As Fantasy Football aficionados gear up for another exhilarating season, set to commence on September 7, 2023, with a blockbuster game between the Detroit Lions and the Kansas City Chiefs, many managers may overlook one crucial element: the kicker. Often relegated to an afterthought in the draft strategy, kickers are the unsung heroes who can silently tip the balance of your weekly matchups and, in some instances, your entire season.
Despite being last on most draft boards, the points generated from this position directly affect the outcome of your fantasy duels. Neglecting to carefully choose your kicker can be likened to leaving money on the table. This unglamorous but essential role can be a goldmine for those who do their homework, offering a real edge in a game where every point counts. So if you’ve been treating kickers as mere roster fillers, it’s time to adjust your strategy. This guide will delve into the top three kickers you should consider for Fantasy Football 2023, giving you an advantage many of your competitors might ignore.
The Best Kickers for Fantasy Football in 2023
When you’re on the clock and it’s time to select a kicker, you’ll want to make sure you’re grabbing a player who is not just consistent, but also has the potential for those game-changing, high-scoring plays. Based on past performances, current team dynamics, and upcoming schedules, here are the top 20 kickers you should consider drafting for the 2023 Fantasy Football season:
1. Justin Tucker: Often dubbed the GOAT of NFL kickers, Tucker’s reliability and ability to nail long-range field goals make him the top choice.
2. Evan McPherson: Known for his accuracy, McPherson is a young talent who has quickly risen up the ranks.
3. Daniel Carlson: Carlson has proven himself to be a dependable scorer, particularly in high-pressure situations.
4. Harrison Butker: A key part of the high-octane Chiefs offense, Butker offers plenty of opportunities for extra points and field goals.
5. Tyler Bass: His strong leg and consistent performance make Bass a solid pick for 2023.
6. Jake Elliot: With an improving Eagles offense, Elliot should see plenty of scoring chances this season.
7. Younghoe Koo: Known for onside kick recoveries and accuracy, Koo is a fan-favorite and a reliable choice.
8. Jason Myers: A dependable option, Myers has the leg strength to convert long field goals.
9. Brett Maher: Maher has shown flashes of brilliance and could be a dark horse this season.
10. Jason Sanders: Playing for the Dolphins, Sanders has a knack for delivering in clutch moments.
11. Greg Zuerlein: Despite some inconsistency, Zuerlein’s experience and powerful leg can’t be ignored.
12. Greg Joseph: A sleeper pick, Joseph could surprise many with his performances this year.
13. Brandon McManus: Known for his performances in high-altitude games, McManus remains a steady choice.
14. Wil Lutz: Coming back from injury, Lutz looks to reclaim his status as a top-tier kicker.
15. Jake Moody: A relatively new name, Moody has the potential to rise up the rankings.
16. Chris Boswell: Consistency is Boswell’s game, making him a safe, if unexciting, pick.
17. Nick Folk: The veteran kicker has been around the block and can still put up decent numbers.
18. Graham Gano: Though not a top-tier kicker, Gano offers consistent scoring opportunities.
19. Matt Prater: Known for his long-range capabilities, Prater is a risk-reward option.
20. Riley Patterson: A newcomer, Patterson could be a suitable option for those looking to take a late-round gamble.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Fantasy Football Kicker
Selecting a kicker might seem straightforward, but there are various factors that can significantly influence their fantasy output. Here’s what to consider when you’re making your choice:
1. Team Offense: A kicker on a high-scoring team will naturally have more opportunities for extra points and even field goals. Look for kickers who are part of potent offenses that can move the ball down the field.
2. Accuracy: While it’s important for a kicker to have a strong leg, accuracy is equally crucial. Missed kicks can result in negative points, turning a potentially solid performance into a fantasy disaster.
3. Weather Conditions: Kickers who play in domes or mild climates are generally more reliable. Wind, snow, and rain can severely affect a kicker’s performance. If your league plays into December, weather can be a game-changer during the fantasy playoffs.
4. Long-Range Capability: Kickers who can successfully convert long-range field goals (50+ yards) can be particularly valuable as these kicks often yield more points.
5. Job Security: Believe it or not, kickers can and do get benched. If a kicker is on a short leash, a couple of bad games could result in them losing their job, leaving you scrambling for a replacement.
6. Bye Weeks: Ensure that you’re not inadvertently drafting two kickers with the same bye week if you plan to draft a backup.
7. Game Script: Kickers in teams that are often involved in close matches or trailing are more likely to attempt field goals. Conversely, teams that are frequently leading might opt to punt, reducing scoring chances for their kickers.
8. Schedule: Check a kicker’s schedule for the season, paying close attention to matchups against teams with strong or weak special teams units.
Also Read: 100+ Funny Fantasy Football Team Names 2023
Drafting a Kicker in Fantasy Football
The general consensus in Fantasy Football is to wait until the later rounds to draft a kicker, and for good reason. The scoring variance between the top and average kickers isn’t usually significant enough to warrant an early-round pick. However, this doesn’t mean you should haphazardly choose any available kicker in the final round. Take into account the aforementioned factors like team offense, weather conditions, and schedule when making your selection.
If you’ve done your research, you can snatch up a kicker who not only has a high floor but also the potential for explosive games, giving you a distinct edge over competitors who overlook this pivotal role.
Managing Your Kicker Position Throughout the Season
So, you’ve drafted a solid kicker based on your meticulous pre-season analysis. Great start, but your work doesn’t end here. Managing your kicker position throughout the season is a continuous task that can pay dividends in the form of crucial extra points. First, keep an eye on your kicker’s performance and the overall team offense. If either starts to falter, don’t hesitate to explore waiver-wire options. Secondly, monitor weather forecasts leading up to game days. Extreme weather conditions can wreak havoc on even the best kickers.
Be mindful of bye weeks and plan ahead so you’re not scrambling for a last-minute replacement. It’s often wise to have a shortlist of backup options that you can snag off the waiver wire if needed. Additionally, consider the game script for upcoming matches. If your kicker’s team is expected to dominate, you may see fewer field goal opportunities but more extra points. Conversely, if tight games are expected, field goal attempts could increase. Keeping these variables in mind and making proactive adjustments can be the difference between a win and a loss in any given week.
In the grand scheme of Fantasy Football, kickers may not command the spotlight, but their contributions can be the deciding factor in your weekly matchups and overall season success. By applying careful thought to selecting and managing your kicker, you can gain a strategic advantage over opponents who underestimate this position. As the 2023 season kicks off, remember that every point counts and a well-chosen kicker can be your secret weapon to fantasy glory.