Almost a month ago–right before the beginning of the preseason–I ranked the Top-20 kickers for fantasy football in 2019, separating them in tiers before the regular season. After three weeks in August and with basically all the relevant facts preseason games done, it’s time to update the rankings. After all, drafts are approaching.
Here’s how the rankings look right now; notes and other comments regarding the changes among the kickers below were posted on the bottom of the page.
- Already on the top of the list, I had to make a small change: Justin Tucker goes to No. 1, Greg Zuerlein drops one spot. While Zuerlein is 3 for 5 in field goals attempted, missing both of his 50-yard kicks in the preseason, Tucker has been perfect. The Baltimore Ravens’ kicker converted all seven of his field-goal attempts, including 5 of 5 from 40+ yards.
- Another move on the top of the list was Harrison Butker, who now joins Tucker and Zuerlein in Tier 1. Butker did miss his only 50-yard FG attempt and kicked just three total FGs during the preseason, but overall he has given reason for confidence in the other two field goals kicked and has converted all eight extra points attempted. Considering that Tyreek Hill is expected to play, Patrick Mahomes should be on track to lead one of the league’s best offenses again.
- On the other hand, Adam Vinatieri had his name moved down one tier after being ranked in the third level in the original ranking. Vinatieri, who attempted just one field goal during the preseason as he’s been limited due to a knee injury, also saw Andrew Luck retiring. This negatively affects the Indianapolis Colts’ offensive production in a big way. I know that with Jacoby Brissett under center the Colts may have more field goals, but until we see how the Brissett experiment will play out, the 46-year-old kicker pays the price.
- Talking about drops, the biggest one of the updated ranking was suffered by Graham Gano. Gano has been sidelined most of the preseason with leg soreness, which draws more concerns regarding the kicker once he finished 2018 on the injured reserve. In the meantime, the Carolina Panthers starting kicker throughout the preseason has been Joey Slye. The 23-year-old rookie has yet to miss a field goal (6/6) or an extra point (2/2), and even though Gano is unlikely to get cut, Slye has played well enough to get a lot of attention in Carolina and perhaps make the team’s final roster.
- Vinatieri’s and Gano’s downfalls surprisingly kept Giorgio Tavecchio as the 17th kicker in the raking, although he hasn’t played well. He’s 4 for 8 in field goals attempted so far, including 1 of 5 in FGs longer than 30 yards, which explains why the Atlanta Falcons signed Blair Walsh. However, the franchise didn’t release Tavecchio immediately, likely establishing a position battle before the regular season. Regardless of who will be the starting kicker for the Falcons, the winner deserves to be at least on the bottom-tier of the ranking. After all, keep in mind that Atlanta has a dangerous offense and will play 13 games indoors in 2019.
- Brandon McManus is the only new kicker in the rankings, filling in for Dan Bailey whose role with the Minnesota Vikings is still unsettled. Even though the 31-year-old hasn’t missed a kick in the preseason, his inconsistency in practice is a concern for the franchise. I’m expecting Bailey to be the Week 1 starter over recently-acquired Kaare Vedvik, who missed two field goals in last Saturday’s game. Meanwhile, McManus has been impressive for the Denver Broncos. He converted 7-of-7 field-goal attempts, including a 52-yarder. Playing in Colorado also can play a factor because of the altitude, and the only thing that doesn’t make McManus’ fantasy value even higher is the uncertainty behind the Joe Flacco-led Broncos offense.
- Quick kicker stats after three weeks of preseason: Matt Prater drilled the longest field goal of the year thus far, a 61-yard kick against the Vikings this past weekend … Seattle Seahawks’ Jason Myers has the most 50-yard attempts (4) and conversions (3) in August … Only two kickers haven’t made a 50-yard field goal despite having at least two attempts, Tavecchio (0/3) and Zuerlein (0/2) … Will Lutz (10/11 FGs) and Aldrick Rosas (9/9 PAT) lead the preseason in field goals and extra points made, respectively.
(Photo by Mark Alberti/ Icon Sportswire)