2014. The Jets average a meager 3.1 red zone possessions per game.
Buffalo has allowed 11.3 fantasy points to opposing kickers over the past four weeks, and that includes a Week 5 blanking of now-dispatched Detroit kicker Alex Henery. I wouldn’t say Geno Smith has anything resembling a favorable matchup here — which is why I’d go with Sturgis and Catanzaro over Folk — but the Gang Green kicker is a nice fallback option this week.
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