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Justin Tucker and Harrison Butker are in a tier of their own

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As a position that tends to be scoffed at by some in the fantasy football community, love them or hate them, kickers can be valuable assets to your fantasy roster. As fantasy draft preparation continues for many, here are our 2021 kicker rankings.

That one sentence can elicit emotions that rival calling someone’s baby ugly. But the facts don’t change — kickers are relevant. Nonetheless, this is where being a fan has to be separate from playing fantasy football. To the masses, kickers are like plumbing. No one notices them until they mess up. (then it is plastered on NFL Red Zone for the world to see.) 

They are not as fluky as some people would like you to believe. For example, last season, Miami Dolphins kicker Jason Sanders scored 172 fantasy points — nearly identical to Michael Gallup (WR38). They were identical at 10.8 ppg in fantasy points per game, with Sanders being the more consistent player (median score of 10.5 to 8.4). 

I am not trying to say that kickers are more valuable than positional players. Still, in the latter part of the draft, a kicker’s consistency and weekly scoring ability are likely higher than the dart throw you are taking on a positional player.

Don’t want to make them a required position? Fine, but allow them to be flexed into your lineup. You can continue to choose to ignore them and still give other managers the option for them to be a valuable fantasy asset — a win-win.

For analysis on the players listed below, be sure to check out our fantasy football player profiles and cheat sheet.”

While this is usually a position I would stream, here is the elite tier of fantasy football kicker rankings.

Tier 1

1. Justin Tucker, Baltimore Ravens
2. Harrison Butker, Kansas City Chiefs

Tucker finished last season as a top-eight fantasy kicker. He attempted 29 field goals and made 90% of them. Tucker also converted 52 out of 53 extra points. Baltimore’s efficiency in the red zone with quarterback Lamar Jackson under center has reduced Tucker’s number of attempts in recent seasons. For instance, he averaged 39 field goals per season from 2015 to 2018. Nevertheless, Tucker provides a relatively high floor despite the lowered ceiling.

Butker is part of an explosive Chiefs team that averaged 414.7 total yards (first) and 28.5 points scored (sixth) per game last season. Kansas City’s offense was very efficient last year. Butker only attempted 27 field goals after attempting 38 back in 2019. Still, he connected on 92.6% of his field goal attempts in 2020.

Tier 2

3. Ryan Succop, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
4. Jason Sanders, Miami Dolphins
5. Greg Zuerlein, Dallas Cowboys
6. Tyler Bass, Buffalo Bills
7. Younghoe Koo, Atlanta Falcons

Succop had a great first season with Tom Brady and the Buccaneers. Tampa Bay averaged 383 total yards per game, which ranked ninth in the NFL. Succop made 90.3% of his 31 field goal attempts and converted 52 extra points. He’s not known for his leg strength, but the Buccaneers’ offense is potent enough to provide Succop a plethora of attempts inside 50 yards.

Sanders benefited from the Dolphins’ inefficiency in the red zone last season. He tied Younghoe Koo as the top fantasy kicker with 160 points. Additionally, Sanders made 36 of his 39 field goal attempts. Thus, if you miss out on Tucker or Butker, Sanders is a nice consolation prize. He can be viewed as a top-eight fantasy kicker in 2021.

Zuerlein missed 7 field goals and 3 extra points in 2020. However, he did lead the NFL with 41 field goal attempts. This season, Zuerlein will continue to accumulate opportunities with the Cowboys, especially with Dak Prescott back under center. Still, he only completed 33% of his 50-plus-yard field goals last year.

Bass had an excellent rookie season with the Bills. Buffalo’s offense ranked third in points scored per game (30) and fourth in total yards per game (385.4). With all of their core offensive players returning, this trend will continue in 2021. Bass made 28 of his 34 field goal attempts last season.

Koo made 37 of 39 field goals in 2020 and was 8 for 8 from 50+ yards. Arthur Smith’s offense could be more slow-paced than Atlanta’s offenses have been in the past, reducing Koo’s field goal attempts in 2021. Nevertheless, he’s an excellent option since he plays in a dome.

Tier 3

8. Matt Prater, Arizona Cardinals
9. Matt Gay, Los Angeles Rams
10. Mason Crosby, Green Bay Packers
11. Robbie Gould, San Francisco 49ers
12. Jason Myers, Seattle Seahawks
13. Rodrigo Blankenship, Indianapolis Colts
14. Chase McLaughlin, Cleveland Browns

Prater is physically not the kicker he once was earlier in his career. If you target him in fantasy drafts, it is primarily due to volume. Arizona ranked sixth last season in total yards per game and third in plays per game. This trend is likely to continue in 2021. Prater only attempted 28 field goals in 2020 and made 75% of them.

Gay finds himself in a great situation in Los Angeles. Indeed, the Rams’ offense has been productive under head coach Sean McVay, and now the team gets a quarterback upgrade in Matthew Stafford. Gay will see plenty of field goals and extra points this season.

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was surgical in the red zone last season. However, this negatively impacted Crosby’s number of field goal attempts. He only had 16 attempts in 2020 but led all kickers with 63 extra points. This is something to be aware of if you are considering Crosby in fantasy drafts.

Gould made 19 of his 23 field goals last season. The 38-year-old’s number of attempts were the lowest of his career. The 49ers rank seventh (67%) in red-zone scoring (TDs), limiting Gould’s field goal attempts. Gould did make 11 of his 14 field goals of 40+ yards in 2020 and remains a solid top-12 option at the position.

Myers, Blankenship, and McLaughin round out the tier

Myers completed all of his field goals last season. The biggest issue from a fantasy perspective is that he only had 24 attempts. This has been a trend in Seattle over the last two seasons.

Blankenship had a solid rookie campaign. He made 86.5% of his 37 field goal attempts. Furthermore, he is part of a Colts’ offense that has uncertainty at quarterback due to Carson Wentz’s injury. They may move the ball but come up short in the red zone. Blankenship also plays in a dome, which is a plus.

McLaughlin was claimed off waivers by the Browns a few months ago. He was brought in to compete with Cody Parkey. Yet, Parkey was released from the Browns on injured reserve following a leg injury. This preseason, McLaughin made 4 of 5 field goals and 4 of 5 PATs. He’s the best option for the Browns right now. Unfortunately for Cleveland, there are not a plethora of elite kickers to pick from.

These kickers could be stream candidates in certain weeks but lack the upside to be higher in these fantasy football rankings.

15. Ryan Santoso, Carolina Panthers
16. Brandon McManus, Denver Broncos
17. Chris Boswell, Pittsburgh Steelers
18. Daniel Carlson, Las Vegas Raiders
19. Tristan Vizcaino, Los Angeles Chargers
20. Dustin Hopkins, Washington Football Team
21. Jake Elliott, Philadelphia Eagles
22. Quinn Nordin, New England Patriots
23. Greg Joseph, Minnesota Vikings
24. Sam Ficken, Tennessee Titans


25. Cairo Santos, Chicago Bears
26. Graham Gano, New York Giants
27. Evan McPherson, Cincinnati Bengals
28. Josh Lambo, Jacksonville Jaguars
29. Wil Lutz, New Orleans Saints
30. Matt Ammendola, New York Jets
31. Austin Seibert, Detroit Lions
32. Ka’imi Fairbairn, Houston Texans

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