Getting a Kick Out of the Preseason
By: mike.beacom | 8/17/10, 4:29 PM EDT
Fantasy owners often put too much stock in preseason results. Other than the neck-and-neck camp battles and the players showing us how well they have returned from an injury, preseason action offers little to interpret. Teams limit reps and sometimes shy away from proven players to test unknown talent. Trying to analyze what it all means can be a waste of time.
In some cases, though, preseason box scores can say plenty. Take Cleveland kicker Phil Dawson, for example. For many years fantasy owners have passed over Dawson simply because he does not generate enough points. How could he? The Browns spend such little time in opposing territory.
Against Green Bay on Saturday, though, Dawson showed fantasy owners two things they can make note of: leg strength and success under pressure. With less than two minutes on the clock, Dawson nailed a career-long 58-yarder to tie the game, then made a 46-yarder in the final seconds to win it.
In 11 NFL seasons, Dawson has topped the 110-point mark just once (2007) and has finished among the league’s top 20 in kicker scoring just five times. Dawson is still not a top-tier kicker, but if he wins over the trust of the coaching staff for long-range attempts, and if Cleveland’s offense makes the strides team president Mike Holmgren and coach Eric Mangini expect it will, the 35-year-old Dawson might just finally be ready to push into the upper half of the league’s fantasy kickers.
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