Authored by Andrew Perna - 12th July, 2009 - 12:14 pm
Kickers are far from the most important position on your fantasy team, but they are still a necessity. Think of it this way; you?ll start a kicker every Sunday, but that fifth wide receiver you draft might never see the light of day.
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In the first installment of a seven-part series, RealGM will help you prepare for your upcoming fantasy draft. As you can see, we?ll start with kickers and go position-by-position until we unveil our 2009 Fantasy Football Big Board on Friday.
We?ve only ranked twelve kickers for good reason. You shouldn?t be drafting a reserve kicker, no matter how deep your league happens to be. When your kicker?s bye-week comes up, find a replacement on the waiver wire.
If someone in your league grabs two, give him hell. If you do, plug your ears.
1. Stephen Gostkowski, New England
He had 148 points in 2008 as the Patriots opted for more field goals without Tom Brady behind center. He won?t attempt 40 field goals again, but there will be far more extra points.
2. Ryan Longwell, Minnesota
Longwell was tied with Akers for the third-most points among kickers last season, and was an amazing 6-for-6 from fifty-plus yards. Brad Childress will trust him even more this season, especially with a maturing offense (Brett Favre or not).
3. Mason Crosby, Green Bay
Crosby hasn?t attempted fewer than 34 field goals in the last two seasons, and Aaron Rodgers has Green Bay?s offense rolling along nicely. He?ll get plenty of opportunities.
4. David Akers, Philadelphia
Akers had a career-year in 2008, and the Eagles? offense figures to be just as potent this year. His numbers will drop if Philly improves their red zone offense, but he?s reliable regardless.
5. Jason Elam, Atlanta
Elam is, well, old. However, Atlanta?s young offense has rubbed off on him and he?s still deadly accurate.
6. Nick Folk, Dallas
The Cowboys don?t have Terrell Owens to target close to the goal line, which means that Folk might get some more chip shots.
7. Neil Rackers, Arizona
Arizona?s offense was so good last year that Rackers attempted just 28 field goals. It?s unlikely that they?ll be as efficient again, and the 33-year-old has a boot.
8. Nate Kaeding, San Diego
With L.T. sliding a bit in 2008, Kaeding took advantage with a three-year high in field goal attempts. He?ll either get a ton of FG looks, or tack on a bunch of extra points. Take him.
9. Robbie Gould, Chicago
Gould is like a great mid-range shooter in the NBA. He?s money from the close range, but completely erratic from long-range. Buyer beware.
10. Rob Bironas, Tennessee
He attempted six fewer field goals in 2008 than he did in 2007 thanks to Tennessee?s elite rushing attack. Chris Johnson and LenDale White will steal a ton of chip shots from Bironas. Tread carefully.
11. Garrett Hartley, New Orleans
The best kicker you?ve never heard of. He had 67 points in just eight games last season. Prorate that over a full season and you have 134 points and potential for more with Drew Brees throwing the ball.
12. Kris Brown, Houston
Everyone is talking about how explosive the Texans could be this season. Many believe the injury-prone Matt Schaub will stunt his potential, but a few missed starts could mean a handful of additional field goal attempts.
Full List Of Fantasy Rankings
-Defense/Special Teams: Sunday
-Tight Ends: Monday
-Wide Receivers: Tuesday
-Running Backs: Wednesday
-2009 Fantasy Football Big Board: Friday