Congratulations, you’ve officially reached the end of your 2021 fantasy football research (and if kicker rankings aren’t your last stop, it’s your fault). Even though kickers are an afterthought in fantasy leagues (that is, the ones that still have them), you still want to get a good one. Of course, finding said “good” is not easy, but that will not prevent fantasy owners from thinking that they have discovered a magic formula.
Accuracy + leg strength + (dome + hot weather games / late season cold weather games) + offenses that habitually stagnate around the 30-yard line = perfect fantasy kicker.
Understood? It is easy.
The best part of that equation is that Fantasy owners believe they can predict which offenses will settle more for field goals than touchdowns. You can’t predict that from week to week, it doesn’t matter before the season, so don’t try. Instead, focus on the good offenses. The teams that move the ball will have more chances to score. Case in point: Last year, Tyler Bass had a league-leading 59 PAT chances, but he also had 39 free throw attempts, tied for seventh. It is not necessarily one or the other. Good offenses can provide both.
Playing indoors is nice, but that may not matter more than a couple of games a year, so don’t put too much emphasis on that ahead of the season. Accuracy and a strong leg are much more important. Even then, the results may vary from year to year. Joey Slye is a good example of that. In his rookie season in 2019, Slye was eight of 11 on free throw attempts over 50 yards; last year, it was one of six. Overall, it was more accurate and got four more tries, but for fancy reasons it seemed like it got worse. He could easily bounce back with a great year from bonus point territory.
The most important thing to remember with kickers is not to draft one until the final round. Sure, Justin Tucker is one of the all-time greats, but he was the seventh fantasy kicker last season. Jason Sanders, who wasn’t on anyone’s radar before last season, finished first. The difference between the top kicker and the No. 12 kicker is remarkable (37 points last year), but the difference between No. 7 and No. 14 was just 12 points. So whoever “caught up” with Tucker last year got less than one more fantasy point per week than the owners of Graham Gano, which was precisely zero people on draft day.
Even more relevant is that you should drop your kicker during your bye week. Why invest a pick higher than the last round on a player who you know won’t last close to the entire season?
Ultimately, kickers make a difference, but you shouldn’t obsess over them before the draft. There are many other positions and players that are much more important. Focus on them and take whoever is left on the kicker in the final round. If it sucks, find someone else. That strategy is really easy.
We will adjust these rankings and provide more analysis between now and Week 1. Check back for updates!
Fantasy Kicker 2021 Rankings
Ratings are based on standards, not PPR scoring formats
|1||Justin Tucker, Ravens|
|2||Harrison Butker, Chiefs|
|3||Jason Sanders, dolphins|
|4||Matt Prater, Cardinals|
|5||Younghoe Koo, Falcons|
|6||Wil Lutz, Santos|
|7||Greg Zuerlein, cowboys|
|8||Daniel Carlson, Raiders|
|9||Tyler Bass, Banknotes|
|10||Joey Slye, Panthers|
|eleven||Brandon McManus, Broncos|
|12||Rodrigo Blankenship, Colts|
|13||Ryan Succop, Buccaneers|
|14||Matt Gay, Rams|
|fifteen||Jason Myers, Seahawks|
|sixteen||Robbie Gould, 49ers|
|17||Michael Badgley, Chargers|
|18||Mason Crosby, Packers|
|19||Chris Boswell, Steelers|
|twenty||Graham Gano, Giants|
|twenty-one||Jake Elliott, Eagles|
|22||Cairo Saints, Bears|
|2. 3||Cody Parkey, Browns|
|24||Ka’imi Fairbairn, Texans|
|25||Greg Joseph, Vikings|
|26||Nick Folk, Patriots|
|27||Dustin Hopkins, Washington|
|28||Aldrick Rosas, Jaguares|
|29||Evan McPherson, Bengals|
|30||Tucker McCann, Titans|
|31||Randy Bullock, Lions|
|32||Sam Ficken, Jets|