Fantasy: Top 32 kickers in standard-scoring leagues

Kickers may be the red-headed stepchildren of the fantasy realm, but they still deserve one day of glory on the Fantasy Fox blog.

To wit, here’s a look at my rankings for the 32 presumed starters at this position, heading into Week 1. I say presumed because, as we already know, the majority of kickers are eminently replaceable assets in the real world.

These rankings are subject to change between now and Sept. 8.

Top 32 Kickers

1-8

1. Stephen Gostkowski, Patriots
2. Matt Prater, Broncos
3. Blair Walsh, Vikings
4. Phil Dawson, 49ers
5. Matt Bryant, Falcons
6. Justin Tucker, Ravens
7. Randy Bullock, Texans
8. David Akers, Lions

Quick Hitters

1. With the Patriots, Gostkowski has averaged 28.5 field goals, 63.5 PATs and 148 fantasy points over the last two seasons. That’s enough cachet to merit the top ranking.

2. The Broncos’ Prater had four games of three-plus field goals last year. Of equal importance, he booted multiple PATs in every single outing (including the playoffs).

3. Walsh had a stellar rookie campaign with Minnesota, connecting on three or more field goals seven times. He also nailed 9 of 9 kicks from 50-plus yards.

4. Perhaps I should boost Matt Bryant (33 field goals last year) a few notches higher. After all, new Falcons tailback Steven Jackson only has 20 touchdowns over the last four seasons (with St. Louis) — compared to Michael Turner’s 44 in the same span with Atlanta.


9-16

9. Greg Zuerlein, Rams
10. Garrett Hartley, Saints
11. Dan Bailey, Cowboys
12. Steven Hauschka, Seahawks
13. Mason Crosby, Packers
14. Kai Forbath, Redskins
15. Robbie Gould, Bears
16. Rian Lindell, Buccaneers

Quick Hitters

1. Zuerlein started his NFL career on a strong note last season, booting 13 of 13 field goals in the opening five games. But after that … things went downhill fast. Let’s hope for a sustained bounce-back in 2013.

2. Bailey is certainly a great talent with the Cowboys; but at the same time, he had 11 games of zero, one or two made field goals last year.

3. Robbie Gould (21 field goals) only played in 13 games last season, a figure that dilutes his value for the August fantasy drafts.

17-24

17. Sebastian Janikowski, Raiders
18. Alex Henery, Eagles
19. Shaun Suisham, Steelers
20. Rob Bironas, Titans
21. Graham Gano, Panthers
22. Josh Brown, Giants
23. Adam Vinatieri, Colts
24. Shayne Graham, Browns

Quick Hitters

1. Poor Janikowski. If Oakland wasn’t scraping the bottom of the barrel at quarterback — regardless of whether Matt Flynn or Terrelle Pryor gets the QB nod — he would have greater standing in the fantasy realm. (Perhaps his luck will turn once Tyler Wilson becomes the team’s full-time quarterback.)

2. Josh Brown could be a major sleeper at this position, if the Giants can replicate last year’s number of field goal attempts (39 for Lawrence Tynes).

3. Rob Bironas had five games of zero field goals last year. That’s a troubling factoid for someone drafting Bironas on reputation alone.

4. This could be a make-or-break season for Alex Henery (51 FGs for 2011-12). With that powerful leg and the Eagles’ warp-speed offensive system … the Philly kicker could be a sneaky-good bet for 30 field goals.

25-32

25. Nick Novak, Chargers
26. Jay Feely, Cardinals
27. Ryan Succop, Chiefs
28. Mike Nugent, Bengals
29. Josh Scobee, Jaguars
30. Caleb Sturgis, Dolphins
31. Nick Folk, Jets
32. Dustin Hopkins, Bills

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Jay Clemons can be reached, day or night, via Twitter at @FOX_JayClemons.