Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
If you're heading to Foxboro this weekend, you won't see Rob Gronkowski. But you will see Stephen Gostkowski and if I had to guess, you'll see a lot of him on Sunday.
Gostkowski has been active all year for the Patriots. In fact, his 37 field goal attempts this season are second to Ravens field goal machine Justin Tucker. But now that Gronkowski (torn ACL) is done for the year, Gostkowski may be even more dangerous than before.
It's true. Believe it or not, there's actually a correlation between Gostkowski's productivity and the star tight end's presence on the football field. Gostkowski attempted 15 field goals in Gronk's seven games this season.
Not bad. But when you see what he's done without Gronk, you'd be amazed. In New England's eight Gronk-less games in 2013, Gostkowski has booted 20 field goals on 22 attempts. That's an average of 2.8 attempts per game. With Gronk in the lineup, he averaged only 2.1.
And it makes sense doesn't it? Without its best receiver, New England has had trouble finding the end zone. Even if the Pats put up a 50-spot in Week 17, it will be their lowest-scoring season since 2009.
With touchdowns harder to come by, the Patriots have had to settle for field goals, a concept that certainly resonates with thrilled Stephen Gostkowski fantasy owners.
Though Buffalo (New England's Week 17 opponent) managed to keep Miami off the scoreboard in Week 16, the Bills had allowed ten or more fantasy points to kickers in each of their previous three games and in five of their last six. Gostkowski, who has made at least two field goals in every game this season, should continue that trend. That was reason enough to make him our No. 1 fantasy kicker for Week 17.
Top-25 Kicker Rankings
1) Stephen Gostkowski, New England
2) Caleb Sturgis, Miami
3) Shaun Suisham, Pittsburgh
4) Shayne Graham, New Orleans
5) Kai Forbath, Washington
6) Matt Prater, Denver
7) Robbie Gould, Chicago
8) Steven Hauschka, Seattle
9) Rob Bironas, Tennessee
10) Adam Vinatieri, Indianapolis
11) Blair Walsh, Minnesota
12) Justin Tucker, Baltimore
13) Mike Nugent, Cincinnati
14) Graham Gano, Carolina
15) Alex Henery, Philadelphia
16) Jay Feely, Arizona
17) Josh Brown, New York Giants
18) Ryan Succop, Kansas City
19) Nick Folk, New York Jets
20) Matt Bryant, Atlanta
21) Dan Bailey, Dallas
22) Nick Novak, San Diego
23) Sebastian Janikowski, Oakland
24) David Akers, Detroit
25) Billy Cundiff, Cleveland