If form holds there will be some really good kickers who aren’t even selected in most fantasy drafts. That’s the way it tends to play out – especially last year.

Looking at the last 20 seasons, I see 38 teams that ranked in the top 10 in kicking production the year after finishing in the bottom 10. That’s an average of about two per season.

This was particularly true last year, with half of the teams ranking in the top 10 in kicking points being ones that were generally lousy the previous year. Kickers such as Daniel Carlson, Tyler Bass, Jason Sanders, Rodrigo Blankenship (pictured) and Cairo Santos outperformed expectations. (In the chart below, the teams those guys played for are in bold).

The 2017 Rams are the kings of this category, moving up from a league-worst 80 points to a league-best 168 in Sean McVay’s first season.

Kickers generally tend to march hand-in-hand with the team that’s around them. Only 12 of the 38 teams below finished with losing records. If you’re looking for a high-scoring kicker, the odds go way up if you can latch on with a playoff contender. On the chart below, 16 of the teams finished with double-digit wins, but only 8 finished with double-digit losses. (I actually expected an even larger difference in that regard).

Of the 38 improving teams below, 28 also won more games. Seven finished with the same record (and I’ve got them tagged with black dots). The three that simultaneously scored more kicking points while losing more games have double dots.

YearTeamPtsRkPrev (Rk)
2017LA Rams168180 (32)
2011San Francisco166199 (28)
2006Chicago143192 (28)
2020Las Vegas1442T91 (29)
2019Arizona127659 (32)
2017San Francisco145487 (29)
2006•• Detroit117784 (32)
2010Oakland142295 (26)
2003Carolina1255T74 (29T)
2012Denver1337T87 (31)
2020Buffalo141496 (27)
2018Houston150292 (25)
2016• New Orleans133598 (28)
2012• NY Giants1452100 (25)
2007Tennessee133398 (26)
2003St. Louis163194 (24)
2001San Diego122581 (28)
2020Miami1442T98 (25)
2018NY Giants127874 (30T)
2015Chicago1279T69 (32)
2010St. Louis1258T73 (31)
2004Buffalo1178T75 (31)
2007Cleveland120988 (29)
2008Carolina130599 (24T)
2020Indianapolis139599 (24)
2018•• Green Bay1241078 (29)
2016• Philadelphia1354105 (23)
2004San Diego1141081 (29)
2005•• St. Louis1177T89 (26)
2020• Chicago1269T96 (27)
2016• Houston1279T101 (26T)
2011Cincinnati1327102 (24T)
2008Atlanta1296103 (23)
2014Houston1309104 (25)
2008Minnesota1278T99 (24T)
2013• Buffalo1319T102 (25)
2019Tampa Bay1248100 (23)
2017• Tennessee1369105 (23T)

Looking at the candidates this year to potentially move from bottom 10 to top 10, I see no shortage of decent candidates. Chargers, Packers, 49ers, Browns, Patriots and Vikings look like playoff-type teams. The other four that ranked in the bottom 10 last year include the Eagles, Jaguars, Jets and Lions (in that group, Josh Lambo has been really accurate).

—Ian Allan