I know you’re probably laughing at me right now. Why would anyone waste their time ranking kickers heading into the season? I find myself asking the same questions as I’m writing, but it’s part of the job. When it comes to kickers, there’s only a few that are markedly better than the rest of the group. Let’s find out who those players are in the first edition of my 2018 fantasy football kicker rankings.
Kicker Rankings: 1-5
1. Greg Zuerlein – Los Angeles Rams
Greg Zuerlein a top this list of kicker rankings was one of the easiest decisions yet. Here’s how good Zuerlein was last season. He finished first in points with 180, which was 11 more than the next closest kicker. He was one of six kickers that attempted at least 40 field goals, and attempted the fourth most amount field goals of 50 yards or more. And by the way, he only played in 14 games. While the Rams offense will likely regress, that doesn’t mean Zurlein’s numbers will as well. If anything, it could lead to even more attempts for “Greg the leg”. He’s easily the best kicker heading into 2018.
2. Stephen Gostkowski – New England Patriots
This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Stephen Gostkowski has been near the top among kickers for years. He’s attached to one of the best offenses year in and year out, and has the trust of his head coach to nail long field goal attempts. Even though Gostkowski missed multiple extra points and only attempted four field goals of 50 yards or more, he’ll still likely finish in the top five of total points.
3. Justin Tucker – Baltimore Ravens
I’m not usually a advocate of allowing kickers into the hall of fame, but Justin Tucker might be the exception. He’s historically accurate as a whole, as well as from distance. Even though he was chained to a terrible Baltimore offense, he finished fourth in total points. Joe Flacco and company are the only reason Tucker isn’t higher on this list.
4. Harrison Butker – Kansas City Chiefs
Harrison Butker was likely a fantasy season saver for some last year. Andy Reid’s trust in a rookie kicker was tremendous, especially to allow him to kick five field goals from 50 yards or more. In my opinion, Butker will produce at an even higher level next season. First, he’ll get to start the season as the Chiefs’ kicker, which he didn’t last season. And second, he’ll likely get more red zone attempts. Reid and his offense struggled in the redzone during the middle and end of the season, and that was with an accurate passer at the helm. Patrick Mahomes is talented, but he still comes with accuracy concerns. Butker will likely benefit from more questionable play calls and quarterback inaccuracy heading into 2018.
5. Matt Bryant – Atlanta Falcons
The ageless wonder continues to get it done. Matt Bryant, not to be confused with Matt Ryan, is the beneficiary of a tremendous offense in Atlanta and playing over half of his games in either a dome, or warm weather. Bryant is always a safe pick at this position.
Kicker Rankings: 6-10
6. Robbie Gould – San Francisco 49ers
When researching this article, I was shocked to see Robbie Gould so high in total points from last season. Meaning, he was producing before Jimmy Garoppolo showed up, and continued to produce when he was the starter. I’m not sure how it will translate to this season, but I couldn’t keep him lower than sixth on my first round of kicker rankings.
7. Will Lutz – New Orleans Saints
Will Lutz has been a DFS darling for years. He’s attached to one of the best coach and quarterback tandems in NFL history. He also, like Matt Bryant, gets to play over half of his games in a dome, or in warm weather. The only problem with Lutz is that he doesn’t get many opportunities to connect from 50 yards or more.
8. Chris Boswell – Pittsburgh Steelers
Like most kickers on this list, Chris Boswell plays on one of the league’s best offenses. What holds Boswell back is that there are some games where he only attempts extra points. Boswell also has games where he attempts six field goals; however, his production is too inconsistent to warrant higher placement on this list.
9. Ryan Succop – Tennessee Titans
Ryan Succop is a great option at kicker given his upside, and likely, his value. In 2017, he set an NFL record by making 56 straight field goals of less than 50 yards. That kind of consistency is what we want to find at any position. But, Succop missed over half of his attempts from 50 yards or more.
10. Matt Prater – Detroit Lions
Matt Prater, at worst, has the third strongest leg in the NFL behind Greg Zuerlein and Justin Tucker. Prater plays inside a dome and is attached to an above average offense with Detroit. He also benefits from the Lions’ lack of a running game in the redzone. It’s unclear how much Matt Patricia will impact this team and that uncertainty pushes Prater to tenth in these kicker rankings.
Kicker Rankings: 11-15
11. Kai Forbath – Minnesota Vikings
Kai Forbath isn’t particularly impressive or dominant in any category. However, he plays indoors, with an efficient quarterback, and a head coach who does not like to take chances.
12. Jake Elliott – Philadelphia Eagles
Like Harrison Butker, Jake Elliott was impressive as a rookie. Everyone remembers the 61-yarder he hit to beat the Giants. Elliott will likely be a great value at this position. What keeps him from being higher was his overall lack of attempts and inconsistencies inside 39 yards.
13. Adam Vinatieri – Indianapolis Colts
If Andrew Luck returns, Adam Vinatieri be a top five scorer at his position. Last season we saw some inconsistencies for the first time in his career, so he just cracks the top fifteen.
14. Graham Gano – Carolina Panthers
Graham Gano plays in a warm-weather division, including two domes. He plays on an above average offense, but does not get many attempts beyond 50 yards.
15. Mason Crosby – Green Bay Packers
People forget that Mason Crosby had to deal with Brett Hundley for much of the 2017 season. He will bounce back nicely with Aaron Rodgers back under center.
Featured Image Courtesy of USA Today
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