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 12 RESULTS
After a few down weeks, Rent-a-Kicker turned in its second straight strong performance, with every highlighted kicker finishing tied for 6th or better.
Adam Vinatieri (3 FG attempts, 2 FGs, 3 XPs, 9 points)
Four of our five kickers last week scored 9 points, but they did it in several ways; one scored a field goal and six extra points, one kicked three field goals, and two, (including Vinatieri), had the more traditional 2 field goals, 3 extra points split. Vinatieri also came up short on a 48-yard field goal that, if he'd converted, would have left him the highest-scoring kicker of the week. Instead, like Badgley, Santos, and Elliott, he finished tied for 6th.
Chris Boswell (2 FG attempts, 1 FG, 2 XPs, 5 points, plus a 2-yard TD pass)
Here's a conundrum: how do you score a touchdown pass for a kicker? On a fake field goal on Sunday, Pittsburgh's kicker tossed a 2-yard score. It's a much rarer occurrence than you might think; Boswell is the first kicker with a touchdown pass since 2011 and just the eighth since the merger, (usually the holder gets the ball and makes the attempt). I've opted to use standard Footballguys' scoring— 1 point per 20 yards passing, 4 points per passing touchdown. The resulting 4.1 fantasy points aren't that much more than Boswell would have gotten had he just kicked the ball in the first place, but they allowed him to finish a tenth of a point ahead of that tie for 6th, and they certainly had a lot more style.
RESULTS TO DATE
To date, Rent-a-Kicker has made 63 weekly recommendations, (eight in Week 1 before settling on the current five-per-week format). Those 63 kickers have averaged 7.46 fantasy points per game, which would rank 13th at the position among regular starters.
A 13th-place finish is misleading, however, because many of the kickers ahead of our amalgam were likely not actually used in fantasy for much of the year.
The top 12 kickers by preseason ADP were Stephen Gostkowski, Greg Zuerlein, Justin Tucker, Harrison Butker, Wil Lutz, Jake Elliott, Matt Bryant, Chris Boswell, Robbie Gould, Dan Bailey, Matt Prater, and Mason Crosby. Of those 12, just six, (Gostkowski, Tucker, Butker, Lutz, Crosby, and Gould), have outperformed our Frankenkicker. Meaning someone who streamed kickers has probably gotten league-average results without investing a single resource at the position.
WEEK 13 SITUATIONS
**Since streaming kickers is so popular and rostered players can vary across leagues, 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 roster 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.**