While kickers aren’t usually on the top of your fantasy football needs list, they still have some importance.
A big performance from a kicker often can be the difference between a win and a loss in fantasy football, and occasionally, your kicker can be the piece that separates you from your competition during the playoffs.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at the top 10 kickers in fantasy football this season.
1. Justin Tucker, Baltimore Ravens (Bye Week: 10)
Tucker has been the most reliable kicker in the NFL over the past three seasons, and he was absurdly good in 2016. He drilled 38 of 39 attempts, including going perfect from beyond 40 yards and 10-for-10 from 50-plus yards.
2. Stephen Gostkowski, New England Patriots (Bye Week: 9)
The Patriots kicker had a rare down year in 2016, as he went 27-for-32 on field goal attempts and finished as the eighth-best kicker in fantasy. But Gostkowski also saw his attempts drop, as those 32 tries were the lowest of his career. We expect the veteran to have a bounce-back year, as New England’s high-powered offense should give him plenty of opportunities.
3. Dan Bailey, Dallas Cowboys (Bye Week: 6)
Bailey, like Gostkowski, drilled 84 percent of his attempts in 2016, but he also is one of two kickers who hasn’t missed an extra point in the past two seasons. He’s an efficient kicker, and the Cowboys’ offense will be good enough to get him lots of looks.
4. Matt Bryant, Atlanta Falcons (Bye Week: 5)
Bryant had a fantastic fantasy season in 2016, thanks in large part to the Falcons’ explosive offense. The veteran kicker converted on 91.9 percent of his attempts (34 of 37) and booted a league-high 56 extra points. Bryant should be a solid fantasy option once again.
5. Adam Vinatieri, Indianapolis Colts (Bye Week: 11)
The former Patriots kicker struggled in 2016, but that was due mainly to the distance he was kicking from. Vinatieri’s average field goal came from 43.2 yards away, which was the second highest in the NFL. Given those circumstances, the 45-year-old did well to drill 87.1 percent of his tries, and given the ineffectiveness of the Colts’ offense, he should get plenty more long-distance attempts.
6. Matt Prater, Detroit Lions (Bye Week: 7)
Prater has been hit-and-miss over the past four seasons, but he has made 88.4 percent of his kicks over that span and was perfect from beyond 50 yards in 2016. He’s a solid fantasy option.
7. Wil Lutz, New Orleans Saints (Bye Week: 5)
Lutz was one of the hidden gems of the 2016 season, as the undrafted rookie won the Saints’ kicking job and posted quality fantasy numbers. He went 49-for-50 on extra points and was perfect on kicks between 40 and 50 yards. New Orleans ranked 12th in the league in field goal attempts last year, so Lutz should be an effective kicker this season.
8. Cairo Santos, Kansas City Chiefs (Bye Week: 10)
The Chiefs’ conservative offense, led by quarterback Alex Smith, has allowed Santos to attempt the second-most field goals in the NFL over the past two seasons. While his average distance was near the bottom of the league in 2016 (35.7 yards per kick), Kansas City’s offense still should allow Santos plenty of tries.
9. Dustin Hopkins, Washington Redskins (Bye Week: 5)
Hopkins drilled 34 of a league-high 42 attempts in 2016, and the Redskins’ potent offense should give him plenty of looks this season. While Hopkins isn’t a top-end kicker, his high volume makes him worth considering.
10. Caleb Sturgis, Philadelphia Eagles (Bye Week: 10)
Sturgis had a huge 2016 campaign in Philadelphia, going 35-for-41 while making 29 of 29 on kicks inside 40 yards. He missed eight of his attempts beyond 40 yards, but he still is a solid late-round pick at the position.
Thumbnail photo via Tommy Gilligan/USA TODAY Sports Images
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