Yup, we’re doing it. Ranking kickers. Believe it or not, just like any other position, having a good kicker can be the difference between losing a game. So yeah, it’s not the smartest idea to take any of these guys before the last round of your draft. But you better know who to take when that time comes.
So without further ado, here are your best options for your upcoming draft:
Tier 1: The Must Haves
These guys are the cream of the crop, the guys you gotta draft. Some people might even draft them before the last round. I’m not telling you to do that, but hey, do what you want.
1.Justin Tucker (Baltimore Ravens)
Tucker made every single kick he attempted last season, except for ONE (38 for 39 on field goals, 27 for 27 on extra points) and that one was blocked. I wouldn’t bet that he continues that streak, but now that the NFL has removed the ability for defenders to jump the line in the name of “safety” there’s no reason to believe Tucker won’t be the strongest kicker going forward.
2. Stephen Gostkowski (New England Patriots)
The thinking here is very simple. Better offense = more opportunities. Gostkowski kicked for a very respectable 84.4 conversion rate last year (27 for 32 field goals, 46 for 49 extra points) and with The Patriots poised to have their best offensive season since 2007, Gostkowski will get plenty of chances to rack up the points.
3. Dan Bailey (Dallas Cowboys)
Same thinking as Gostkowski here. The Cowboys’ offense will be one of the best in NFL this season, getting Bailey into position to make earn his owners a bunch of points. Seeing as his conversion rate last year was 84.4 (27 for 32) and he hasn’t missed an extra point the past two seasons (71 for 71).
4. Matt Bryant (Atlanta Falcons)
Are you starting to notice the trend yet? Bryant benefited from one of the NFL’s most potent offenses last season, amassing 176 points for his owners. He made over 90 percent of his field goals (91. 9 to be precise) and missed only one extra point out of 57 tries.
Tier 2: The Good Options
These guys won’t produce as much as the top tier guys, but they will defiantly produce.
5. Adam Vinatieri (Indianapolis Colts)
The old man is still going strong after all of these years and misses Tom Brady. He didn’t finish worse than 14th last year in the weekly rankings and ended his 2016 season with the third most points of any kicker (145).
6. Mason Crosby (Green Bay Packers)
Much like the top tier guys, Crosby benefits from the sheer volume of attempts his offense gives him, even if the average of those attempts has gone down significantly over the last two years (70 to 58). With a lifetime conversion rate of 80.5, he’s not a great kicker, but Green Bay’s offense should give him a lot of opportunities.
7. Cairo Santos (Kansas City Chiefs)
Santos seemed to find his groove last two seasons after a subpar rookie campaign. Kansas City’s tendency to play conservative ball led to plenty of chances for Santos, who hit 31 out of 35 field goals and 36 out of 39 extra points for an 88.6 percent success rate last year.
8. Matt Prater (Detriot Lions)
Prater had a solid campaign last year, hitting all seven of his field goals from fifty yards or longer and all but one from 40- yards and in. Perplexedly, he missed four of his mid range kicks going 10 of 14 between 40-49 yards. He’s a good, not great option.
9. Dustin Hopkins (Washington Redskins)
Hopkins certainly was given his chances last season, as he had the most field goal attempts last year with 42. Unfortunately, he was only able to hit 81 percent of those treys, going 34 for 42 while going 36-39 on extra points.
10. Caleb Sturgis (Philadelphia Eagles)
Sturgis had a solid 2016 campaign, converting 85.4 percent of his 41 attempts. His short game is fantastic, as he hit all 24 of his field goals inside the 30-yard line, but much like Justin Tucker, you can’t expect that sort of streak to continue.
Tier 3: It could be worse.
These guys might win you a game; they might lose you a game. For the most part however, they will be just fine.
11. Will Lutz (New Orleans Saints)
Another beneficiary of a quality offense, Lutz posted 7 top ten fantasy weeks last year (for kickers) and ended his 2016 season scoring the 7th most points out of all kickers. His field goal attempts were 12th in the NFL and his extra point attempts were 2nd. If the Saints Offense is to continue their impressive march under Drew Brees, expect more of the same from Lutz.
12. Nick Novak (Houston Texans)
Novack has silently been one of the NFL’s most reliable kickers over the last couple of seasons posting an 86.0 conversion rate. Compound that with the Texans brutal offense which led to the second highest amount of field goal attempts, and you have a pretty good kicker in Novack.
13. Steven Hauschka (Buffalo Bills)
Silently one of the NFL’s more reliable kickers Steven Huaska posted an 89.2 conversion percentage last season, two points up from his lifetime average of 87.2. It remains to be seen however if he will keep up his success in Buffalo as the wind up there has always given kickers trouble.
14. Sebastian Janikowski (Oakland Raiders)
One time thought of as the best kicker in the NFL, Janikowski has slid into obscurity over the last couple of years, posting 4 straight seasons where his conversation rate was a pedestrian 79.6. Given Oakland’s offense has been getting better these last couple of seasons he does have some potential, but don’t count on it.
Tier 4: The why are you still looking for kickers tier.
If you’re looking for a kicker at this point, I hope you have fun. Any league bigger than 14 people isn’t fun and stuff like this is the exact reason why.
15. Chris Boswell (Pittsburgh Steelers)
Boswell had a very disappointing season last year, with a nagging abdominal issue, which led to him missing one game and registering as the NFL’s 22nd best scoring kicker. However, there does seem to be some hope for a much better 2017 season. Boswell had no missed extra points while converting 84.0 percent of his field goals. If he gets healthy, watch out.
16. Kai Forbath (Minnesota Vikings)
After joining the Vikings mid season last year, Forbath was a perfect 15 for 15 on all of his field goals, while missing 4 extra points. However, Forbath’s future could go either way at this point, as he is apparently struggling to secure the starting job with journey man Marshal Koehn standing in his way.
17. Phil Dawson (Arizona Cardinals)
Unlike his peer Adam Vinatieri, Dawson’s power hasn’t seemed to slow down with his age, and in fact, he will be handling kickoffs this upcoming season. While his chances have been limited this past two years with the anemic 49ers offense, he only missed 3 field goals and one extra point last year. With the Arizona, his chances will sky rocket.
18. Nick Folk (Tampa Bay Buccaneers )
Much like Dawson, Folk figures to benefit from a change of scenery. After getting only 31 field goals opportunities last year (of which he made 27) expect Folk’s chances to increase with a much better offense.
19. Jason Myers (Jacksonville Jaguars)
Myers posted an average 27 for 34 campaign in 2017 with 29 for 32 on extra points. He converted 12 field goals from 50 yards or greater last year, a promising stat for a kicker on a Blak Bortles led team.
20. Josh Lambo (Los Angeles Chargers)
Lamb had a subpar year last year, converting 24 of his 32 field goals while making 42 of his 46 extra points. What should really trouble Lamb owners is his failure to take charge of his preseason battle with undrafted free agent Younghoe Koo.
21. Blair Walsh (Seattle Seahawks)
Walsh comes to the team in which he had his biggest choke job against. It seems like he didn’t recover from that 2015-playoff game, has he posted one of his worst conversion percentages at 75 percent last year. This might be a player on the decline. Be wary.
22. Ryan Succop (Tennesse Titans)
As the offense goes, so does the kicker. Are you getting that point yet? Anyway, Succup posted a pretty good campaign in 2016, going 22 for 24 on field goals and 39 for 41 on extra points. He has the potential to get a lot more chances this year if the Titans offense advances under Marcus Mariota.
23. Brandon McManus (Denver Broncos)
Oh to kick in Denver. McManus completed 29 out of 34 field goals and 32 out of 33 field goals. If the Bronco’s offense can get going, McManus can be a serviceable starter.
24. Mike Nugent (New York Giants)
The return of Mike Nugent to New York! I’m sure giant’s fans are thrilled. Nugent’s numbers last year (for both field goals and extra points) was 23 for 29). Expect him to do much better with this giant’s offense.
25. Greg Zuerlein (Los Angeles Rams)
Zuerlein had a good last year, converting 19 out of his 22 field goals and all of his 23 extra points. The Rams offense, however, makes him a risky start. If Geoff starts off well, Zuerlein could turn into an extremely productive kicker.
26. Andrew Franks (Miami Dolphins)
Franks had a decent year in 2016, kicking 16 out of 21 field goals and converting 41 out of 42 extra points. BUUUUT. The Dolphins offense is going to being led by a guy who not only was released last year but also is just getting to training camp in Jay Cutler. No thank you.
Tier 5: The “Nope don’t draft these guys” Tier
27. Connor Barth (Chicago Bears)
The Bears. No offense. Sure Barth had decent numbers last year when he got a chance (18 for 23 field goals, 31 for 32 extra points) but don’t expect him to get nearly the amount of opportunities to be a decent starter.
28. Robbie Gould (San Fransico 49ers)
Gould was a perfect 10 for 10 on field goals last year and 20 for 23 on extra points. However, he signed with the 49ers and now his chances will drop dramatically.
29. Chandler Catanzaro (New York Jets)
He once hit a 60 yarder with the Bucs. He’s going to need that leg, as the Jets are predicted to have the leagues worst offense, by far.
Tier 6: The “Who knows they are rookies, I’m not getting paid enough to research rookie kicker stats” Tier.
30. Harrison Butker (Carolina Panthers)
I’m giving him the edge over our next kicker because now that their Superbowl hangover is over, and the addition of rookie running back Christian McCaffery, Carolina’s offense will give Butker more opportunities.
31. Jake Elliot (Cincinnati Bengals)
Total and utter crapshoot.
32: Zane Gonzalez (Cleveland Browns)
Rookie kicker, on what should probably be the second worst offense in the NFL in one of the hardest stadiums to kick in. Pass (not that Cleveland is expected to be able to, ba-dum-tisk).