In Pro Football Prospectus 2007, the Arizona Cardinals chapter contains an article by Aaron Schatz titled, "Is Field-Goal Percentage Useless?". In it, Mr. Schatz makes a convincing argument that FG% on kicks greater than 40 yards is a meaningless metric in terms of predictive value. As a matter of statistical fact:
In demonstrating this application to real-life NFL decisions, Mr. Schatz hits upon two fantasy sleeper kickers, New England's Stephen Gostowski and New Orlean's Orlindo Mare. Building up to this, he provides this factoid to segue into both kickers.
professional field-goal tries. The rookie stabilized after that, going 12-for-14 the rest of the year. More importantly, he was a beast on kick-offs...These mistaken decisions [using FG% to determine a change in kicker rather than kick-off distance] continued in the most recent off-season. Olindo Mare was awful on field goals last year, hitting just 72% of his attempts, so Miami dealt him to New Orleans for a sixth-round pick.
Am I the only fantasy player who read that last sentence and thought about the explosive New Orleans offense and about plenty of scoring opportunities for Mare - and inside a dome for home games! I checked Mare's PFP2007 projection and was somewhat deflated to only see Mare projected for 101 points and 38 XPs. However, Gostowski is projected to be the best kicker in 2007 with 148 pts and 48 XPs. Fortunately, neither kicker is coming off the draft boards early ridiculously early.
The article concludes with this:
For fantasy that means ignoring the success of last year's kickers when looking at FG% on 40+ yard kicks and paying attention to the least successful amongst them. From last season's figures, Rob Bironas (50%), Phil Dawson (50%), Jeff Reed (57.1%) look good.