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Three Year Ratings - Team Kickers
David Dorey
July 15, 2005

2004 was a cooling down year for kickers after a torrid 2003 that featured Vanderjagt (157), Wilkins (163) and Stover (134) turning in monster years. Last year the tops was Vinatieri with only 141 points and no other kicker topped 130 points.

Kickers are notoriously difficult to predict since they are a function of how often the offense gets close enough for a field goal but cannot score a touchdown. Obviously the highest scoring teams have the top fantasy kickers but that does not always hold completely true in all cases. Consider that Tynes in KC last year only had 109 points – but he did kick 58 extra points.

The key is to get a kicker on a team that will score often, but allow the kicker to kick a lot of field goals and just not extra points. Strong fantasy kickers often come from teams that have a great defense and last year saw the best defenses (NE, PIT, PHI) turn in great kicking points. That often is the result of a team getting a lead in the game and holding the score low enough that their kickers get more action at the end of games putting the match-up out of reach of their opponent. A strong rushing game also helps the team consistently reach the redzone.

Conversely, teams that have a bad defense often have poor kickers because their opponents continuously put them into a position where they need touchdowns, not field goals. It is a general rule of thumb and there are always exceptions.

Kicker points actually vary little other than the top three to five for a year. Last season was even worse with only Vinatieri as the true difference maker though Akers was equally as good until the Eagles nested for the final weeks of the year. Consider that the 2nd best kicker last year (Elam – 129 points) and the 12th best kicker (Josh Brown – 109 points) were both fantasy starters and yet the year-end difference between the two accounted for little more than one point per game.

To gain a better understanding of how most kickers vary season to season, below shows where each team ranked in total kicking points (field goals + extra points) over the past four years. It shows the few teams (DEN, BAL, NE, PHI) with appreciable consistency in the position. This table varies from the rankings of individual kickers as each season some teams may use more than one kicker. These are total kicking points by team per year.

Total Kicking Points per Team, Ranked 1 (highest) to 32 (lowest) each year

PK 02 03 04 Avg PK 02 03 04 Avg PK 02 03 04 Avg PK 02 03 04 Avg
ARI 29 32 16 31 DAL 32 20 23 30 MIA 13 21 32 25 PIT 8 19 3 7
ATL 1 26 21 16 DEN 9 6 2 2 MIN 15 16 19 17 SD 5 26 10 12
BAL 22 4 8 10 DET 21 24 18 24 NE 11 10 1 3 SEA 11 8 12 8
BUF 12 31 9 19 GB 15 4 6 4 NO 12 3 15 6 SF 24 18 29 28
CAR 30 5 28 23 HOU 31 28 27 32 NYG 17 15 20 20 STL 24 1 25 18
CHI 23 14 31 26 IND 19 2 7 5 NYJ 16 27 14 21 TB 10 6 30 15
CIN 28 12 4 14 JAC 25 25 22 29 OAK 5 22 13 11 TEN 14 3 26 13
CLE 20 23 17 22 KC 14 7 11 9 PHI 2 9 5 1 WAS 27 18 24 27

Total Kicking Points per Team, Sorted by overall ranking

PK 02 03 04 Avg PK 02 03 04 Avg PK 02 03 04 Avg PK 02 03 04 Avg
PHI 2 9 5 1 KC 14 7 11 9 MIN 15 16 19 17 MIA 13 21 32 25
DEN 9 6 2 2 BAL 22 4 8 10 STL 24 1 25 18 CHI 23 14 31 26
NE 11 10 1 3 OAK 5 22 13 11 BUF 12 31 9 19 WAS 27 18 24 27
GB 15 4 6 4 SD 5 26 10 12 NYG 17 15 20 20 SF 24 18 29 28
IND 19 2 7 5 TEN 14 3 26 13 NYJ 16 27 14 21 JAC 25 25 22 29
NO 12 3 15 6 CIN 28 12 4 14 CLE 20 23 17 22 DAL 32 20 23 30
PIT 8 19 3 7 TB 10 6 30 15 CAR 30 5 28 23 ARI 29 32 16 31
SEA 11 8 12 8 ATL 1 26 21 16 DET 21 24 18 24 HOU 31 28 27 32

Of those teams that have ranked in the best 12 (and therefore worthy of fantasy starters),  the Saints, Steelers, Seahawks, Chiefs and Chargers have changed kickers during the last three years and have offered a better chance in a fantasy draft to snag a worthwhile kicker deeper than expected.

While kicker accuracy is undeniably an important component, without opportunity it is meaningless. In the past three years, you just could not go wrong with taking a kicker from Philadelphia (Akers), Denver (Elam), New England (Vinatieri) or Seattle (Josh Brown). You would have always had a kicker worth starting.

What is equally fascinating is that the teams that ended #1 in kicking points in each of the last three years, never produced more than the 10th best kicking points in either of the other two seasons – barely a fantasy starter.