The kicker, the member of an NFL team who can truly make or break a game. The man who is called onto the field when a game is on the line. However, kickers are always an afterthought for NFL fans and fantasy football players. They are always taken at the very end of the fantasy draft and are known to be the most irrelevant player on the fantasy team. Despite this, kickers are one of the most important players on the team. The outcome of their kicks always has an impact on the outcome of the game.
Here are our new and improved fantasy football kicker rankings. In both a close NFL game and a close fantasy match-up, an accurate kicker can get you the few extra points you need in order to defeat your opponent.
1 Justin Tucker, Baltimore Ravens
Justin Tucker was unquestionably the best kicker in the NFL last season, as well as a fantasy owner's dream. Tucker was the most accurate kicker in the league last year, missing just one kick all season. Tucker converted 38 of 39 field goal attempts and 27 of 27 extra point attempts, good for an astounding 97.4% kicking accuracy. In addition to that, he converted all 10 of his field goal attempts from 50-plus yards. Tucker is the one kicker fantasy owners do not want to miss, as he will be racking up lots of points for your team all season long.
2 Dan Bailey, Dallas Cowboys
While Dan Bailey is no Justin Tucker, he is still a very solid kicker, and a nice consolation prize for fantasy owners who missed out on Tucker. Bailey converted 27 of 32 field goal attempts last season, and was perfect on extra points, converting all 46 of them. The Dallas Cowboys are no strangers to the endzone and Dan Bailey is no stranger to converting extra points, so look for him to rack up lots of easy points for your fantasy team this year.
3 Matt Bryant, Atlanta Falcons
Matt Bryant was a vital member of the Atlanta Falcons last season and it is not hard to see his impact on 2016's NFC champs. Bryant converted 34 of his 37 field goal attempts as well as 56 of 57 extra point attempts. The Falcons have one of the NFL's most lethal offenses, led by Matt Ryan, Devonta Freeman, and Julio Jones. It is nearly impossible for opposing defenses to keep that trio out of the endzone, thus also making it impossible to keep Matt Bryant off the field. For fantasy owners looking for their teams to accumulate some easy extra points, look no further than Matt Bryant.
4 Stephen Gostkowski, New England Patriots
While 2016 was a bit of a down season for Stephen Gostkowski, he still remains one of the NFL's top kickers. Last season, Gostkowski only converted on 84.4% of his field goal attempts, lower than his career kicking accuracy percentage of 87%. Despite this, Gostkowski still played a significant role in helping the Patriots win yet another Super Bowl. For fantasy owners looking to stay competitive in the kicking game, Gostkowski is a very good choice.
5 Adam Vinatieri, Indianapolis Colts
At the ripe age of 44, Adam Vinatieri still has it. He was perfect on extra points last season, converting all 44 of them, and connected on 87.1% of his field goal attempts as well. With quarterback Andrew Luck likely out for the start of the season, the Colts are going to need somebody to score some points for them, and it likely will not be Scott Tolzien. Fantasy owners looking for some solid production should look no further than this future hall-of-famer when drafting their players.
6 Matt Prater, Detroit Lions
Last season, Matt Prater set career highs in field goal attempts and field goals made, with 36 and 31 respectively. While he may not have as many points as some of the kickers ranked higher, he is still just as accurate as many of them. He may not have the same numbers as he did with the Denver Broncos in 2012 and 2013, but he should kick plenty of field goals and extra points for a contending Detroit Lions team. For fantasy owners looking to wait until the last round to take a kicker, Prater is the right guy for you.
7 Brandon McManus, Denver Broncos
Brandon McManus, the man who unseated Matt Prater as the Denver Broncos' starting kicker, falls right underneath Prater in our kicker rankings. McManus has been remarkably consistent for the Broncos, making over 85% of his kicks over the past two seasons. He is another solid option for fantasy owners who prefer to wait until the draft's last round to take a kicker.
8 Caleb Sturgis, Philadelphia Eagles
Caleb Sturgis had the best season of his career in 2016, when he successfully made 35 of 41 field goal attempts and 30 of 31 extra point attempts. Sturgis was a below-average kicker until his breakout 2016 campaign. Perhaps his improved performance was the result of an under-performing offense that featured a rookie quarterback, inconsistent running back play, and arguably the worst wide receiving corps in the entire NFL. The Eagles had to score points somehow, so Sturgis was the man who stepped up to the challenge. Sturgis should be a decent end-of-draft option for fantasy owners, as he looks to replicate last season's success.
9 Dustin Hopkins, Washington Redskins
Dustin Hopkins had a decent season in 2016, successfully converting on 34 of 42 field goal attempts and 36 of 39 extra point attempts. The Redskins have a strong offense that can move the ball down the field, so Hopkins will definitely continue to see a lot of action this season. Hopkins is a great fit for fantasy owners who want a kicker who sees lots of action, but do not want to use an earlier pick on one. For those looking for some late draft value, look no further than Hopkins.
10 Cairo Santos, Kansas City Chiefs
Cairo Santos had the best season of his career last year, converting 36 of 39 extra point attempts and 31 of 35 field goal attempts, good for a career high 88.6% accuracy. Santos is a very capable kicker from distance, hitting 6 of 7 field goal attempts between 40 and 49 yards, and 2 of 2 attempts from 50-59 yards, thus making him very attractive to fantasy owners who value long distance kicking. If you are in the final round of your draft and Santos is still on the board, do not hesitate to snatch him up, or else risk losing him to one of your opponents.
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