Word to the Winners: Fantasy Football Advice from the Experts

2006 Rookie Kickers -- By Russ Bliss

With only 2 kickers drafted in 2006, and one those is projected as a kickoff specialist, there’s not a lot to say about the fantasy football projections from this rookie class. However, rookie kickers usually do tend to struggle a bit their first year and therefore drafting one to be a fantasy football starter is usually unwise.

2006 Impact Ranking:

1) Steve Gostkowski
2) Kurt Smith

Dynasty Value:

1) Steve Gostkowski
2) Kurt Smith

Rookie Rundown (in order drafted)

Steve Gostkowski, Round 4, New England Patriots: Big for a kicker, Gostkowski was the NCAA’s active career leader in FG’s and PAT’s. With a big enough leg, and the accuracy, to successfully make all 10 of his FG attempts from 40+ yards (3 of them from 50+), Gostkowski finished 2005 making 22 of 25 FGA’s and 35-35 PAT’s.
2006 outlook: Will compete with Martin Gramatica for the kicking job in New England. With Gramatica having missed all of the 2005 NFL season, it will not be a surprise to see Gostkowski win the job and place somewhere near the middle of most fantasy football rankings for kickers.
Beyond 2006: With a strong leg and accuracy to boot, Gostkowski could be a fine long term kicker in the NFL and rank high on fantasy football projections for years to come.

Kurt Smith, Round 6, San Diego Chargers: Smith has been a kickoff specialist in college the last 3 years, having tried no FG’s or PAT’s in that time. Blessed with a very strong leg, Smith put over 70% of his kickoffs into the end zone. He’s not going to have any value kicking FG’s unless there’s an injury, or if the team is trying a very long FG.
2006 outlook: Will likely be the kickoff specialist for San Diego. May get a chance to try really long FG’s at the end of half’s or games, but that’s about it and that doesn’t amount to being worth much at all for fantasy football.
Beyond 2006: I’ve always said that you can teach accuracy, but you can’t teach a strong leg. It’s possible that somewhere down the line, some team works with Smith to see if they can combine his leg strength with some accuracy. If it works, Smith would have value, but probably not more than many other kickers in the NFL.

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