Prater set a Lions record when he made a 59-yard field goal in the team's Week 17 game against the Bears. Prater, who made an NFL-record 64-yarder two years ago with the Denver Broncos, broke Jason Hanson's franchise record for longest field goal in Lions history. Overall, however, Prater wasn't a strong fantasy option last year as he scored the 22nd most points among fantasy kickers. As CBSSports.com explained, that was primarily because the Lions' offense didn't give him a lot of field goal opportunities. Prater made 22 of 24 field goals on the season for the Lions. But his ability to hit from distances beyond 50 yards is worth noting for those rewarding kickers for those attempts. Prater hit 5 of 6 from that distance last year. Adding to the intrigue? Although he averaged 1.5 attempts per game, that number was nearly two per game following the team's switch to Joe Bob Cooter as OC last year.
Matt Prater 2015 Outlook
While most NFL kickers are just fine with the longer-distance PATs they’ll be dealing with this season, Prater had a different view. “I just feel that eventually they are just trying to weed kicking out of the game completely,” he said. “It’s something we’ll have to deal with and hopefully make them all.” As ESPN.com notes, Prater has not had many issues with 33-yard field goals in the past, making 13-of-14 field goals from either 32 or 33 yards away during his career. Meanwhile, with a new, three-year deal in Detroit, Prater is hoping to prove that he’s better than the kicker who went 21-of-26 after a rusty start with the Lions last October. Prater’s 80.8 percent on field goals ranked 24th in the league and paled in comparison to his 96.2 percent (25 of 26) conversion rate in Denver in 2013, which was best in the NFL. But Prater closed 2014 by making 9-of-10 field goals. Look for a better season in 2015.
Matt Prater 2014 Outlook
Prater had his best career season in 2013 as he led the league in touchbacks on kickoffs -- an NFL single-season record of 81 -- and was 25-of-26 on field goal attempts in the Broncos' 13-3 finish. With his 75-of-75 performance on extra points, he also set a Broncos’ single-season scoring record with 150 points. Prater’s 64-yard field goal on the final play of the first half of the Broncos’ 51-28 win over the Titans broke Tom Dempsey’s record of a 63-yard field goal that had stood for over 43 years – and had been equaled by Sebastian Janikowski, David Akers and former Broncos kicker Jason Elam. From a fantasy perspective, the Broncos' superior offense is going to keep Prater high on any ranking based on anticipated PAT attempts alone. His strong leg and the fact that half his games are played in the thin, kicker-friendly air of the Mile-High City only add to that dynamic. Draft him accordingly.