Getting a dependable kicker for your fantasy football team can be an overlooked detail. Getting someone who consistently gets opportunities to put the ball through the uprights — and be successful — could be the difference between a devastating loss and a huge win. This detail doesn’t get overlooked by us. Here are our top 30 fantasy kickers for 2014.
1. Stephen Gostowski, New England Patriots
2013 statistics: 38/41 field goals, 44/44 PAT
Gostowski is probably the most consistent kicker on this list. He made 38 field goals on 41 attempts, both of which led the league. Even when New England’s offense struggled to start 2013, Gostowski’s production never changed.
2. Matt Prater, Denver Broncos
2013 statistics: 25/26 field goals, 75/75 PAT
Being on a high-powered offense helps boost a kicker’s fantasy rankings. His 75 PATs were an NFL-record last season, 23 more than the second-place kicker. If he sets up for a field goal try instead, his leg is dependable. He made 96.2 percent of his tries in 2013.
3. Mason Crosby, Green Bay Packers
2013 statistics: 33/37 field goals, 42/42 PAT
Not having Aaron Rodgers on the field for about half the year severely impacted Crosby’s fantasy production. With Rodgers and Randall Cobb healthy, he has a chance to be the most productive kicker in the league with the offense’s scoring potential.
4. Steven Hauschka, Seattle Seahawks
2013 statistics: 33/35 field goals, 44/44 PAT
About 40 percent of Seattle’s drives ended in some kind of score, which makes Hauschka another attractive fantasy commodity. He hit 93.3 percent of his field goal tries from at least 40 yards. Another year of maturing for Russell Wilson and a healthy Percy Harvin could make the offense more dangerous, increasing Hauschka’s value.
5. Phil Dawson, San Francisco 49ers
2013 statistics: 32/36 field goals, 44/44 PAT
Dawson ended up being a top fantasy kicker after a rough start through the season’s first few weeks, scoring in the double digits each game from Week 10 through the end of the season. A full year of Michael Crabtree and a larger commitment to the pass game will benefit everyone, including Dawson.
6. Justin Tucker, Baltimore Ravens
2013: 38/41 field goals, 26/26 PAT
If you’re looking for a kicker that can hit long field goals, Tucker is your man. He hit 16 of 18 tries of 40-plus yards (six from 50-plus). If the offense finds the end zone more often, Tucker could move everyone down a peg and be in the top spot. Baltimore’s offense is still shaky though, specifically through the pass game, so that’s a big if.
7. Dan Bailey, Dallas Cowboys
2013 statistics: 28/30 field goals, 47/47 PAT
Another kicker with long-field goal ability, he hit 16 of 17 chances from 40-plus yards. The Dallas offense should be productive, but can be inconsistent at times, stunting his value. However, as long as he gets the chances, he’ll usually be successful.
8. Blair Walsh, Minnesota Vikings
2013 statistics: 26/30 field goals, 43/44 PAT
A solid rookie campaign was followed by a sophomore slump for Walsh. After hitting all 10 attempts from beyond 50 yards, he only hit two of his five tries last season. He got plenty of PAT opportunities (43) and he could be a top-producer if he shakes his slump from ’13. Bringing in Norv Turner as the new OC could help bring a more productive offense, giving Walsh more opportunities.
9. Matt Bryant, Atlanta Falcons
2013 statistics: 24/27 field goals, 39/39 PAT
For Bryant to put points on the board, he needs the Falcons’ offense to bounce back. They averaged just 22.1 points per game last season, and their regression led to a huge drop-off in his personal production. A healthy Julio Jones and Roddy White should hopefully help them move the ball better than they did in 2013.
10. Nick Novak, San Diego Chargers
2013 statistics: 34/37 field goals, 42/42 PAT
He was inconsistent last year, but is a good option if you can’t get a top tier kicker because of the offense he plays in. Chargers’ drives ended in a field goal 20.2 percent of the time, giving Novak plenty of chances to kick the ball through the uprights last season.
11. Adam Vinatieri, Indianapolis Colts
2013 statistics: 35/40 field goals, 34/34 PAT
Vinatieri has continued to show he can kick at an elite level into his 40s. Playing in Indianapolis for half his games helps his field goal game, but the Colts offense is also improving around him, with Andrew Luck the featured star. If they take another step forward and score more often, Vinatieri could surpass his 2013 production.
12. Robbie Gould, Chicago Bears
2013 statistics: 26/29 field goals, 45/46 PAT
Chicago’s improved offense allowed Gould to kick the fourth-most PATs in the league. However, the offense finding the end zone more often equaled only 29 field goal attempts for him, ranking 18th in football.
13. Greg Zuerlein, St. Louis Rams
2013 statistics: 26/28 field goals, 34/34 PAT
Zuerlein was a victim of his own offense last year, watching most of his opportunities evaporate from his rookie season. He only had 11 chances from 40-plus yards in 2013. His overall conversion rate did jump 19 percentage points (74 to 93 percent) and there’s hope the Rams’ offense takes a step forward in 2014.
14. Nick Folk, New York Jets
2013 statistics: 33/36 field goals, 27/27 PAT
The Jets have made improvements to their offense with additions of Michael Vick, Eric Decker and Chris Johnson, which could lead to more opportunities to kick for Folk. The offense won’t perform much different from last season, but they may move the ball well enough to stall in field goal range more often.
15. Alex Henery, Philadelphia Eagles
2013 statistics: 23/28 field goals, 45/45 PAT
Philly’s high-octane offense will lead to a lot of PAT chances for Henery, but his inconsistency in field goal attempts majorly drops his value. He ranked 23rd in field goal accuracy last season, converting just 82.1 percent of his opportunities. These issues have carried over into the preseason, spurring the Eagles to make a trade for Cody Parkey of the Colts.
16. Shayne Graham, New Orleans Saints
2013 statistics: 2/2 field goals, 7/7 PAT
Graham was signed by New Orleans late in the season, faring well in limited time. The Saints are projected to be one of the league’s top offenses, meaning he will be a solid second-tier option. He’ll also be making most of his kicks indoors, which shouldn’t be overlooked.
17. Sebastian Janikowski, Oakland Raiders
2013 statistics: 21/30 field goals, 37/37 PAT
Oakland has made improvements to their offense by trading for Matt Schaub as well as signing Maurice Jones-Drew and James Jones via free agency. They should be able to score a bunch, but Janikowski’s calling card has always been his big leg. He only hit 11 of 18 attempts beyond 40 yards.
18. David Akers, Detroit Lions
2013 statistics: 19/24 field goals, 42/43 PAT
Akers has found himself in what should be an explosive and high-scoring offense. That bodes well for him getting plenty of PAT tries, but could lead to him not getting a lot of field goal attempts, similar to last season. He was still able to make the most of long-range attempts, hitting seven of 10 tries from 40-plus yards.
19. Ryan Succop, Kansas City Chiefs
2013 statistics: 22/28 field goals, 52/52 PAT
Fantasy owners enjoyed watching Succop put 52 PATs through the uprights last season, but he barely hit half of his attempts of 40 yards or more, including missing one closer than 40 yards. The Chiefs offense may improve in Reid’s second year on the job, but their kicker probably won’t.
20. Graham Gano, Carolina Panthers
2013 statistics: 24/27 field goals, 42/42 PAT
Gano was laser-like on field goal attempts greater than 50 yards, hitting all six of his tries. The Panthers’ offense may not be as successful this season because of the overhaul of wide receivers, but that’s yet to be determined. If the offense can’t move the ball as effectively as 2013, he could find his way toward getting more long-range opportunities.
21. Shaun Suisham, Pittsburgh Steelers
2013 statistics: 30/32 field goals, 39/39 PAT
Suisham kicked field goals inside the 40 yard line nearly 50 percent of the time last season, leading the league. He also didn’t attempt a field goal from greater than 50 yards because his career numbers aren’t great and long-distance kicking at Heinz Field is tough. He was accurate, though, which is something to consider, especially as a bye-week filler.
22. Kai Forbath, Washington Redskins
2013 statistics: 18/22 field goals, 26/26 PAT
Forbath was a victim to a bad offense, only getting 22 field goal attempts and 26 PATs in 2013. A new offensive scheme should lead to more opportunities this year, but Washington shouldn’t be an offensive juggernaut, either.
23. Dan Carpenter, Buffalo Bills
2013 statistics: 33/36 field goals, 32/32 PAT
You’d think the Bills were happy with Carpenter’s production since they handed him a four-year, $10 million contract, but he and Dustin Hopkins are still on the same roster. Carpenter placed fourth in fantasy points last season, but who knows what will happen in Buffalo.
24. Jay Feely, Arizona Cardinals
2013 statistics: 30/36 field goals, 37/37 PAT
A revived offense in Arizona allowed Feely to boot 14 of 17 field goals from 40-plus yards, but where he plays and the division the Cardinals are in could lead to a lot of field goal tries. Facing the defenses of the 49ers and Seahawks could stall drives right in his wheelhouse.
25. Caleb Sturgis, Miami Dolphins
2013 statistics: 26/34 field goals, 33/33 PAT
Miami’s offense improved with the progression of Ryan Tannehill and should get another boost with Knowshon Moreno when he’s healthy, but Sturgis wasn’t very accurate last season. He missed at least two field goal attempts from inside the 40, from 41-49 and 50-plus yards.
26. Josh Brown, New York Giants
2013 statistics: 23/26 field goals, 31/31 PAT
Brown didn’t get a lot of attempts last season because the Giants mostly struggled on offense. He also doesn’t have the strength to consistently get chances from long distance, hitting one of two from 50-plus yards in 2013.
27. Randy Bullock, Houston Texans
2013 statistics: 26/35 field goals, 26/26 PAT
With a new offense and some new starters in town, the Texans should score a little more than last season, but Bullock won’t get a lot of tries from beyond 50 yards. He hit just one of his five attempts. Playing in a dome for half of his games, one would think that’d give him an advantage, but not so much.
28. Mike Nugent, Cincinnati Bengals
2013 statistics: 18/22 field goals, 52/53 PAT
Nugent got plenty of PAT opportunities in what was a high-scoring offense last season. Hopefully it will be more of the same without old OC Jay Gruden still with the organization. If he’s not kicking the point after as often as 2013, you’re better off passing on him, as his accuracy with limited chances wasn’t the best.
29. Connor Barth, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2013 statistics: DNP
A torn achilles tendon cost Barth the entire 2013 season, but he’s healthy and ready to go this year. He was one of the better kickers in the league in 2012 before going down with this injury during a charity basketball game. The performance of Tampa’s offense will rely largely on newly-drafted Mike Evans, newly-acquired Josh McCown and the return of Doug Martin from injury. In 2012, Barth made 18 of 21 attempts from further than 40 yards out.
30. Dustin Hopkins, Buffalo Bills
2013 statistics: DNP
He’s currently Dan Carpenter’s backup, so he doesn’t have much value at all. However, if he impresses the team enough to grab some playing time, he could climb on this list.