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Fantasy Football 2018: Top 20 defense and kicker rankings

By Alex Butler
Fantasy Football 2018: Top 20 defense and kicker rankings
New England Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski (3) watches his 46 yard field goal in the fourth quarter of the Patriots 27-24 win against the Pittsburgh Steelers on December 17 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 28 (UPI) -- The Jacksonville Jaguars and Stephen Gostkowski top UPI's 2018 fantasy football defense and kicker rankings, respectively.

You should not even consider drafting a defense or kicker until the very end of your fantasy draft, meaning you are probably likely to miss out on the top options in each category. But there are plenty of sleepers and great values available later in your draft.

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SCROLL DOWN FOR MORE POSITIONAL FANTASY FOOTBALL RANKINGS

RANKNAMETEAMBYE WEEK
1Stephen GostkowskiNew England Patriots11
2Will LutzNew Orleans Saints6
3Greg ZuerleinLos Angeles Rams12
4Matt BryantAtlanta Falcons8
5Harrison ButkerKansas City Chiefs12
6Jake ElliottPhiladelphia Eagles9
7Chris BoswellPittsburgh Steelers8
8Robbie GouldSan Francisco 49ers11
9Dan BaileyDallas Cowboys8
10Brandon McManusDenver Broncos10
11Mason CrosbyGreen Bay Packers7
12Adam VinatieriIndianapolis Colts9
13Graham GanoCarolina Panthers4
14Dustin HopkinsWashington Redskins4
15Josh LamboJacksonville Jaguars9
16Ryan SuccopTennessee Titans8
17Daniel CarlsonMinnesota Vikings10
18Ka'imi FairbairnHouston Texans10
19Stephen HauschkaBuffalo Bills11
20Randy BullockCincinnati Bengals9

There are two factors that I consider most when drafting a kicker. The first factor is what type of offense the team has that the kicker plays alongside and how often is that offense in position to score. If you expect an offense to score a lot of points and move the ball well, you are likely to benefit from drafting that team's kicker. A secondary factor to consider is if that kicker plays his home games indoors. This can be big, especially during the winter months. Kickers who play more than half of their games indoors do not have to deal with harsh winds, wet conditions or snow. This can make all the difference between a one field goal day and a three field goal day. Those points can decide a weekly matchup.

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With defenses, you want a group that can get to the quarterback. You might also want to consider a defensive unit from a team that has a great offense. As they are likely going to be playing with the lead, making it possible for more fantasy points from sacking the quarterback and turnovers. Look at the early season schedule of prospective defenses if you plan on streaming the slot (picking up a waiver wire defense based on matchup).

Top 20 Defenses

1. Jacksonville Jaguars, Bye Week 9

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2. Minnesota Vikings, Bye Week 10

3. Los Angeles Rams, Bye Week 12

4. Los Angeles Chargers, Bye Week 8

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5. Denver Broncos, Bye Week 10

6. Philadelphia Eagles, Bye Week 9

7. Houston Texans, Bye Week 10

8. Baltimore Ravens, Bye Week 10

9. New Orleans Saints, Bye Week 6

10. Green Bay Packers, Bye Week 7

11. Cincinnati Bengals, Bye Week 9

12. Detroit Lions, Bye Week 6

13. Atlanta Falcons, Bye Week 8

14. New England Patriots, Bye Week 11

15. Pittsburgh Steelers, Bye Week 7

16. Tennessee Titans, Bye Week 8

17. Arizona Cardinals, Bye Week 9

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18. Seattle Seahawks, Bye Week 7

19. Carolina Panthers, Bye Week 4

20. Dallas Cowboys, Bye Week 8

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