Punter Rankings - Week 8
Without question, the biggest fantasy punting surprise is the Patriots’ Ryan Allen. His pedigree (two-time Ray Guy Award winner) suggested that he’d do just fine at the NFL level, but there was good reason to wonder how busy he’d be punting for Tom Brady’s team. However, as Brady’s struggled to develop chemistry with a raw, injury-riddled receiving corps, Allen has found himself to be unexpectedly busy through the season’s first seven weeks. Allen’s booted the ball 42 times thus far this season, putting him fourth in the league. To put that number into context, his predecessor (Zoltan Mesko, now with the Steelers) punted only 60 times all last season. Unless things turn around quickly for the Pats’ offense, it’s a good bet that Allen will surpass Mesko’s opportunity total by 30% (or more), giving him the opportunity to put up full-season fantasy numbers that far surpass what was expected for the rookie out of Louisiana Tech.
As for disappointments, perhaps most notable is the Texans’ Shane Lechler. Long one of the league’s finest punters, he hasn’t enjoyed great success since relocating from Oakland to Houston. It was expected that his fantasy stats would fall, as he was moving from a mediocre Raiders team to a Texans club expected to compete for the AFC Championship. Instead, the Texans have played poorly, getting off to a rocky 2-5 start, but Lechler hasn’t been able to take advantage. He hasn’t posted a single top-5 performance thus far this season, and if the Texans’ offense rebounds, it won’t help him regain his status as an elite fantasy punter. The one good sign in Lechler’s favor is his ability to drop punts inside the 20 yard line; he’s done it 17 times thus far this year, putting him fourth in the league.