Rent-a-Kicker, Week 17 - Footballguys

Finding startable kicker production on your fantasy waiver wire.

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.


Brett Maher (2 FG attempts, 2 FGs, 3 XPs, 9 points)
A comfortable lead against a bad defense resulted in a very solid day for the Cowboys and Maher, whose nine points tied for fifth at his position.

Adam Vinatieri (0 FG attempts, 0 FGs, 4 XPs, 4 points)
Vinatieri's Colts fell behind the Giants early but were never forced to go for it on 4th down to complete their comeback. Instead, the offense was so potent that it was able to score nothing but touchdowns down the stretch. Vinatieri's four extra points left him tied for 25th at the position.

Greg Joseph (2 FG attempts, 2 FGs, 2 XPs, 8 points)
An extra point attempt that hit the upright was the only blemish for Joseph and the Browns, who comfortably handled the Bengals in Week 16. Joseph's 8 points tied for 11th on the week.

Graham Gano (1 FG attempt, 1 FG, 1 XP, 4 points)
Gano's day had plenty of potential, but three interceptions when his team was already in field goal range led to a disastrous showing, as he finished the week tied for 25th.

Dan Bailey (2 FG attempts, 2 FGs, 3 XPs, 9 points)
The Vikings found their offensive groove at exactly the right time for Bailey's fantasy owners, as Bailey added a 5th-place Week 16 finish to his strong week 15 showing; over the past two weeks, Bailey is the #4 fantasy kicker after ranking 18th from when he joined the Vikings in week 3 through week 14.


To date, Rent-a-Kicker has made 83 weekly recommendations, (eight in Week 1 before settling on the current five-per-week format). Those 83 kickers have averaged 7.43 fantasy points per game, which would rank 11th at the position among regular starters.

An 11th-place finish is misleading for numerous reasons, however. For starters, I evaluated many kickers with matchups of varying quality over the year. Looking strictly at the top weekly player who was available in at least 50% of fantasy leagues, Rent-a-Kicker averaged 8.00 points per game for the season, which would have ranked tied for 8th.

Here are the top 12 kickers by preseason ADP, plus Rent-a-Kicker's top weekly recommendation and the average of all recommendations. I've included how many points you would have scored for the season if you'd started them every week except their bye. For kickers who were injured, I've added their backup's score in games they missed. I've also given kickers 8 extra points under the assumption that you grabbed the top weekly streaming option on their bye week.

Preseason ADP (Pick #)
Final Production
Robbie Gould 195 128
Matt Prater 197 115
Mason Crosby 208 132
Top Streamer Free 128
Average Streamer Free 122

The top three kickers outscored our top streaming option by just over a half point per game, but those three had an average ADP in the 12th round. The complete list of non-kicker, non-defense players who also went in the 12th round were: George Kittle, Latavius Murray, Tyler Eifert, Kenny Golladay, Devontae Booker, and Keelan Cole.

Then there was a second cluster of kickers drafted in the 14th and 15th rounds. These kickers averaged 119 points, less than even the average streaming option. Two kickers from this range, (Lutz and Butker), did manage to outperform our streamers, but other players drafted in these two rounds included: Tyler Lockett, Jared Cook, Matt Breida, DeSean Jackson, and Austin Hooper.

Among kickers drafted after the 15th round, only one (Mason Crosby) managed to outscore our top streamer, and even then only by four points. Two other kickers outscored our top streamer, (Jason Myers and Ka'imi Fairbairn), but both were typically undrafted this last August.

Based on typical results this year, streaming kickers would have gotten you roughly league-average results with no resource expenditure required.


**Because this is our last Rent-a-Kicker of the season, I'm not highlighting any plays to evaluate next week. If you have a week 17 championship game, just find the highest-rated kicker left on the board and best of luck to you. The unusually large number of "avoid" recommendations this week owes to the number of eliminated teams with nothing left to play for.**

Great Plays
Harrison Butker, KC
Greg Zuerlein, LAR
Stephen Gostkowski, NE
Wil Lutz, NO
Chris Boswell, Pit
Mike Badgley, LAC
Sebastian Janikowski, Sea

Good Plays
Aldrick Rosas, NYG
Mason Crosby, GB
Cairo Santos, TB
Ka'imi Fairbairn, Hou
Justin Tucker, Bal
Matt Bryant, Atl
Dan Bailey, Min
Jake Elliott, Phi

Neutral Plays
Adam Vinatieri, Ind

Poor Plays
Ryan Succop, Ten

Avoid at All Costs
Mike Nugent, Oak
Steve Hauschka, Buf
Cody Parkey, Chi
Brandon McManus, Den
Josh Lambo / Kai Forbath, Jax
Robbie Gould, SF
Graham Gano, Car
Jason Myers, NYJ
Matt Prater, Det
Brett Maher, Dal
Greg Joseph, Cle
Jason Sanders, Mia
Dustin Hopkins, Was
Zane Gonzalez, Ari
Randy Bullock, Cin

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