2012 Fantasy Football Final Kicker Rankings

Who is the best kicker for your fantasy football squad?

For me, the late rounds of a draft is for upside. I call these picks "Lotto Tickets," because they are cheap and have a low probability of cashing in, but if they do they will vastly repay me for my investment. I like to fill my rounds eight through fourteen with these players. I've found that the two best ways to win a fantasy football title are to (1) keep your top four picks healthy and (2) hit on a sleeper or two.

So, why is an article on kickers starting this way? To answer that, I go to my home league draft that was conducted on Thursday. Here is a list of potential lotto tickets that were taken late: Kendall Wright, Robert Griffin III, Alfred Morris, Roy Helu, James Jones, Randall Cobb and Jake Locker. What do those guys have in common? They were all drafted after the first kicker!

Why draft a kicker with no upside, when you can invest in a few sleeper picks and grab the "same" value kicker later? But is the same guy really available? Let's take a look at the data from 2011.

In 2011, the No. 1 kicker (David Akers - SF) had a VVR (Value Versus Replacement) score of 2.81 points/week. Meaning, if you had him on your team versus the No. 11 guy then Akers would've netted you an average of 2+ extra points per game. Now, some of you are saying "Hey Philip, 2.81 points a week is a lot, I lost 3 games last year by 2.81 points or less!" Ok, maybe it is and maybe you did, but did you draft Akers in 2011? Nope, his 2011 ADP suggests that no one did. Probably because every NFL fan outside of the Bay Area thought that the 9ers were going to stink on offense, last year.

But, maybe you're really good at picking the best kickers? Well, let's look at that data. In 2010, the top five kickers drafted (by ADP) were Nate Kaeding, Garrett Hartley, Stephen Gostkowski, Ryan Longwell (great kicker name, by the way) and Mason Crosby. And in 2011, the top five kickers drafted were Nate Kaeding, Neil Rackers, Stephen Gostkowski, Mason Crosby and Sebastian Janikowski. Ok, not bad, right?? Well, only two of those top 10 selections actually FINISHED in the top five as they were drafted. So, for you guys that were sleeping through math class, that's 20 percent. Would you get on a plane with 20 percent assurance of success? Ahh ... nope.

So, what's the point? Do we do away with kickers? Well, some leagues have done that. But, none of mine have, so let's look at getting our hands on the best guys that we can.

NOTE: I'm only listing 16 kickers, because you should never draft two kickers. What a terrible waste of roster space.

Rank

Name

Notes

1

David Akers

Mr. Akers has been Mr. Consistent with 139 or more points each the last three years. He'll be the first kicker off of the board.

2

Stephen Gostkowski

Anyone kicking for Tom Brady's Pats can be my kicker any day. He will finish as a top five guy, write that down.

3

Sebastian Janikowski

No one has more 50+ yard field goals over the last three years than "Sea Bass." So, if your league has a bonus for that, he's your guy.

4

Mason Crosby

Only one year in the last five has Mason had less than 125 points. And he is the man for one of the most potent offenses in the NFL.

5

Dan Bailey

This second year kicker set the fantasy world on fire in 2011, and with dome home games and a hot offense, 2012 will be the same.

6

Garrett Hartley

John Kasay is gone now, as the 2011-injured Hartley takes his role back in 2012. Bounty-Gate should not be affecting the Saints' kicking game.

7

Matt Prater

Prater only attempted 25 field goals in 2011 (thanks Tim), but Prater's attempts should sky rocket with No. 18 under center. Add that to Denver's Rare Air, he'll be quite a sleeper.

8

Matt Bryant

High flying offense + 10 indoor games makes Bryant a solid starter.

9

Robbie Gould

Gould has had 105-or-more points since 2009 and the Bears' off-season additions on offense should drive scoring in the Windy City.

10

Jason Hanson

Yes, he is 42 years old, but old reliable has many indoor games and Stafford and Megatron moving the ball into field goal range.

11

Alex Henery

No rookie in the history of the NFL made a higher % of his kicks... 88.9%. His Vick-driven offense should be humming again in 2012.

12

Billy Cundiff

After some productive years kicking in Baltimore, Billy has moved down I-95 to your nation's capital. He should be a solid starter for you.

13

Nate Kaeding

After tearing his ACL on the opening kickoff of 2011 (buzz kill-alert), Nate is healthy and back kicking for a Rivers-led offense.

14

Shayne Graham

This 12-year journeyman, has taken the spot of Randy Bullock (IR) on a very potent offense. He went 5-for-5 in the preseason on FGs.

15

Rob Bironas

Bironas is ultra reliable and the Titan offense (with or without Kenny Britt) will be a strong one. And remember Rob has seven FGs in one game a few years back ... monster.

16

Mike Nugent

Nugent came off of a bad knee tear in 2010 to have a great year in 2011 and the Bengals' young offense is only getting better.


Keep your eye out for kickers on potent offenses, kickers with indoor home games and kickers with late bye-weeks. And, if you take a kicker before the last round of your draft? I will laugh at you!!

For more fantasy football news, rankings and analysis, check out SB Nation Fantasy.

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