The Place Kicker: the Most Important Position in the NFL

Matthew GilmartinSenior Analyst IJuly 27, 2008

Do you know what the most important position in the NFL is?  Quarterback? No. Running back?  Nope.  Wide receiver?  Wrong.  Tight end?  Who are you trying to kid?  It's actually the place kicker. 

Kickers are the most important players in the NFL because they score so many points.  26-of-29 NFL scoring leaders last year were kickers.  The only three players in the top 29 who weren't kickers were Patriots wide receiver Randy Moss, Chargers running back  LaDainian Tomlinson, and Browns wide receiver Braylon Edwards. 

The top kicker, Mason Crosby of the Packers, finished with 141 points on 48 extra points made and 31 field goals made. 

The only player not a kicker in the top 20, Randy Moss, totaled 138 points on 23 touchdown catches. 

The next non-kicker on the list was LT, who compiled 15 rushing touchdowns and three receiving touchdowns. 

Kickers in between Moss's total and LT's mark ranged from 137 points (Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski) to 108 points (Eagles kicker David Akers).

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Kickers are the highest scoring players in the NFL because they get the most real scoring chances.  Every time his team scores a touchdown, he gets the chance to score a point.  Every time his team gets to the 35, he gets the chance to score three points.  If his offense is good, the kicker can rack up a ton of points. 

But the most ideal situation for a kicker is an offense that's good, but not great.  An attack that doesn't score a lot of touchdowns but consistently gets down to the 35, or further into the opponent's territory. 

Kickers can actually be very valuable to fantasy owners if, again, the kicker's team's offense is good, but not great.  So don't draft the Patriots' kicker for your team.  True, he will get a lot of chances to score points on extra points, but those only count for one point each in fantasy football. 

He won't get the chance to kick many field goals, especially 50+ yard field goals, which is ideal if you're a fantasy owner - field goals from 50 or more yards count for five points. 

They also never get hurt.  Teams' special teams formations give the kicker maximum protection, which minimized the chance that the kicker gets hurt and also gives him the most time possible to get a good kick off. 

The place kicker is just about the perfect position.  He scores the most points, can be of high value to fantasy owners, and they never get injured.  The only thing missing is style.

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