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 GMs 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, GMs 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 7 RESULTS
Giorgio Tavecchio (3 FG attempts, 3 FGs, 2 XPs, 11 points)
One of the premises of this column is that NFL kickers are largely interchangeable. The difference between the very best and the very worst kickers might be about 10%. Instead, the primary driver of kicker scoring is how often their offense puts them in position to kick in the first place. This week, Tavecchio demonstrated this concept beautifully. Despite being signed less than two weeks ago, Tavecchio delivered for the Falcons, kicking a 56-yard field goal with under two minutes remaining that proved crucial. For the week, his 11 points ranked fourth at the position.
Greg Zuerlein (3 FG attempts, 3 FGs, 4 XPs, 13 points)
Originally we recommended Cairo Santos in this space, but Zuerlein was able to return from a groin injury that had sidelined him for a month, and as I said, these rankings are based on situation and are therefore kicker-agnostic. Zuerlein wasted no time in showing why the Rams' offensive situation is so tremendous, scoring 13 points and finishing tied for 2nd at the position.
Adam Vinatieri (1 FG attempt, 1 FG, 2 XPs, 5 points)
Yet another reason why Rent-a-Kicker is so kicker-agnostic: even great kickers miss sometimes! Justin Tucker, the most accurate kicker in league history, missed the first extra point of his career. Adam Vinatieri, the NFL's all-time leading scorer, did him one better and missed two extra points. In addition, the Colts attempted a 2-point conversion to try to make up for one of the missed extra points, meaning Vinatieri "lost" three easy points. His 5 points ranked tied for 16th on the week; had he gotten those three extra points, he would have finished tied for 7th in a down week for kickers.
Chandler Catanzaro (3 FG attempts, 2 FGs, 2 XPs, 8 points)
Chandler Catanzaro got caught up in the league-wide epidemic of missed extra points, hitting the upright in a game where his team eventually went to overtime. Catanzaro had a chance to atone, however, nailing a walk-off 59-yarder with under two minutes left to secure the win. Catanzaro's 8 points tied for 7th on the week.
Mike Badgley (2 FG attempts, 2 FGs, 2 XPs, 8 points)
The Los Angeles Chargers offense remains potent, and while they've had some ups and downs with their kickers over the years, Badgley is certainly poised to remain the beneficiary in the short term. His 8 points were tied for 7th at the position last week.
WEEK 8 SITUATIONS
**Since streaming kickers is so popular and rostering 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 rostering percentages are italicized and will be highlighted in next week's column. Also, note that these rankings are kicker-agnostic; teams will occasionally change kickers mid-week, but any endorsements apply equally to whatever kicker winds up eventually getting the start.**