Kickers always seem like the forgotten position in fantasy football. Within the first 10 rounds, it’s almost unheard of and certainly unconventional to draft a kicker. However, once the first elite kickers start getting taken, there seems to be a frenzy where every few picks seems to be a kicker. Each year in fantasy, there’s an elite group of kickers most owners are comfortable selecting. These are comprised of mostly veterans who have established themselves through consistency and accuracy. Nevertheless, there’s the off chance that a previously unknown kicker you take a chance on becomes one of the best this year.
Kicker Fantasy Stats 2019
|Player||Tier||FPTS 2018||RTG||Team||GP||FGM||FGA||LONG||XPM||XPA||FGM (0-19)||FGM (20-29)||FGM (30-39)||FGM (40-49)||FGM (50+)||PTS||FGA/G||FG%||XP%||FANDUEL PTS/G||DRAFTKINGS PTS/G||Yahoo PTS/G|
Unlike any other position where players can move around at the top of positional tiers, there seems to be a very clear group of good kickers. Last season, Ka’imi Fairbairn ranked as the top scoring fantasy kicker with 37 field goals and 39 extra points. If Houston can repeat last year’s success under Deshaun Watson, Fairbairn will continue to see a high volume of opportunities after leading the league in attempts last year with 42. Every year, Justin Tucker’s name seems to pop up among the top kickers drafted. He’s been the model of consistency and should be the safest pick among kickers in this group.
Last year, Harrison Butker emerged out of nowhere and finished the season with 141 fantasy points. The only thing that held him back was Patrick Mahomes and the rest of the Chiefs offense. He led the league with 69 extra point attempts, 16 more than the next kicker on the list. If the Chiefs take a step back with red zone scoring, Butker’s extra point attempts may translate to field goal tries which will reward owners with a top 5 kicker. Next up is Wil Lutz who has the fortune of playing on one of the league’s best offenses. With only 3 total misses last year, Lutz would be a very solid kicker for any fantasy owner.
Who doesn’t love playing with Tom Brady? Stephen Gostowski definitely benefited by converting 49/50 extra point attempts courtesy of the Patriots offense. However, keep an eye on Gostowski who did miss 5 of his 32 field goal attempts last season. After missing a few games, Greg Zuerlein returned to form and was one of the better kickers in fantasy last year. With a strong Rams offense, expect him to be one of the first kickers taken in the draft.
After the first group of kickers, I’d likely be willing to wait until the final round to fill out my kicker spot. Each of these kickers in this tier have some type of question mark that makes me wary of overpaying for a potentially non-premium kicker. Mason Crosby, like Gostowski, has the benefit of playing for a potential HOF quarterback in Aaron Rodgers. However, having more attempts requires you to convert kicks which Crosby struggled with last year. While his 94.4% success rate on extra points was promising, the 81.1% rate on field goals was plain ugly.
Brett Maher racked up 131 field goals last year but his 80.6% conversion rate on field goals was even worse than Crosby’s. Will head coach Jason Garrett trust Maher in big situations of stick with the Dak/Zeke combo this year. If Maher keeps up the misses, could he be on the hot seat? Adam Vinateri has been fairly consistent throughout his career. But, with Andrew Luck having a great comeback season, is there a chance he becomes even better and the Colts decide to let him decide their fate in games.
Jake Elliot projects as the 8th kicker to be drafted this year and showed decent range from field goals within the 20-49 yard range. Like the others, a 83.9% conversion rate on field goals doesn’t exactly project a lot of confidence to me. Lastly, Graham Gano missed the end of last year with injury and we’ll have to see how his road to recovery has been. If everything’s right, Gano could be had for a discount and become a steal for your draft.
Aldrick Rosas was great last year, converting 32/33 on field goals and 31/32 on extra point attempts. However, with a potentially weaker Giants team, can Rosas get the same volume of attempts to repeat his 135 fantasy point performance. Robbie Gould was one of the lone bright spots on bad 49ers team last year. The only reason he’s in Tier 3 is his reluctance to sign a contract and play for SF. We don’t want this becoming another Le’Veon Bell situation.
Matt Prater has always seemed to be one of the best kickers of range even since his years as a Bronco. The trend continued last year as Prater converted 7 field goals from 50+ yards. Though there’s nothing too fancy about him, Prater gets the job done and that’s exactly what you want in a kicker. His successor in Denver, Brandon McManus operates in a similar fashion. Though he doesn’t have quite the leg, McManus hit a perfect 35/35 extra point attempts.
If there’s one player I had serious concerns about in this tier, it would be Chris Boswell. After only converting 65% of his field goal attempts last year and an arguably weaker Steelers offense this year, it might not take long for Boswell to be on the hot seat. After the success the Chargers had last season, it’s surprising Michael Badgley only had 74 fantasy points last season. He remains a good sleeper option if he gets more than the 16 field goal attempts he had last year.
Tier 4 represents the largest group of kickers that I honestly didn’t know where else to put. Jason Myers broke out last year for 141 fantasy points compared to the 48 he put up the previous year. His 36 field goal attempts seemed a bit high and I’d expect a bit of a regression year. Ryan Succop was also exceptional with 112 fantasy points and 26/30 on field goals and 28/31 on extra points. He should be similar to Matt Prater in the previous tier but might not hit the long distance attempts. Dustin Hopkins was great last year for 111 fantasy points. The only concern is playing for Washington where a quarterback search is still underway.
There’s nothing too special about Randy Bullock either but maybe that’s a good thing. You can likely snag Bullock fairly late in the draft on the waiver wire who should be good for 25 field goal and 40 extra point attempts. Even in Seattle, I’ve always seen Stephen Hauschka as one of the better kickers in the league. He’s always been consistent and who I’m calling my top sleeper in this tier. After failing to reach the Super Bowl under Kirk Cousins, the Vikings fans could be looking for another scapegoat if they fall short again. Dan Bailey will be a good candidate if he goes 75% from field goals again.
Like some of the other kickers, I’m simply not impressed by Josh Lambo’s chances in Jacksonville. I’ll pass on a Ryan Fitzpatrick led team. After accruing 81 fantasy points last year, Daniel Carlson represents a fairly intriguing option this year. Will the Raiders actually be good enough to give him the chance to score or will they once again fail to reach expectations in year 2 under head coach Jon Gruden.
Jason Sanders scored 91 fantasy points last year and will be kicking for a Dolphins team now under Nick Foles. He’s a risky play as his attempts will solely rely on whether Foles can succeed as a full time starter. Chandler Catanzaro’s isn’t much more encouraging as he relied on Sam Darnold on a Jet’s offense that remains a work in progress. Cairo Santos represents the most intriguing name in this tier. The question remains whether he or Matt Gay will win the starting job as the Bucs kicker. He’s the upside pick and has the track record to win the job.
Giorgio Tavecchio steps in to replace Matt Bryant as the new Falcons kicker though with a limited track record. A perfect 13/13 in total attempts, Tavecchio makes a pretty good case for this year’s top sleeper. Greg Joseph is another interesting pick after 42 of his 49 total kicks last year. Will the potentially high scoring Browns let him or Austin Seibert be their kicker next year?
All the kickers in this tier are essentially on bad teams or backups to those in higher tiers. With 32 teams, there’s not much purpose in holding onto a handcuff kicker or one without many opportunities. If an injury does occur to a top kicker, we’ve seen many teams in the past bring kickers from outside of the organization to tryout for the role.
Final Draft Rankings:
T1: Justin Tucker, Harrison Butker, Ka’imi Fairbairn, Wil Lutz, Stephen Gostowski, Greg Zuerlein
T2: Mason Crosby, Brett Maher, Adam Vinatieri, Jake Elliot, Graham Gano
T3: Robbie Gould, Aldrick Rosas, Matt Prater, Michael Badgley, Chris Boswell, Brandon McManus
T4: Greg Joseph, Jason Myers, Ryan Succop, Dustin Hopkins, Stephen Hauschka, Randy Bullock, Dan Bailey, Josh Lambo, Daniel Carlson
T5: Giorgio Tavecchio, Jason Sanders, Chandler Catanzaro, Cairo Santos
T6: Matthew McCrane, Zane Gonzalez, Sam Ficken, Michael Palardy, Matt Wile
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