Today we are going to take a look at the kicker position in the final installment of our preseason fantasy football positional rankings. Before we go any further, we are firm believers in the idea that you don’t draft a kicker before the final two rounds of any draft. Kickers tend to be somewhat inconsistent from week-to-week in fantasy football, and it’s simply not worth using an early draft pick on the position. Without further delay, here is a look at the top five fantasy football kickers for the 2015 season.
All rankings are based on the assumption that a standard scoring format is in place.
5. Steven Hauschka, Seattle Seahawks
Bye Week: 9
Since joining the Seahawks in 2011, Hauschka has developed into one of the premier kickers in the NFL. For his career, he has a field goal success rate of 85.4% (87.6% during his time in Seattle), and has connected on a total of 64 field goals over the last two seasons. In 2015, the Seahawks will again have an offense that is capable of moving the ball against almost any team in the league. That should equate to plenty of field goal opportunities for the 30-year-old Hauschka.
4. Matt Prater, Detroit Lions
Bye Week: 9
Prater answered the Lions’ questions at the kicker position after his release from the Denver Broncos after repeated off the field transgressions. The good news for the Lions is that Prater appears to have re-gained the form that made him arguably the best kicker in the league during his time with in Denver. The 31-year-old has one of the strongest legs in the league, as evident by his career field goal percentage of 75% from 50 yards and out. Prater will get plenty of field goal opportunities in 2015, and will have the added benefit of playing 10 games at indoor venues.
3. Justin Tucker, Baltimore Ravens
Bye Week: 9
When Tucker entered the league in 2011, he was thought to be nothing more than an extra leg for training camp. Needless to say, he proved his naysayers wrong and is now one of the best kickers in the league. He sports a career field goal percentage of 89.8% and has averaged just under 33 field goals made per year during his three-year career. Tucker clearly has the confidence of Ravens head coach John Harbaugh and plays on a team with an offense that will give him plenty of scoring opportunities, which adds up to him being one of the top fantasy options at the kicker position in 2015.
2. Adam Vinatieri, Indianapolis Colts
Bye Week: 10
Vinatieri is the ageless-wonder of the NFL. This may sound odd, but like a fine wine, the 42-year-old kicker seems to be getting better with age. In 2014, he made 30 out of his 31 field goal attempts (96.8%), which was good for the highest conversion rate of his Hall of Fame caliber career. We are expecting a repeat performance in 2015. The Colts’ offense is one of the best in the league and will surely give the 19-year veteran plenty of opportunities, and like Prater, Vinatieri gets to play 10 games in climate-controlled domes.
1. Stephen Gostkowski, New England Patriots
Bye Week: 4
If you have any doubts about how good Gostkowski is, just consider the fact that Bill Belichick gave him a four-year, $17.2 million contract extension. What’s the significance of that move? Well, Belichick is the same guy who let future Hall of Fame kicker Adam Vinatieri walk during free agency just two years after he nailed a game-winning field goal in Super Bowl XXXVIII. Over the last two seasons, Gostkowski has made 73 out of his 78 field goal attempt, and should again have plenty of opportunities in 2015.
All statistics courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.