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Fantasy Football 2016: Previewing the Bengals special teams

Expect Mike Nugent to retain his job as the Bengals' primary kicker.

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Bengals special teams may not have any star power or household names, but it's consistently been one of the most reliable units in football.

The problem is, fantasy football doesn't reward you for how well your special teams cover a punt, how good your net punting is, or how many touchbacks you get. When it comes to fantasy football and special teams, the kicker is typically the only player making a big impact.

It's all about the points, and in most cases, the only points you'll worry about in this regard come from the kicker, a job Mike Nugent is set to retain in 2016 with the Bengals. Make no mistake about it: this is Nugent's job, and he'd need to have a pretty horrific preseason to lose his job after being the team's kicker since 2010.

Nugent has made a lot of big kicks and really dedicated himself to this team, though a few hiccups here and there do make him a less-heralded kicker in terms of fantasy football. Nugent converted 23 of 28 field goals and 48 of 49 extra points for a total of 117 points on the season.

In terms of what the Bengals needed, Nugent had a solid season with a field-goal percentage of 82.1, including a 2-of-3 from beyond the 50-yard line. However, when you look at Nugent from a fantasy perspective, he's not an exciting kicker who excites.

According to FFToday, Nugent scored the 11th-most fantasy points of any kicker in 2015, but finished 16th in average fantasy points per game. Considering that most fantasy leagues are in the 10-12 team range, that means Nugent was on the back end of most leagues, perhaps even a guy you could pick up off the waiver wire.

But while there isn't believed to be any real competition at kicker, Nugent will look to ensure that's the case by holding off Zach Hocker for the kicking job.

After Nugent, the only other kicker on the roster as of now is the journeyman Hocker, who spent part of the 2015 season with the Los Angeles Rams and New Orleans Saints. He began the season with New Orleans and did well, making four field goals on four attempts in Week 1, and after five games he compiled an 8 for 10 mark.

Ultimately a 1-of-3 performance in Week 6 (misses from 48 yards and 51 yards) resulted in his release. He was later picked up by the Rams, playing a pair of games, scoring an extra point against the Bengals and making one field goal on one attempt against the Cardinals the next week before being cut once Greg Zuerlein was healthy.

With no other kicker on the roster other than Hocker, he's got a decent shot at making it onto the practice squad if the Bengals opt to keep a kicker there.That way if Nugent struggles or has an injury, the Bengals already have his replacement as a part of the team.

As for the rest of the Bengals' special teams, no news is good news for the most part. This will rarely, if ever hurt you in terms of return touchdowns allowed. However, they won't offer many scoring chances either.

Guys like Brandon Tate and Mario Alford don't look like viable scoring threats in the return game. Though, Adam Jones often is, when given the chance. Most fantasy leagues are scored using default settings, in which points are awarded for kickoff and punt return touchdowns, but not return yards.

Unless you're in some kind of league which awards individual player points for return yardage, neither Tate or Alford are players you'd consider in any normal fantasy league.