Fantasy Football Week 16: Just Kicking It

If you deployed Jaguars’ kicker Josh Scobee in Week 15 matchups, you banked on the reliability of red zone touchdown percentages, as the Ravens at home had only allowed touchdowns on 29.4 percent of opponents’ possessions inside the 20-yard line.

Scobee, who was absent from this space last week, put up 16 fantasy points to lead all kickers. I think his success — and the general success of kickers against Baltimore in 2014 — shows that red zone scoring percentage should be a lynchpin in determining which kickers have the best matchups.

Our Week 15 plays, Shaun Suisham and Matt Bryant, notched nine and eight fantasy points, respectively, as the Falcons and Steelers — quite predictably — went back and forth against exploitable secondaries.

Nick Folk, on the other hand, fell victim to the Jets’ surprising red zone efficiency. He scored six fantasy points against the Titans.

It’s a fact of fantasy football life that Week 16 title games often hinge on kicker performances. In an ideal world, the kicker position would be outlawed by the federal government and violators would be subject to hard prison time. Alas, our fantasy world is imperfect, so due diligence requires us to sift through myriad data in pinpointing Week 16’s best kicker plays.

Let’s get into it…

Dan Carpenter (BUF) at Oakland Raiders

We’ve swung and whiffed on Carpenter a couple times in 2014, though the long-haired freaky person came through for us back in October. The Bills aren’t very good at converting touchdowns in the red zone, leaving Carpenter with a league-high 2.7 field goal attempts per contest.

Carpenter, who has the week’s second best matchup, per the Rotoviz Streaming Kicker App, goes against a Raiders’ defense giving up 9.4 fantasy points to kicker. Only four teams allow more fantasy production to those who boot pigskins at the uprights. I fully expect Buffalo’s offense to move the ball quite easily against the squishy soft Oakland front seven, making Carpenter an elite Week 16 kicker play.

Carpenter, available in 74 percent of fantasy leagues, has seven double-digit performances in 2014.


Matt Prater (DET) at Chicago Bears

Probably it’s not good process to start a kicker who might have to face the wicked winds of Chicago in December, so check the forecast before Sunday’s kickoff and make sure Prater won’t be kicking into and across various wind tunnels against the Bears.

Prater has been remarkably consistent over the past month and a half. Here are his fantasy point totals since Week 8: 10, 10, 8, 9, 10, 10, 10, 10. Like I said, consistent if nothing else. Chicago’s defense is a sieve in the final days of Marc Trestman’s time as head coach, and there’s now way Matthew Stafford and company will have a problem burning the Bears and scoring points in this one.

Detroit, it should be noted, attempts more field goals per game than every NFL team but the Bills. Chicago, meanwhile, allows the second most field goal attempts, at 2.4 per week. Prater will almost certainly have his chances to put up a nice line in Week 16.

He’s available in 67 percent of leagues and he has the week’s fifth best kicker matchup, according to the Streaming Kicker Machine.

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