Ranking the top 5 fantasy football kickers, it's a dirty job ... but somebody's got do it. Actually, I've always had an affinity for kickers in fantasy and I'm usually the guy that seems to take one a few rounds before anyone else. In fact, I still claim that the awesome season Chicago Bears' kicker Robbie Gould had in 2006 is what put me over the top in my league that year. But I digress... Here are the top guys for 2010.
1. Nate Kaeding, SD - Good thing they don't play fantasy football during the NFL playoffs! If that were the case, there's no way Kaeding would make the list (sorry Chargers fans). In the regular season however, Kaeding is money. In 2009 he was top 5 in the league in FG made, FG percentage, and extra points made. Plus, he led the whole NFL in points scored. He's been consistent as well, finishing among the top 10 fantasy kickers over the past four seasons.
2. Stephen Gostkowski, NE - Gostkowski is about as sure a thing as you can get as far as fantasy kickers. As NFL.com points out, he's finished in the top 5 in fantasy points at his position for the past 3 seasons. He's in a good offense that gives him a lot of opportunities, he stays healthy, and he's got a big leg (2 50+ yard makes last year). There's really nothing to not like about Gostkowski.
3. David Akers, PHI - Three years ago I probably would have told you that David Akers was done. He was having trouble staying healthy and was coming off three straight seasons where he hit on less than 80% of his FGs. However, he's had a nice resurgence over the past 2 seasons, finishing second in points scored each of the past two seasons. He gets a lot of opportunities with a good Eagles offense and coach Andy Reid trusts him to try 50+ yarders. He's made at least one 50+ yard FG in all but one of his 11 seasons in Philadelphia.
4. Garrett Hartley, NO - Hartley probably has more working in his favor than any other kicker in the NFL. For one he plays at least half of his games in a dome. All told he'll actually kick 9 of his 16 games in a dome since the Saints play the Falcons this year. Virtually all of his away games against the NFC South will be in fair weather cities. The Saints also play the NFC West this year which includes early season away trips to San Fransisco & Arizona. Actually, by my count Hartley will probably only have to kick in adverse weather around two times all season. Add that to the fact that the Saints' office is arguably the most prolific in the NFL and is going to give him tons of opportunities, Harltey has it pretty good. The scary thing with him is lack of a real track record and the fact that he only has an average leg. But he was solid for the Saints down the stretch last year and given the chance to kick a full season he's going to be among the top fantasy kickers by default.
5. Rob Bironas, TEN - Bironas has one the strongest legs in the NFL. He hit 5 of 6 50+ yard FGs last season, which in most leagues accounted for 25 points. He's also pretty consistent and if the Titans offense builds off how it ended last year, he should get plenty of opportunities. Plus, if he does win you a matchup you can taunt your opponent with Chris Berman's R-R-R-Rob Bironas call set to the tune of "My Sharona."