Anyone who plays fantasy football knows that a good defense and a good kicker can sometimes go a long way in boosting your chances at winning your weekly games in the right circumstances. However, finding reliably consistent week-to-week production from these areas is difficult. Fantasy football, by nature, is an incredibly fickle and luck-based activity and it can often become an exercise in wild guessing. You can play the best D in the league against the Jacksonville Jaguars thinking you have 20 points in the bag and that will happen to be the one week where Blaine Gabbert gets inspired and throws for 624 yards and 9 touchdowns. This unpredictability is part of what makes fantasy a fun hobby, but it can also be maddeningly frustrating. Personally, the Seattle Seahawks defense has treated me pretty well all season, but I know full well that on any week they could get absolutely torched and I’ll be left with -4 points wondering why I didn’t hit the waiver wire for a more seasoned defensive juggernaut.
Enter Steven Hauschka. Everyone knows that one of the main strengths of the Seahawks is their incredible depth. Most of their back-ups would and could be starters on any other team in the NFL. One of the best demonstrations of this depth can be seen in the fact that their kicker is quietly asserting himself as the best in the NFL. This season, Hauschka is one of the leading scorers in the league. He’s connected on 24 of his 25 field goal attempts (96%), including 3 of more than 50 yards and 9 from 40-49 yards. Impressive work. Also, next time the Seahawks attempt a field goal, just watch how smooth he is. He glides in there and makes 45-50 yard kicks look effortless. It’s really quite aesthetically beautiful honestly, but that’s beside the point.
In Week 10 against Atlanta, Hauschka punched in 4 field goals (including a 53-yarder) and 3 extra points for a total of 19 fantasy points. 19! From a kicker. Now, every kicker has their day every once in a while. But for Hauschka, this type of production has become the norm. Save for a 2-point performance against the Rams in Week 8 where the Seahawks didn’t attempt any field goals, Hauschka has netted less than 9 fantasy points only one time this entire year. In addition to the 19-point outburst, the Seattle kicker has a wide array of impressive performances on his resume, including:
-13 point efforts against Houston in week 4, Arizona in week 7 and Minnesota in week 11
-16 points in the Seahawks lone loss against Indianapolis in week 5
-3 other games where he has cashed in 9 points.
You’ll have to take my word for it when I tell you that this production has saved my fantasy team in multiple match-ups this season. In fact, it’s become a running joke among my friends in the league that Hauschka is my most dominant player. A true force to be reckoned with.
Hauschka’s elite season was a pleasant surprise for me from a fantasy perspective, but has also become a great security blanket for Pete Carroll and Seattle fans alike. A shaky kicker can really be a game-changer so the ability to confidently trot out Hauschka for 50+ yard attempts should give fans peace of mind when the need to kick does happen to come up. This performance is also interesting given the fact that it has undeniably been his best year. Hauschka was a soccer player at Middleburry College before transferring and becoming the full-time field goal kicker for North Carolina State. Since being signed by the Vikings as an undrafted free agent in 2008, he’s done time on the Ravens, Falcons, Lions and Broncos. And as recently as 2010 he even played on the Las Vegas Locomotives of the United Football League.
Of course, now that I’ve written this, I’m sure Hauschka will have a psychotic break, miss his next 11 extra points, start attempting inappropriately timed onside kicks and thus doom me to fantasy irrelevance. But for now, we should all appreciate the Seahawks great depth and the fact that it doesn’t just apply to their running game or secondary, but their soon-to-be Pro Bowl kicker as well.