NFC West: Nick Folk
That is something to keep in mind when wondering what veteran kicker the San Francisco 49ers might pursue after releasing David Akers this week.
While the 49ers likely will sign a veteran, they should consider using one of their league-high 12 draft choices -- a total expected to rise when the NFL distributes compensatory selections -- for the best rookie kicker they can find.
Those percentages for rookies versus veterans say as much.
Of course, field goal percentages aren't everything because all attempts aren't created equal, even when from the same distance. It's also possible an aversion to trusting rookie kickers has removed from the pool all but the exceptional ones, distorting comparisons to a broader field of veteran kickers.
But that 86.7 percent success rate should get the 49ers' attention as they seek low-cost alternatives to an acclaimed veteran such as Akers, whose 69 percent success rate ranked 34th out of 36 qualifying kickers last season.
Minnesota's Blair Walsh (92.1 percent), Baltimore's Justin Tucker (90.9) and St. Louis' Greg Zuerlein (74.2) combined to make 86.3 percent as the only rookies to attempt field goals last season.
Filtering for venue and distance, I noticed that rookies made 29 of 42 field goal tries (69 percent) since 2008 when kicking outdoors on natural grass from longer than 40 yards. Veterans made 621 of 913 (68 percent).
The results cited here are far from conclusive, which is the point. A rookie kicker might not be a bad option for the 49ers.
Phil Dawson, Rob Bironas, Nate Kaeding, Lawrence Tynes, Nick Folk, Josh Brown, Mike Nugent, Jason Hanson, Steven Hauschka, Ryan Longwell, Shayne Graham, Olindo Mare and Nick Novak are among the veterans without contracts for 2013. Check out our Free Agent Tracker for ranks of kickers and all free agents.
- Leader: mboles52, who overtook two-week leader Billy Shears. His lineup: Aaron Rodgers (47 points), Drew Brees (19), Adrian Peterson (8), Darren McFadden (11), Calvin Johnson (21), Andre Johnson (3), Jimmy Graham (19), Nick Folk (5), Ravens defense (25).
- High score of the week: digitool, with 184 points. Lineup: Rodgers (47), Michael Vick (31), Beanie Wells (31), Maurice Jones-Drew (8), DeSean Jackson (17), Steve Smith (18), Vernon Davis (10), David Akers (6), Green Bay Packers (16).
- My team: tied for 481st place out of 1,508 entries, 68.8 percentile. Down from 418th place and 71.2 percentile last week. Johnson's hamstring injury proved costly, limiting the Houston Texans receiver to three points.
- My wife's team: tied for 164th, 89.5 percentile. Down from 66th place and 95.7 percentile. She got a combined eight points from Mike Wallace and Rob Gronkowski. Sorry to hear about that.
- Dan Graziano's team: tied for 650th, 58.1 percentile. Another shutout at tight end with Antonio Gates in the lineup.
- NFC West matchup to watch: Percy Harvin, Bernard Berrian and the Minnesota Vikings' receivers against the Arizona Cardinals' defense. The Vikings haven't been a big-play passing team. Harvin and Berrian have no receptions longer than 22 yards. The Cardinals' defense has allowed 23 pass plays of at least 20 yards, the second-highest total in the league behind New England's 30. Something figures to give.
Who is your fantasy sleeper play of the week?
- Leader: Billy Shears, with 330 points. Had Rob Gronkowski going at tight end for 20 points. Every player on his team scored in double figures for Week 2.
- High score of the week: Joey4King1, with 187 points. Lineup: Matthew Stafford (27), Drew Brees (22), Adrian Peterson (26), Darren McFadden (26), Larry Fitzgerald (19), Andre Johnson (15), Gronkowski (20), Nick Folk (12), Pittsburgh Steelers defense (20).
- My team: 693rd place out of 1,391, 53.3 percentile. Sticking with Vernon Davis and wondering if this is the week he breaks out. Had Jamaal Charles going in Week 2. Ouch.
- My wife's team: 17th place, 98.7 percentile. That's right, my wife is dominating this league and letting me hear about it every day. She also had Gronkowski going, plus the New York Jets' defense (24) and the Steelers' Mike Wallace (18).
- Dan Graziano's team: 595th place, 59.6 percentile. Big week (155) despite zero points from tight end Antonio Gates. Michael Vick was the only player on his roster from the division Dan covers. Hey, whatever it takes.
- NFC West matchup to watch: Baltimore's Ray Rice against the St. Louis Rams, who have allowed more rushing yards than any team in the league. The Rams should be much better than that, and I think they will be. But can they slow Rice this week?
Why the asterisk in the headline? A Sando is, indeed, in 17th place out of all those entries. It's just not me.
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike SandoThe Seahawks hold the fourth, 37th, 68th, 105th, 137th, 178th, 213th, 245th, 247th and 248th choices in the 2009 draft. For perspective, I've singled out the last four players chosen in those spots.
Seattle drafted one of those players: offensive lineman Ray Willis, taken 105th in 2005, Tim Ruskell's first season as team president.
The Seahawks have four seventh-round choices this year. Ruskell's teams have fared well drafting in the seventh round. The last five players his teams have drafted in the round remain on NFL rosters, all drafted since 2006: Justin Forsett, Brandon Coutu, Steve Vallos, Ryan Plackemeier and Ben Obomanu.
Ninety-five of the 132 seventh-round choices drafted by other teams during the same span remain on NFL rosters.