Mason Crosby and the Other Stars of Doinktober

Green Bay Packers K Mason Crosby
Green Bay Packers K Mason Crosby
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

You know, this was supposed to be an easy week. I was travelling, could only pay half-attention on Sunday, so I figured I'd just talk about the best team names in the league and call it a day; something nice and simple and funny, leeching off of celebrating the creativity of our players.

And then the Kickers Union had to go and screw up all of those plans by shattering Loserdom standards.

Week 5 saw kickers around the league miss 14 field goals and 13 extra points. That missed extra point mark is a new NFL record by quite some margin. It's the first time we have ever seen double-digit missed field goals and double-digit missed extra points in the same week. It's the most missed kicks of any variety in over 35 years. It's even stranger that this happened in October; we didn't have much in the way of terrible weather to affect things. Sure, we saw a little bit of rain, and it wasn't like the wind ceased to exist or anything, but it wasn't one of those weeks where every other game is being played in a mudpit. No, after weeks of 60-plus-yard kicks and game-winners coming a dime-a-dozen, the NFL Kickers Association decided to remind us all that a kicker's lot in life is to make us all miserable, tearing our hair out and gnashing our teeth.

It says something that the Patriots-Texans game, which saw three missed extra points in a row, wasn't the craziest kicking performance we saw. It says something that the fact that the Jaguars still have not made a field goal through five weeks of football isn't the most impressive stat of the week. The Bengals and Packers missed five game-winning field goals in a span of eight minutes; the win probability graph there looks more like a really, really bad cardiogram than a professional football game.

GB-CIN GWC graph

All in all, kickers around the league generated 142 Loser League points in Week 5, with six of them clocking in at 0 or below. Just for a comparison, when we were baffled by seven missed extra points in Week 3, they combined to score 165; it's extraordinarily difficult for an entire position to average less than five points per player. It takes a concerted effort from all involved, a real legendary performance from all parties. We here at the Loser League salute you.

And what better way to celebrate this feat than by questioning everyone's job security! In the interest of time and sanity, I'm taking a page out of my old Bleacher Report days and bringing back the listicle, a surefire way to bust out highly viral content with a minimum amount of actual work. I'd put it on multiple pages you have to click through, but I'm already seeing my editors beginning to shoot daggers from their eyes at me, so we'll move on quickly.

Sixteen different kickers missed a kick in Week 5. Let's rank 'em from the least embarrassing day to the most, from the ones who can shrug Sunday off as just a bad day to the ones already brushing up their resume.

1. Bradley Pinion, TB: One missed field goal (60 yards)
Bradley, you are a punter. You had never even attempted a field goal, either as a professional or at Clemson. You only came out to kick a 60-yard field goal because Ryan Succop does not have that in his bag; he has never hit one from beyond 54 yards and doesn't have the leg. You filled in a job that's not yours and failed on an attempt that most professional placekickers would struggle with. And you nearly made it anyway. That's not even a bad day; that was a free attempt at adding to your highlight reel.

2. Greg Joseph, MIN: One missed field goal (49 yards)
OK, missing anything sub-50 should be embarrassing for an NFL kicker, but hitting a 54-yarder at the buzzer to give your team a victory is enough to wipe your slate clean. Any day that ends with you being carried off the field in glory is an OK day.

3. Matt Prater, ARI: One missed field goal (61 yards)
Matt, it's not your fault that Kliff Kingsbury apparently thinks field goal range is anything under 80 yards. At least this one wasn't returned for a touchdown—progress!

4. Graham Gano, NYG: One missed field goal (54 yards)
Breaking the longest active field goal streak in the NFL hurts, but hey, you can always blame the announcer jinx for that one. Plus, no one's there to give you a hard time; all the Giants are in the infirmary at the moment. Send some chocolates, they'll forget about this soon enough.

5. Rodrigo Blankenship, IND: Two missed field goals (37 and 47 yards), one missed extra point.
Blankenship gets a Blankencheck because he's dealing with a hip injury and gutted out his performance anyway. Plus, one of his two missed field goals was blocked, which is more on the protection than on the kicker. The fact that he made any field goals at all under the circumstances is impressive, though perhaps the Colts should have just sat him down and had Rigoberto Sanchez kick the rest of the day.

6. Jason Myers, SEA: One missed field goal (35 yards)
This was only, like, the 17th-weirdest thing that happened to the Seahawks on Thursday night. Heck, it was only the third- or fourth-weirdest thing that happened on special teams for the Seahawks on Thursday night. Still, a 35-yarder should be a gimme for any NFL kicker; hoofing it wide left should bring with it a fair dose of shame.

7. Matt Ammendola, NYJ: One missed extra point
If you miss a kick, but it's in London before anyone's awake to see it, does it really count?

8. Randy Bullock, TEN: One missed extra point
Honestly, missing a game-tying field goal against the Jets the week before is far more embarrassing than screwing up an extra point in the last two minutes of an 18-point blowout. Bullock has now missed at least one kick in three of his four games with the Titans, which is … concerning, to put it mildly. But his is more of an overall season's worth of concern, not for one game.

9. Matt Gay, LAR: One missed extra point
One extra point missed? Embarrassing, but it happens. But you get bonus points for kicking the ball out of bounds on a kickoff not once but twice; I'm not entirely sure that has ever happened before. Hey, you set a record! And you had perhaps my favorite "DOINK" of the week, on a sheer audio level. Melodic, not percussive. Nice miking of those goalposts in Seattle.

10. Mason Crosby, GB: Three missed field goals (51, 40, and 36 yards); one missed extra point
OK, you could make a strong argument for this to be much, much further down the list, but Crosby gets some points back for eventually nailing the game-winner (fourth try's a charm!). Crosby also has years of experience to lean back on to put days like Sunday into perspective. I mean, heck, he missed four field goals and an extra point against the Lions in 2018 in a game the Packers lost by eight points. These things can happen to even the best players, and again, any day that ends with people jumping around you in celebration can't be a bad day, right?

11. Nick Folk, NE: One missed extra point
The previous 10 names on the list do not have to worry about their job security and, believe me, any day you don't have to think about getting fired is an alright day, even if it was a rough one at the office. From here on out, however, we come to some players with in a little bit more professional jeopardy. One missed extra point for Folk isn't the end of the world as he has been fairly automatic to this point in the season, but rookie Quinn Nordin is now back from injured reserve. Nordin probably won't be active until November, but a few more days with some missed extra points and Folk could see Nordin rushed back into action as soon as he is able.

12. Cody Parkey, NO: Two missed extra points

What, you think the King of Doinks himself was going to sit out the doinkiest day in NFL history? No siree bob. Parkey has yet to attempt a field goal for the Saints, and they hope that  continues. Hurry back, Wil Lutz; Parkey and Aldrick Rosas do not an inspiring combination make.

13. Evan McPherson, CIN: Two missed field goals (57 and 49 yards)

I said any day that ends with people jumping around in celebration isn't a bad day, not any day that happens to contain people jumping around you in celebration. Key difference there, and now McPherson is a meme for the rest of the season at the least. I'm not going to give a rookie too much of a hard time for a 57-yarder that hit the upright; I blame Cincinnati's play calling for putting him in that situation in the first place. And, hey, an inch to the left and we're not talking about him at all today.

14. Ka'imi Fairbairn, HOU: One missed field goal (56 yards); two missed extra points

Explain to me, please, the logic of having a kicker try a 56-yarder on a day where he has already missed two extra points? Especially when his career long is only 55, and he hasn't made one from longer than 33 this season. Fairbairn avoids the bottom two because he is coming back from an injury, and because he has the wisdom to play for the Houston Texans, where nothing really matters. Fairbairn is easily lost in the eddies and currents that is the lost Texans season.

15. Matthew Wright, JAX: One missed field goal (52 yards); one missed extra point
The Jacksonville Jaguars have not made a field goal through five weeks. They're the first team to pull that feat off since the 1962 Minnesota Vikings. Jim Christopherson finally made a 32-yarder in game six against the Los Angeles Rams, so the Jags have a chance to make history next week. To make matters worse, Jacksonville is going to be stuck with either Wright or Josh Lambo next week because of vaccination travel rules for the London game. Tell me that isn't worth getting up for.

16. Tristan Vizcaino, LAC: Two missed extra points.
Let me see here. So you are the kicker for Brandon Staley, who already has shown a willingness to go for it on fourth down early and often, reducing the value of a kicker. And you have already missed four extra points this season, including one that would have tied the game against Cleveland and made much of those late-game heroics unnecessary. The Chargers may have won this game, Tristan, but I'd argue that no other kicker in the league did more harm to his job prospects on Sunday than you did. Even the Good Chargers still must have some Chargering, apparently.

Week 5's Biggest Losers

QUARTERBACKS

Worst of the Worst
We're not here to mock someone for getting hurt, so we'll keep things short for Daniel Jones (4). Jones only managed 13 pass attempts for 98 yards, starting 0-for-7 before beginning to pick things up. Jones suffered a scary concussion in the second quarter, leaving Mike Glennon to lead the Giants the rest of the way. His status for next week remains up in the air, as is the status for about half the Giants' offense.

Other Loser Leaders
The worst performance by someone who finished a game belongs to Jared Goff (6). Frankly, it's a minor miracle Goff hit 200 yards, considering the Lions' already ridiculously undertalented receiving corps lost Quintez Cephus in the first half. But you can't blame Goff's interception to Eric Kendricks on his receivers; that was up there with the most headshaking quarterback plays of the day. Six points won't earn you top spots most weeks (and, technically, didn't this week either), but it was a deserved low-score day.

After weeks of stunning the league, the Sam Darnold (7) we all knew and remembered finally showed up in Carolina, with his first three-interception game since Week 3 of 2020; Darnold has now had one such game in all four of his NFL seasons and tied Jameis Winston for the most games with three or more interceptions since 2018. Also making his debut on the Loser League recaps is Derek Carr (9), whose 206-yard, one-interception day was the worst thing to happen to Las Vegas this week, right?

In Rookie Watch, both Zach Wilson (7) and Justin Fields (9) scored single digits. Wilson was lucky not to be much, much lower, as he had a lot of passes which should have been intercepted; if he keeps his current pace up, we'll have to institute a Rookie Interception Record watch in this section. Meanwhile, the Bears continue to ignore Fields' potential as a runner—he has just 59 yards on the season.

Loser Flop
Davis Mills (27)? Against Bill Belichick? No more obvious pick has there ever been in all of Loserdom. And yet, here we are. Some of it was tricks and more creative play design than we have seen out of Houston for weeks, but Mills also avoided some of the mind-bogglingly stupid decisions we saw from him in each of his first two starts. I suspect I'll still be taking Mills often during the rest of his tenure as a starter, but this game goes on the career highlight reel. Mills becomes only the fourth rookie quarterback to have a day above the Loser League penalty against a Bill Belichick defense, joining Russell Wilson, Deshaun Watson, and Geno Smith. Hell, if Mills becomes Smith, that's leaps and bounds above what he looked like until this week.

RUNNING BACKS

Worst of the Worst
The Patriots' running backs have been challenging for this spot all season, and this week, it was Rhamondre Stevenson (2) in the spotlight. With Damien Harris nursing a chest injury (and a bit of fumblitis), Stevenson came in for 11 caries for 23 yards as he spent most of his time hit behind the line of scrimmage under the watchful eye of New England's four backup offensive linemen. Stevenson did get into the end zone once … but it was called back due to an illegal shift. Figuring out which Patriots running back will be the goat in any given week is tough, and all of them are dangerous in terms of potential penalties, but when things line up just right, you get beautiful days like this.

Other Loser Leaders
You got to hate it when you have the right process and the wrong results. Denver's rushing game has been poor all year long, but it was Melvin Gordon (3), not Javonte Williams (8), who ended up being an ideal Loser League pick this week. Maybe we can all just pretend I recommended Jamaal Williams (5) instead in a hilarious misunderstanding.

Mark Ingram (4) returns to the bottom of the list—he hit the penalty during the Davis Mills Disaster two weeks ago as the Texans simply didn't run the ball often enough, but a competitive game was enough to give him 16 carries, where his reliable sub-3.0 yards per carry mark makes him a Loser League all-star. The Eagles, too, actually had enough running back carries this week to qualify someone for the Loserboards, with Miles Sanders (4) being the one held to 11 carries for 45 yards. Even five receptions on Philadelphia's hopeless screen game didn't inflate his score, because it turns out you need yards to score points. Who knew? That leaves Elijah Mitchell (5) rounding out your low scorers for Week 5, as the 49ers' primary running back this week was Trey Lance.

Loser Flop
Leonard Fournette (16) has now hit double-digit scores in each of the last two weeks after being held to bad days twice in a row to start the season. A decent number of Loser League teams still had Fournette in the roster after that poor start, but now is the time to change that position; he has become the clear leader in the Buccaneers' backfield and he simply isn't inefficient enough to waste a roster spot on anymore. His first two touchdowns of the season made this a particularly bad week to pick Lenny, but he has been averaging 4.7 yards per carry since his struggles in Week 1, and efficiency plus volume isn't going to help you here.

WIDE RECEIVERS

Worst of the Worst
Just one Goose Egger this week, but he's a Golden Goose Egger—three targets, zero catches, nil points. It's Kenny Golladay, who ended up missing the second half of the Giants' game against the Cowboys with a knee injury. Breath easy, Big Blue—it's just a hyperextension, and while he'll miss this week against the Rams, Golladay will be back sooner rather than later.

Other Loser Leaders
With just one Goose Egger, there are plenty of one-point days to write home about. Most interesting might be Minnesota, where both K.J. Osborn and Dede Westbrook were held to under 20 yards. Osborn was a fantasy steal in the making through two weeks, but he's now averaging just 5.1 yards per target and 8.3 yards per reception with no real scoring threats because, well, he plays in Minnesota. He's looking like a safe week-in and week-out play in the Loser League. The most impressive wideout this week, however, might be John Ross, who earned his point with 13 yards on five targets. Ross has become the Giants' deep threat with Golladay and Darius Slayton hurt, and with Mike Glennon throwing the ball? That's a lot of incomplete passes thrown his way in the near future.

Christian Blake, Terrace Marshall, Josh Palmer, Van Jefferson and Mohamed Sanu round out your one-point scorers.

Loser Flop
When Deonte Harris departed with a blown hamstring, the Saints were left with just Kenny Stills and Marquez Callaway (20) as viable wide receiver options. Callaway set career highs in receiving yards (85) and touchdowns (two) thanks in large part to being on the receiving end of Jameis Winston's end-of-half Hail Mary. When you get basically 60% of your receiving yards on one play, that's a fluke—but a fluke who hurt people betting on the Saints offense to crumble.

KICKERS

Worst of the Worst
Ka'imi Fairbairn (-8) had the worst day among the very bad days, as missing three kicks and making two will nearly always leave you deep in the negatives.

Other Loser Leaders
In order, we have Tristan Vizcaino (-7), Cody Parkey (-7), Matthew Wright (-6), Evan McPherson (-2) and Rodrigo Blankenship (0). Yes, Mason Crosby made enough kicks to push him into the positives, even with all the misses.

Loser Flop
The only kicker in the league to out-kick the penalty this week was Greg Zuerlein (14), with three field goals and five extra points for a Cowboys offense that is very potent, yet fails just often enough to give the Leg multiple attempts at makeable field goals.

Week 5 Contest Results

Our Week 5 winner is someone who has been lurking just outside of the top of the Loserboard for weeks now. Perhaps it was only a matter of time before Ken57x3 and the Mojo Momenteers took the crown!

The Momenteers have put up sub-30-point scores for four weeks in a row now as they have really begun to dial in as to just what makes a Loser a Loser. This week's squad was about as perfect as you could reasonably expect, with five of his six starters—Justin Fields, Melvin Gordon, Mark Ingram, Terrace Marshall, and Ka'imi Fairbairn—mentioned in the recap above; only Olamide Zaccheaus and his score of two points comes close to putting anything like a stain on the Momenteers' day. A final score of 11 points is very impressive—the best possible score was 2, so there's not a lot of cruft here. We hope the Momenteers enjoy their FO Shirt and their copy of Madden NFL 22.

If you wanted to win this week, you had to roster Fairbairn and his -8 points; every team under 20 this week rode the Texans, usually quite heavily, to glory. The Momenteers had three Texans on their roster, including the non-scoring Davis Mills. This is becoming a theme.

Your top five for Week 5:

  1. Mojo Momenteers (11)
  2. EdWhetstone (12)
  3. Marco_Martha (14)
  4. Octuplicate (15)
  5. Strawmen F.C. (17)

The Momenteers rode their strong Week 5 performance all the way to second place on the overall standings, sitting at 148 points. And even though they're in second, they're still currently in line for the grand prize, because Aaron Schatz Has a Posse has reclaimed the overall lead. This is rapidly turning into the Beat Aaron show, as his weekly score of 24 ends up shooting him out to a six-point overall lead. That's despite being forced to score Ben Roethlisberger's 18 points at quarterback as the shambling corpse of Big Ben had some life in it still. Last week's leader, Awfinkelstein, fell out of the top five after a 46-point day, meaning it's DK13 who's tied with Aaron for being in the top five the longest to this point in the season. But even DK13 scored 33 points, meaning Aaron gained ground on him—13 points from your wide receivers makes for a rough day.

Your top five to this point:

  1. Aaron Schatz Has a Posse (142)
  2. Mojo Momenteers (148)
  3. DK13 (153)
  4. AlecV (156)
  5. StMedard (159)

You can check your results and the rest of the Loserboard here!

Plays for Week 6

Remember to set your roster for Week 6!

QUARTERBACKS

Concussion protocol makes determining who will be on the field on Sunday difficult to tell on Wednesday morning, but I'm comfortable taking the New York Giants Quarterback regardless of who it is. Daniel Jones is still in the protocol, though he was throwing some passes before Wednesday's practice (which Joe Judge said, in a simultaneous press conference, he wasn't cleared to do yet). He may yet be cleared to play on Sunday. though that's obviously iffy. Mike Glennon is a somewhat reasonable backup, at least from a Loser League standpoint; he has averaged 14.9 Loser League Points in his 19 career games where he both started and attempted 10 passes. Either passer will be working with a depleted corps, with Saquon Barkley and Kenny Golladay out and both Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton questionable. That's not exactly an ideal situation to be in when facing the Rams. I'll stick my neck out and say that Glennon will struggle if forced to work with the limited tools the Giants have actually healthy at the moment, and while Jones would likely have a better day, the injuries around him would make him a solid pick, too.

I'm continuing to ride Justin Fields as well, as he's still yet to hit double-digit points. Bill Lazor is calling a very run-heavy offense—Fields had just 12 completions last week and 111 yards, with no running value to speak of. That seems like it'll continue to happen for at least the foreseeable future, and I don't see the Packers as being the team Fields suddenly breaks out against with a 300-yard day or anything.

Other promising picks: Baker Mayfield (v. ARI), Mac Jones (@DAL)

RUNNING BACKS

Yes, I'm back on my James Conner bullshit once more. Conner's only value—and I stress, only value—in fantasy right now is through touchdowns, and Arizona's high-powered offense showed signs of weakness against the 49ers last week. A Browns defense which ranks fifth against the run should be able to bottle Conner up, forcing Kyler Murray and company to score through the air. Or, at least, one can only hope.

I also am playing my fair share of New England Running Back Roulette, trying to decide just which Patriots player is going to get enough carries to avoid the penalty this week. I'm siding with Damien Harris for now, as his chest and rib injuries do not appear to be anything particularly serious. Harris had just nine points against a soft Houston defense; stick him in there against Dallas' eight-ranked rush defense and I expect no production whatsoever. If Harris can't go, or is particular limited, you could plug in Rhamondre Stevenson instead and probably be happy.

And you will rarely go wrong picking anyone from Houston, so I'm continuing to side with Mark Ingram, a solid choice for four points as long as Houston isn't blown out of the water from the word go. I don't think the Colts are going to put a Buffalo-like beating on Houston, so the Texans will continue their odd devotion to the run. They're 15th in rushing attempts despite the worst rushing DVOA in the NFL. That means lots of work and no yards for our Loser League All-Star.

Other promising picks: Latavius Murray (v. LAC), Khalil Herbert (v. GB), Chris Carson (@PIT)

WIDE RECEIVERS

I'm finding that receiver stacks seem to be working very well in this new weekly Loser League paradigm. So, if I'm taking Mike Glennon, I'm pairing him with The Giants' Second Receiver Across From Kadarius Toney. Is that John Ross? Is that Sterling Shepard? I don't know yet; we're waiting on injury reports to get a clear picture of just who will be available for New York on Sunday. I don't particularly care who it is, mind you—if Glennon's quarterbacking against the Rams, I don't expect there to be any value whatsoever in their secondary target, and I don't think the numbers will get that much better with Jones.

As for Justin Fields, I'm doubling down with both Allen Robinson and Darnell Mooney. For all of Robinson's obvious skill, he has now scored single-digit Loser League points in six straight games going back to last season. He's becoming almost an afterthought compared to Mooney; Justin Fields has targeted Robinson 18 times and Mooney 20 times, with Mooney outgaining Robinson 201-136. In this Worst Ball format, where you drop your lowest score, I'm fine with riding both of the Bears' starting wideouts against the Packers. Either Robinson will continue to be invisible, or he'll take away significant volume from Mooney. Either way, I doubt both Bears receivers will hurt me.

Other promising picks: Adam Humphries (v. KC), Jalen Reagor (v. TB), Julio Jones (v. BUF)

KICKERS

I am operating under the assumption that Tristan Vizcaino will continue to have a job this week. I am not operating under the assumption that he'll miss a pair of extra points again, though I wouldn't mind it! Vizcaino's value is increased by just how frequently the Chargers go for it on fourth down; less opportunity means a better score for you here.

I'm also going with Ka'imi Fairbairn, because if you just scored -8 points, I can't in all good conscience not take you the week after.

Other promising picks: Matthew Wright (v. MIA), Dustin Hopkins (v. KC)

Comments

9 comments, Last at 14 Oct 2021, 9:42am

7 Thanks for the feedback!  It…

Thanks for the feedback!  It's a new article this year, and I'm trying to experiment with how to do it to appeal to everyone, fantasy-wise or non fantasy-wise, so it's good to hear that it's working for at least some people!

3 Yeah, I flipped back and…

Yeah, I flipped back and forth between him and McPherson, and didn't edit the text at the end.  That's been fixed, and hopefully next week I won't have a travel day that causes me to rush through these things!

9 Nick Folk

Job security must have played a very large part in Folk's being so far down the list.  Honked one XP but hit 4/4 FG including a 52-yarder and the game winner.  I don't think he was too embarrassed by that performance.