One of the most productive fantasy kickers around won't be around for the Broncos' first four games this season. Matt Prater has been suspended for that amount of time for violating the league's substance abuse policy. According to Mike Klis of the Denver Post, the suspension is alcohol-related. Prater has been in the league's alcohol program since getting charged with DUI in August 2011. The suspension is expected to be announced Monday.
"I've made some mistakes," Prater said. "I'm accepting full responsibility. I'll learn from it and come back a better person. I want to apologize to my teammates, my coaches, the Broncos' organization and the fans."
According to Prater's agent, Harvey Steinberg, the NFL initially threatened to suspend Prater for a full year, but an agreement was reached to knock it down to four games.
Last year, Prater made 25 of his 26 field goal attempts, set an NFL record with 75 extra points and finished second in the league with 150 total points. Since the Broncos have their bye in Week 4, Prater won't be eligible to return until Week 6.
The man who is perhaps the No. 1 fantasy kicker goes from that perch to probably being undrafted in many leagues. What, are you really going to draft two kickers when one of them can't do anything for you until the middle of October? C'mon now. This is a much bigger loss for the Broncos than it is for fantasy owners.
The Broncos' backup kicker is undrafted free agent Mitch Ewald. However, Klis writers that they may consider bringing in a kicker with regular-season experience. Whoever kicks for Denver for the first month is worth your consideration, because you know this offense is going to put up plenty of points again.