David Akers landed on his feet after the 49ers cut him in February. He signed with the Lions in April, and that might be a slight upgrade. He joins a high-powered offense and gets to kick indoors at home. This could be the boost Akers needs after his amazing fall from grace. In 2011, Akers was the No. 1 kicker in all Fantasy leagues. Akers had 186 Fantasy points in a standard league and made 44 of 52 field goals with seven kicks of at least 50 yards and 34 extra points. But in 2012, he fell apart with 131 points. He missed eight field goals and his conversion rate of 69 percent was the lowest in his career. He should rebound with the Lions, and Akers is still worth a last-round pick in the majority of leagues. He will once again be a No. 1 Fantasy option this season.
Stephen Gostkowski was the No. 1 Fantasy kicker in 2012, and we expect him to repeat in 2013 since he plays for a high-powered offense with plenty of chances to succeed. Gostkowski made 29 of 35 field goals in 2012 with 66 extra points. Only four kickers had more than 50 extra points (Gostkowski, Garrett Hartley, Matt Prater and Mason Crosby), but Gostkowski was the only one above 60. He had double digits in Fantasy points in 10 games, and this is now the third time in his career he had had more than 55 extra points. He should post quality stats again in 2013, and he is worth drafting with a late-round pick in all leagues.
Mason Crosby might be on the hot seat after a rather disappointing 2012 where he hit 21 of 33 field goals (a yucky 63.6 pct.) including 2 of 9 from 50-plus yards. So while he's continued to attempt at least 28 field goals per season, he's taken a step back. And the truth is he's topped 80 percent of his field goals just once. If you draft Crosby on the merit of him being the Packers kicker that's one thing, but don't commit to him if you can find a more reliable option off waivers. No one should take him before the final round, if at all.
Garrett Hartley didn't have many field goal opportunities in 2012, kicking 18 of 22 including 3 of 4 from 50-plus yards. He made 57 extra points, giving him a grand total of 117 Fantasy points. If this was the first time Hartley had attempted under 30 field goals we'd probably be more willing to recommend him as a good Fantasy kicker. But the guy has never attempted more than 25 kicks in a season in his career! And here's another nugget: Since Sean Payton has become head coach, the team has attempted more than 30 field goals in a year once! Hartley might be on a team with an explosive offense but there's not going to be as many opportunities there as there are for other kickers. Expect him to get picked in the final round on Draft Day, but you don't have to be the one to take him
Sebastian Janikowski continues to prove he’s among the best Fantasy kickers, and he should be drafted as a starter with a late-round pick in all leagues. In 2012, Janikowski was 31 for 34 in field-goal attempts and had a long of 57 yards. He actually was 6 for 9 from 50-plus yards this year and posted a double-digit Fantasy total in five of his 16 games on the year. This is the third year in a row Janikowski has made at least 31 field goals, and he should continue to be an excellent weapon for the Raiders and Fantasy owners.
Dan Bailey has been the Cowboys kicker for the past two seasons, and he's been a top-12 Fantasy kicker both times. He was No. 7 in Fantasy points in 2011 with 139, and even though his production dropped last year to 130 points, he finished at No. 12. Last year, Bailey made 29 of 31 field goals and all 37 extra points. He had three 50-yard field goals, and he should remain productive again. Bailey has all the qualities you look for in a Fantasy kicker: good offense, indoor stadium and accuracy. Plan on drafting him with a last-round pick.
After a storied 21-year career with the Lions, Jason Hanson decided to retire in April. The 42-year-old made 32 of 36 field goals (including 2 of 3 from 50-plus yards) and 38 extra points last season and might contend for a Hall of Fame bust someday based on his lengthy career and career 82.4 field goal percentage. David Akers looks like the kicker who will take his place.
Alex Henery has the chance to be an elite Fantasy kicker. He just needs more help from his offense. Akers has made 51 field goals in two years, and he was a solid Fantasy option as a rookie in 2011 when he had 46 extra points. But his extra points dropped to 25 last season, which hurt his value. Henery had just three games with double digits in Fantasy points, and he finished No. 21 among kickers with 106 points for the year. If you give him back the 21 extra points he had from 2011 he would have been No. 13 in Fantasy points for the year, so you can see the potential is there. Henery will likely go undrafted in the majority of leagues, but he's a great bye-week replacement. And if he starts off the season kicking at a high level then don't hesitate to add him off the waiver wire.
Nate Kaeding decided this offseason to retire. The former standout kicker for the Chargers struggled through injuries the past two seasons and was signed by Tampa Bay this offseason to compete for a job, but he decided to end his career instead. Ignore him in all leagues.
Shayne Graham is set to replace Phil Dawson as the Browns' placekicker this season. It's a job that could lead to some productive weeks as the Browns have re-tooled their offense and should be more aggressive than in the past. Last year with Houston, Graham hit 31 of 38 field goals and was 4 of 9 from 50-plus yards. He's hit at least 80 percent of his field goals every year since 2003, so assuming he gets around 30 field goal tries with the Browns he could be decent. You might not even have to draft Graham but rather find him off waivers when the season starts.
Matt Bryant had another solid year in 2012, making just over 85 percent of his field goals for the third year in a row. Bryant nailed 33 of 38 field goals (including all four from 50-plus yards) and hit 44 extra points. With the offense expected to remain prolific, there's no reason to doubt Bryant as one of the top kicking options in Fantasy. Consider Bryant a reliable leg worth picking in the last round of your Fantasy draft.
Matt Prater proved to be one of the best Fantasy kickers in 2012, and he will try to build on that performance this season. Prater finished No. 7 in Fantasy points last year with 26 of 32 field goals made and all 55 extra points. He was third in the NFL in extra points behind Stephen Gostkowski (66) and Garrett Hartley (57), and he made three kicks from 50-plus yards. We consider Prater a No. 1 Fantasy option, and he’s worth drafting with a last-round pick in all leagues.
Bears kicker Robbie Gould was a so-so Fantasy kicker in 2012 thanks to an injury that cost him three games and a lack of opportunities. In total Gould hit 21 of 25 field goals including a perfect 2 of 2 from 50-plus yards. Typically Gould attempts around 30 field goals a year and has fluctuated between 83.3 percent and 89.7 percent accuracy on field goals over his last seven seasons, which is why he's appealing for Fantasy. With Marc Trestman's alleged high-powered offense taking residence in Chicago, the field goal attempts should continue for Gould. Consider him among your options with a final-round pick on Draft Day.
Rob Bironas might no longer be considered a quality Fantasy kicker worthy of a pick on Draft Day. Last season he hit 25 of 31 field goals for a six-season low of 80.6 pct. made. He also made just one of two attempts from 50-plus yards and a disappointing 5 of 10 kicks from 40 to 49 yards. Bironas is risky if he's going to hit just over 80 percent of his field goals but it's worth noting the Titans have attempted 30-plus field goals in five of the last six seasons, a pretty good mark and a good indication of what to expect from Bironas in terms of opportunity. You're probably better off looking for him off waivers.
Dan Carpenter might be looking for a new job this offseason after the Dolphins drafted Caleb Sturgis in the fifth round of the NFL Draft. In 2012, Carpenter made 22 of 27 field goals and 26 extra points. He missed the final two games with a groin injury, and the team might want to go in a new direction. Carpenter did make at least 29 field goals in consecutive years from 2010-11, but he's also missed at least five field goals in each of the past three seasons. If he does return to the Dolphins or ends up with a new team then he would be considered a No. 2 Fantasy kicker at best.