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Red zone touchdown rates did not serve us well in Week 8. They outright lied to us, in fact, as some of the best red zone offenses were continually stuffed at or near the goal line while inefficient red zone teams inexplicably found ways to punch it in for six.
The Saints, who score touchdowns on 58.8 percent of their red zone possessions, were denied time and again last week, setting up Shane Graham for three field goals and a cool 15 fantasy points. And then there’s Buffalo and their 63.2 percent red zone touchdown rate — a percentage not reflected in Dan Carpenter‘s 15 Week 8 fantasy points.
Our prime kicker pick last week, Caleb Sturgis, managed nine points despite a Miami offense that didn’t seem all that interested in scoring points as their defense went ahead and scored 14 points against the Blake Bortle Turnover Machine.
But we look onward to Week 9, where our kicker options — like all fantasy options in this bye week apocalypse — are limited. This is especially true in our attempt to roll with kickers attached to quarterbacks with favorable matchups. My search for such a kicker this week has been something close to futile.
Kickers are scoring the most schedule-adjusted fantasy points against the Saints, Steelers, Jaguars, Falcons, and Bears at the season’s midway point. The Chargers, 49ers, Broncos, Colts and Lions are allowing the fewest adjusted points to opposing kickers.
Now let’s get into Week 9 options…
Mike Nugent (CIN) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Nugent has let us down more than once this year, but it’s tough to turn up our collective nose at this matchup against a Jacksonville team that has allowed double-digit kicker performances six times in eight games.
It’s worth noting that the Rotoviz Streaming Kicker machine is obsessed with Nugent’s Week 9 prospects, and that he notched an average of nine fantasy points in four 2014 home games. Cincinnati sports a bottom-10 red zone touchdown conversion rate, which probably has something to do with A.J. Green‘s absence. It’s a definite boon for Nugent though as he becomes the week’s most logical streaming option.
Cody Parkey (PHI) at Houston Texans
Parkey, who has become an every-week starting option, is still available on 45 percent of waiver wires. I’m not entirely sure as to why Parkey is still out there in so many leagues. All he’s done is score nine or more fantasy points in seven of the Eagles’ eight games this season.
Houston is a bad matchup on paper, allowing the 10th fewest adjusted points to kickers through eight weeks. The Texans, quite amazingly, have held opposing kickers to single-digit fantasy outputs six times in 2014. I see Parkey, with his 93.3 percent accuracy through seven games, as a kicker in an offense that can be an exception to the rule in this one. Get him if you can.
Parkey, at worst, is attached to a quarterback with a fine matchup. The Texans are giving up 271.3 passing yards per contest, fourth most in the NFL.
Cairo Santos (KC) vs. New York Jets
Santos has quietly put together a solid season, scoring 11 or more fantasy points in three of his past four contests and sporting an 83.3 percent field goal accuracy percentage despite a rough start to the year.
The Chiefs’ game script should be unfailingly positive against a New York team in disarray thanks in large part to their horrific secondary. Kansas City has the league’s fourth worst red zone touchdown rate (50 percent) and that’s shown in recent weeks as Santos has had a handful of chip shot field goal attempts.
The Jets, who give up 8.4 fantasy points per game to kickers, see an average of 1.7 field goals scored against them through eight weeks. I’d rather play Nugent or Parkey, but Santos is a fine Week 9 option.
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