Kickers going into Week 1 is an interesting situation. If you have read any of my other rankings you will see that I mention that it is best to avoid drafting a kicker and instead recommend drafting a handcuff or high upside player. This is because that player could have the possibility of earning a starting spot before Sunday kickoff. Then if said player looks like he is still down on the depth chart you can cut him and sign your kicker no problem.
A huge reason to not go after the top kickers in the draft is the fact that you will never roster them through the whole season. It makes no sense to keep the kicker on their bye week unless you want to take a 0, because dropping a player for a second kicker is almost never a good idea. However, if there really is not anyone you can think of to roster or you have an extremely late draft, then go ahead and grab one of my top kickers of the week.
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|1||Justin Tucker||BAL||vs. CLE||9.1|
|2||Harrison Butker||KC||vs. HOU||9.1|
|3||Wil Lutz||NO||vs. TB||8.8|
|4||Robbie Gould||SF||vs. ARI||8.7|
|5||Greg Zuerlein||DAL||at LAR||8.6|
|6||Matt Prater||DET||vs. CHI||8.2|
|7||Jake Elliott||PHI||at WAS||8|
|8||Brandon McManus||DEN||vs. TEN||8|
|9||Mason Crosby||GB||at MIN||7.7|
|10||Younghoe Koo||ATL||vs. SEA||7.9|
|11||Joey Slye||CAR||vs. LV||7.9|
|12||Dan Bailey||MIN||vs. GB||7.9|
|13||Ka'imi Fairbairn||HOU||at KC||7.8|
|14||Michael Badgley||LAC||at CIN||7.8|
|15||Chris Boswell||PIT||at NYG||7.8|
|16||Matt Gay||TB||at NO||7.8|
|17||Jason Myers||SEA||at ATL||7.8|
Justin Tucker has to be the best kicker in the National Football League. He only missed a single kick last year and has the leg to hit 60+ Yarders. Baltimore is taking on Cleveland in a matchup where they should be able to drive the ball but the Browns’ defense is good enough to make some stops. This is the ideal kind of matchup you want when looking into kickers. Tucker should get a couple of opportunities to hit field goals this game and an extra point or two. Tucker is a very safe option and a great play this week.
The former Ram will be taking on his ex-team this Week 1 as he starts his career with the Dallas Cowboys. While Zuerlein struggled a bit last year he had several years of being the top distance kicker in the league. He has one of the strongest legs in the game and Dallas’s offense is full of weapons to drive the field. The fact that he will be kicking in a dome this week is another huge plus. Zuerlein is a riskier play than other top kickers but can put up huge amounts of points with multiple long-distance field goals, and therefore, should be looked at with high ceiling potential.
The extremely consistent leg of Will Lutz will be taking on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Tom Brady this week. New Orleans and Drew Brees should have a breeze of a time driving on this weak Bucc’s defense, and therefore should give plenty of field goal opportunities to Will Lutz. This is one of the safer plays as the Saints will surely have to kick some field goals in the game, and it is looking to be on the higher-scoring side of things. Lutz was 32 for 36 last year and I will take that all season long.
The Panthers this year have some explosive WRs but a very conservative QB in Teddy Bridgewater. Their offense should be good enough to drive the ball on most defenses, but especially this week should have no problem doing so against the Las Vegas Raiders. I do not predict the Panthers to be lethal in the Red Zone, and often can see Teddy playing it safe. Therefore, I love Slye this week to get several opportunities to kick field goals. He was 25 for 32 last year but hit 16 of 22 from 40+. He only missed one FG inside of that range. Slye should be available to pick up in most leagues.
The onside kicking king is back with the Atlanta Falcons. In this matchup against Seattle, I predict absolute fireworks on the scoreboard. Both offenses are much superior to their opposing defenses and playing Koo this week should guarantee you points out of the kicking position. He only missed one extra point and one field goal from inside of 40 yards. With the opportunity he will have this week in a high scoring game you know you will not have a dud on the scoreboard from your kicking position with this pickup. He is only 48% rostered on Yahoo so he can be a great grab before Sunday Kickoff.
The Monday Night Kicker of the Week:
First of all, let me explain what this means. In Yahoo, the default setting is to let you drop players AFTER they played that week if they were on your bench with no repercussions. Other websites have this as an option so check your league settings to see if you are playing this way. If this is the case I highly recommend rostering a handcuff or a player you think could explode Week 1 and waiting all the way until Monday Night Football to cut a player on your bench and grab a kicker.
Somehow the big legged kicker out of Denver is only 8% rostered on Yahoo. He will surely be available in your leagues and has the bonus of kicking at home this coming Monday night where being a mile-high in altitude will allow for those 60-yard bombs to be a possibility. He was 29 for 35 last year and looked great so I still consider McManus to have a solid floor and a high ceiling every week.
Tennessee has a good defense but the Broncos added weapons in #1 WR prospect Jerry Jeudy and RB Melvin Gordon in the offseason. I think Drew Lock should be able to get the ball in field goal range a few times this game and more often than not I can see the Titans stopping them. Of course with McManus on your team, this should excite you. Having opportunity, a huge leg, and the fact that you do not have to pick him up until Monday Night in a few formats are all reasons McManus is my kicker of the week.
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