Why not a punter?
By Steve Schwarz, Fantasy Sports Editor
Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - I was introduced to former NFL punter Sean Landeta at work recently. He played from 1985-2005 for five different teams, but I remember him primarily with the hated New York Giants and beloved Philadelphia Eagles. (Sorry I'm Philly born and bred.)
He was pretty good too, making three All-Pro teams (1986, '89, '90).
Nice guy. We spent a couple of minutes talking football.
As we were parting company I mentioned I was the Fantasy Sports Editor here at the Sports Network. I also said I was sorry, but punters were not a part of fantasy football.
Landeta nodded understandingly.
But it got me to thinking. Why not?
I play in about half a dozen NFL fantasy leagues every season. One quarterback leagues. Two quarterback leagues. An IDP league (Individual Defensive Player). A keeper league. A league which doesn't differentiate between RB, WR, TE ... you can have any combination of seven.
But in no league does a punter have any fantasy value.
It's time people.
If a punter can be elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame (Ray Guy in 2014), we can figure out a way to include punters in fantasy football. They are, after all, a part of the game.
They certainly shouldn't be valued more than any quarterback, running back, wide receiver or tight end. Therefore, I've tried to make a punters' fantasy value roughly about the same as place-kickers.
So here goes ...
The NFL's punting average is 45.28 yards per punt. But a long kick isn't necessarily a good kick. We've all seen a punter "out-kick" his coverage team and watched as it gets returned a long way. That's not a good punt. We want distance and hang time. I prefer net punting average. For 2013 the league average was 40.89 yards per punt. So we can give two points for each kick with a net average of 41 yards or more. Less than 41 yards equals zero points.
And we shouldn't penalize a punter when his team's drive stalls on the wrong side of the 50-yard line and the coach doesn't have a place-kicker with a strong enough foot. So to neutralize a short field the punter gets one point for kicks pinning an opponent inside the opponent's 20-yard line.
If you can't, instead blasting a kick into the end zone for a touchback and giving the opposing team the ball at the 20-yard line, a one-point deduction is in order.
A blocked punt is as valuable to a defense as a turnover. Defenses aren't credited with points for a blocked punt. But a punter should be penalized. Minus two points.
Finally, a five-point deduction for a punt returned for a touchdown. That's a game-changer and should be dealt with as such.
All the information needed can be taken from an official NFL box score.
Punter Scoring Summary -
1) Punts with a net average of 41 points = plus two points.
2) Punts downed inside the 20-yard line = plus one point.
3) Touchbacks = minus one point.
4) Blocked punt = minus two points.
5) Punts returned for touchdowns = minus five points.
08/17 10:05:59 ET