Kickers are arguably the most irrelevant players in the NFL. That is until winning or losing a game comes down to a single field goal try. It is only in this moment that a kicker can go from being a glorified bench warmer to the most beloved or hated player on the roster.
Similarly, Kickers are viewed in exactly the same way in fantasy football in that they typically don’t score a ton of points. However, the 3-8 points they contribute is at times the difference between a moment of elation or utter devastation. As a result, the value of kickers in fantasy football can be a bit inflated, especially in the final rounds of a given fantasy draft. Although this is a general rule of thumb for fantasy veterans, allow me to state it here emphatically as a necessary caveat: DO NOT DRAFT A KICKER BEFORE THE LAST ROUND OF YOUR DRAFT. Even if it comes down to picking a final wild-card bench player or the best ranked kicker, for your own sake go with the former and not the latter.
10. Chris Boswell, Pittsburgh Steelers
Looking back on what Boswell did last season, there is some reason to be concerned. He sustained an abdomen injury which caused him to miss a game and converted just 84 % of his field goal attempts. However, his overall career numbers could speak to a much more consistent scorer. Interestingly, Boswell has converted 90% of his career attempts (72) and was 11 for 12 in field goals kicked between 40-49 yards. He’s not perfect, but if Boswell finds a place on your roster, realize that you could definitely do worse.
9. Dustin Hopkins, Washington Redskins
One of the more underrated kickers in fantasy football, Hopkins. below average accuracy (made just 81% of attempts last season) was mostly off-set by the sheer volume of kicks he recorded (42 attempts). Considering Hopkins converted 89.3% of his kicks in 2015, it stands to reason that with his heavy volume that his accuracy will fall somewhere in the middle of what he accomplished in his previous two seasons. Hopkins may not be the most reliable kicker in the league, but as a fantasy player he definitely has proven value.
8. Wil Lutz, New Orleans Saints
The fact that New Orleans has one of the most proficient offenses in the league will allow Lutz to be a consistent top-10 scorer at his position. Similar to Hopkins, Lutz’s solid production can be attributed more to volume than actual effectiveness. His 50 extra point attempts were amongst the highest of his position and he did convert 100% of his kicks when kicking between 40-49 yards (8 for 8). When all is said and done, Lutz will at least be in a position to put up above-average attempts and will convert enough kicks to be serviceable every week.
7. Matt Prater, Detroit Lions
While not the efficient machine he was with the Denver Broncos, his monster leg has allowed him to be an accomplished albeit streaky fantasy scorer. Although Prater converted just 10 out of 14 attempts between 40-49 yards, he nailed all of his attempts when he kicked from 50+ yards out (7 for 7). It’s not always pretty, but Prater’s steady production has allowed him to be a recognized as consistent go-to kicker in fantasy.
6. Mason Crosby, Green Bay Packers
Out of all of the kickers on this list, Crosby is definitely the biggest enigma. After totaling 70 field goal attempts during the 2013 and 2014 seasons, he has totaled just 58 attempts during the last two years. With that being said, Crosby ranks 1st amongst kickers in attempts (328) who have been in the league since 2007. However, his unimpressive conversion rate (80.5%) ranks 36th during that same time span. Ultimately, your faith in Crosby as a fantasy kicker will have more to do with what the Green Bay offense does every week rather than what Crosby can do with his leg.
5. Dan Bailey, Dallas Cowboys
Although Bailey had an underwhelming season last year by his standards (converted 84.4% of his kicks), his career mark of 89.5% is second only to Justin Tucker. On top of that, Bailey is one of just two kickers to have never missed an extra point during the last two seasons. Like any player in any sport, there is always some expected regression throughout a career and for Bailey that resulted in a top-10 finish last year. If that’s the worst Bailey can perform, expect the reliable kicker to return to top five form this season.
4. Adam Vinatieri, Indianapolis Colts
Even at age 45, Vinatieri still looks every bit as clutch as he did when he was winning Super Bowls with the New England Patriots. Although Vinatieri converted just 87.1% of his field goal tries in 2016 (his lowest mark since 2012), this can most likely be attributed to the fact that he was kicking from an average distance of 43.2 yards (second longest average distance last year). Really, all you need to know is that Vinatieri has finished as a top five kicker in three of the last four seasons, which is impressive considering his longevity in the league.
3. Stephen Gostkowski, New England Patriots
Although it would be easy to look at Gostkowski’s 2016 campaign and be concerned (converted just 84.4% of field attempts, his worst mark since 2012), that fact that he finished number one as a fantasy kicker from 2013-2015 still puts him amongst the best kickers. Combine that with the fact that the Patriots rank third in field goal attempts over the past decade (336) and Gostkowski is almost certainly primed for a bounce back season.
2. Matt Bryant, Atlanta Falcons
While Bryant has had an up and down career in terms of accuracy, his overall productionhas put him up for strong consideration as a top fantasy kicker. He posted a top-10 fantasy week 13 times last year, which was four more than the next closest kicker. He converted 91.9% of his attempts last season and converted an NFL-high 56 of 57 extra point attempts. If Atlanta’s offense can be anything close to what it was in 2016, Bryant will undoubtedly put up exceptional fantasy numbers.
1. Just Tucker, Baltimore Ravens
Was there ever any doubt? The consummate place kicker made all but one of this 39 field goal attempts(the lone miss was actually blocked) and he was perfect beyond 40 yards. His average distance of 41.9 yards was third in the league and his career conversion rate of 89.8% is best all time. Considering Baltimore has attempted an NFL-high 352 field goals over the past decade, it’s a no-brainer that Tucker is the best kicker in the NFL and will be for the foreseeable future.