1. Garrett Hartley vs. WAS
Garrett Hartley spent the year nursing a hip injury and allowing John Kasay to connect for a whopping 63 extra points and 28 field goals. Hartley won his job back from the 42-year old Kasay and looks to start off the season right against the Washington Redskins. The ‘Skins allowed more kicker points than any other team in the league last season and had the second-most field goals converted against them with 34.
2. Stephen Gostkowski at TEN
No team in the last three years has put more points through the uprights than the New England Patriots. It's because their offense kicks ass, that's it. Stephen Gostkowski has averaged 3.3 extra points per game over the last three seasons. That doesn't even count field goals! The Titans allowed nine field goals in the final four weeks of the season and only one kick was missed against Tennessee all of last year. So let's all point and laugh at Olindo Mare for having that dubious distinction.
3. Alex Henery at CLE
The Eagles felt confident enough in the leg of Alex Henery that they allowed the top kicker in the NFL, David Akers, walk after last season. He went to San Fran and just happened to lead the league again in field goals. Henery wasn't a terrible choice though. He connected on 24 of 27 field goal attempts last season and didn't miss any of his PATs. The Browns were one of only nine teams to allow 30 or more made field goals last season.
4. Nate Kaeding at OAK
Nate Kaeding basically missed the entire season after he tore his ACL in Week 1's opening kickoff. Prior to the injury he was one of the NFL's elite distance kickers, making 26 field goals from beyond 40 yards in 2009 and 2010. While a trip to the "Black Hole" in Oakland is less than ideal of a launch point, Kaeding is still a great play. In his last six matchups with the Raiders, Kaeding has converted all 16 extra points and has kicked 10 field goals.
5. Robbie Gould vs. IND
Of the kickers who had at least 30 field goal attempts last season, Gould was the third-most accurate, with an 87 percent conversion rate. He's also never missed an extra point, so he's got that going for him. Only three teams allowed more extra points than the Colts last season (that means they get scored on a lot). Even in the windiest of cities, I like Gould in a warm September matchup against a bad defense.
6. Mason Crosby vs. SF
While some have devised their entire draft strategy to acquire Mason Crosby, I've tempered my expectations on the Packers' place kicker a bit going into Week 1. While Crosby kicked an amazing 68 extra points last year (which led the NFL), he only made 24 field goals, which tied him for 17th place. Games early in the season tend to be lower scoring affairs, and if this one is not, the Pack are going to be raining down touchdown passes, not attempting four or five field goals.
7. Dan Bailey at NYG
Ah, the rare Wednesday night kicker! Dan Bailey, I happen to know is zero-for-zero on kicks in professional games on Wednesday nights. Bailey was a rare gem last season, converting the third-most field goals in the NFL with 32 and booting through a solid 39 extra points. Everybody keeps saying how this Cowboys' offense is just set to explode and the Giants' pass defense is suspect, so maybe Tony Romo keeps connecting with wide receivers that are tackled in the red zone, but they can't punch it home. Maybe Bailey ends up with three or four field goal attempts.
8. Jason Hanson vs. STL
I wrote this column a lot last season. And while kickers aren't the most interesting subjects, I probably went to the well too often on Jason Hanson's age. I'm going to attempt to get them all out now so I don't have to use that as my go-to Hanson move this season. Here we go.
Okay, you get the picture. When Hanson happens to use his walker to go out to kick a field goal or two (see I did it again), it will be against a Rams team that allowed the fourth-most field goals and the eighth-most extra points last season.
9. Sebastian Janikowski vs. SD
In his 12-year career, Sebastian Janikowski has now played the San Diego Super Chargers 24 times (Week 1 will be number 25). That equates to a full season and a half of games. What have we learned? He's made 30 of 39 kicks against San Diago and all 44 extra point attempts. This equates to about two extra points and a field goal in each matchup. Few kickers have the ability to hit from distance like Janikowski, but few kickers have a more mysterious offense as well.
10. David Akers at GB
Why is the top scoring kicker from each of the last two seasons at the bottom of this week's top 10 list? A grueling matchup with the Packers and that's about it. Green Bay allowed only 22 field goals last season, which was the fourth-lowest total in the league. While the Pack have the ability to give up the long passing touchdown, that's really not the Niners' strong suit, so I'm going to say that while Akers is still start-able, he won't connect for double digit points.
Take a chance on…
Matt Bryant at KC
If the Falcons' offense is as good as everyone seems to think it will be, why not take a chance on the most accurate kicker in the NFL last season, Matt Bryant? Bryant connected on 93 percent of his field goals last season and made all 45 of his PATs. He's still on the waiver wire in over half of ESPN leagues right now, but that won't last long.
Shayne Graham vs. MIA
Shayne Graham is now playing for his sixth NFL team in the last four years. Your phone doesn't continue to ring if you don't possess some talent. Graham has only missed one field goal in his last two seasons, splitting time all up and down the East Coast. This year he's handed the kicking duties as a part of the Texans (who lost rookie Randy Bullock to a torn groin muscle). The Texans sport a great offense, an indoor facility and a weak division, so he's a great option for this week and all season.
Don't start if you don't have to…
Adam Vinatieri at CHI
Don't get fooled by the name. Adam Vinatieri has not been a relevant fantasy kicker for the better part of the last decade. He only cracked 100 points once in his last three seasons and he hasn't made more than 26 field goals in a season as a member of the Colts (six years). Blah, blah, rookie quarterback, bad offense, bad defense, going for it on fourth down, not worth it.
Mike Nugent at BAL
Very quietly, Mike Nugent made the second most field goals in the NFL last season. The Nuge found a nice home back in Ohio, but will likely be stonewalled by the Baltimore Ravens this week. The Ravens allowed the fourth-fewest extra points last season and allowed only seven field goals when playing at home.