I have a bunch of little deviations from the ECR (Expert Consensus Rankings) in my Week 18 fantasy kicker rankings, but nothing dramatic or worth discussing. So instead, I'll give you my "Way-Too-Early Top Five Kickers for Next Season."
Nick Folk rounds out this top five. He will likely finish as the top fantasy kicker this season. But he also will have had the most field goal attempts this season. My guess is that New England's offense turns a few more of those drives into touchdowns next year, thereby decreasing Folk's opportunities. He'll still be "fine," but won't be a top kicker next year. His numbers will look more like our next kicker, Tyler Bass.
Bass is currently the 11th-best kicker in fantasy football this season. But he will jump up a few spots next year. The reason he's not in the top 10 is simply that he's had only 30 FG attempts this season. Every kicker in the top 10 has had more. It is noteworthy that he is just one of five kickers in the top 20 who has converted every extra-point attempt.
Matt Gay has attempted 76 kicks (FGs+PATs) this year and has missed just three. That's a pretty good percentage. I'm willing to tab him as the third overall kicker.
Justin Tucker would be my No. 1, but I'm worried about head coach John Harbaugh's tendencies. The good news is Tucker is automatic as he's one of just two kickers in the top 10 who has been successful on every PAT attempt.
My top kicker for next year? Evan McPherson. He has been perfect from inside 40 yards (13-for-13), but he also has shown his leg strength, with a long of 58. Overall, he's 9-for-11 from 50 yards and beyond and he's also connected in the clutch. I love McPherson for next year.
NFL Kicker Rankings: Week 18
— Rankings by Mark Strausberg, a member of the Athlon Network Contributor, who despite his youthful exuberance and good looks has been playing fantasy sports before Wildcats or Hoosiers even made it to VHS. Got a fantasy sports question or thought? Hit him up on Twitter @MarkStrausberg.