Originally created 11/21/02

Fantasy Football: Don't underestimate a kicker's power



The playoffs are just around the corner, and it's nail-biting time for fantasy owners.

Owners are tweaking their rosters with free-agent pickups and waiver wire transactions. For the most part, their core lineups are set, but injuries and slumps can put a cramp in their run to the postseason.

At most positions, there is a capable backup, but when it comes to kickers, most owners don't keep two on their rosters.

This is a mistake. A good kicker can provide enough points to put owners over the top each week. Sometimes, it all comes down to a kicker. Those who have, or had, San Francisco's Jose Cortez know this fact all too well.

If a kicker is missing more kicks than Charlie Brown, there is no need to worry. There are plenty of good ones still on the market, especially in smaller leagues.

If an owners find themselves in need of a change, they won't go wrong with these guys. That is, if they haven't already been taken.

  • Mike Hollis, Buffalo: A strong leg and he plays on a top offense. Hollis can hit from 50 or more yards with ease, which in some leagues gives an owner more than just three points.
  • Joe Nedney, Tennessee: The Titans are starting to score now, which increases Nedney's value even more. He's fairly accurate and has good leg power.
  • Paul Edinger, Chicago: He's one of the better kickers in the league, but he could still be a free agent, especially with the Bears going into the toilet.
  • Rian Lindell, Seattle: Besides Shaun Alexander, Lindell might be the next best weapon for the Seahawks.
  • Kicking, like everything else, isn't a sure thing. The trick is to find a kicker who has proven himself time and again. A fantasy team's playoff hopes could be swinging in the balance, and without a strong kicker they might fall just short.

    START THEM Michael Vick, Atlanta: The last time the Falcons played Carolina, Vick was a one-man wrecking crew. The grass at Ericsson Stadium will slow Vick down some, but he should still have a solid game.

    James Stewart, Detroit: Stewart scored four times and ran for more than 170 yards the last time he played against Chicago. The Bears haven't gotten any better since.

    Travis Henry, Buffalo: The Jets haven gotten better, but Henry will have a good day against one of the worst run defenses in the league.

    SIT THEM

    Koy Detmer, Philadelphia: Detmer will get a rude welcome to the Eagles' starting lineup from San Francisco on Monday night.

    David Carr, Houston: He'll get to know Michael Strahan very well. Keep this guy in the garage.

    Ray Lucas, Miami: He got a win last week, but it's going to be tougher this week. The Chargers' defense won't be in a giving mood.

    ROOKIE WATCH

    Jeremy Shockey: Remember what happened last time he played against Houston?

    SLEEPER

    Kordell Stewart, Pittsburgh: He looked sharp in leading the Steelers back against Tennessee last week. He gets Cincinnati this week and another chance to prove he can lead the Steelers' offense.

    Reach Raymond Beasock at (706) 823-3221 or raymond.beasock@augustachronicle.com.