When it comes to fantasy football, the one position that gets no recognition is the kicker. They just kick extra points and field goals to the common player. But just because they’re the pink label at your draft party doesn’t mean they can’t be a big component of your team.
There will be a time you need that one point to win a championship and it comes down to a kicker either you have or are playing against. Kickers can at times make or break your fantasy team, so don’t overlook them.
Here are the top five kickers for fantasy football in 2017.
No.5 Wil Lutz, New Orleans Saints
Lutz had a successful rookie year in 2016. He had the fifth-most points thanks in part to his 98.0 percent accuracy on 50 PAT attempts. He was one of only two kickers with that many behind Matt Bryant.
He went on to post seven top-10 fantasy weeks and finished seventh at the position in fantasy points. Lutz made 28 of his 34 field goals (82.4 percent) that ranked 12th in field goals made and attempted. His situation in New Orleans is a good fit due to a good offense for him to get plenty of opportunities.
The Saints rank 31st in attempts in the past decade (278) but Lutz will be effective when his name is called. It’s possible the 23-year-old’s effectiveness improves in his second season.
No.4 Stephen Gostkowski, New England Patriots
Even though he had a disappointing 2016 season, I still like Stephen Gostkowski and rank him fourth on my list. Gostkowski had five straight seasons as a top-three fantasy kicker, including number one in each of the previous three years.
In 2016, Gostkowski fell to eighth in fantasy scoring. He converted 84.4 percent of his field goal attempts, which was his worst mark since 2012, and missed three extra point attempts. His 32 attempts were his lowest mark since 2010.
But Gostkowski still had at least over 50 percent when he attempted a field goal from each distance. The real reason why Gostkowski is still a reliable kicker is because of the team is playing for which has one of the best offenses in the NFL.
Gostkowski is still a quality kicker and expected to see more opportunities in 2017 as the Patriots rank third in the NFL with 336 field goal attempts during the past decade. Expect Gostkowski to bounce back.
No.3 Dan Bailey, Dallas Cowboys
Bailey converted only 27 (or 84.4 percent) of 32 field goal attempts last season, but his career mark of 89.5 percent is second-best all time behind only Justin Tucker.
Two of his five misses were in outside stadiums and not in dome stadiums where he is most comfortable. Three of his misses also came from 50-plus yards. He did have a career-low from 40-49 yards at 77.8 percent where he has done better than 83.3 percent in his first five seasons.
Bailey finished 10th at the position last year and has finished no lower than 11th since entering the league in 2011. Bailey is one of two kickers who haven’t missed an extra point attempt during the past two seasons. The high efficiency has led to a lot of fantasy success. The Cowboys offense should allow him plenty of opportunities.
No.2 Matt Bryant, Atlanta Falcons
It doesn’t matter how old you are if you’re Matt Bryant. The 42-year-old led all fantasy kickers in points with 176 points last season. Bryant has finished as a top-five fantasy kicker in four of the past seven years and posted a top-10 fantasy week 13 times last season, which was four more than the next-closest kicker. With Atlanta’s terrific offense, he converted an NFL-high 56 of his 57 extra point attempts.
Bryant is getting older but he still can hit his marks. He made 34 of 37 field goal attempts (91.9 percent) last season. One concerning stat from last year is besides attempts from 20-29 yards, he didn’t attempt over 10 field goals in each yard category. However, he made over 75 percent when attempting his field goals. He will still get his chances and be a top-5 kicker at the end of the season.
No.1 Justin Tucker, Baltimore Ravens
Justin Tucker ranks number one on my list and has every right to be. He was ridiculous last year. He missed one field goal all season and the one he missed was blocked. Bryant was a perfect 14 for 14 from 40-49 yards and 10 of 10 from 50-plus yards. No other kicker last year was perfect from 50-plus yards.
Tucker’s career 89.8 percent field goal conversion rate is the best of all time, and he has connected on all 56 extra point attempts since the league moved the ball to the 15-yard line in 2015.
The Baltimore Ravens have been reliable with their kicker as they have attempted an NFL-high 352 field goals during the past decade. He’s your best bet at the position as he was second in total points last year in standard scoring with 174 fantasy points and has finished no lower than 11th since he entered the league in 2012.
Featured image from ftw.usatoday.com.
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