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 3 Results
Brett Maher (2 FG attempts, 1 FG, 4 XPs, 7 points)
The Dolphins, despite being massive underdogs, managed to make things interesting against Dallas over the first half, but eventually Dallas did what huge favorites typically do: scored often and put the game out of reach early. Maher's 7 points were good for 13th last week, but a 55-yard attempt that bounced off the right upright was all that stood between him and a second-place finish.
Matt Gay (5 FG attempts, 4 FGs, 1 XP, 13 points)
I always say that these recommendations are talent-agnostic, focusing strictly on the quality of a player's situation, and after Joey Slye demonstrated that brilliantly last week, Matt Gay shows it once again this week. In Week 2, Gay was labeled "Avoid At All Costs". In Week 3, he was a "Great Play" in the 5th-best situation of the week. Gay is probably not a great kicker— his two missed extra points last week attest to that— but his situation was phenomenal and Gay delivered 13 points, the top total of any kicker in the league. His night was close to being even better still. Head coach Bruce Arians inexplicably took a delay-of-game penalty before the game-winning field goal attempt and the final kick hooked just outside the upright; it likely would have been good from five yards closer.
Dan Bailey (2 FG attempts, 2 FGs, 4 XPs, 10 points)
Bailey and the Vikings produced as expected in a good spot and the veteran kicker put up ten points, the second-highest finish of the week. Rent-a-Kicker started running at the beginning of 2018 and this week marks the first time we've managed to grab the top two kickers of the week off of waivers.
Joey Slye (1 FG attempt, 1 FG, 5 XPs, 8 points)
If it felt crazy to highlight Slye two weeks ago, it felt doubly so to highlight him again last week with Cam Newton out and unheralded Kyle Allen in at quarterback, but the formula is the formula and the formula insisted that Arizona's defense is bad and Glendale is a great place to kick. Once again I'm reminded not to question the formula, as Slye's 8 points were tied for 7th on the week. (As an aside: had the formula moved off the Panthers with Newton out, Ty Long would have been the next name on the list. Long scored... 8 points this week as well. Six of one, half-dozen of the other.)
Matt Bryant (1 FG attempt, 1 FG, 3 XPs, 6 points)
Bryant was probably the most conventional choice on this list last week— a proven veteran kicker on a proven offense with a proven quarterback. He was also the least productive recommendation on the list, with six points tying him for 17th at the position.
RESULTS TO DATE
To date, Rent-a-Kicker has made 15 weekly recommendations Those 15 kickers have averaged 7.07 fantasy points, which trails last year's 7.38 point average but performs better because kicker scoring is down across the board. That 7.07 point average would currently rank 11th at the position. Top weekly recommendations average 8.0 points, which would rank 9th, while all highlighted kickers with great matchups combined average 7.71 (10th).
These finishes are misleading, however, because many of the kickers ahead of our amalgam went undrafted and put up their points on the bench or on the street in most fantasy leagues. Rent-a-Kicker alum Zane Gonzalez has most points scored to date, with back-to-back Rent-a-Kicker darling Joey Slye 2nd.
The top 12 kickers by preseason ADP were Greg Zuerlein (29 points), Justin Tucker (26), Harrison Butker (29), Wil Lutz (24), Stephen Gostkowski (28), Ka'imi Fairbairn (14), Robbie Gould (28), Jake Elliott (18), Mason Crosby (16), Mike Badgley (0), Brett Maher (19), and Adam Vinatieri (14). Only six of those twelve players outperformed any of our Frankenkicker averages, meaning the owner who streamed kickers off of the waiver wire since week one probably achieved results somewhere around the middle of the league, on average.
WEEK 4 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.**