Start 'Em, Sit 'Em: Kickers for Week 15
By Michael Fabiano
Updated: Dec. 12, 2012 at 01:09 p.m.
Start 'Em & Sit 'Em is the ultimate look at the weekly NFL matchups and how they'll affect your fantasy football team. Sleeper alert features an under-the-radar player who could produce good numbers. Owners beware features a regular fantasy starter who could fail to meet expectations based on the strength of his opponent. Obvious fantasy starters like Aaron Rodgers and Arian Foster will not be featured in this column. For your final lineup decisions, check our lineup rankings.
Start of the week
Connor Barth at New Orleans Saints: Believe it or not, but Barth has come out and become a top-notch kicker in fantasy land this season. He's been on fire in recent weeks, scoring an average of just under 10 points in his last four games. The Saints have given up the fourth-most fantasy points to kickers at home, so Barth should find continued success.
Shayne Graham vs. Indianapolis Colts: Graham is coming off one of his worst stat lines of the season, scoring just two points in a loss to the New England Patriots. Fear not, though, as Graham has a great matchup against the Colts next on the schedule. Indianapolis has given up the fifth-most fantasy points to kickers on the road, making Graham a fine start once again.
Phil Dawson vs. Washington Redskins: Dawson is in the midst of one of his best fantasy seasons, ranking seventh in points among kickers. I think his success will continue against the Redskins, who have surrendered the third-most fantasy points to opposing kickers on the road. Dawson is a free agent in plenty of NFL.com leagues, so grab him if you need a starter.
Sleeper alert - Nick Novak vs. Carolina Panthers: Novak is coming off his best fantasy performance of the season, scoring 12 points in a win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. He should build on that success against the Panthers, who have given up the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing kickers on the road. Much like Dawson, Novak is a free agent in a ton of leagues.
Sit of the week
Mason Crosby at Chicago Bears: Crosby ranks an unimpressive 24th in fantasy points among kickers, but he's still owned in more than 70 percent of NFL.com leagues. That's due in large part to his "name" value. I'd put him on the bench this week, though, as Crosby faces a Bears team that has allowed the seventh-fewest fantasy points to kickers at home this year.
Rob Bironas vs. New York Jets (Mon.): Bironas, a former fantasy star, has alternated good and bad stat lines in each of the last three weeks. He's due to be on the bad side of that trend in Week 15, and a matchup against the Jets isn't favorable. The Men in Green have allowed the third-fewest fantasy points to opposing kickers on the road, so Bironas could struggle.
Steven Hauschka at Buffalo Bills (Toronto): Hauschka was the top-scoring kicker in all of fantasy football last week, posting 16.00 points against the Arizona Cardinals. While that is a solid total, this week's matchup against the Bills is far less favorable. In fact, this unit has given up the second-fewest fantasy points to kickers in home games after 14 weeks.
Owners beware - Justin Tucker vs. Denver Broncos: Tucker has emerged into a top-10 fantasy kicker, but he's scored 10 or more fantasy points just once in his last four games. The rookie also has a tough matchup against the Broncos, who have surrendered the sixth-fewest fantasy points to opposing kickers on the road in 2012. That makes Tucker a serious risk.
Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on NFL.com. Have a burning question on anything