Written/Ranked by Jonnie Carlyle
1. Josh Brown at Washington
So you missed out on Gostkowski, big whoop. Chances are Josh Brown is sitting on your wire coming off a bye and he’s been every bit as good as that guy up in New England. In half of his games Brown has made at least three field goals, including four in two straight and has yet to miss despite attempting the fifth most kicks. The Giants are averaging almost four trips into the red zone per game, but have reached the end zone on less than half of those trips. Washington has allowed 15 attempts in their last six games and that’s not including Brown’s first matchup against them, where the Giant kicker made three field goals and three extra points.
2. Stephen Gostkowski at Denver
Being that kicker is the most expendable position in fantasy, you’d have to have a pretty good reason to carry more than one kicker at any time during the season. In fact, I’d venture to say there’s only one legitimate reason and his name is Stephen Gostkowski. The Patriot kicker has at least two fields made in every game since Week 2 and has supplemented those field goals with at least three extra points in every game but one this season. Nearly half of his 21 makes have come from 40+ yards, including four from 50+, and faces a Bronco defense that’s conceded 10 makes in the last three weeks.
3. Graham Gano at Dallas
All superheroes have sidekicks. Anyone know who Superman’s is? Jimmy Olsen. Yeah, you’ve probably never heard of him, but how “kicker” is this guy? Olsen doesn’t actually have any superpowers, has red hair (not that there’s anything wrong with that) and is mostly just around because he works with Clark Kent. Yep, sounds like a kicker to me. Regardless, like Olsen, Graham Gano has found at least a part of the spotlight playing next to Cam Newton. Gano’s had at least three field goals in three of his last four and at least three extra points in three straight. No team has averaged more trips to the red zone in the last three weeks than the Panthers and is facing a Dallas team that’s conceded at least two field goal attempts in 70% of their games.
4. Chris Boswell at Seattle
It’s a bit of miracle Chris Boswell even makes the list given how much a comedy of errors the Pittsburgh kicking game was early in the season, but he’s managed to come out of nowhere to turn things around. Boswell’s made the fifth most kicks in the last three weeks despite just playing in two games (welcome back Big Ben!) and has been the beneficiary of an offense that’s averaged the second most red attempts per game in the last three weeks. And I wouldn’t worry about the matchup either, as Seattle has allowed double-digit games to kickers in two of their last three with the lone outlier being a Blaine Gabbert-led 49er squad that still managed two makes in Seattle.
5. Chandler Catanzaro at San Francisco
I am not breaking any ground here, but if you can get a piece of the league’s highest scoring offense that’s a good thing (even if it’s just a kicker). Though he was once inconsistent, Chandler Catanzaro has been anything but in recent weeks. He’s had at least two field goals in five straight weeks and has made four extra points in three straight weeks, a feat Catanzaro’s met or surpassed in 70% of his games. Catanzaro’s yet to hit anything longer than 43 yards, but you have Arizona’s second best 43 red zone attempts to thank for that (another good thing). San Francisco has been a bit of a mixed bag defensively, but the 49ers have conceded at least two field goal attempts in every home game and are one of the three teams Catanzaro’s made six extra points against in 2015.
6. Robbie Gould at Green Bay
Robbie Gould is the most accurate field goal kicker in NFL history, so I think we can all look at Week 9’s two missed kicks as an anomaly. When he’s not inexplicably shanking field goals (and Jimmy Clausen isn’t playing quarterback), Gould has at least two makes in every other game, including at least three in 66% of them. Only Brandon McManus has more makes and attempts from 50+ yards and only Cairo Santos and Justin Tucker have more attempts overall. Green Bay’s defense made a sudden and surprising resurgence last weekend, but prior to that had conceded 14 field goal attempts Weeks 5-10.
7. Stephen Hauschka vs. Pittsburgh
Stephen Hauschka is a Seattle Seahawk and he’s playing at CenturyLink; what more do you need to know? Like he’s averaged more than two makes at home not just this season but since the beginning of the 2013 season and has had at least one field in every home game since Week 17 of 2012? Or that he’s the only kicker this season with at least one field goal in all 10 games and the only one that hasn’t missed from 50+ yards despite having the fourth most attempts? Yeah, you get the idea.
8. Blair Walsh vs. Atlanta
It’s hard to envision a worse case scenario for just about anyone wearing Viking purple and gold last Sunday and that was especially the case for Blair Walsh. I wouldn’t let my underpants get too much in a bunch, however, as it was the first time in the last seven weeks Walsh didn’t make at least two field goals and the first time since Week 15 of 2014 he didn’t have a field goal make at all. Despite the goose egg, Walsh still has the most makes and attempts since Week 7 and has hit double-digit points in four of his last six games.
9. Travis Coons vs. Baltimore
I can’t say for sure, but something tells me if TMZ could get their hands on some earlier footage from Johnny Manziel’s partying during Cleveland’s bye you’d likely see Travis Coons looking like those two young dudes in “Old School” who turn Will Ferrell into Frank the Tank after a few beer bongs. And given his lack of opportunity with Manziel at the helm, it’s hard to blame Coons. In Josh McCown’s five full games (he’s played part of seven), Coons notched 13 of his 16 field goals, including four in Week 5 against the Ravens. Speaking of Baltimore, only Oakland has faced more attempts and allowed more field goals than the Ravens as they’ve allowed at least two makes in 80% of their games and a league-high five different kickers have attempted at least four.
10. Jason Meyers vs. San Diego
Is it possible this Jacksonville offense is turning into something of an offensive juggernaut? If you saw any part of that snooze-fest last Thursday night, juggernaut is probably too strong of a word but don’t go sleeping on kicker Jason Meyers. He leads the league in makes over the last three weeks (the only guy in double digits) as the Jaguars have created the sixth most red zone trips during that stretch but have only been able to find the end zone on a quarter of them. With Allen Hurns ailing and Jacksonville’s refusal to use their best back near the goal line, don’t expect that trend to change moving forward, especially against a San Diego team that’s had the wheels almost completely come off everywhere. Only four teams have allowed more field goals and every kicker they’ve faced since Week 6 has made at least two field goals sans Robbie Gould, but that wasn’t because of a lack of opportunity (Gould missed both kicks).
11. Cairo Santos vs. Buffalo
I don’t know how much matchups truly apply to such a volatile position as kickers, but if there ever were a bad matchup for Cairo Santos and the Chiefs, this would be it. Only three teams have allowed fewer makes than the Bills and opposing kickers have more games of 0-1 made field goals than 2+ made. And as good as Santos has been at times, he’s been far from consistent. In five of his starts he’s been unable to notch more than one made field goal and missed at least one in four of them. There’s also a chance Kansas City is really short-handed offensively (as compared to normally, right?) on Sunday, as both Charcandrick West and Jeremy Maclin left last week’s game with ailments.
12. Connor Barth at Indianapolis
One week you’re king and the next, well, you’re Connor Barth (we’re talking kickers here, so something like king of the worms or slugs). Barth took over the Tampa kicking duties in Week 5 and rambled off four straight weeks of at least three field goals made but in the last two weeks hasn’t made more than one as Jameis Winston is suddenly the second coming. Maybe Winston is and maybe he isn’t, but regardless there is precedence for an avalanche of kicker points in Tampa given the Bucs 3.5 red zone trips per game where they’re only reaching the end zone in half of those. The Colts have only allowed four field goals in their last five games, but like Tampa there’s some positive kicking history as Indianapolis allowed 15 attempts in their first six games.
13. Brandon McManus vs. New England
Don’t worry Brandon, they just hate us cause they McManus. At least that is what I keep telling myself…And I know things have been slowing down for the Bronco kicker as of late, but such is the life when you’re reliant on a quarterback whose best skill at this point is annoying the bejeesus out of everyone with his horrible commercials (don’t get the jingle caught in my head, don’t get the jingle caught in my head). As bad as things have been, McManus still has the fourth most makes and leads the NFL in field goals over 50 yards with five, three of which have come in Denver. Rumor has it New England hasn’t lost a game yet, but that hasn’t meant much in terms of points allowed by their defense as in the last three weeks they’ve given up the fifth most attempts and the sixth most makes.
14. Dan Bailey vs. Carolina
About as boring (boring can be good) production as you’d expect from a guy a named ‘Dan Bailey’, the Dallas kicker is the emperor of two field goal games as he’s hit that mark in 70% of his starts. All three of his kicks from 50+ yards have come in the last six games and has notched more than half of his career kicks from that distance in Dallas. Carolina’s likely Bailey’s stiffest test to date as they’ve allowed just one made field goal in their last three games, but after maintaining through seven weeks of Brandon Weeden and Matt Cassel there’s no reason to think he can’t hit that two field goal mark on Thanksgiving. Tony Romo’s return helps, too, as the Cowboys have averaged more than three trips into red zone in his Romo’s three starts.
15. Mason Crosby vs. Chicago
This has a lot more to do with Chicago than it does anything to do with Mason Crosby’s five field goal explosion last Sunday in Minnesota, but I’ll tell you Crosby’s performance certainly doesn’t hurt. All five of his field goals were 40+ yards, including one from 52 yards, but it was only the third time he’s made more than one field goal in a game. The Bears should help those skinny numbers out, however, as they’ve allowed the fourth most field goals in the league and have only allowed fewer than three attempts in two of their games, with opposing kickers combining for six extra points in those two games.
Greg Zuerlein at Cincinnati
Chances are if you’re down this far, you’re looking for a swing for the fences type guy and it doesn’t get more swing for the fences than the man they call Legatron. I am not sure he’s even any good, but Greg Zuerlein might have one of the higher ceilings for any kicker in the league. No one’s attempted more from 50+ yards than Zuerlein, including three in the month of November alone and he’s also the only guy to hit a kick from 60+ yards this season. Zuerlein has attempted the fourth most kicks in 2015, including at least two in five of his last six and though the Bengals aren’t exactly what I would call kicker friendly, they did allow a league-high seven makes in Week 4.