Is this the most irrelevant position to analyze in fantasy football?
If you’re locked in a touch matchup that week, every point counts.
They can even put up as many points as a receiver or tight end on some weeks.
On the other hand, kickers can be very interchangeable if they’re not getting a lot of opportunities for field goals on a weekly basis.
So how do you spot a reliable fantasy kicker?
Well here are a few factors to look for:
-You want a kicker that either on a high-powered offense or one that is in a sub-par offense
-It’s a plus if they can boot it long distances (ex: Sebastian Janikowski)
Pretty simple huh?
You either want a kicker that’s on a team that’s going to score a ton of points like the Falcons or one a team that is one dimensional like the Vikings.
Atlanta is an example of a fast-paced offense that is trying to score with every play, but they don’t always get into the end zone.
If they do get into the end zone, then that’s just another opportunity for a PAT.
On the other side of the equation, a kicker on a team with a sub-par offense isn’t bad either.
What I mean by that is if they are playing with a one-dimensional offense.
Let’s be honest, the Vikings only ran the ball 99% of the time last year.
Now that may change with all of the offensive weapons that they brought in, but they’re still not impressing anyone.
Rookie kicker Blair Walsh ended up being the best in fantasy last year because of all of the opportunities.
He was called upon plenty of times, otherwise Adrian Peterson was going to be expected to score 30 touchdowns on the ground.
You don’t need to look to draft a kicker until you’re in the midst of filling out your bench or picking up your “sleepers” in the later rounds.
Let’s take a look at some of the top options that you should look for…
He’s one of the league leaders in field goal attempts and that number could go up even more this year if the Patriots offense isn’t as explosive this year. I didn’t say that they weren’t going to be effective, but there’ll be plenty of opportunities for Gostkowski. He’s about the most consistent fantasy kicker that you can find, so I’m not sure how there could be questions of the upside of drafting him. He only had 2 games last year that he didn’t have a field goal attempt. If that doesn’t scream reliable, I don’t know what does.
The ol’ crafty veteran Phil Dawson FINALLY got out of Cleveland and is paired with a real offense. He was already a good kicker option in fantasy, now he’s about to be great. The 49ers offense is explosive, so you know that they’re going to give him plenty of opportunities to clean up if they don’t find the end zone. He can be accurate, kick for distance, and will be a solid option to get once kickers start flying off the board.
It’s almost impossible to find “THE” top kicker that’s consistently going to be the best in the league on an annual basis, but Matt Bryant is a pretty solid option to own. He’s not going to get your those 50-yard field goals, but he’s one of the most accurate kickers in the league and with one of the most high-powered offenses. He’ll have plenty of scoring opportunities, because the Falcons aren’t putting the ball in the end zone on every possession. It’s all about the upside of the team’s offense with kickers, and there’s plenty here.
He’s in a great situation in Minnesota, where they have a very one-dimensional offense. Adrian Peterson was on a mission to 2,000 yards last year and he’ll be back at it this year. Basically that says that look at what Walsh was able to do last year and look for him to duplicate it this year. He got plenty of opportunities, especially late in the season, because AP and the team were trying to break the rushing record. Big leg, plenty of opportunities, and not a big name yet.
He missed the 2012 season with injuries, but is ready to step up for Houston this season. Bullock has a big leg, was one of the most accurate kickers in the country going into that year’s draft, and could be a sleeper in fantasy. The Texans offense is going to be a lot more explosive this season, especially in the passing game, so that only means more opportunities for Bullock. I’m not saying he’s got Janikowski power, but it’s pretty close.
If Peyton Manning’s on the team, then you’re going to expect of lot of kicking attempts to follow. Prater was already a great fantasy kicker before Peyton showed up, but his attempts went up drastically. Now, that’s in the extra point category. You want to look for guys that are going to be getting more field goal attempts, but don’t knock Prater’s value just because of that. He’s paired with a highly efficient offense, he’s accurate, and can kick for decent distance.
He was good before, now his value is about to go up again. The Ravens offense isn’t exactly about to set the world on fire, which means that Tucker will be called upon more again this year. He had a decent 2012, but those field goal oppportunities are about to increase with the losses of Anquan Boldin and Dennis Pitta. Unless the Ravens find a big-time playmaker at receiver or tight end, they’re going to take a step back. Expect Tucker to be called upon a lot to produce the offense for a dismal Baltimore team.
It doesn’t matter if the Raiders offense is good or not, this guy is his own sense of offense. He had the biggest leg in the league, which benefits owners the further he kicks it. Oakland is slowly getting better on offense, but they’re not going to be consistent this year. If D-Mac can stay healthy, then that can only improve Janikowski’s value. His number of opportunities hinders his draft value, but he ends up being a viable option throughout the season.
Young GZ was one of the best kickers out of the gate last season, but fell apart big time in the second half. He had a streak going where he couldn’t miss a field goal, and then came back to reality. Zuerlein showcased that he can kick for distance, be consistent, and could be getting more opportunities this season if the Rams offense picks it up. They’re going to be a one-dimensional team, primarily passing, because they won’t have a rushing attack with the departure of Steven Jackson. Remember the name, invest late.
He’s got a lot of potential, but can also be a boom or bust candidate. Chip Kelly is trying to install that fast-paced offense, which could either create a lot of scoring opportunities or it could falter. The loss of Jeremy Maclin will be a key one. If they are able to have a successful surge in Philly, then Henery will be one of the main benefactors. He had a down year in 2012, in comparison from his breakout rookie season, so expect a bounce-back year for Henery.