To quote Abraham Lincoln,
Kickers are a vital part to Football and will be used in Fantasy Football, whether you like it or not.
Now, I’m not one to argue with a former president (or discuss the legitimacy of the quote), but I can see why people don’t like kickers. They can sway a week so easily and they’re such high variance. One year a guy is a complete stud, the next he’s a dud. Alas, most leagues DO use ’em, so that means we have to rank them! I’ve got twenty kickers ranked for fantasy football this year and I hope you enjoy it. I’ve used some of the MCU hero’s as the tiers, cause I’m a super nerd. CBS scoring was used when referenced.
Tier 1: The Spider-Man Tier
Spider-Man in the Marvel movies is damn near perfect. He’s lovable, spontaneous, quite funny, and given a really nice arc with Ironman. Are these guys damn near perfect? Yes, yes they are. And as a side-note, while this isn’t apart of the MCU, Into the Spider-Verse might be one of my favorite movies of all time.
1. Justin Tucker (Baltimore Ravens) – The Spider-Man tier has essentially three guys all tied 1A, 1B, and 1C. You’re well set off with either of the three. I do have Justin Tucker ahead of them thanks to the consistent dominance and his accuracy. Last year he was 2nd in the NFL with a 96.6% field-goal percentage. He wasn’t the top-scoring kicker last year thanks to the ABSURD touchdown rate the Baltimore Ravens had. He actually tied for 18th all-time in extra-point attempts with 59. I expect that number to come down slightly (they have to regress, right???) but at the same time expect the field-goal attempts to go up. You’re buying safety with him and he should finish no later than 3rd overall.
- Wil Lutz (New Orleans Saints) – Even with the kicking-enigmatic Sean Payton in control, Wil Lutz is an attractive choice for fantasy. He finished 2nd overall last year and 4th in 2018 thanks to his floor of 48 for 49 extra-points made. The New Orleans Saints should continue to rack up the points and rely on Lutz to be a steady source of field-goals. Oh and he gets to kick inside. Bonus points for that!
- Harrison Butker (Kansas City Chiefs) – Harrison Butker is gonna kick some butt(ker) in 2020. Ehhh? Awful I know. While I have him ranked technically 3rd here he finished 2019 as the 1st overall kicker and has a good chance to repeat. He nailed 45 of 48 extra-points and 34 of 38 field-goals attempted. The Kansas City Chiefs are sure to rack up points and will rely on Butker to help. He’s good ya’ll.
Tier 2: The Thor Tier
Thor had a rough go for his second movie. While the first Thor was pretty good, Thor: The Dark World was subpar at best. They did him good with Thor: Ragnarok (arguably the best MCU movie) and his performances in The Avengers movies were always memorable. These kickers are like the Thor Movies, in which some weeks they may be subpar but for the most part, will deliver (and possibly even be elite).
4. Greg Zuerlein (Dallas Cowboys) – 2020 is hopefully going to be a bounceback season for Greg Zuerlein after signing with the Dallas Cowboys. While 2019 wasn’t bad by any stretch, he continued to be plagued by accuracy issues. He only hit 72.7% of his field-goal attempts with the Los Angeles Rams which would place him 28th in the NFL. He’s now on a top-five offense with the Cowboys and should get every chance to prove he’s still a top kicker. Especially since they released Kai Forbath.
5. Younghoe Koo (Atlanta Falcons) – I have Younghoe Koo ranked much higher than most places thanks to a fantastic finish to the 2019 season. He didn’t start the year with the Atlanta Falcons but once Matt Bryant showed he could no longer get the job done, Koo took over. In the final eight games, he averaged 11 FPPG which would have placed him 2nd, only behind Kai Forbath (who only kicked in four games). Kicking indoors and playing for an offensive-heavy team such as the Falcons should give Koo plenty of good chances to solidify himself as a top kicking option.
6. Matt Gay (Tampa Bay Buccaneers) – Matt Gay finished 2019 as the 6th overall kicker and should find himself finishing there again in 2020. With Tom Brady arriving in the sunshine capital, Gay should continue to see plenty of opportunities if not more. If he sees his subpar field-goal percentage raise (77.1% in 2019) he could become a top 3 option as a kicker. If not, the number of chances he receives will still vault him into the top 10 and make him a useful fantasy kicker.
7. Matt Prater (Detroit Lions) – Someone I feel like I could be too low on is Matt Prater. I have a feeling the Detroit Lions offense will be a lot better than people think and will need Prater to continue his accurate ways. One of the best long field-goal kickers, Prater hit 83.9% of his field-goals and 35 of 26 extra-point attempts. The old man still has it, and if the offense ticks up, he could see himself as a top 5 option this year.
8. Robbie Gould (San Francisco 49ers) – I know I literally just called Matt Prater the old man but Robbie Gould is older. The 38-year-old was pretty poor accuracy wise last year with the San Francisco 49ers, only hitting 74.2% of his field-goal attempts. Is this age catching up to him or a blip on the radar? Hard to say, but what we do know is he’s going to get to kick for a team sure to find themselves in the end-zone often. Even though he missed three games he finished with 8.8 FPPG, higher than all but four ahead of him on this list. As long as he’s the one kicking for the Niners, he’s a lock to finish in the top 10.
Tier 3: The Incredible Hulk Tier
We all forget the Edward Norton Hulk and remember the Mark Ruffalo Hulk (as we should, honestly). The first Hulk stunk but once The Avengers rolled around he was pretty dang good (HULK SMASH still makes me chuckle). I believe these kickers can be like Hulk and SMASH your competition but sometimes we’ll just try to forget they exist.
9. Michael Badgley (Los Angeles Chargers) – My thinking with Michael Badgley is with Tyrod Taylor under center, the Los Angeles Chargers are going to play a conservative type of game. This should help Badgley, who missed half of last season with a groin injury. He was decent while healthy, hitting all of his field-goals 45 yards and under and has the job to himself as the lone kicker in camp. While they might not get as many chances to kick as other teams, he should take advantage.
10. Ka’imi Fairbairn (Houston Texans) – Ka’imi Fairbairn fell from 1st in 2018 to 19th in 2019, showcasing just how varied some kickers are year-to-year. While a drop in accuracy on both field-goals and extra-points is partially to blame, the Houston Texans also relied less on their kicker. The attempts should go up with a not-as-explosive offense and the hope is he returns value between his 2018 and 2019 finish.
11. Jake Elliott (Philadelphia Eagles) – You could argue to have Jake Elliot in Tier 2 and I wouldn’t disagree with you. However, I still see the Philadelphia Eagles not having the best receiving core. While the offense as a whole should be better than last year, I don’t think it will be amazing. Elliott should be good when utilized, as he’s been accurate for his short career and had his best accuracy year in 2019. If the Eagles are firing on all cylinders, so will Elliott.
12. Zane Gonzalez (Arizona Cardinals) – Zane Gonzalez would be my pick to shoot into the next tier once we update these rankings, but I’m not sold yet. The DeAndre Hopkins acquisition should in turn help Gonzalez get more opportunities with the Arizona Cardinals in 2020. He was the 4th highest scoring kicker in 2019 thanks to a stellar field-goal accuracy (88.6%) and has a chance to finish that high again. The high-octane Cardinals liked him so much they applied a 2nd round tender on him to keep him there and will continue to use him whenever possible. I worry somewhat about last year being an anomaly, as his showing with the Cleveland Browns was okay at best, but he’s probably going to make me look very foolish.
13. Chris Boswell (Pittsburgh Steelers) – This ranking all depends on the health of Ben Roethlisberger. If the Pittsburgh Steelers can return to their pre-2019 offense, Chris Boswell should get more chances to succeed. In 2019 he was quite good, nailing 93.5% of his field-goals (3rd in the league) but only had 28 extra-point attempts. I don’t have much else to say about him but if the Steelers are good, then he will be as well.
14. Brandon McManus (Denver Broncos) – This is a tricky ranking. On one hand, Brandon McManus had the best accuracy of his career with an 83.5% field-goal percentage, the Denver Broncos DST will help and has the thin Denver air on his side. On the other hand, he attempted the 4th most field-goal attempts with 34 and I’m not sure I see the Denver Broncos giving him that many again. Courtland Sutton and co. certainly looks to be an upgrade from years past but I’m not fully sold on Drew Lock.
Tier 4: The Hawkeye Tier
Hawkeye was…. whatever. I didn’t love his roles and especially didn’t love the weird backstory they gave him for End Game. He’s an assassin? Like, is that what your family would want? Come on dudeeeeeee. Most of these guys are unexciting but will have their time to shine, much like Hawkeye in the first Avengers.
15. Dan Bailey (Minnesota Vikings) – Poor Ban Dailey. He saw a drastic step-forward in his field-goal accuracy, nailing 93.1% of them. Unfortunately for him and his fantasy outlook, the Minnesota Vikings offense is an enigma. He only had 29 field-goal attempts in 2019 and has seen under 30 in both years in Minnesota. If the offense magically takes a step forward Bailey can as well, I sadly just don’t see it happening. Even if he kicks that well again his ceiling is probably what it was last year, 10th place.
16. Joey Slye (Carolina Panthers) – I’m kinda a Slye Guy. Joey Slye last year didn’t have amazing kicking accuracy, with a 78.1% field-goal rate. However, he led the league in field-goal attempts 40+ yards or further at an astonishing 22. This is thanks to how awful the Carolina Panthers offense was last year and it should be much improved in 2020. He will need to work on his accuracy though, as he also had just an 88.6% extra-point percentage. I think he’s got some upside and someone to stream early on. Who knows, maybe he impresses and wins you a fantasy league. Probably not, but we can dream.
17. Jake Myers (Seattle Seahawks) – A disappointing 2019 campaign saw Jake Myers only attempt 28 field-goals and go 6 for 11 from 40+ yards. That won’t cut it for fantasy but it’s not all bad news. The Seattle Seahawks play a somewhat conservative game and should (keyword should) allow him to rack up more field-goal attempts than last year.
18. Mason Crosby (Green Bay Packers) – Mason Crosby saw the best year of his career kicking with a 91.7% field-goal percentage. Sadly the Greenbay Packers offense isn’t like it once was, as he only attempted 24 field-goals which ranked 28th in the NFL. That just won’t cut it for fantasy. While he probably won’t get the 38 attempts he saw in 2018, if he gets closer to 30 he can be viable if he continues kicking so well.
19. Austin Seibert (Cleveland Browns) – Austin Seibert had an unexciting rookie season. He was able to knock down 86.2% of his field-goals and 85.7 of his extra-points. He only attempted 29 field-goals thanks to the subpar Cleveland Browns offense, which should see an increase this year. The Cleveland Browns might not fully trust Seibert yet, however, as they brought four kickers into training camp to compete. What does this mean? Probably nothing, but it worries me for his long-term outlook this season.
20. Chase Mclaughlin (Indianapolis Colts) – Chase McGlaughlin has some major shoes to fill (or kick with) in replacing legend Adam Vinatieri. May I just say it’s absolutely insane he was kicking at the age of 47. Wild. Anyways McGlaughlin has the potential to become a worthy fantasy kicker, as the Indianapolis Colts offense should be improved this year. McGlaughlin bounced between the Colts, Los Angeles Chargers, and San Francisco 49ers last year while hitting 83.3% of his field-goals while in Indy.
(Photo by Mark Alberti/ Icon Sportswire)