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Why not a punter?
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - I was introduced to former NFL punter Sean Landeta at work recently. He played from 1985-2005 for five different teams, but I remember him primarily with the hated New York Giants and beloved Philadelphia Eagles. (Sorry I'm Philly born and bred.)

He was pretty good too, making three All-Pro teams (1986, '89, '90).

Nice guy. We spent a couple of minutes talking football.

As we were parting company I mentioned I was the Fantasy Sports Editor here at the Sports Network. I also said I was sorry, but punters were not a part of fantasy football.

Landeta nodded understandingly.

But it got me to thinking. Why not?

I play in about half a dozen NFL fantasy leagues every season. One quarterback leagues. Two quarterback leagues. An IDP league (Individual Defensive Player). A keeper league. A league which doesn't differentiate between RB, WR, TE ... you can have any combination of seven.

But in no league does a punter have any fantasy value.

It's time people.

If a punter can be elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame (Ray Guy in 2014), we can figure out a way to include punters in fantasy football. They are, after all, a part of the game.

They certainly shouldn't be valued more than any quarterback, running back, wide receiver or tight end. Therefore, I've tried to make a punters' fantasy value roughly about the same as place-kickers.

So here goes ...

The NFL's punting average is 45.28 yards per punt. But a long kick isn't necessarily a good kick. We've all seen a punter "out-kick" his coverage team and watched as it gets returned a long way. That's not a good punt. We want distance and hang time. I prefer net punting average. For 2013 the league average was 40.89 yards per punt. So we can give two points for each kick with a net average of 41 yards or more. Less than 41 yards equals zero points.

And we shouldn't penalize a punter when his team's drive stalls on the wrong side of the 50-yard line and the coach doesn't have a place-kicker with a strong enough foot. So to neutralize a short field the punter gets one point for kicks pinning an opponent inside the opponent's 20-yard line.

If you can't, instead blasting a kick into the end zone for a touchback and giving the opposing team the ball at the 20-yard line, a one-point deduction is in order.

A blocked punt is as valuable to a defense as a turnover. Defenses aren't credited with points for a blocked punt. But a punter should be penalized. Minus two points.

Finally, a five-point deduction for a punt returned for a touchdown. That's a game-changer and should be dealt with as such.

All the information needed can be taken from an official NFL box score.

Punter Scoring Summary -

1) Punts with a net average of 41 points = plus two points.

2) Punts downed inside the 20-yard line = plus one point.

3) Touchbacks = minus one point.

4) Blocked punt = minus two points.

5) Punts returned for touchdowns = minus five points.




Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at sschwarz@sportsnetwork.com.


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