Yes, they’re boring and you won’t be drafting them until the late rounds. However, consistent fantasy producers at kicker and defense can make a difference for your team. I credit my championship last year to the Minnesota Vikings defense and Adam Vinatieri; they single-handedly won me some games. Whether you’re the league Taco and plan on targeting a kicker or defense early, or a sane person, here’s a look at your best options at the two most mundane slots in your fantasy football lineup for 2017.

Kickers

  1. Stephen Gostkowski
  2. Justin Tucker
  3. Dan Bailey
  4. Matt Bryant
  5. Mason Crosby
  6. Adam Vinatieri
  7. Matt Prater
  8. Sebastian Janikowski
  9. Steven Hauschka
  10. Graham Gano
  11. Chris Boswell
  12. Cairo Santos
  13. Will Lutz
  14. Dustin Hopkins
  15. Brandon McManus
  16. Blair Walsh

Players to watch:

Stephen Gostkowski, known commonly as “GOATkowski” (just humor me here), had an off year in 2016. It was still a decent campaign, as he nailed 27 of 32 field goal attempts. However, it wasn’t the elite, 33+ field goal season that we all know he is capable of. I expect Gostkowski to return to form in 2017, and he could be kicking for the best offense New England has had since the unforgettable 2007 season.

Adam Vinatieri has now been a Colt longer than he was a Patriot. Doesn’t that just seem wrong? If anything, Vinatieri’s ability to stick around is a testament to the fact that he’s kept his body in tip-top shape well into his 40s. As long as Andrew Luck stays healthy, the Colts will score plenty of points, giving Vinatieri solid fantasy upside. He’s one of the safer choices at the position in 2017.

Blair Walsh, in an ironic twist, will now kick for the team that benefited from the missed field goal that sent him on his way out of Minnesota. Steven Hauschka takes his steady leg to Buffalo and Seattle will now rely on Walsh for their kicking duties. The Seahawks are one of those teams who have an offense good enough to consistently get into the red zone, but will often struggle to convert those opportunities into touchdowns. That’s always a good situation for a fantasy kicker to be in. Hopefully, Walsh uses this fresh start as an opportunity to bury his demons and let his natural talent take over.

Defense/Special Teams

  1. Denver Broncos
  2. Kansas City Chiefs
  3. Houston Texans
  4. Seattle Seahawks
  5. Arizona Cardinals
  6. New England Patriots
  7. Minnesota Vikings
  8. Baltimore Ravens
  9. New York Giants
  10. Los Angeles Chargers
  11. Jacksonville Jaguars
  12. Carolina Panthers
  13. Miami Dolphins
  14. Pittsburgh Steelers
  15. Los Angeles Rams
  16. Oakland Raiders

Defenses to watch:

The Houston Texans are good. Like, really good. They finished 2016 as the league’s stingiest defense in terms of yards allowed. That’s impressive enough, but when you consider the fact that they played nearly the entire season without their best player, J.J. Watt, it becomes far more admirable. With pass rushers like Watt, Whitney Mercilus, and Jadeveon Clowney, the Texans could very well lead the league in sacks. The loss of star corner A.J. Bouye to Jacksonville hurts, but the Texans should still be one of the best defenses in both fantasy and real life.

The Baltimore Ravens had a stellar draft on the defensive side of the football. They netted an instant starter in cornerback Marlon Humphrey and three potential ones in linebackers Tyus Bowser and Tim Williams and defensive lineman Chris Wormley. This crop of talent joins what was already one of the league’s most solid defensive units. The Baltimore Ravens have always been their best with an identity built around a menacing defense. It appears as though the first truly great defense of the post-Reed and Lewis era in Baltimore may be arriving.

The Los Angeles Chargers might come as a surprise in my top 10. They have never really been an elite fantasy defense, but that is about to change. The sheer amount of talent at all three levels of this unit is undeniable. With studs like DE Joey Bosa, LB Melvin Ingram, and cornerbacks Jason Verrett and Casey Heyward, the Chargers could easily be a top 10 real-life defense in 2017. With any luck, that ranking will convert to fantasy production as well.

Do you agree with my rankings? Are there any names or teams you feel I left off the list? Share your thoughts in the comment section, and, as always, stay tuned to the Armchair All-Americans.

Author Details
I’m Andrew Cabatingan, and I only know three things for sure. One, any NFL kicker not named Stephen Gostkowski (GOATkowski) is absolute garbage and cannot be trusted. Two, Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback there ever was or ever will be. Three, I am prone to outbursts of Patriots homerism and any hyperbolic statements I make should be taken as sarcasm. If you’re looking for real facts about me, I suppose I would start by saying I am a sophomore at Northeastern University, I love all Boston sports, everything Game of Thrones (kudos to you if you can find the reference I made earlier), reading, singing, and arguing with strangers on the Internet. I hope that any preexisting bias due to any of this does not begin to seep into my writing, but if it does, I have the peace of mind of knowing that some snarky commenter will probably point it out.
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I’m Andrew Cabatingan, and I only know three things for sure. One, any NFL kicker not named Stephen Gostkowski (GOATkowski) is absolute garbage and cannot be trusted. Two, Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback there ever was or ever will be. Three, I am prone to outbursts of Patriots homerism and any hyperbolic statements I make should be taken as sarcasm. If you’re looking for real facts about me, I suppose I would start by saying I am a sophomore at Northeastern University, I love all Boston sports, everything Game of Thrones (kudos to you if you can find the reference I made earlier), reading, singing, and arguing with strangers on the Internet. I hope that any preexisting bias due to any of this does not begin to seep into my writing, but if it does, I have the peace of mind of knowing that some snarky commenter will probably point it out.

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