Overlook kickers at your own risk
Graham Gano should score points as Redskins face poor defenses down stretch
Rookie Blair White has become one of Peyton Manning's top red zone targets
Brandon Pettigrew has emerged as Shaun Hill's go-top option in Lions offense
In fantasy, the kicking position will mainly annoy you. Kickers can be woefully inconsistent from week-to-week, with opportunities for points completely out of their hands.
The best kickers have good-but-not-great offenses that slow down in the red zone. Keeping that in mind, here are a few kickers who look to be good down the stretch:
First is Graham Gano (19-for-26, 19 XP). The Redskins' Gano is rather inaccurate, but another kicker with only a slightly better field-goal percentage, Sebastian Janikowski, is the top fantasy kicker in most leagues. As long as your league doesn't penalize heavily for missed field goals, Gano could be worthwhile. Besides the Giants twice (once in Week 17), the Redskins don't face any good defenses the rest of the way. That means they should move the ball. If they don't get into the end zone -- and they've been in the bottom half in scoring this year -- Gano could get a decent amount of chances to score. Gano's available in almost every league.
Ryan Succop (14-for-18, 27 XP) represents another possible upgrade for you. The Chiefs have an easy schedule the rest of the way against teams they should be able to move the ball against. He hasn't had many opportunities this year, so Succop isn't on many rosters and is available in about 70 percent of leagues.
There's also Neil Rackers of Houston, who's available in about half of leagues; while the Texans have a tough schedule the rest of the way, Rackers has been very accurate -- 16-for-18 -- so there's a chance he'll hit whatever opportunities he gets.
You don't need to if you have Janikowski or David Akers, but if you can improve your kicker position, do so. It might be the difference between winning and losing a fantasy championship.
The Cowboys ended up winning pretty handily, but Shaun Hill still put up solid fantasy numbers (289 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT) for the Lions in Week 11. More important, the Lions threw the ball 47 times. With Jahvid Best increasingly ineffective, the Lions are going to continue to throw the ball a ton, and Hill will keep putting up solid-if-not-spectacular numbers.
Donovan McNabb, Redskins (30-for-50, 376 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT): After struggling in recent weeks, there's a chance the Washington QB is on your league's waiver wire. While he hasn't thrown a lot of touchdowns, McNabb is always a threat to put up huge yardage totals. Of the six games left for Washington, four are against subpar passing defenses. Only the Giants are good, and one of the two Washington-New York games is in Week 17, when most fantasy leagues don't play.
Mike Goodson started again for the Panthers last week and had his second straight game at the century mark, rushing for 120 yards on 22 carries. Neither DeAngelo Williams (now on injured reserve) nor Jonathan Stewart have rushed for 100 yards in a game this year. Carolina coaches have said they aren't sure if Stewart will be back in the lineup this week.
Goodson is likely to be available in your league, as it looked like he was just a one- or two-game fill-in who wouldn't do much. But after putting up the Panthers' two best running performances of the season, yardage-wise, he could be useful for the stretch run. Go grab him if you're in need of a back.
Keiland Williams, Redskins (23 rushes, 68 yards; 6 catches, 27 yards): Even with Clinton Portis back, Williams got the bulk of the carries on Sunday, despite only averaging 3 yards a carry. He did grab six passes (on eight targets), so in PPR leagues his value increases. Mike Shanahan said Ryan Torain is a "long shot" for Week 12, so it looks like Williams will get another crack at starting. Portis will probably take some carries from him next week, but Williams should still get the bulk of the work.
Austin Collie returned to action for the Colts Sunday but left the game in the first half for "precautionary reasons." One of the receivers who picked up the slack was rookie Blair White, who had five catches for 42 yards and a pair of scores. With Collie's status unclear, White is an attractive option. While Peyton Manning spreads the ball around, he clearly looks for White in the red zone, and, well, he has to throw it to somebody, and there aren't many non-injured Colts players left. With Pierre Garcon's consistently ineffective this year, White just might be the guy behind Reggie Wayne.
James Jones, Packers (3 catches, 51 yards, 1 TD): Amazingly, Jones is available in 80 percent of leagues right now. His value didn't drop that much with the return of Donald Driver, who had seven targets to Jones' five. Jones is a must-start in big leagues that start three receivers.
Nate Washington, Titans (5 catches, 117 yards): Washington was targeted nine times on Sunday, most on the Titans, as Randy Moss continued to be a nonfactor. It's unclear if new starting quarterback Rusty Smith will continue to target Washington as much, but in bigger leagues Washington can start.
Nate Burleson, Lions (7 catches, 97 yards, 1 TD; 1 rush, 15 yards): If there's any chance Burleson is still on your league's waive wire, grab him now. Calvin Johnson attracts most of the coverage, but Burleson is there to pick up the scraps. He has six or seven catches in four of his past five games, and Shaun Hill targeted him the same number of times as Johnson on Sunday.
Over the past few weeks, Houston's Joel Dreessen has slowly become a viable low-end fantasy starter. He caught four balls on four targets for 106 yards and a touchdown Sunday. He's not going to put up 100-yard games too often -- a chunk of his yardage came on a 43-yard touchdown where he was wide open -- but he's clearly the Houston offense's top tight end, which usually translates into an OK fantasy output.
Brandon Pettigrew, Lions (8 catches, 75 yards): He's clearly emerged as the go-to tight end in Detroit's pass-heavy offense. Hill targeted him nine times Sunday, and he should continue to get that many looks the rest of the way. He might be gone in your league, but he could put up double-digit fantasy points down the stretch, especially in PPR leagues.
Cleveland's defense gets a lot of interceptions (14) and has 20 sacks on the year. On Sunday the Browns' D had six takeaways against the Jaguars. The Browns are sixth in fantasy defense points (in standard scoring) and the highest-powered offense they face the next four weeks is the Bills. Cleveland's Week 12 opponent is Carolina, which is struggling at quarterback.
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