Tier 1- There Can Be Only One
1.) Justin Tucker (Baltimore Ravens) – Tucker has been in the league for so long that I can still remember him missing a field goal to seal the deal in a playoff game against the Patriots. Back then, he was still a dangerous weapon, and now a 10-year veteran, he is one of the most set and forget-it kickers in the league. The fastest kicker ever to 1,000 points and in his career only missing just north of 30 field goals, Tucker may not always have the most point opportunities due to the big play stylings of the Ravens and their tendency to risk it for the biscuit, but Tucker is ol’ reliable, and there’s no one I’d rather have in my kicker position if I’m forced to have one.
Tier 2- The League of Extraordinary Gentleman
2.) Evan McPherson (Cincinnati Bengals) – Once in this tier, you have a bubbling of “up and coming greatness” (see McPherson here), reliability finally coming into bloom, and resurgence of the older. McPherson actually had the second-highest points per game average (tied with Tucker), and his big-boom ability outside 50-yard kicks is an exciting and valuable skill that will reel you off some 15 to 18-point weeks. There is always the worry a dominant and youthful offense will likely score more touchdowns than the year prior, but McPherson has a relatively high floor to production.
3.) Harrison Butker (Kansas City Chiefs) – Butker offers a lot in terms of consistent kicking and is on arguably the best high-octane offense in the league. This has been both a bonus and a boon to his fantasy value, as his early season metrics and production had him right near the top, and now he’s average well outside those values. The issue was less on him, as ProFootballFocus showcases, he had the 21st-ranked Field Goal attempts last year. This team will be without Tyreek Hill next year, however, and could rely more on Butker. I’d be willing to bet on a resurgence from the butt kicker.
4.) Daniel Carlson (Las Vegas Raiders) – The Raiders and their offense are on the rise, and last year was proof you don’t need to reach out to Tucker, as Carlson actually was the one who averaged the most field goal attempts last season. Carlson’s early ADP is proving that some folks are paying attention, as he’s actually getting drafted as the Kicker 1 overall, but some leagues may be sleeping and allow you to get him lower. If that’s the case, do your pouncing. This team added Davante Adams and some depth, and the rapport between David Carr and Adams from the good old college days could be a fantasy goldmine for Carlson.
5.) Nick Folk (New England Patriots)- Still recalling Folk from his days booming them through for the Cowboys, this fellow has had somewhat of a career resurgence in New England after traveling all over for his services just two years ago. Folk was reliable, arguably the most consistent piece of the puzzle for the Patriots this past season. So, the ranking on him may be a bit higher on my list than on some others, but it seems like Folk will have the opportunity with a team that added a ton of young depth, and has a sophomore quarterback in Mac Jones who many are talking up profusely in camp. Understandable, it’s tough to trust a 37-year-old kicker on your squad, but this fella finished number one overall just last year. There’s talent here.
Tier 3- 3rd Bass
6.) Tyler Bass (Buffalo Bills)- Tyler Bass has just 25 birthdays so far and has already achieved a top-3 ranked kicker season. The Buffalo Bills are truthfully his toughest competitor, as they have been efficient and constantly scoring when in or around the red zone. Bass has an incredibly strong leg and has the luxury of being on a team that will put up over 40 points almost half the season, so there’s definitely a very high ceiling for him, but he may outright be hoping that he gets more attempts this year to do something with them.
7.) Matt Gay (Los Angeles Rams)– Matt Gay has an offense spearheaded by Matt Stafford, Cooper Kupp, and recently signed training camp phenom Allen Robinson. There will surely be a ton of opportunity for extra points, but there’s always the worry just as the kickers on incredible offenses above that there will not be much chance to kick field goals. Gay has an incredibly accurate 2021 where he hit 94 percent of his kicks to show, but will there really be a chance to put that many away for 3 points? Either way, the trajectory for Gay is upward.
8.) Ryan Succop (Tampa Bay Buccaneers) – Succop has the luxury of being on arguably the best offense in the league, which vaults him above some of the other next-tier guys just for ample opportunity. The ageless Tom Brady will continue to score points, and this team has added Julio Jones, Russell Gage, and Rachaad White in the offseason, so they may actually have gotten better as an offense even with Rob Gronkowski stepping away. Hampered by an average leg for long distances, this one may backfire on me, but I just feel like a floor of 6 most weeks with the possibility of 15 is huge for this position.
Tier 4- Who Ya Gonna Call?? Mid-tier kickers!
9.) Matt Prater (Arizona Cardinals)- Prater has seen glimpses of the top of the list, but this averaging is actually more my worry in relation to just how good Kingsbury’s offense can/will be. A perennial disappointment the past 2 seasons, Prater may get a lot of opportunity, but will it be a consistent lacking? 38 years young, the foot has always played, and he will have ample opportunity to get kicks off his foot, as just last year, he took the most attempts of his career. Will a new contract for Kyler Murray and a mostly healthy season of DeAndre Hopkins make up for Christian Kirk moving on, and fans souring on the inconsistent nature of the Cardinals? It’s worth the risk around this position.
10.) Younghoe Koo (Atlanta Falcons) – Koo will be the team facing the worry for likely the next few seasons of being in the league’s worst offense. That may actually bode well for his personal fantasy value, however. A dome kicker, last season, wasn’t so much to talk about. 20th in FG attempts and 20th in XP attempts tells you he really didn’t get much chance last year. The signs pointed overall to Koo being a better kicker than worse, and now he likely gets into an offense that will likely try a bit harder with Marcus Mariota and some youth ready to take a chance.
11.) Brandon McManus (Denver Broncos)- McManus is one of those folks akin to an NBA player you look up and realize has been in the league for 6 years, while you think they’ve been in it for 20. Just over 30 years old, McManus has made his hay in Denver as a very average kicker with not many ups or downs. He was middle of the field in FG Attempts, FGs made, XP attempts, AND XPs made, so you know what we’re getting at here. Either way may be worth it to take the name of the kicker aligning with Russell Wilson in his “prove it to the league I still have it” season.
12.) Wil Lutz (New Orleans Saints) – Wil Lutz has immense upside, a tendency to get to the top of the leaderboards, and has done it in almost every season. That he’s been healthy. That’s your worry. He plays in a dome, he has an offense that has always tried to take it to the house on big plays, but the kicker really needs to just stay on the field, and if he does, he could be worthy of a tier above this one, maybe even two.
13.) Dustin Hopkins (Los Angeles Chargers) – The Los Angeles Chargers got an immensely talented kicker with Dustin Hopkins, and as he’s entering into his age 31 season, Hopkins for this tier is actually one of the players with the most upside. Finishing last season with the 8th most Field Goals Attempted and the 7th most Field Goals Made, clearly accuracy is Hopkins’s standby, but he’s also stepping into a full-season role with Justin Herbert and the high-flying Chargers offense as his backbone. That’s a great help to any kicker’s fantasy value.
14.) Jake Elliott (Philadelphia Eagles) – Jake Elliott seems to be one of those kickers you’d never know about unless you scoured depth charts for fun. (Hey, don’t judge me!) Elliott is young, extremely efficient (see 7th highest field goals made totals), and has the good grace to be in an offense that just added A.J. Brown, while also hoping to draw upon a growing in talent by the day Jalen Hurts. Elliott is efficient and will make his kicks, so this kicker is someone you can target if you don’t want to reach in the first 10 rounds for your kicker.
Tier 5- How Kickers Hope to Get Their Groove Back
15.) Graham Gano (New York Giants) – This may just be a slight reach due to the fact that I grew up in Connecticut with a waking interest in the Giants, but for what Gano was able to accomplish with the offense he was on, I feel he’s being sold short here. Gano tied for the 11th most FGs attempted, and the 10th most FGs made and is being undermined in Average Draft Position due to some draft rankings not yet including him. No, the offense is not one many people want to be on, but they have pieces and they could eventually get themselves somewhere.
16.) Greg Joseph (Minnesota Vikings) – Greg Joseph may not be grading out as one of the best kickers, but he has the luxury of taking a lot of kicks and being young with the potential of being very good. He graded out poorly on ProFootballFocus, but the Vikings and their offense are going to create field goal opportunities, so as long as Joseph doesn’t kick himself out the door due to poor kicking, he’ll have the chances.
17.) Rodrigo Blankenship (Indianapolis Colts) – If this was the “Best kicker name” chart, he’d be number one, but the Blankenship may not get off the shore if they can’t find a way to get their offense moving. Blankenship really had a lost year last year with an injury, but the season prior he was just outside the top 5 in kicker value. This may actually be a very good value for a very serviceable kicker, as many will not be one to look at him due to his average point production from LAST year. If you want to wait on the kicker, this is a sneaky one.
18.) Chris Boswell (Pittsburgh Steelers) – Boswell had the luxury of being one of the luckiest kickers in 2021, as he had the 2nd most Field Goals attempted, and therefore finished the season off the third. In my humble thought, this was mostly due to a ravaged and checked-out Ben Roethlisberger and his inability to finish off drives just allowing Boswell to load up on field goals. Good for Boswell, but don’t expect the Steelers to be that inept this year, even with a younger quarterback at the helm.
19.) Mason Crosby (Green Bay Packers) – Mason Crosby seems to go hand in hand with the reign in Green Bay, and this likely will continue until both retire. A victim last year of a very efficient offense that scored touchdowns, he had the 2nd highest Extra Point Attempts and 3rd Most made. While not being as high on field goals, 8th Overall in Attempts showcases that there’s still some value to be mined out of here. Crosby is not going to give you the sexiest stat line but it’s safe and there’s a tad of upside.
20.) Cade York (Cleveland Browns) – Cade York is an absolute anomaly, as he doesn’t even have a page on ProFootballFocus, but either way there’s a glimmer of him being something, and the Browns look like they’re out to prove something this year. There are always worse places to go than a kicker who will get opportunities on an offense that will have its stumbling points.
Photo by All-Pro Reels on Flickr | Adapted by Justin Redler (@reldernitsuj on Twitter)