Heading into the final round of your fantasy football draft, some of the competitors will have already lost interest. Some might have already left the draft room, perhaps not even leaving anyone in the queue.
I recommend using this time to instead target a kicker with major upside.
By now, the top options will be off the board, but the good news is there are a few fantasy football kicker sleepers who are more than adequate to plug in as every-week starters.
Four come to mind.
Josh Lambo, Jacksonville Jaguars
Jaguars kicker Josh Lambo clocks in around #20 in most of the fantasy football rankings (2020) I’ve come across. Why he’s being disrespected so much is beyond me because last year’s statistics paint a much different picture.
Lambo’s 33 made field goals ranked second in the NFL, and more impressively, Josh’s insane 97.1% clip (33/34) was the highest mark in football. This includes knocking down all four of his attempts from outside 50 yards.
Look for the Jacksonville offense to steadily improve, which translates into more opportunities for Lambo to score points.
Joey Slye, Carolina Panthers
Joey Slye’s 16 made kicks from outside of 40 yards was tied for the most in the NFL. Even more intriguing, the Panthers kicker successfully booted 8 field goals of 50+ yards — more than anyone else in the league.
Teddy Bridgewater plays an efficient style of football, which tempers his aggression inside the red zone. Rather than force a throw that could lead to a turnover, Teddy will be content throwing it away (not taking a sack) and setting his kicker up for three points.
The 10th-most productive fantasy kicker a season ago is sitting down in that “20-range” with Lambo, and that’s simply too low.
Brandon McManus, Denver Broncos
There’s a lot to like about Denver this season. Hopping on the over in the Broncos’ win total is one way to take advantage. Another would be to roster Brandon McManus in fantasy football.
Kicking outdoors typically isn’t ideal, unless, of course, you’re doing it at Empower Field at Mile High where the air is thin and the ball flies like it got caught in a jet stream. Vic Fangio will give McManus the green light for just about any kick under 60 yards, so it’s no surprise that in 2019, Brandon ranked 5th in field goals made and 5th in field goals attempted.
Drew Lock should be able to move the sticks consistently in 2020, but drives stalling out inside the 30-yard line are to be expected.
Chase McLaughlin, Indianapolis Colts
The Adam Vinatieri era in Indianapolis is over, but don’t be sad if you’re a Colts fan. Chris Ballard significantly upgraded his placekicker by signing Chase McLaughlin to a one-year deal. The 24-year-old had stints with the Chargers and the 49ers last year before winding up in Indy for the final four games of the season.
And the Colts saw more than enough to buy in.
The University of Illinois product knocked down all 26 of his extra-point attempts in 2019, plus he was perfect from outside of 50 (3-3) and inside of 40 (10-10).
Kicking indoors is one reason to target Chase as a fantasy football kicker sleeper. The fact that the Colts offense is loaded with weapons is another.
The Top Fantasy Kickers for 2020
In a perfect world, you’ll wind up with Harrison Butker or Justin Tucker and call it a day. However, it’s important to have a Plan B in the event that you miss out on one of the best fantasy football kickers.
Rounding out your roster with a kicker who you can rely on gives you one less thing to worry about on a frantic Sunday morning when you’re making sure your lineup is set. And who doesn’t want their mind at ease moments before an action-packed day?
If you’re interested in moving onto other positions and getting familiar with other fantasy football sleepers, our NFL blog is overflowing with content that will be right in your wheelhouse.