Mr. Irrelevants: Deep Sleepers To Draft Instead Of A Kicker

By: JJ Bens

I am coming around more and more with the strategy of targeting a kicker who plays in one of the 2 Monday night games week 1 then waiting to see if you can pull out a victory without wasting a roster spot on a kicker.  The Monday night games are Pit @ Wash and Rams @ 49ers. Drafting one of the players on this list is low risk with potential for high reward.  As long as your league settings make it possible for you to pick up a K on Monday (or you have a player in one of those games that you can cut), there is nothing to fear about your draft ending and not having a kicker on your roster-and in some cases a defense.  I happen to think that streaming kickers or defenses to start the season is a good idea until things start to shake out.

This strategy allows you to get most of a week’s worth of regular season information – depth charts, performances, injuries, etc. – before having to pick a player to cut to pick up a K. In the best case scenario, you get a big lead and don’t even need a K. The flip-side is that you could be behind by enough that a K will not help so you get another week to debate whom to cut and what K looks good. If you have an early draft the no-K strategy is even more relevant because you have up to a few weeks to learn about the players you picked later in the draft and their teams.

Here are a few players to target with the pick normally used to select a kicker.   All of these players are lower the 125 ADP on ESPN (Fan Sports List ranking in parentheses):

  1. Tyler Boyd – Cin WR – should be sky rocketing up ranking with the injury to Brandon LaFell and Tyler Eifert also possibly missing time its AJ Green and no one else besides Boyd. (#174)
  2. Kenny Stills – Mia WR – will likely be the number three receiver on the Fish’s depth chart but has shown in the past that he is able to stretch the field. (#193)
  3. Justin Hunter – Ten WR – Is another speedster who could have a breakout year in 2016, with the trade of DGB the Titans with be looking to stretch the field on play action. (#190)
  4. Alfred Morris – Dal RB – with the rookie Ezekiel Elliott not practicing much and not playing in the preseason until Thursday night, Fred could get a lot of touches early in the season. (#132)
  5. Travis Benjamin – SD WR – is another burner that will be looking to fill the down field threat left by the retirement of Malcom Floyd. (#136)
  6. Dak Prescott – Dal WR – is my real shot in the dark. From what I have seen in the preseason Dak might be the best QB taken in April. Also Kellen Moore is looking at missing significant time and Tony Romo bones are apparently made of some kind of glass or ceramic. Dak may be thrust into a great situation. ( #200+)
  7. DeAndre Washington – Oak RB – might be a quality change of pace back from Latavius Murray. At 5’8” 200 LBS, the Raiders 5th round pick from Texas Tech could at the least be a 3rd down back for the silver and black.  (#200+)
  8. Robert Turbin – Ind RB – may be a sneaky player just for the fact that starter Frank Gore is bound to be injured or ineffective at some point in the season due to his age (#200+)
  9. Chris Thompson – Was RB – is backing up an unproven, currently injured RB in Matt Jones.  In 2015 Thompson only rushed 35 times but had an average of 6.2 yards per carry. (#176)
  10. Tajae Sharpe – Ten WR – is a wide receiver that the Titans are impressed enough with to trade the ultra-talented, possible head case Dorial Green- Beckham. Sharpe looks ready to start right away and the Titans could use WR help. (FSL#228)
  11. Cody Latimer – Den WR – has been impressive in the preseason so far and looks to have locked down the #3 WR position which could mean Manny Sanders gets more targets from the slot. (#197)
  12. James White – NE RB – may have already jumped too high for this list but if you are drafting early, grab him! With Dion Lewis’s knee a question mark to start the season Mr. White should get a lot of touches. (#94)
  13. Christine Michael – Sea RB – has looked good in the preseason and Pete Carroll isn’t going to hand the job back to Rawls just because of what he did last year. (#140)
  14. Chris Hogan – NE WR – is an interesting player because The Hoody always likes to keep everyone on their toes plus Edelman is injury prown and the slot receiver is a large part of the offense. (#231)
  15. Steve Smith Sr. – Bal WR – is a BEAST!! Could be the ultimate steal of your draft if he is available. (#111)
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