Buffalo Bills: Steven Hauschka 2017 fantasy football outlook

SEATTLE, WA - JANUARY 07: Steven Hauschka
SEATTLE, WA - JANUARY 07: Steven Hauschka /

The Buffalo Bills gained a significant boost in special teams production following the release of Dan Carpenter and the signing of Steven Hauschka. In 2016, Hauschka outdid Carpenter by 40 fantasy points. That margin can win or lose you a season.

Kickers are players you pick up in the waning rounds of the draft after you’ve already started admiring the rest of your roster. And that is right where they belong. The highest scoring kicker (Matt Bryant) scored 0.9 points less than the 6th highest scoring wide receiver (Julio Jones). That is precisely the reason there is someone who drafts a kicker six or seven rounds too early each year.

In a theory referred to as “value based drafting” or VBD. VBD is a way to retroactively compare two players at different positions. It establishes the “baseline” as ESPN refers to it as, and then measures to see how well a player exceeds their baseline.

So if 50 wide receivers are taken in a draft and ten kickers, then the baseline for each position would be the 60th receiver and 10th kicker. These are the differences in each position:

  • #1 Scoring Wide Receiver – Mike Evans (208.1 points)
  • #50 Scoring Receiver – Jordan Matthews (98.4 points) – Baseline
  • #1 Scoring Kicker – Matt Bryant (176 points)
  • #10 Scoring Kicker – Dan Bailey (135 points) – Baseline

As you can see, the separation between the first and last player at each position is very different. 109.7 points for wide receivers and 41 points for kickers.

So let them take their kickers early, I’ll take my late-round Cam Meredith snag.

With all of that being said, if you are just analyzing the kickers and not comparing it to other positions then Steven Hauschka is a good fantasy player, not great.

Here is what Scout.com said about Hauschka:

"Steven Hauschka (K) – Over the last four seasons with Seattle, Hauschka averaged 31.5 made field goals on 35 attempts per season. This works out to a 90 percent success rate. Steven was exceptional from 50 yards or more in 2015 (6-for-6) while having a solid resume in this area for his career (16-for-24). Over the last two years, he did miss 10 of his 79-extra point tries. This is surprising when you consider he’s only missed one field goal attempts of 39 yards or less over his last 99 chances. Last year the Bills only had 25 field goal attempts while scoring 47 TDs. Hauschka has a solid leg, but the Bills run the ball well in close. He’ll have to battle the weather condition late in the year. Only a matchup player in the season long games unless Buffalo’s defense is much improved."

Hauschka’s reliability on extra point kicks is nothing short of a liability. His aptness to miss high-pressure kicks is what moved him out of Seattle. When you can’t hit the chip shots, it hurts your confidence for the ones that matter.

ESPN has Hauschka projected to score the 22nd highest total of kickers with 120 points.

It is important to draft a player by what you believe he will do this year, not what he did the year prior. And Hauschka will most likely perform worse this year.

It is nearly impossible to predict how a kicker will do. One tell-tale sign is usually if the player is on a high scoring offense. The top scoring kicker this year was on one of the top scoring offenses of all time. No surprise there. The kickers residing in Buffalo, Cleveland, Chicago, and Los Angeles all were at the bottom in fantasy points.

Here are ESPN’s projections for Steven Hauschka:

  • Total Kicks – 24.7/28.9
  • Extra Points – 37.3/39.3
  • Total Fantasy Points – 119.7

Unless you’re competing in a 22-team league, I would stay away from Hauschka.

Next: Buffalo Bills: LeSean McCoy 2017 fantasy football outlook

Do you agree with my thoughts on Steven Hauschka? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!