Kickin’ It: The Top 14 Kickers For Week 1
Here we are, the most important list of the site. But seriously, in the cutthroat world of fantasy, you can’t afford to ignore any position, including your kicker. So, through the rest of the season, I’ll be providing my take on the top 14 kickers for the week. These rankings will be based on matchup, injuries, and recent performance (shoulder shrug). These game deciders will fall into the following categories:
FGs: Fantastic Guys. Field Goals. Get it? Anyways, these are the guys you should be starting, no questions asked.
Touchbackers: This probably would have made more sense back when touchbacks started a team out at the twenty, but whatever. These guys could backfire on you, but don’t bet on it.
Squibs: Although you shouldn’t confuse the actual word with squids, these guys won’t be performing much better. While they’ll serve you more admirably than any kicker not listed, you should be wary.
So, without further adieu,
1. Wil Lutz: New Orleans Saints (@ Minnesota Vikings) – Drew Brees, inside, on Monday night. Adrain Peterson wants to quote “bring it” to his former team. If Minnesota’s defense plays like it did at the end of last season as opposed to the beginning, Lutz will get more chances than any other kicker this week. If you don’t have him, get him.
2. Matt Bryant: Atlanta Falcons (@ Chicago Bears) – Atlanta is going to be hungry after that epic collapse after last years Superbowl. At least they should be. Against one of the NFL’s worst teams, Matt Bryant should be feasting come Sunday. Forget just Matt Bryant, start anyone you have on the Falcons for your upcoming match up.
3. Justin Tucker: Baltimore Ravens (@ Cincinnati Bengals) – Until further notice, Tucker is an automatic plug and play. Flacco’s inability to play this preseason might effect Tucker’s chances as he shakes the rust off this game. But, even that is the case, it’s not like Tucker misses anyway.
4. Graham Gano: Carolina Panthers (@ San Francisco 49ers) – I think Carolina is coming back in a big way this year. The addition of McCaffery with help this offense in both the run and pass game and against this D, Gano should be in line to get plenty of oppurtunies.
5. Stephen Gostkowski: New England Patriots (@ Kansas City Chiefs) – Gos. should be a soild bet here. In a leaguge that does everything to make sure parity is king, New England’s offense is as stacked as it gets. While ungodly loud, Arrowhead doesn’t have the reputation of being a hard place to kick. Start him if you got’em.
6. Chris Boswell: Pittsburgh Steelers (@ Cleveland Browns) – Until proven otherwise, “The Land” as Lebron affectiontly calls it, is still a doormat. Pittsburgh is expected to compete for a Superbowl with their prolific offense, and Boswell will be there to pick up the scraps.
7. Ka’imi Fairburn: Houston Texans (VS. Jacksonville Jaguars) – Much like the Browns, the Jags are still a doormat until further notice. Unlike the Browns, Jacksonville has an absolute Bell Cow of a running back, who might end up chewing a lot of clock down the road. I don’t think that will be an issue with Houston’s great defense this week and thus Fairburn should be a good play.
8. Matt Prater: Detriot Lions (VS. Arizona Cardinals) Matt Stafford should be playing out of his mind after that absurd contract. Should be being the important word there. Will Stafford become complacent after securing the largest NFL contract of all time? Or will he be out to prove his self-worth? Only time will tell. Although he’s a great kicker, Prater’s performance hinges that performance. I think everything will be just fine. Buuuuuut we’ll have to just wait and see.
9. Dustin Hopkins: Washington Redskins (VS. Philadelphia Eagles) – Hopkins has only missed two kicks against the Eagles in his star-studded, prolific career (lolz) One field goal and one extra point. So there’s nothing there that would make me shy away from starting him.
10. Mason Crosby: Green Bay Packers (VS Seattle Seahawks) – Any other week and Mason would probably be an FG. But this Seattle Defense, with the addition of Sheldon Richardson, is going to be one of the best defenses in the NFL. Crosby might be better served spending this week on your bench.
11. Dan Bailey: Dallas Cowboys (@ New York Giants) – As of the time of this writing, no Zeke. Regardless of the time of this writing? Much like Mason Crosby, facing one of the best defenses in the NFL. And no matter how good Dallas’s offense is, they do not have the Quarterback that Green Bay does.
12. Greg Zuerlein: Los Angles Rams (VS Indianapolis Colts) – The Colts are bad. like really bad. And now they have no Andrew Luck. Then again, the Rams are bad, like really bad. But Goff played well this preseason, and Sammy Watkins ain’t too bad himself. That being said, I’d be hesitant to start Zuerlein for now.
13. Brandon McManus: Denver Broncos (VS Los Angeles Chargers) – The one game that no one on the east coast will watch, and for good reason, besides the absurd start time, this one should be a total snoozer. Denver’s defense is great and should give Phillip Rivers fits. On the other side, Trevor Seimian is not the answer. Mcmanus is getting the nod here because he plays in Denver, where the ball flies like no other. Mcmanus will get you some points, but don’t expect him to be a solution going forward.
14. Sebastian Janikowski: Oakland Raiders (@ Tennesse Titans) – Look, I’m going, to be honest here, the only reason Janikowski is this far down is that I didn’t want to google his name. Just kidding. That being said, he’s getting up there in age, and no one old runs father time forever. Janikowski starts this season on the metaphorical bubble, as his skills have diminished over the last couple of years.