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Fantasy Football Rankings: 2022 Draft tiers for kickers

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By Jennifer Eakins, 4for4

Special to Yahoo Sports

New fantasy year, the same anti-kicker sentiment rearing its head on social media. Nonetheless, there are many leagues around the globe that still utilize kickers in seasonal formats and as per usual, I’m here to assist with draft prep so you can maximize your points from week to week — because every single point matters when it comes to fantasy football.

By looking at various predictive categories for NFL offenses, we can get an idea of which kickers will be successful ahead of the 2022 season. I am someone who streams my kicker on a weekly basis, so I really only look to Week 1 when selecting my leg on draft day, but if you are looking for one guy to roll with for most of the season, I have you covered here, as well.

The Fantasy Kicking Elite

Finding teams with high implied point totals and those that are favored (preferably at home) are ways to predict a kicker’s potential outcome from week to week. Since it’s too early to get implied team totals beyond Week 1 — which we’ll get to later in this piece — I looked at every team’s weekly projections for the season to determine this top tier of legs.

Top-tier fantasy kickers for 2022. (Photo by 4for4.com)
Top-tier fantasy kickers for 2022. (Photo by 4for4.com)

The Bills are favored by five or more points in 10-of-17 games in 2022; in fact, they are actually picked to win in all but one contest, which is a Week 1 pick’em against the Rams in LA. These projections include nine games with a spread of a touchdown or more, creating plenty of kicking chances for Tyler Bass. He’s a guy you can draft and leave in your lineups with confidence.

Green Bay and the Buccaneers both boast seven contests where they are favored by five or more points. Mason Crosby gets to kick in five of those highly-projected games at Lambeau Field, and three of the eight matchups feature spreads of a touchdown or more. Ryan Succop and Tampa Bay are currently favored in all 17 contests — yes, you read that right — with four tilts featuring spreads of nine or more points. You can fire up both kickers for the long haul in 2022.

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Both LA teams and the Chiefs check in with five contests with spreads of five or more points this season. The Rams are projected to win 14-of-17 games, with one pick’em in Week 15 against the Packers and road losses to Tampa Bay in Week 9 and LAC in Week 17. There are currently three spreads of 8.5 points or more on the Rams schedule, and Matt Gay is coming off a K3 fantasy season.

Harrison Butker is always in the elite tier and 2022 should be no different. The Chiefs are only projected to lose twice this season, the first as road dogs in Tampa Bay in Week 4 then again at home against Buffalo in Week 6. KC boasts three contests with double-digit spreads this year, which usually bodes well for fantasy production.

The Chargers enter the conversation in 2022, as they are favored in every single home contest (8) and feature three games with 7.5-point spreads or more. Dustin Hopkins ended last season as K12 and has plenty of potential to find himself a seat at the top-five table as part of an emerging, powerful Chargers offense.

Honorable Mention: Jonathan Garibay (Cowboys) - Dallas also has five games with 5+ point spreads and plays in one of the weakest divisions in the NFL. It’s tough to go all-in on any rookie, but for now, he’s the only kicker on the Cowboys roster and should have a solid first professional campaign.

Solid, Dependable Choices

Second-tier kickers for 2022. (Photo by 4for4.com)
Second-tier kickers for 2022. (Photo by 4for4.com)

This next tier is full of kickers who may not be on the highest-performing offenses in the NFL but still manage to put up quality numbers throughout the season. These are solid weekly starts if you’re not wanting to stream the position, but don’t want to waste anything but a last-round pick on a kicker.

Evan McPherson enjoyed a fruitful rookie campaign, going 28-for-33 on field-goal attempts and 46-for-48 on extra points. He should see ample chances to use that big leg, as the Bengals are projected to win 10 games in 2002, with three home tilts featuring point spreads of six or higher.

Justin Tucker has finished as K8 or better in each of the past three seasons and is as consistent of a leg as they come. The Ravens were in the middle of the pack as far as scoring went in 2021 (17th) but Tucker was solid when called upon, as his 13 field goals over 40 yards were tops in the NFL, plus he went 6-for-6 in attempts over 50 yards.

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Last year’s K1, Daniel Carlson, is on an offense with a new star WR and a fresh, offensive-minded coaching staff. The Raiders are in a tough division and are only projected to win six contests, but that hasn’t stopped Carlson from producing solid fantasy numbers over the last two seasons.

Despite playing in only five games in 2021, Rodrigo Blankenship was K9 in fantasy points per tilt and is on an offense that should put up more points with Matt Ryan under center this year. Indy is projected to win by five or more points four times in 2022 and a healthy Hot Rod should always be in the fantasy mix.

Brandon McManus has the unique home-field advantage of kicking a mile above sea level and has a new QB in Russell Wilson who should elevate the offense as a whole. The Broncos' estimated win total is currently set at 10, with all eight home games projected as victories.

Honorable MentionMatt Prater (Cardinals), Nick Folk (Patriots), Robbie Gould (49ers)

Week 1 Streamers

As I mentioned above, I prefer to stream my kickers from week to week, so I usually draft based on Week 1 matchups and always in the final round. Since the odds for the first week of the 2022 season are already out, I figured I’d share my top picks for those who choose the same approach.

You won't find the elite names here since they’ll be drafted — and most likely too early, at that.

Rodrigo Blankenship (Colts) @ Texans

Hot Rod may end up being drafted, but he has a great Week 1 start in Houston. The Colts are eight-point favorites with the fourth-highest implied team total on the week at 26.

Jake Elliott (Eagles) @ Lions

The Eagles are also road favorites to kick off the season, with a spread of 4.5 points and a hearty implied team total of 25.5. If you want to grab Elliott and hang on another week, Philly gets a home tilt where they are favored by 2.5 points against the Vikings in Week 2.

Randy Bullock (Titans) vs. Giants

A home game against the Giants is on tap for Tennessee to commence the 2022 season. They are favored by 6.5 points and are projected to post 25.25 points in the win. Bullock should put up some decent numbers and will most likely be overlooked in drafts unless there’s a Titan fan in your league.

This article was originally published on 4for4.com

A proud alumna of the UGA Grady College of Journalism, Jennifer Eakins has been working in the sports industry for well over a decade. She has had stints with CNN Sports, the Atlanta Hawks and the Colorado Rockies. Her first fantasy football draft took place in 1996 where she selected Ricky Watters with the first overall pick, and she has been a fantasy degenerate ever since.

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