The crunching of pads, flashy touchdown passes and bone-crushing hits. When we think of football, those things come to mind immediately. One of the last things we think about is a kicker, but kickers are people too. Whether you wait until the last round of the draft, or are the Buccaneers of your fantasy league and draft one in the second round, kickers are important. Here are the top five kickers in fantasy football this season.
Stephen Gostkowski, New England Patriots
Once again, Gostkowski is the No. 1 kicker in fantasy football. Every year, the New England kicker tops the list, and that’s because he is involved in the Patriots offense. Last season, Gostkowski made 91.7 percent of his field goal attempts. Don’t forget about extra points. The Patriots score a lot of touchdowns; therefore, Gostkowski kicks a lot of extra points. The Panthers and Cardinals were the only teams to kick more extra points than the Patriots last season.
Dan Bailey, Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys figure to have a stronger offense in 2016, and Dan Bailey will reap the benefits. With a depleted offense, Bailey had 25 extra point attempts last season. On the few opportunities he did get, Bailey converted all of his extra point attempts, and made 93.8 percent of his field goal attempts. The Cowboys return the best offensive line in the league, starting quarterback Tony Romo and have added former Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott. This figures to give Bailey more attempts after touchdowns.
Adam Vinatieri, Indianapolis Colts
The 43-year-old kicker will be in his 21st season, and is still one of the best kickers in the NFL. Vinatieri has been a top kicker since he entered the league in 1996. Last season, Vinatieri made 92.6 percent of his field goal attempts. It was the third-best season of his career based on field goal percentage. Like a fantastic wine, Vinatieri gets better with age. Quarterback Andrew Luck returns after a lacerated kidney sidelined him for a portion of 2015. This means Vinatieri will likely have more opportunities to put the ball through the uprights.
Graham Gano, Carolina Panthers
The reigning NFC Champions retain one of the best kickers. Gano isn’t as good of a kicker as the top three, but he gets more chances because of Carolina’s electric offense. Gano had a league-high 59 extra point attempts in 2015. He is a career 80 percent field goal kicker, but had a couple of seasons in Washington that brought his career average down. If the Panthers can put up fantastic offensive numbers again this season, Gano will be a great option at kicker.
Mason Crosby, Green Bay Packers
Once again, quantity prevails over quality. Like Gano, Crosby is a career 80 percent field goal kicker, but gets a large number of chances to put points on the board. Last season, Crosby had a career-low in points scored. This season, he should revert back to the mean. Running back Eddie Lacy underperformed and receiver Jordy Nelson was out for the season with an ACL injury. With those two players returning to normal production, the Packers should put up more points, which fares well for Crosby’s production.