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Fantasy Football 2015: Finding the Perfect Kicker

Cody Parkey

Cody Parkey

While it's never sexy to talk about kickers, for most fantasy football leagues, they are a part of the lineup. Kickers are usually the last position taken during fantasy drafts, and for good reason — they don't give you a lot of points.

The question becomes if a kicker is slightly more valuable in 2015 than they were in ‘14 because of the change in the extra point rule. In 2014 (and previous seasons), the ball was snapped at the 2-yard line for an extra point. The place-holder was about five yards back, making the PAT about a 19-yard kick. The new rule in 2015 has the ball being placed at the 15-yard line, which results in about a 33-yard kick.

Since 2010, over 99 percent of extra point tries were successful. In the same time frame, almost 93 percent of field goals from 33 yards were successful. Will this truly make a difference for teams when deciding to go for one or two points? Only time will tell.

In the meantime, however, be sure that your kicker is accurate. Look at his stats to see what his success percentage for kicks in the 30-39 yard range was in previous years. Here are the all of the (current) kickers that made at least 10 field goals from that range in 2014:

Kicker

30-39 yard FG made

30-39 yard FG attempted

Percentage

Cody Parkey, PHI

14

16

87.5%

Randy Bullock, HOU

13

15

86.7%

Chandler Catanzaro, ARI

12

14

85.7%

Dan Carpenter, BUF

12

13

92.3%

Graham Gano, CAR

12

13

92.3%

Justin Tucker, BAL

11

11

100%

Mason Crosby, GB

11

12

91.7%

Steven Hauschka, SEA

10

10

100%

Greg Zuerlein, STL

10

12

83.3%

Stephen Gostkowski, NE

10

11

90.9%

Adam Vinatieri, IND

10

10

100%

Mike Nugent, CIN

10

12

83.3%

Here's the other stat to look at — how many PATs were attempted in 2014? If a team isn't making it to the red zone and scoring touchdowns, the kicker's value is small, regardless of how accurate they are. (This list is kickers that made at least 41 PATs in 2014 and are still on teams in '15).

Kicker

PATs Made

PATs Attempted

Percentage

Dan Bailey, DAL

56

56

100%

Cody Parkey, PHI

54

54

100%

Mason Crosby, GB

53

55

96.4%

Stephen Gostkowski, NE

51

51

100%

Adam Vinatieri, IND

30

31

96.8%

Josh Brown, NYG

44

44

100%

Justin Tucker, BAL

42

42

100%

Steven Hauschka, SEA

41

41

100%

Caleb Sturgis, MIA

41

41

100%

All of those stats are fine and good, but what about fantasy points? At the end of the day, isn't that all that you really care about? Assuming you get one point for a PAT, three points for field goals up to 39 yards, four points for field goals 40-49 yards and five points for field goals 50 yards and over (also assuming no negative points for missed field goals or extra points), here are the top 11 (it would have been top 12 but Shaun Suisham is out for the year) kickers from 2014:

Kicker

Total 2014 Fantasy Points

Stephen Gostkowski, NE

170

Cody Parkey, PHI

162

Adam Vinatieri, IND

153

Dan Carpenter, BUF

152

Dan Bailey, DAL

149

Matt Bryant, ATL

149

Mason Crosby, GB

147

Steven Hauschka, SEA

147

Randy Bullock, HOU

145

Justin Tucker, BAL

141

Caleb Sturgis, MIA

140

What's interesting about this list is that only 30 points separates the top kicker, Gostkowski, from the 11th kicker, Sturgis. Thirty points over the course of 16 games is less than two points a week, on average. Think about that when you want to reach for a kicker. Sure, Gostkowski may be the best kicker in the league, but is it worth an average of two points if you're passing up other players in the third-to-last round?

Gostkowski, in nine seasons in the league, has only missed one PAT (in his first season). He made 35 out of 37 field goals in 2014, but only one from over 50 yards.

If your league rewards field goals longer than 50 yards, here are the guys to target:

Kicker

50+ Field Goals Made

50+ Field Goals Attempted

Percentage

Matt Bryant, ATL

7

10

70.0%

Phil Dawson, SF

6

9

66.7%

Dan Carpenter, BUF

6

8

75.0%

Dan Bailey, DAL

5

7

71.4%

Blair Walsh, MIN

5

9

55.6%

Greg Zuerlein, STL

5

7

71.4%

Patrick Murray, TB

5

6

83.3%

At the end of the day, a kicker most likely isn't going to make or break your fantasy team. You want someone reliable (so you don't have to worry about replacing your kicker, except during bye weeks), but beyond that, if you have standard settings, don't reach for a kicker, and don't worry about a kicker.

That being said, if you are looking for ideas on who to draft, here are my 2015 kicker rankings:

1. Stephen Gostkowski, NE

2. Adam Vinatieri, IND

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3. Steven Hauschka, SEA

4. Justin Tucker, BAL

5. Dan Bailey, DAL

6. Matt Bryant, ATL

7. Cody Parkey, PHI

8. Mason Crosby, GB

9. Matt Prater, DET

10. Dan Carpenter, BUF

11. Nick Novak, SD

12. Blair Walsh, MIN

13. Greg Zuerlein, STL

14. Cairo Santos, KC

15. Phil Dawson, SF

16. Caleb Sturgis, MIA

17. Chandler Catanzaro, ARI

18. Randy Bullock, HOU

19. Mike Nugent, CIN
20. Brandon McManus, DEN

— Written by Sarah Lewis, who is part of the Athlon Contributor network and lives, eats, and breathes fantasy football. She also writes for SoCalledFantasyExperts.com among other sites. Have a fantasy football question? Send it to her on Twitter @Sarah_Lewis32.