Heading into 2021, we have most of the names that finished up top in 2020 projected to do the same. This has a lot to do with targeting offenses that move the ball. Jason Sanders finished first in fantasy points, averaging 10.8 per game. He was extremely efficient, and also ranked fourth in the league in field goal attempts. Tyler Bass was first, and both also were among the tops in extra points as well. Both come in as top five options.
Justin Tucker was seventh in fantasy points last season and had just 29 field goal attempts. A lot of this had to do with John Harbaugh’s more aggressive nature in going for it on fourth down, but also the Ravens were a finely tuned offense that did not need to kick a ton of field goals. Either way, Tucker racked up a lot of extra points which helped.
Making a jump this past year was Tyler Bass. He will be used as an example below of how an improved offense can help out kickers in fantasy. With a fast-paced offense, he had 34 field goal attempts, the most in the NFL, and finished third in fantasy points. We should get Harrison Butker back to strong numbers, and the same goes for Ryan Succop. Both project to be top ten kickers in fantasy points, who are on offenses that move the ball with ease.
You will find that the kicker rankings tie into how offenses perform. Teams that don’t score often, play slow, or are constantly trailing will not produce strong fantasy numbers for kickers. Last season, the Lions, 49ers, Jets, and Steelers kickers finished among the bottom in fantasy points. The volume wasn’t there for them to produce, which is the most crucial aspect for kickers.
Kicker Fantasy Draft Strategy
You might have seen one general rule for drafting kickers, which is to use your last pick on them. 12 kickers were scored over 135 fantasy points last season, which is one good kicker for each fantasy team. While there is an elite tier of fantasy kickers that score 20-30 fantasy points more than the next tier, their ADP will be one round or two higher if you want to draft them. Now if you feel good about where your team is, you can go ahead and get one of these tiers.
It is still best to take positional players instead, especially if you are looking to build depth and/or draft for true upside. There will still be plenty of options at the other positions to grab instead. Therefore I would lean on drafting other positions over a kicker. The smaller your league is, the more reason to wait because the player pool will be more open at the position. If you are in a deeper league, you can make more of a case for nabbing one a round earlier.
Overall I would look towards other positions first before drafting a kicker. They have a higher upside and fantasy point potential. Kickers are easily replaceable on a week-to-week basis too.
Kicker (K) Fantasy Football Rankings Frequently Asked Questions
Who Are The Best Fantasy Kickers?
Outside of Harrison Butker, Younghoe Koo has been one of the more reliable kickers in football. He should have some slight positive regression in field goal attempts, and still have a chance at a ton of extra points on a weekly basis. While it wasn’t the best year for Justin Tucker, he still had a top ten fantasy season. The Ravens kicker has been strong, finishing inside the top ten in scoring in five of the last six seasons. Jason Sanders and Tyler Bass have also emerged as two of the more consistent kickers in fantasy football.
Who Is The Number One Fantasy Kicker?
There isn’t a clear-cut top kicker for fantasy this season, but I have Justin Tucker ranked #1 for a number of reasons. With Lamar Jackson at quarterback, the Ravens have ranked first and seventh in scoring over the past two years and should be one of the highest-scoring teams yet again. With a career 90.7% field goal conversion rate, Tucker has been one of the best kickers in the NFL over the last decade and he’s only missed four extra points on 354 attempts in his career.
What Should I Look For In Drafting A Fantasy Kicker?
You might think that efficiency is what you are after in a fantasy kicker, and while it plays a part, volume is really the big target. As you sort through field goal attempts, even if guys struggled with efficiency, they were still productive in fantasy points. Take Greg Zuerlein, for example, who made just 82.9% of his field goal attempts last year - that ranked outside the top 20 for kickers. However, he finished fifth in fantasy scoring as he led the NFL in field goal attempts.
You can make the exception for a few names who didn’t see as many attempts yet still produced, like Daniel Carlson and Ryan Succop. They crushed in extra points but had to be accurate to produce those fantasy points. If they missed even a couple apiece, then the numbers wouldn’t be as strong. These are the names still to consider when evaluating kickers, but we still want volume the most.
Kickers on teams that move the ball is very important. There is a big reason why Harrison Butker and Wil Lutz are big fantasy kickers year in and year out. They are on offenses that move the ball in chunks and also play up in pace. There were two newer names in the fantasy kicking department: Zane Gonzalez in Arizona and Matt Gay in Tampa Bay. Both finished as the 4th and 5th best kickers in fantasy points last season. After a horrendous offensive season in Arizona, Kyler Murray and a revamped coaching staff started to move the ball, which helped out Gonzalez’s attempts. The same goes for Tampa Bay, who was a pass-happy team that moves the ball.
It's important to try to find a sweet spot in terms of red-zone production, however. Kickers on teams who convert at a high rate in the red-zone will see fewer field goal attempts on the year. For example, Harrison Butker had just 27 field goal attempts, putting him outside the top 20, as the Chiefs were one of the best red-zone offenses in the NFL. He finished as the 13th-best kicker in fantasy despite being efficient and playing for one of the highest-scoring teams in the league.
Avoid kickers on bad teams. There is no real reason to be drafting the kicker of the Giants or Bengals right now. They don’t bring enough volume to the table, and often they find themselves in games where they will need to go for it more than settle for three because they are trailing by more than enough points.
Do I Need More Than One Kicker On My Roster?
Unless you have an incredibly deep roster in your league, which the average league does not, there is no need to carry two kickers on your roster. It takes away from having depth at your other positions, which is more important. Very few leagues if any require you to start two kickers.
How Do I Stream Kickers?
Kicker is one of the easiest positions to stream. There are always around 15-18 kickers out there on the waiver wire each week, and you can also find kickers that others drop later due to bye weeks. There will be kickers in good matchups against defenses that allow more volume than others, which helps out kickers on average teams. To start out the season, draft a kicker that you still plan on keeping or at least opens up with a decent schedule to start the season.
After that we will be looking at things on a weekly basis. You can begin looking at projected points, matchups, Vegas totals to determine who is the best kicker play each week. This is a repeatable process for many positions, but kicker has become a popular way to go because of the options on a weekly basis. This is a plan that has worked for many.
Should I Target Kickers Who Kick Indoors?
While it is a slight advantage, because for eight games out of a year a kicker won’t have to deal with the conditions of mother nature. They may also have an extra game or two within their division and depending on their schedule. Overall it is not something that needs to be baked into choosing kickers when drafting.
Do Matchups Matter For Kickers?
Just like other positions, defenses do allow more kicker production than others. Now this isn’t necessarily tied to how good a defense is. We saw Denver and Minnesota, who didn’t allow many points, allow over two field goal attempts per game. Denver allowed 2.6. Bend don’t break defenses, and teams that play in closer games tend to give up a hefty amount of field goals.
Bad pass defenses allow a lot of field goal attempts. Jacksonville and Cincinnati were some of the poorer defenses in the league last season against the pass, and they allowed a ton of field goal attempts. The Jets and Falcons were also among those teams. We can certainly pinpoint teams to target throughout the year, but the numbers don’t really stabilize until later when looking at field goal attempts allowed. Before that happens, we can easily identify the poorer pass defenses and target them with kickers.
Kickers get a bad rap at times, but they certainly matter if your league requires them. Putting some effort into drafting a strong kicker in the right round or having a streaming plan instead of punting the position will give you a slight advantage over the rest of your league.
Should I Draft A Kicker Or Defense First?
You are likely going to be using the last two or three picks on a defense and kicker. Both positions score relatively the same, and are easily the most replaceable positions. Defenses still carry a slight edge over kickers due to the weekly depth of kickers being larger in comparison to good defenses.