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Fantasy football start/sit advice, Week 1: Kickers to start, kickers to fade

Don’t forget about the kicker! Here are two options to start this week and two to stay away from as you set your lineup.

Indianapolis Colts Training Camp Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Kickers are one of those necessary evils in fantasy football. Unfortunately, they’re also one of those positions that can make or break your week, so you have to spend at least a little time thinking about who to start. If you’re still undecided, here are a couple names to consider and two more to avoid.

Kicker Starts

Greg Zuerlein, Dallas Cowboys vs. Los Angeles Rams

Kickers don’t really seem like guys easily stoked by revenge. But what better way for Greg the Leg to start a new chapter of his career than by kicking against his old team? Zuerlein had a down year in 2019, hitting just five of his 11 attempts from 40-49 yards, uncharacteristic for a guy who’s been one of the NFL’s best beyond 50 yards. The Cowboys are a great fit because they can move the ball, even against a tough defense like the Rams. It might be harder for Dallas to find the end zone, but they shouldn’t have a problem getting close enough for at least a couple of chip shots for the kicker.

Rodrigo Blankenship, Indianapolis Colts vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

There are a surprising number of good fantasy plays for the Colts this week, but none of them are as much of a sure thing as Blankenship. Sure, he’s a bit of an unknown, if you take away his award for being the top placekicker in college football last season and that incredible 55-yard field goal in the 2018 Rose Bowl. But this matchup has two of fantasy football’s most tried and true ingredients for kicker success—a lopsided matchup and a roof overhead.

Kicker Sits

Sam Ficken, New York Jets vs. Buffalo Bills

Ficken only made 70 percent of his field goal attempts last season. He’s going into this season with that knock against him. More than likely he’s still available in most fantasy leagues, and that’s exactly where he should stay, especially this week. The Bills are a tough matchup for the Jets. Not only will it be difficult for Gang Green to get into reasonable field goal range, it’s likely to be the kind of one-sided affair where they’re only kicking a field goal to avoid a shutout.

Brandon McManus, Denver Broncos vs. Tennessee Titans

We wouldn’t normally recommend leaving a Broncos kicker on the bench for a home game at Mile High. The problem this week is that the Titans were pretty stingy to kickers last season, and the Broncos are likely to do most of their scoring via touchdowns.