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Kicker and D/ST Rankings for 2018 Fantasy Football

It’s time for everyone’s favorite Fantasy Football positions – kickers and D/ST! D/ST would be Defense/Special Teams for those wondering. Anyway, these two positions are often the red-headed stepchildren of Fantasy Football, and with good reason. Who doesn’t love losing a Fantasy matchup because their opponent’s defense returns a botched lateral for a touchdown with no time remaining! Or when a kicker injures himself covering a kickoff and renders himself useless for the rest of that week? Seriously, choosing defenses and kickers in Fantasy Football is the worst. But we all (in most leagues) have to do it, so at least we’re on a level playing field.

Choosing a D/ST in fantasy is a bit of a chore. We think we know which defenses will be elite from year to year, but it rarely plays out that way. In the last five years, only 44 percent of D/ST  drafted as Top-10 fantasy units finished the season as such. And if you think choosing a top-five D/ST gives you a better chance of success, I’m afraid I’ve got some bad news for you… teams drafted as Top-5 D/ST have finished as Top-5 fantasy defenses just 28 percent of the time since 2013 and have only finished as Top-10 defenses 44 percent of the time – the same exact number as defenses drafted as top-ten D/ST. In fact, no D/ST unit drafted in the Top 5 in the last five seasons has finished as fantasy’s best defense, but two that were drafted in the Top 5 have finished as fantasy’s worst D/ST!

Based on these factors and the diamonds in the rough you can find at other positions in the latter stages of your draft, I highly recommend waiting on a D/ST. I would not draft one until the last two or three rounds of the draft. You should also not draft multiple D/ST units. You can always evaluate once your D/ST reaches their bye week. You can also stream D/ST each week. There will always be serviceable options each week for streaming. Here are my 2018 Fantasy D/ST rankings:

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D/ST Rankings for 2018 Fantasy Football

RankDefenseBye Week
1Jacksonville Jaguars9
2Philadelphia Eagles9
3Minnesota Vikings10
4Los Angeles Chargers8
5Los Angeles Rams12
6Denver Broncos10
7Baltimore Ravens10
8Carolina Panthers4
9Houston Texans10
10Pittsburgh Steelers7
11New England Patriots11
12New Orleans Saints6
13Chicago Bears5
14Atlanta Falcons8
15 Arizona Cardinals9
16Tennessee Titans8
17 New York Giants9
18Green Bay Packers7
19Kansas City Chiefs12
20Seattle Seahawks7
21Tampa Bay Buccaneers5
22San Francisco 49ers11
23Detroit Lions6
24Dallas Cowboys8
25Washington Redskins4
26Cincinnati Bengals9
27New York Jets11
28Buffalo Bills11
29Oakland Raiders7
30Cleveland Browns11
31Miami Dolphins11
32Indianapolis Colts9

Choosing Kickers

As far as strategy goes, drafting kickers is a lot simpler than drafting a D/ST. When selecting a kicker, target teams that score lots of points. That’s it. Mystery solved. Seriously. You don’t need to waste too much time worrying about what weather kickers may have to deal with or who is going to kick in a dome. Figure out which NFL team will score the most points and take their kicker. Want proof? Here are the top ten kickers in fantasy points last year and where their respective teams finished in total scoring among NFL teams:

Kicker2017 Fantasy RankNFL Team Team Points Scored Rank
Greg Zuerlein1Los Angeles Rams1
Stephen Gostkowski2New England Patriots2
Matt Bryant3Atlanta Falcons15
Robbie Gould4San Francisco 49ers20
Justin Tucker5Baltimore Ravens9
Chris Boswell 6Pittsburgh Steelers8
Harrison Butker7Kansas City Chiefs6
Wil Lutz8New Orleans Saints4
Matt Prater9Detroit Lions7
Kai Forbath 10Minnesota Vikings10

That, my friends, is an 80-percent overlap between Top-10 NFL scoring offenses and Top-10 fantasy kickers. And even the two “misses” have qualifiers. Matt Bryant led the NFL with eight field goals of at least 50 yards, which gave him a great boost in leagues that reward long kicks. Then, of course, there is the case of Robbie Gould.

Gould finished fourth in fantasy points despite the 49ers finishing just 20th in total scoring. But let’s dig a little deeper, shall we? In the five games Jimmy Garoppolo started at quarterback, San Francisco averaged 28.8 points per game. Over a full season, that would have been good for second in the NFL. And during that stretch, Gould scored a ridiculous 70 fantasy points. That pace would have obliterated the totals of every other kicker. In fact, Gould finished as a top-three kicker in four of those five games. Big things are in store for the Niners’ kicker in 2018. Below are my 2018 Kicker rankings. Please note that a couple of these teams have open competitions that make their kicker situation fluid. For example, I believe Daniel Carlson will beat out Kai Forbath in Minnesota. If Forbath holds off the rookie, then obviously Carlson becomes useless. Pay attention to the latest news to see how these position battles play out.

Kicker Rankings for 2018 Fantasy Football

RankKickerTeamBye Week
1Stephen GostkowskiNew England Patriots11
2Greg ZuerleinLos Angeles Rams12
3Robbie GouldSan Francisco 49ers11
4Harrison ButkerKansas City Chiefs12
5Wil LutzNew Orleans Saints6
6Chris BoswellPittsburgh Steelers7
7Matt BryantAtlanta Falcons8
8Justin TuckerBaltimore Ravens10
9Jake ElliottPhiladelphia Eagles9
10Matt PraterDetroit Lions6
11Graham GanoCarolina Panthers4
12Ryan SuccopTennessee Titans8
13Daniel CarlsonMinnesota Vikings10
14Ka'imi FairbairnHouston Texans10
15Adam VinatieriIndianapolis Colts9
16Mason CrosbyGreen Bay Packers7
17Caleb SturgisLos Angeles Chargers8
18Sebastian JanikowskiSeattle Seahawks7
19Brandon McManusDenver Broncos10
20Chandler CatanzaroTampa Bay Buccaneers5
21Dan BaileyDallas Cowboys8
22Josh LamboJacksonville Jaguars9
23Cody ParkeyChicago Bears5
24Dustin HopkinsWashington Redskins4
25Phil Dawson Arizona Cardinals9
26Stephen HauschkaBuffalo Bills11
27Cairo SantosNew York Jets11
28Aldrick RosasNew York Giants9
29Giorgio TavecchioOakland Raiders7
29Randy BullockCincinnati Bengals9
30Jason SandersMiami Dolphins11
32Zane GonzalezCleveland Browns11

Whether you want to join a league or start your own, Fantrax is the place to be. Fantrax works with virtually any league configuration you can dream up, and you can draft a team 364 days a year.

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