After toiling in relative fantasy obscurity for his five seasons, Zuerlein rode the Rams’ wave of offensive production in 2017 to emerge as a top-flight point producer. Under rookie coach Sean McVay, the Rams’ offense announced its presence with authority, finishing tops in points scored and 10th in total yards. Zuerlein captured the NFL scoring title in 2017 with 156 points, including 38 of 40 FG attempts, and 44 of 46 PATs. Known for his strong leg, Zuerlein made good on six of seven from 50 yards or more, with a long of 56. In his career, he has converted on 24 of 42 from 50-plus (57 percent), and has made two kicks of 60 yards or more, a 60-yarder in his rookie season of 2012, and a career-long 61-yarder in 2015.
Although he is a veteran, last season was the first time Zuerlein finished as a better-than-average fantasy kicker. His 38 field goals in 2017 were exactly double his total of 19 in 2016, and his 46 PAT attempts from last season were double his 23 attempts of 2016. The Rams were abysmal on offense for the majority of Zuerlein’s career. Zuerlein went on injured reserve in December with a herniated disk that required surgery.
Hey, we won’t blame Jeff Fisher on Zuerlein. L.A. would seem to be a team on the rise, and their kicker should be poised to take advantage. Playing in agreeable weather and featuring several offensive threats, the Rams are projected to contend for a second consecutive NFC West title. As long as the Rams’ offense doesn’t take a step backward -- and there is no evidence to suggest a regression is likely -- Zuerlein should be one of the league’s top kickers in 2018.