I enjoyed writing the first four days of my Fantasy Fodder 2011 season preview. Today is not as exciting, though, because all that’s left are the kickers and the defense-special teams combinations. You guys know by now that you shouldn’t address these areas until the end of your draft, so let’s get right to the rankings.
(If you have a scorching question about Josh Scobee or if you absolutely need to know if the Browns’ D/ST is worth a late-round flyer, shoot me a question on Twitter or leave it in the comments section. I can’t wait.)
On to the kicker rankings…
1. Stephen Gostkowski, Patriots: He’s again my top kicker, but don’t take him until the last two rounds.
2. Nate Kaeding, Chargers: The Chargers offense should get a boost with a full year of Vincent Jackson.
3. Mason Crosby, Packers: At the very least, he’ll be kicking a lot of extra points this season.
4. Sebastian Janikowski, Raiders: This large man has a large leg, but he can be erratic.
5. Neil Rackers, Texans: He has settled in with the Texans after the Cardinals jettisoned him after the 2009 season.
6. Billy Cundiff, Ravens: If you only got fantasy points for touchbacks…
7. Rob Bironas, Titans: This is one guy who is hoping Chris Johnson ends his holdout soon.
8. Matt Bryant, Falcons: The Falcons have a ton of red-zone weapons, which hurts his value.
9. Robbie Gould, Bears: He’s got a strong leg, he’s accurate and it’s a Mike Martz offense.
10. Alex Henery, Eagles: I’d probably put David Akers here, and Henery is expected to be just as reliable.
11. Dan Carpenter, Dolphins: He faltered down the stretch last season. Let’s hope he gets back on track.
12. Josh Brown, Rams: One of the NFL’s best kickers, he’ll get more opportunities thanks to Sam Bradford.
13. Garrett Hartley, Saints: The Saints are confident enough in Hartley that they didn’t bring in competition.
14. Lawrence Tynes, Giants: Tynes has scored at least 100 points in six of his seven seasons.
15. Adam Vinatieri, Colts: The old guy is still going. He missed just two of his 28 attempts in 2010.
And your D/ST rankings…
1. Steelers: They get sacks, force turnovers and keep opponents out of the end zone…
2. Packers: …And the same can be said for the Packers, so it’s no surprise they met in the Super Bowl.
3. Patriots: The Patriots, who forced 38 turnovers last season, added Albert Haynesworth to the mix.
4. Ravens: If Chuck Pagano lives up to the billing, sacks and interceptions should go up in 2011.
5. Jets: If only the Jets would have been able to sign Nnamdi Asomugha…
6. Chargers: The Chargers had the NFL’s top-ranked defense last year, but they only forced 23 turnovers.
7. Saints: The Saints have quietly upgraded their defense, especially on the defensive line.
8. Giants: The Giants recovered 23 fumbles in 2010, a crazy stat they aren’t going to duplicate.
9. Bears: I expect the Bears and their defense to take a step back in 2011
10. Eagles: They’re going to have one of the best defenses in the league, but will it translate to fantasy?
11. Vikings: Don’t forget about the Vikings defense. Last year was a down year, but they will bounce back.
12. Lions: Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley should create havoc on the defensive line for years
13. Cowboys: What will Rob Ryan be able to do with the caliber of talent the Cowboys have?
14. Falcons: This defense will be dangerous if they can muster a pass rush outside of John Abraham.
15. Chiefs: The Chiefs appear to be on the rise, and they should have one of the NFL’s best return games.
Matt Vensel is a blogger and community coordinator for The Baltimore Sun. Send your fantasy questions and comments to Matt.Vensel@baltsun.com, @mattvensel on Twitter or leave them in the comments section below.