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Fantasy Football 2012: Introducing Baltimore Ravens' Rookie Kicker Justin Tucker

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Fantasy Football 2012: Introducing Baltimore Ravens' Rookie Kicker Justin Tucker
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Baltimore Ravens fans remember it all too well: that 32-yard field goal that went wide left in the AFC Championship Game in the closing seconds against the Patriots. The reminder of that blunder will be less evident in the 2012 season, as kicker Billy Cundiff has been released from the team.

In his place is undrafted rookie Justin Tucker, who played his college ball at Texas. Tucker will represent an almost $2 million relief to the Ravens' salary cap.

Tucker is an interesting fantasy option at kicker. Baltimore admires his leg strength, as the rookie has kicked a perfect 5-of-5 field goals (including 2-of-2 from 50 yards or greater) during the preseason. Meanwhile, the Ravens were 1-for-6 from beyond 50 yards in the 2011 regular season.

The team tied for third in the NFL in field-goal attempts last season. They were also in the top half in the league in extra-point attempts, so Tucker should get plenty of opportunities to get points on the board.

On the shoulders of Ray Rice, the Baltimore Ravens have been fairly consistent in offering kickers field-goal chances. The team attempted at least one field goal in every game of the 2011 regular season. It attempted multiple field goals in 11 games, and kickers had at least three tries at field goals in almost half of the team’s contests (seven).

Similarly, a Baltimore kicker attempted (and made) at least three extra points in half of their games last year. The Ravens had nine games in which the kicker attempted multiple extra points and multiple field goals.

Kickers are not recommended to be drafted prior to the last round in fantasy drafts. So if the other owners in your league have selected kickers on teams with perennially potent offenses like Green Bay, New England and New Orleans, you can rest easy in selecting an incoming rookie at the tail end of your fantasy draft.

Justin Tucker and his St. Louis counterpart Greg Zuerlein should provide the value that good kickers do while costing you very little since most casual fans don't know their names.

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