Editor’s update: Prior to Ravens-Steelers getting moved, Ravens kicker Justin Tucker was No. 1 and Steelers kicker Chris Boswell was No. 3 in these rankings.
There are three NFL games on Thanksgiving Day, giving you six kickers to choose between for your starting lineups. Are any or all of them worthy of a starting spot in your lineup or do most of them belong on the bench? The kicker can often be the unsung hero of the fantasy matchup, as they can make or break your week in a tight matchup. We will break down the fantasy analysis below and rank the Thanksgiving Day kickers from best to work in an effort to assist you with any tough decisions.
1. Matt Prater, Detroit Lions vs. Houston Texans
Matt Prater is currently averaging 8.0 fantasy points per game and will look to top his average this week as the Lions take on the Texans in what is shaping up to be a high scoring game. The over/under is set at 51.5 as of Tuesday evening and this matchup should provide Prater with plenty of scoring opportunity. Adding to his upside, the game will take place in a dome so Prater will not have to worry about contending with any of the elements such as wind or rain. Prater is 24 for 24 on extra points so far this season and 9 for 9 on field goals under 40 yards. He has had accuracy issues with long distance field goals, making four of seven 40-49 yard tries and four of eight 50+ yard tries.
2. Greg Zuerlein, Dallas Cowboys vs. Washington Football Team
The Cowboys offense had a rough couple of weeks as they spent a period of time missing both their first and second string quarterbacks. The second string quarterback, Andy Dalton, is now back which gives a slight boost to the offense as a whole, which may bode well for Zuerlein’s continued opportunity for scoring. He is averaging 7.9 points per game so far this season, as he faces a Washington defense that ranks middle of the pack in points allowed to opposing fantasy kickers. The over/under for this game is currently 46 and mild winds are expected. Zuerlein is not quite in starter territory in standard leagues, but his perfect 17 for 17 of FG’s under 50 yards helps his case to edge out the competition below.
3. Ka’imi Fairbairn, Houston Texans vs. Detroit Lions
Fairbairn is in the bottom half of the rankings due to a lower field goal percentage, as he has made only 14 of 16 field goals under 50 yards. Fairbairn’s kicking conditions are favorable this weekend as he is playing in a dome, adding to his upside. Unfortunately the upside of other kickers outweighs Fairbairn’s.
4. Dustin Hopkins, Washington Football Team vs. Dallas Cowboys
Dustin Hopkins is averaging 6.2 points per game so far this season and he is also currently dealing with a groin injury. Both of these factors have landed him squarely in last place in the Thanksgiving Day kicker rankings. Hopkins is only 13 for 18 on field goals under 50 yards this season and can not be counted on for accuracy. He was unable to practice on Tuesday and his injury status should be monitored leading up to the game on Thursday. Injured or not, Hopkins does not belong in starting lineups this week and he can remain on the bench in all leagues.