As you know by now, Matt Prater will be kicking for Detroit this Sunday, October 12, when the Lions visit Minnesota at TCF Stadium. Things happen quickly in the NFL, and if I took the time to dramatize things, you might believe you’re reading a soap opera script.
In a nutshell, Prater, the NFL record holder for the longest successful field goal kick of 64 yards last season, and league-best 25-of-26 in field goals, was expected to resume his kicking duties for the Broncos after serving a four-game suspension for violating the league’s substance-abuse program. The Broncos chose to snub the past success of Prater, and instead stick with his replacement, Brandon McManus.
Fade to Detroit. Coming off an inconsistent season by David Akers last year, the Lions turned to the draft and selected Nate Freese in the seventh round. After a disastrous start, Freese was released, but his replacement, Alex Henery, struggled just as mightily. The two kickers were a combined 0-of-6 from the 40-to-49 yard range, and 4-of-12 overall. To shore up the shaky kicking situation, the Lions released Henery and quickly signed Prater to a one-year deal.
Just another day at the office in the NFL.
After hearing that Prater signed with the Lions, were you one of those fantasy owners that scrambled to add him to your roster, only to be beaten to the punch by one of the other scurvy owners in your league? Don’t be disheartened. In fact, some of the best things in life that happen are the ones that don’t happen at all. Sure, Prater is a great kicker, but if you’ve been visiting this website for a while, you know that the key to a great fantasy kicker does not so much lie in a kicker’s abilities, but in the propensity of a kicker’s team to score points and win games. (See Using the Science of Statistics to Select a Fantasy Kicker.) If you believe that the Lions will consistently score a lot of points, and perhaps more importantly in this case, win games, then Prater may be worth adding to your roster.
But Football Weblog sees it differently. When the metriculations are done, Prater, with Detroit, is projected as only the 24th best fantasy kicker from now until the end of the season. (See our cheatsheet page for complete rankings.) If you need fantasy kicker help, there are better alternatives. Several lesser-touted players may still be available in your league that promise to out-produce Prater by year’s end. In fact, all of the following kickers rank in the top-10:
- Cody Parkey
- Brandon McManus
- Mike Nugent
- Chandler Catanzaro
- Cairo Santos
If you need fantasy kicker help, and came up empty in your attempt to land Prater, keep your chin up. There are better options out there.