2018 Fantasy Football Draft Prep: DST and kicker Tiers and strategy (yes, really)
When's the right time to take a DST? Which kicker is worth a pick before the final round? Dave Richard sets you straight on two roster spots that aren't afterthoughts.
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Kickers and DSTs are the forgotten heroes of Fantasy Football. Some leagues have banned kickers, others have kicked them and DSTs to the curb. But we haven't forgotten about these vital, precious commodities that have helped shape the fabric of Fantasy Football into what it is today ...
OK, fine. You're not really buying it. I don't blame you. Kickers are nuisances and Defense/Special Teams units are considered afterthoughts. No one takes them before the final three rounds or so in drafts, and no one spends more than two percent of their budget on them in auctions.
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And while I could tell you the logic and science that goes into analyzing these positions, you just won't care. You just want to know when it's OK to draft them so you don't look like an idiot in front of your friends.
I got you.
Basically, DSTs and kickers should be picked in order of expected reliability. If you're taking one before the end of the draft (or spending more than a buck at auction), it's with the expectation that it/he will start every game regardless of opponent. Top DSTs should get picked ahead of the top kickers, but the top kickers deserve some props ahead of the better-than-average DSTs.
There are three acceptable times to draft a DST or kicker:
- When you love your team so much that you want to lock up a top option to go along with it. That would be like Round 11.
- When you are indifferent to the remaining quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers and tight ends available. You might make a stinkface in Rounds 12 or 13.
- When you have to draft one based on roster requirements. This would mean the last two rounds of your draft.
You should also be aware of your opponents' needs when considering a DST and/or kicker and game plan accordingly. This works better if you're picking toward the end of a round and can see if they've already drafted these positions or not. If they have, you can wait. If they haven't, you can pounce.
Let's get to it. Here are the combined tiers for DSTs and kickers.
|Fourth-to-last round||Third-to-last round|
|Rams DST||Chargers DST|
|Jaguars DST||Vikings DST|
| ||Eagles DST|
| ||Greg Zuerlein|
| ||Justin Tucker|
| ||Broncos DST|
| ||Texans DST|
| ||Stephen Gostkowski|
|Second-to-last round||Last round|
|Ravens DST||Wil Lutz|
|Seahawks DST||Harrison Butker|
|Jake Elliott||Matt Prater|
|Matt Bryant||Patriots DST|
| ||Bengals DST|
| ||Saints DST|
| ||Adam Vinatieri|
| ||Robbie Gould|
| ||Josh Lambo|
| ||Dustin Hopkins|
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