An improving Raiders offense helped Janikowski last season, as his 35 attempts were his most since 2011. His conversion rate also improved from the year before, though it still ranked 18th. Always known for his strong leg, Janikowski tied for fourth in the league with eight attempts from 50-plus yards. Unfortunately, he made only three, which was half as many as the next lowest to try eight or more. The Raiders' offense is expected to be solid again, which should keep Janikowski as a serviceable, albeit not an elite, fantasy option.
Janikowski has been a mainstay in Oakland since the Raiders selected him in the first round (17th overall) of the 2000 draft, but he’s been far from a reliable fantasy option in recent seasons. He’s failed to connect on even 22 field goals in the last three years, hitting 81 percent of his attempts just once in that span. The Raiders’ offense improved last season, going from 31st in total points to 17th, but their kicker scoring continued to lag, improving from 29th to 26th. One draw for Janikowski is his perceived strong leg, but it hasn’t turned into additional fantasy points for distance, as he’s ranked outside the top-10 in attempts beyond 50 yards in both of the last two seasons.
One could look at Janikowski's poor 2014 season (27th in scoring) and point to the Raiders' 31st-ranked scoring offense, though the issues were even worse from Janikowski's perspective. The Raiders were last in red-zone opportunities (1.8 per game) but converted a league-high 71.4 percent — i.e., the rare times they did get close to the end zone, they only needed Janikowski for the PAT. The offense should be better in 2015, as quarterback Derek Carr has a full season under his belt, and the team added wide receivers Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper, after running back Latavius Murray emerged late last season. But it's far from an elite unit, and Janikowski likely will be hard pressed to make a significant jump.
Janikowski saw his scoring drop for the fourth consecutive season in 2013, finishing with just 100 points. Although the Raiders’ three-headed quarterback disaster didn’t do him many favors, Janikowski failed to capitalize on his limited opportunities, connecting on a league-worst 70 percent of his kicks. The lack of accuracy was a surprising development, considering he hit a career-best 91.2 percent of his field goals a season earlier. The solid accuracy rates and long-range capabilities Janikowski demonstrated prior to 2013 would seem to foretell improvement, but an offense that still appears to lack explosive playmakers looms as a major hindrance to his scoring total.
Considering the Raiders finished 26th in scoring offense, Janikowski's 118 points last season are a respectable output. Even so, it was far off the pace of his previous two seasons in which he scored 142 and 129 points, respectively. Janikowski has improved his accuracy over the years and last season converted a career-high 91.2 percent of his field goals (31-of-34). His problem was the Raiders afforded him only 25 PATs. That probably won't change this season, unless it gets worse. But Janikowski still holds value, especially in leagues that reward long-distance kicks. He has perhaps the strongest leg in the league, hitting 6-of-9 from 50-plus last season. The last two years, he's made 13 field goals from long range.
Janikowski took a step back from his 142-point 2010 performance, but he still posted a fantasy-worthy 129 points last season. For leagues that reward long-distance field goals, he was even more valuable, hitting 7-of-10 from 50-plus. Few kickers are as trusted from long range as Janikowski, who has attempted at least seven field goals of 50-plus in six consecutive seasons, including making an NFL record-tying 63-yarder in Week 1 last season. Unlike many top kickers, though, Janikowski isn’t supported by a prolific offense, which is why it was reasonable to assume the Raiders wouldn’t again offer Janikowski 40-plus field goals and 40-plus PATs as they did in 2010. Still, 35 and 36, respectively, are healthy numbers, and Janikowski helped himself by improving his field-goal accuracy to 88.6 percent. Improved play from Carson Palmer this season should give Janikowski enough opportunities to match last season’s production at the very least.
Janikowski came out of nowhere last season to finish second in kicker scoring with 142 points. The Raiders' 44 touchdowns were an amazing 27-touchdown improvement over 2009, and it was the team's highest total since 2002. Janikowski made a career-high 33 field goals in 2010 and tied for the league-lead with 41 attempts. The obvious concern is that it will be difficult for the Raiders to duplicate 2010 when almost everything went right for the offense. While the Raiders passing attack was much improved over the days of JaMarcus Russell, the combination of Jason Campbell and Bruce Gradkowski still produced just 18 passing touchdowns. Janikowski has two things going for him entering 2011, though. First, he has one of the NFL's strongest legs, making a league-leading 19 field goals beyond 50 yards the last four seasons (4-of-7 last year). Second, despite the great running game, the Raiders only scored touchdowns on 52.1 percent of their red-zone opportunities last season. Given the quarterback situation, that number can't be expected to improve significantly, which means more field goals for Janikowski. Accuracy has never been Janikowski's strong suit, but if he kicks closer to 2009's 89.7 percent than last year's 80.5 percent, it might help offset a drop in opportunities. Janikowski likely won’t repeat his 2010 performance, but he should still have decent value.
Janikowski might have been the Raiders’ best
offensive player last season. Despite the team
scoring just 17 touchdowns, Janikowski totaled
95 points thanks to improved field-goal accuracy.
He converted a career-high 89.7 percent,
going 26-of-29. He also impressed from long
distance, making 6-of-8 from 50-plus.
Janikowski has attempted 33 field goals from
that distance the last four years, making 18. The
Raiders offense should improve with new quarterback
Jason Campbell, whose accuracy and
decision making are far superior to that of last
year’s QB, JaMarcus Russell. If that happens,
Janikowski might actually crack 100 points for
the first time since 2004.
Janikowski hasn’t broken 100 points since 2004, and the pieces in Oakland don’t appear to be there for it to happen in 2009. The Raiders, who finished 29th in scoring and last in passing yards last season, expect marked improvement from quarterback JaMarcus Russell this season, but questions abound about Javon Walker’s health and rookie Darrius Heyward-Bey’s NFL readiness. And even if Oakland improves, Janikowski’s accuracy isn’t helpful. His field-goal percentage over the last four years is 72.6, and after kicking six 50-yarders in 2007, he had three last year.
Despite attempting his most field goals since
2002 and kicking 12 more extra points in 2007
than in 2006, Janikowski still failed to crack
100 points for the third straight season. His leg
remains strong – an NFL-leading six field goals
from beyond 50 yards last season – but his accuracy is still lousy. He was 23-of-32 last season and is just 72.4 percent over the last three. (Even excluding his 21 attempts from beyond 50 yards, he's still only at 78.8 percent the last three years.) The Raiders offense should improve, if only slightly, this season with another year of experience for JaMarcus Russell and the addition of running back Darren McFadden. If so, Janikowski
might finally break 100 points, but he's still a
long way from being a reliable fantasy starter.
The 2006 Raiders offense was one of the worst in NFL history. The team scored just 16 touchdowns, which would have placed them third among NFL running backs. Janikowski has struggled the past two seasons, hitting just 38-of-55 field goal attempts. With the loss of Randy Moss and inexperience at quarterback, the Raiders will struggle to score once again. Coach Lane Kiffin might get it turned around in Oakland, but it’s likely to take a couple seasons.
He appeared to be settling in after a rough start to his career, but dropped to a 66.7 percent conversion rate in 2005 as the Raiders regressed as a franchise. Janikowski can be a valuable kicker with a good offense, but unless Randy Moss returns to his pre-injury form, we don’t see a lot of improvement for the Raiders on that side of the ball this season.
The Raiders offense dropped off the last two seasons, finishing below the league average in touchdowns and field goal attempts. That has served to limit Janikowski to 94 and 106 points in 2003 and 2004, respectively. Those are middle-of-the-pack numbers. He’s done what’s asked of him, hitting 88.7 percent (47-of-53) over that time. Last season’s improvement should continue in 2005 with the addition of Randy Moss, and quarterback Kerry Collins in charge of the Raiders offense for the second consecutive season. If the Raiders can find the end zone more often and get Janikowski more FGA, Sea Bass should return to the 115-120-point level.
After a shaky rookie season, Janikowski has hit 82.6 percent of his kicks over the last three years. He could be ranked higher if the Raiders offense were a sure thing in 2004. Janikowski fell off by 34 points in 2003, including 22 fewer extra points. The club only needs modest offensive improvement to return Janikowski to triple-digits.
Janikowski gets a bump largely because he kicks for a team that moves the ball. Oakland's offense ranked No. 1 in the league last year, resulting in Janikowski's most prolific season with 128 points (50 from extra points). He still has trouble with consistency from 40-49 yards (21 of 35, 60 percent), but he was a perfect 2 of 2 from beyond the 50.