I notice that kickers are scoring more points than they have in the past. They’re more accurate, they have better range, and teams are getting them on the field more often.
The league went to the 16-game schedule in 1978, and in the ensuing 40 years there have been 53 seasons in which teams scored at least 140 points via the kicker. Two thirds of those seasons have come in the last 10 years.
Kickers were particularly prolific in this just-completed season. The Rams scored 168 points, the most ever (if not for a back injury that sidelined him for the final two games, Greg Zuerlein would have bettered David Akers’ single-season scoring record for kickers). Harrison Butker also averaged more points than Akers while playing fewer than 16 games.
Greg Zuerlein and Harrison Butker led the way. Had either played a full 16 games, David Akers’ single-season scoring record for kickers (166 points) might have fallen. But they were still remarkably productive, and there were plenty of others.
Stephen Gostkowski has been remarkably reliable, going over 150 points in five of his last six seasons.
All totaled seven different kickers last year scored at least 140 points. That ties (with 2013) as the most ever.
|TEAMS WITH AT LEAST 140 KICKING POINTS|
|2017||Los Angeles Rams||168|
|2011||San Francisco 49ers||166|
|2003||St. Louis Rams||163|
|2013||New England Patriots||158|
|2017||New England Patriots||156|
|2014||New England Patriots||156|
|2012||New England Patriots||153|
|2015||New England Patriots||151|
|2008||New York Giants||149|
|2008||New England Patriots||148|
|2005||New York Giants||148|
|2011||New Orleans Saints||147|
|2009||San Diego Chargers||146|
|2017||San Francisco 49ers||145|
|2012||New York Giants||145|
|2013||San Diego Chargers||144|
|2011||New England Patriots||143|
|1987||New Orleans Saints||142|
|2013||Green Bay Packers||141|
|2007||Green Bay Packers||141|
|2004||New England Patriots||141|
|2017||New Orleans Saints||140|
|2011||Green Bay Packers||140|
|1986||New England Patriots||140|
|2013||San Francisco 49ers||140|
Given all those big seasons, I’m surprised that the league total for the position wasn’t a little higher. But there were also some painfully low-scoring players at the position (with the 0-16 Browns leading the way). So league-wide, the average for kickers last year was 114.5 points. There have been six other seasons (all in the last 10 years) in which teams averaged more kicking points.
|AVERAGE KICKING POINTS|
For fantasy purposes, the decision making on draft day still comes down to measuring the payoff of using an earlier draft pick and what you think you might find in the late rounds or on the waiver wire. Kickers like Gostkowski, Tucker and Justin Tucker appear to worth more than a last-round choice. But there should also be some unheralded kickers in 2018 who go over 140 points – question is whether you can identify them before the others in your league.