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Fantasy Football 2013: Top 10 Kickers for Fantasy Playoffs

David Pratt, DPTContributor IIIJanuary 2, 2017

Fantasy Football 2013: Top 10 Kickers for Fantasy Playoffs

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    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    With the 2013 fantasy football playoffs just around the corner, it is a good time for fantasy owners to pick up an available kicker with the highest upside for the final four NFL regular-season games.

    The highest-scoring fantasy kickers throughout the season are rarely the highest-scoring kickers during the fantasy football playoffs. Therefore, it’s not wise to play your regular-season kicker during the fantasy playoffs due solely to his performance throughout the entire season.

    Instead, it is better to play a kicker with the greatest scoring potential in Weeks 14-17 of the NFL regular season (standard fantasy football playoff weeks).

    The following are the top 10 kickers for the 2013 fantasy football playoffs in the standard scoring format. Each kicker was ranked based on a long list of criteria including: the kicker’s ability, opponents' defenses, projected weather conditions, likelihood of players being rested for the playoffs, etc.

    The following statistics are courtesy of Pro Football Focus (subscription required).

10. Alex Henery, Philadelphia Eagles

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    Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

    You may be wondering why Alex Henery is among the top 10 fantasy kickers for the fantasy playoffs. That’s a fair question considering Henery is currently the 16th-best fantasy kicker for the season through Week 8.

    The reason he is on the list has to do with his matchups and the games' locations.

    Three of the four teams Henery will face in December are bottom-10 defenses against fantasy kickers: Minnesota (22nd), Chicago (26th) and Dallas (28th). These are three of the teams that have given up the most points to fantasy kickers throughout the season, and there are a variety of reasons for this.

    Additionally, half of Henery’s December games are in ideal conditions (i.e. arenas). With no chance of precipitation, and the temperature being controlled, Henery will have the chance to have at least two stellar games during the fantasy playoffs.

     

     

    Statistics for the Season

    20-29 yd FG %: 6/6, 100%

    30-39 yd FG %: 4/4, 100%

    40-49 yd FG %: 4/7, 57.1%

    50+ yd FG %: 0/1, 0%

    Total FG made: 14/18, 77.85%

    Final Four Games (chronological order): Detroit, at Minnesota, Chicago and at Dallas.

     

9. Justin Tucker, Baltimore Ravens

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    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Justin Tucker has been a solid fantasy kicker for the first eight weeks of the NFL season. He has made 15 of 17 field-goal attempts (88.2%) and is currently the 10th-best kicker in fantasy football.

    He has good kicking power and historically has missed very few kicks of fewer than 40 yards in distance.

    The reason he is not higher on this list is due to his matchups and the games’ locations.

    Three of his four December games will be in relatively colder and less-favorable climates: Baltimore, New England and Cincinnati.

    He will also face two top-10 defenses against fantasy kickers in New England (tied-9th) and Cincinnati (tied-9th).

    It’s hard to see Tucker finishing as a top-five fantasy kicker for the final four weeks of the NFL regular season. However, he will likely be in the top 10.

     

    Statistics for the Season

    20-29 yd FG %: 5/5, 100%

    30-39 yd FG %: 4/4, 100%

    40-49 yd FG %: 5/6, 83.3%

    50+ yd FG %: 1/2, 50%

    Total FG made: 15/17, 88.2%

    Final Four Games (chronological order): Minnesota, at Detroit, New England and at Cincinnati.

8. Nick Novak, San Diego Chargers

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    Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

    Nick Novak is currently the 11th-highest-scoring fantasy kicker for the season, and he will surely end the regular season in the top 10.

    He has made 14 of 16 of his field-goal attempts and has nailed all six of his kicks of 40 yards or farther.

    In the fantasy playoffs, Novak will face two top-10 defenses and two bottom-10 defenses against fantasy kickers.

    The largest reason why he is not ranked higher on this list are the weather conditions to which he will be subjected. Three of his December games will be in relatively colder climates: New York, Denver and Kansas City.

    Games in colder weather conditions have historically decreased kickers' field-goal accuracy and range. Therefore, Novak will not be in favorable conditions to succeed as a fantasy kicker in the month of December.

     

    Statistics for the Season

    20-29 yd FG %: 2/2, 100%

    30-39 yd FG %: 6/8, 75%

    40-49 yd FG%: 5/5, 100%

    50+ yd FG %:1/1, 100%

    Total FG made: 14/16, 87.5%

    Final Four Games (chronological order): New York Giants, at Denver, Oakland and Kansas City.

7. Adam Vinatieri, Indianapolis Colts

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    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Adam Vinatieri has been one of the most consistent NFL kickers of the past decade. Not only that, but he has also been a top fantasy kicker during that time.

    He is currently the eighth-highest-scoring kicker in fantasy through Week 8 and has made 15 of 17 field-goal attempts to date. More impressively, he has converted nine of 11 attempts on kicks 40 yards or farther.

    There are two primary reasons he is not in the top five fantasy kickers for the playoffs.

    First, two of the teams he will face are top-10 defenses against fantasy kickers—one of which is the top defense (Kansas City Chiefs).

    Second, the Colts will certainly have the division won heading into Week 17 (a fantasy championship week) and will be facing the punching bag of the NFL, the Jacksonville Jaguars. Expect the Colts offense to take its foot off the accelerator early against the Jaguars and rest its star players. This in turn will leave Vinatieri with a below-average fantasy day.

     

    Statistics for the Season

    20-29 yd FG %: 3/3, 100%

    30-39 yd FG %: 3/3, 100%

    40-49 yd FG %: 6/6, 100%

    50+ yd FG %: 3/5, 60%

    Total FG made: 15/17, 88.2%

    Final Four Games (chronological order): at Cincinnati, Houston, at Kansas City and Jacksonville.

6. Dan Carpenter, Buffalo Bills

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    Rick Stewart/Getty Images

    Buffalo Bills kicker Dan Carpenter has proved to be a top long-distance kicker in the NFL this season. He has converted two of three field goals from 40-49 yards in distance and two of three kicks from 50 yards and farther.

    In total, he has made 16 of 18 field-goals for the season, and is currently the eighth-highest-scoring fantasy kicker.

    In the final four games of the NFL season, Carpenter will face one top-10 and two bottom-10 defenses against fantasy kickers.

    He will also play half of his final games in relatively colder climates and the other half in relatively warmer climates.

    All in all, Carpenter is expected to keep pace with his current average of 8.8 fantasy points per game in the final four games of the season. This puts him just outside the top five fantasy kickers for the playoffs.

     

    Statistics for the Season

    20-29 yd FG %: 7/7, 100%

    30-39 yd FG %: 4/4, 100%

    40-49 yd FG %: 2/3, 66.7%

    50+ yd FG %: 3/4, 75%

    Total FG made: 16/18, 88.9%

    Final Four Games (chronological order): at Tampa Bay, at Jacksonville, Miami and at New England.

5. Matt Bryant, Atlanta Falcons

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Things have not been going well for the Atlanta Falcons this season. They lost their greatest offensive player, Julio Jones, for the season and will likely finish third in the NFC South.

    However, Atlanta’s shortcomings this season have not been caused by Matt Bryant’s kicking production. He has made 11 of 12 field-goal attempts and has made both of his kicks of 40-plus yards.

    The main reason Bryant has struggled this year as a fantasy kicker is Atlanta’s offensive woes. Three of the team's best offensive weapons have been injured for the majority of the first eight weeks of the season: Roddy White (ankle), Steven Jackson (hamstring) and Julio Jones (foot).

    The Falcons will likely have the services of Jackson and White for the latter half of the season, so the offense is expected to improve.

    Bryant’s fantasy potential for Weeks 14-17 is also promising because he will be in arenas for two of the games and in a relatively warm climate for another one of the games.

    Considering the Atlanta offense should be more productive in the latter half of the season and the favorable kicking conditions Bryant will have throughout December, he is a top-five fantasy kicker for the fantasy playoffs.

     

    Statistics for the Season

    20-29 yd FG %: 6/6, 100%

    30-39 yd FG %: 3/4, 75%

    40-49 yd FG %: 1/1, 100%

    50+ yd FG %: 1/1, 100%

    Total FG made: 11/12, 91.7%

    Final Four Games (chronological order): at Green Bay, Washington, at San Francisco and Carolina.

4. Dan Bailey, Dallas Cowboys

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    Rich Schultz/Getty Images

    Dan Bailey is currently the sixth-best fantasy kicker for the season. This is primarily due to his powerful leg, which has allowed him to nail four 50-plus-yard field goals out of five attempts.

    Additionally, he is on pace to make a career-high 48 extra points this season.

    Considering his powerful leg, unusually numerous extra-point opportunities and the fact that he plays two of his final four games in an arena, Bailey has the potential to be a top fantasy football playoff kicker this season.

     

    Statistics for the Season

    20-29 yd FG %: 1/1, 100%

    30-39 yd FG %: 5/6, 83.3%

    40-49 yd FG %: 4/4, 100%

    50+ yd FG %: 4/5, 80%

    Total FG made: 14/16, 87.5%

    Final Four Games (chronological order): at Chicago, Green Bay, at Washington and Philadelphia.

3. Nick Folk, New York Jets

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    Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

    New York Jets kicker Nick Folk has been one of the most under-hyped fantasy kickers through the first eight weeks of the regular season. He is currently fourth in fantasy points scored by a kicker and has made all 19 of his field-goal attempts. This includes 10 kicks from 40 yards or farther. Can you say bonus points?

    Half of his fantasy playoff games will be played in relatively warmer climates, and two will be played in colder climates.

    His only two downsides are that he will play two top-10 defenses against fantasy kickers (Oakland and Carolina), and the Jets may not have an adequate enough offense to get Folk into field-goal range if their current injury rate continues.

    Overall, Folk will have many field-goal attempts from long range, and this leads to big fantasy points. If he is available in your league(s), add him to your roster immediately.

     

    Statistics for the Season

    20-29 yd FG %: 2/2, 100%

    30-39 yd FG %: 7/7, 100%

    40-49 yd FG %: 9/9, 100%

    50+ yd FG %: 1/1, 100%

    Total FG made: 19/19, 100%

    Final Four Games (chronological order): Oakland, at Carolina, Cleveland and at Miami.

2. Matt Prater, Denver Broncos

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    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Denver Broncos kicker Matt Prater is currently the leading fantasy kicker in points scored. He has converted 12 of 12 field goals for the season and has almost double the extra-point conversions of any other kicker in the league (43).

    Despite averaging a league-high 11.4 fantasy points per game through Week 8, Prater will likely not be the highest-scoring fantasy kicker during the fantasy playoffs.

    All of Denver’s final four opponents have defenses that are in the top 20 of the league against fantasy kickers: Tennessee (5th), San Diego (16th), Houston (18th) and Oakland (6th).

    Also, the Broncos will likely have the division and home-field advantage guaranteed heading into Week 16 or 17. The Chiefs still have two games remaining against Denver and one against the Colts. If the current trends continue, the Broncos offense will likely be taking the foot off the accelerator in the final game or two, and this would hurt Prater’s overall value.

    Even though Prater is the top fantasy kicker of the year thus far, he will likely not be the top fantasy kicker for the final four games of the NFL regular season. Nevertheless, he is still a candidate for the top three. 

     

    Statistics for the Season

    20-29 yd FG %: 1/1, 100%

    30-39 yd FG %: 1/1, 100%

    40-49 yd FG %: 6/6, 100%

    50+ yd FG %: 3/3, 100%

    Total FG made: 12/12, 100%

    Final Four Games (chronological order): Tennessee, San Diego, at Houston and at Oakland.

1. Stephen Gostkowski, New England Patriots

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    New England Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski has been nearly flawless this season. Even with a league-high 21 field-goal attempts through Week 8, only one of his kicks has not gone between the uprights.

    As for his fantasy productivity, only Denver Broncos kick Matt Prater has more fantasy points than Gostkowski at this time. If the reemergence of Rob Gronkowski, Shane Vereen and Danny Amendola can spark the lackluster New England offense in the second half of the season, Gostkowski could finish the season as the top fantasy kicker.

    His final four games of the season are against three of the bottom-10 defenses against fantasy kickers (Miami, Baltimore and Buffalo).

    It’s also to be expected that the Patriots will still be playing for home-field advantage until the end of the season, so Gostkowski will likely not see a drop-off in production in Week 17.

    Despite three of his final four December games being held in relatively colder climates, Gostkowski has historically shown to not be significantly affected by the cold weather.

     

    Statistics for the Season

    20-29 yd FG %:  3/3, 100%

    30-39 yd FG %: 7/7, 100%

    40-49 yd FG %: 7/8, 87.5%

    50+ yd FG %: 2/2, 100%

    Total FG made: 20/21, 95.2%

    Final Four Games (chronological order): Cleveland, at Miami, at Baltimore and Buffalo. 

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