Week 7 fantasy football: The pledges you take for granted

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By BRYAN RUBIN
College Contributor Network

Week 7 will be dedicated to the pledges you take for granted.

Having pledges in a fraternity is awfully similar to having a kicker on your fantasy team. Between the cleaning, chauffeuring and food ops, pledges are the ones that make the world go 'round. Whenever you want anything done for you, scream "PLEDGE!" and one of them will be at your disposal in no time. (Disclaimer: and by anything done for you I literally mean anything – besides stealing. Because that is frowned upon. Unless it's lemonade from Chipotle).

Like pledges, kickers are at the bottom of the totem pole. Even ESPN's Matthew Berry encourages you to draft them last. They are often considered soft in nature and never given the power to make decisions on their own. They kick a ball through a goalpost and that's about it -- unless you are University of Dayton kicker, William Will. Will scored this touchdown last week, he is awesome.

But it isn't until they finally get initiated that you yearn for your pledges' return. Your bed is not made anymore when you get back from class and your party room is still trashed with beer cans and red cups from last weekend's party. In reality, both kickers and pledges have jobs that people on the outside perceive as relatively easy, therefore causing us to take them for granted.

The Detroit Lions meanwhile, have quickly learned this season to never take for granted the simple task of making a field goal. In six games, the team has already missed 10 field goals. The horror show started with rookie Nate Freese, who was then released for ex-Eagle Alex Henry, who was then released for current kicker Matt Prater, who already missed two field goals in his first game with the team last Sunday (one more than he missed all of last season with Denver).

After the Carolina Panthers tied the Bengals on a 36-yard Graham Gano field goal with 2:19 left in overtime, Cincinnati marched down the field in six plays, setting up kicker Mike Nugent with a 36-yard game-winning field goal attempt of his own. Nugent pushed the chip shot wide right. It was brutal.

The conversion rate in the NFL last season for field goals between 40-49 yards was 83% and near 92% from the 30-39 range. They're supposed to be near automatic. Meanwhile, they've cost both the Lions and Bengals wins this year.

If you have learned anything from these two teams, it's not to take kickers for granted and we'll apply that to the fantasy world as well. When was the last time anyone bought a Stephen Gostkowski jersey? Probably never unless you are related to him, meanwhile the guy has averaged 12.3 fantasy points per game. He's money, week in and week out.

So, while you may not rank them high on your board, kickers, who are seemingly interchangeable, are in fact important. By investing in a reliable one you can ensure that your team doesn't get screwed. Like pledges, who, when right, will still always be wrong.

In fact, I could make a pledge kick a field goal right now if I wanted to. But I'm hungry. And why pay delivery fees on GrubHub when you have pledges. "PLEDGE!"


Bryan Rubin is a senior at Syracuse University. He once ate Chipotle three times in one day and woke up at 3:46 a.m. on a Wednesday morning to make a roster move to his fantasy football team (while his friends were sleeping) to avoid wasting his No. 1 waiver claim. Follow him on Twitter: @bryan_rubin
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