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Fantasy Football 2017: Early Kicker Rankings

Things that are hard to trust: people who like coriander, your mom when she tells you you’re handsome, and, of course, kickers in the NFL.

You knew these rankings were going to wind down eventually, right? Just like any good show, there’s always an intermission, and although kickers are easily just as important to your fantasy football team as, say, quarterbacks and wide receivers, I’ll be straight up – they’re boring as hell to talk about. For so many years it’s pretty much been Groundhog Day at this position. Now it’s more like the Star Wars rebirth – fun, but a lot of it sucks.

Anyway, since we’re nerds, let’s talk kickers in freakin’ July. If you’re even thinking about drafting one of these guys early, what is your life? But seriously, don’t be a sheep. If your buddy takes a kicker before the 10th round, don’t be a dingus and follow. Be warned: the waiting game matters when it comes to the kicker kind.

1. Justin Tucker, Baltimore Ravens

Freak-tastic. Tucker missed only one shot at the posts from outside 30 yards last year, and was 10-for-10 on 50 yards and over (!). He’s already the MJ of kickers in my book, but apparently, he wants a 75-yarder before he goes out in a blaze of glory. If John Harbaugh gives him that chance, awesome. If he actually makes it, well, sorry, Adam Vinatieri, there’s a new mayor in town.

2. Matt Bryant, Atlanta Falcons

Bryant looks like the kinda guy that will be happy teaching shop class when this NFL thing is said and done. I also assume he’d have a pretty bangin’ Dad bod under the pads. Anywho, what’s important is he was the NFL’s leading scorer last season with 158 points. He converted close to 92% of kicks, but you wanna know the most beautiful part about owning him? Since the Falcons offense is, y’know, fire, Atlanta punted the ball the fewest number of times last year. No punt = money shots for Bryant all year long.

3. Stephen Gostkowski, New England Patriots

Gostkowski’s 84.4% field goal rate was the lowest since his 2012 season, and even though you can hold some optimism, he serves as a good reminder that kickin’ don’t come easy. He was once regarded as The Man, but he fell to eighth in kicker rankings last season. If he fires more blanks this year, he could wind up much, much lower on this list in 12 months’ time.

4. Adam Vinatieri, Indianapolis Colts

[the_ad id=”384″]I don’t know what you call it … a decline? Regression? It’s a toughie. Either way, Vin is still such a clutch choice in the later rounds of your draft. He’s probably going to miss a “gimme” here and there, but he still managed a 54-yarder at 44 years of age last season. It’s like I always say about my million dollar yacht: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” You know what you’re getting with Vin, so don’t question it. (Also, I totally don’t own a yacht.)

5. Dan Bailey, Dallas Cowboys

What if I told you Bailey could be more valuable than Dez Bryant to the Cowboys? Okay, it’s a stretch … maybe. There’s nothing stopping Bailey from replacing Tucker atop this list. I continually have visions of his 52-yarder in Pittsburgh last season, and well, if I needed the distance from a big time kicker to win the game in overtime, Bailey would be one of my first choices.

6. Mason Crosby, Green Bay Packers

Here are two simple numbers: 110 for his last 128 over the last four seasons. Write that down if you need to, but Crosby deserves a helluva lot more respect. Don’t get me wrong, he’s definitely flirted with mediocrity, and sometimes it’s the simplest of chip shots that trip him up. Still, he’s a true professional, and as far as fantasy goes, you want a kicker that is always in the right head space, especially when you’re not.

7. Caleb Sturgis, Philadelphia Eagles

Here’s your sleeper. Ranked No. 4 among kickers last year, Sturgis simply spells weapon. He converted four 50+ yard attempts last year, and since the Eagles have added Torrey Smith and Alshon Jeffery, there’s going to be plenty of more chip shots to come. He’s only 27 years old, and out of every kicker on this list, I could see Sturgis becoming a valuable keeper in dynasty leagues.

8. Cairo Santos, Kansas City Chiefs

Santos used to be the best-kept secret. Now, I dunno. The Chiefs offense as a whole has been a respectable model of consistency, but so has Santos. He’s kicked 102 of his 129 points in outdoor games throughout his three-year career, and he has been gifted over 35 extra point tries in each of those seasons.

9. Matt Prater, Denver Broncos

Yeah, Mile High altitude and all of that good stuff. Prater would leapfrog this list in a heartbeat if we were in 2014. Now the Broncos offense is pretty ha ha, and unless he kicks a 50-yard bomb every second week and Denver suddenly becomes a red zone threat, Prater’s opportunities may go by the wayside.

10. Wil Lutz, New Orleans Saints

I feel like kicker is the one position where veterans are wayyyy more trusted than any young hotshot. Lutz enters his second season, fresh off converting 82.4% of his attempts last year. He was ranked among the Top 12 kickers for very good reasons, but I’m still a little meh on him at the moment. Draft him super late, and be ready to cut bait if a more enticing option emerges.

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