No position is more unpredictable in fantasy football than kickers. Year after year after year, no position has a lower correlation between where they're drafted before the season and where they finish after the season. No position has a lower correlation between how they score in one week and how they score in the next. No position has a lower correlation between projected points and actual points.
In addition, placekicker is the position that has the smallest spread between the best players and the middle-of-the-pack players for fantasy. Finally, most fantasy owners will only carry one kicker at a time, which means there are a dozen or more starting kickers sitting around on waivers at any given time. Given all of this, it rarely makes sense to devote resources to the position. Instead, owners are best served by rotating through whichever available kicker has the best weekly matchup.
Every week, I'll rank the situations each kicker finds himself in (ignoring the talent of the kicker himself) to help you find perfectly startable production off the waiver wire.
WEEK 4 RESULTS
Caleb Sturgis (4 FG attempts, 3 FGs, 0 XPs, 9 points)
Sturgis' opportunity was exactly what we expected; his 4 FG attempts and 2 XP attempts matched Justin Tucker and Brett Maher, who finished the week tied for 2nd. Unfortunately, Sturgis missed one field goal and both(!) extra points, leaving him with 9 points, tied for 12th on the week. (Though he undoubtedly fared worse in leagues that penalize for misses.)
Sam Ficken (2 FG attempts, 1 FG, 5 XPs, 8 points)
Another example of great opportunity leading to a decent week that could have been so much more, as the Rams were consistently able to convert scoring opportunities into touchdowns instead of field goals. Ficken's 8 points still finished tied for 15th on the week.
Brandon McManus (3 FG attempts, 3 FGs, 2 XPs, 11 points)
In a high-scoring game at altitude, McManus came up big for the Broncos and his owners. His 11 points tied for the 7th-best total of the week.
Brett Maher (4 FG attempts, 4 FGs, 2 XPs, 14 points)
How much do matchups matter at kicker? Consider Brett Maher. Through three weeks, thanks to a listless Cowboys offense that averaged fewer than 14 points per game, Maher was tied for 25th at the position. In week 4, Maher's 14 points ranked 2nd.
Josh Lambo (3 FG attempts, 3 FGs, 2 XPs, 11 points)
Lambo produced an identical stat line to McManus, and could have done even better; The Jaguars gave us one of the very few instances of a team with a large lead going for 2 instead of kicking the extra point, as they attempted a superfluous conversion with a 19-point lead and 25 seconds left in the game. Even without the last extra point, Lambo tied for 7th on the week.
WEEK 5 SITUATIONS
**Since streaming kickers is so popular and ownership can vary, here is a list of how favorable every kicker's situation is based on Vegas projected totals and stadium. Quality plays who are especially likely to be on waivers based on NFL.com ownership percentages are italicized and will be highlighted in next week's column.**