Pick the right kicker, defense to chase the title

Some fantasy football leagues, those perhaps run by punishment-hungry monsters, play until week 18. But with so many star players typically sitting out for the final week of the NFL regular season, leagues reasonable have their champions crowned by the end of this week.

If you’re playing for your championship, congratulations. You just have one more obstacle. Talented players for your starting lineup should be, injuries permitting, all set, but there are a few things you can always tweak to gain even the slightest advantage over your opponent. Are you sure you have the right kicker and defence/special teams ready to go?

Most scoff when you mention kickers, but just ask anyone who used Chase McLaughlin two weeks ago or Matt Gay last week. McLaughlin threw five field goals, one over 50 yards and three extra runs, and Gay threw three field goals, two over 50 yards and six PATs.

Mason Crosby celebrates making a field goal in the fourth quarter.
Getty Images

Digging deeper, we found their opponents, the Vikings and Broncos, ranked in the bottom two teams in points allowed by kickers. If Mason Crosby or Harrison Butker are available, you may consider using one of them. If neither is available, the teams that allow the next highest kick points are the Bengals, Saints and Steelers – so Tyler Bass, Jake Elliott and Justin Tucker are in play. If you’re concerned by the weather in the outdoor stadiums, take a look at Cameron Dicker and Matt Prater.

Picking the right team defense can be a bit trickier, as you need to check your individual league score. Authorized points can sometimes be tricky to navigate, so your main focus should be turnovers. The Colts lead the league in gifts and have Nick Foles at quarterback, so the Giants, who are fighting for a playoff spot, should be a solid game. Opponents the Rams, Broncos, Bears, Saints, and Texans are expected to be next, as these teams award the highest fantasy points per game to team defenses. The Eagles and Jaguars are probably your best bets, as both rank well in the takeaway this season.

With the 2022 NFL season unfolding, nothing is guaranteed, so researching different ways to get ahead of your opponent is a must. Kickers and defenses might be your last resort.

With losses from players like Jalen Hurts and Derrick Henry, every champion needs a hero, and if that hero comes in the form of Younghoe Koo, then so be it. As long as you bring this championship home.

Howard Bender is Vice President of Operations and Head of Content at FantasyAlarm.com. Follow him on Twitter @rotobuzzguy and find him on the award-winning « Fantasy Alarm Radio Show » on the SiriusXM fantasy sports channel weekdays from 6-8 p.m. Go to FantasyAlarm.com for all your fantasy sports tips, player screenings, injury updates and more.


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