Rent-a-Kicker: Week 8

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.


Week 7 Results

Week 7 looked like it would be a great week for streamers heading in, as for the first time all five of our featured choices fell into the "Great Play" bucket. It more than delivered on that promise.

Jason Myers (2 FG attempts, 2 FGs, 4 XPs, 10 points)

After saying for weeks that the Seahawks' offense was destined to regress, Myers demonstrated some truism about even broken clocks being right twice a day. Myers and his Arizona counterpart, Zane Gonzalez (another Rent-a-Kicker Great Play last week!), both scored 10 points in regulation. Unfortunately, Gonzalez was the one who hit the overtime game-winner, but Myers' ten points still ranked 5th among all kickers.

Tyler Bass (8 FG attempts, 6 FGs, 0 XPs, 18 points)

It's rare for a kicker to miss a quarter of his attempts and still finish as the top kicker of the week, but when you become just the eighth kicker in the 100+ year history of the league to attempt 8 field goals, that's what happens. Bass hit from 53, 48, 46, 37, 29, and 40 yards and missed from 45 and 37 yards; his 18 points of course left him the top kicker of the week. As a great illustration of how our model works, Bass goes from one of the top weekly recommendations (in a projected blowout against the hapless Jets) last week to a below-average choice (in a projected low-scoring slugfest in one of the more difficult stadiums for kicking) this week.

Mike Badgley (3 FG attempts, 2 FGs, 3 XPs, 9 points)

Badgley missed from 48 yards and also missed an extra point, or else his day could have been even better. But when your offense is as potent as the surprising Chargers with rookie Justin Herbert under center, there's a higher margin for error. Badgley finishes the week tied for 7th.

Younghoe Koo (0 FG attempts, 0 FGs, 2 XPs, 2 points)

The lone disappointment in our best week to date, Koo's Falcons scored three touchdowns (the last of which was entirely accidental) and went for a 2-point conversion after one of them. Koo's 2 points left him ranked 26th on the week.

Ryan Succop (1 FG attempt, 1 FG, 6 XPs, 9 points)

Field goals are better than extra points, but extra points still add up if you get enough of them. That's the case for Succop, who needed seven kicks to score nine points because of Tampa's ability to convert long drives into touchdowns. An extra stalled drive or two would have been a nice gift, but if the offense keeps humming like this it won't much matter, as Succop's 7th-place weekly finish can attest.


Results To Date

To date, Rent-a-Kicker has made 35 weekly recommendations. Those 35 kickers have averaged 7.57 points, compared to last year's 7.65 weekly average. That average would currently rank 13th at the position. Our top weekly recommendation averages 7 points, which would rank 16th, but the average of all highlighted kickers with great matchups is 7.88, which would rank 10th.

The top 12 kickers by preseason ADP were Justin Tucker* (66 points), Harrison Butker (58 points), Wil Lutz* (61 points), Greg Zuerlein (44 points), Robbie Gould (49 points), Matt Gay (cut before the season), Zane Gonzalez (53 points), Younghoe Koo (58 points), Matt Prater* (59 points), Dan Bailey* (36 points), Jake Elliott (35 points), and Ka'imi Fairbairn (52 points) (giving an extra seven points to any kicker who has had his bye). Despite the extra draft capital expenditure, only five of these kickers have outperformed the average of our highlighted "Great Plays"... and one of those five has been cut in enough leagues since the season started that he's actually a Rent-a-Kicker alum.

Excluding Gay, the remaining kickers average 51.9 points, which is about a field goal less than the average of "Great Plays" that were available on waivers (55.1 points).


A Brief Note About Streaming

While this column is all about the kinds of production you can find off of waivers in any given week, it's important to note that just because you streamed into a kicker doesn't mean you have to stream out of him again afterward. Younghoe Koo and Stephen Gostkowski were once on waivers in more leagues than not. Today, they're the 5th- and 6th-most rostered kickers in fantasy (according to NFL.com's percentages). Zane Gonzalez, another Rent-a-Kicker alum, is now rostered in 56.4% of leagues and off the table for my purposes... but if you streamed into him at some point, he's not off the table for your purposes.

One reason not to invest draft picks at kicker is that you can get quality production off of the waiver wire, which is what this column is about. Another big reason is we rarely know in advance which offenses are going to be any good in any given season. If you stream your way into a Gostkowski, a Koo, or a Gonzalez, and then later decide you want to just ride shotgun with the Tennessee, Atlanta, or Arizona offense, that's a perfectly justifiable decision. Ryan Succop (rostered in 10.2% of leagues), Jason Myers (18.5%), and Mike Badgley (19.1%) all look like they're kicking for explosive offenses going forward, and it's quite reasonable to just hitch your wagon to one of them if you want. If their availability decreases enough, I'll be forced to stop featuring them on a weekly basis, but that doesn't mean they'll no longer be of benefit to anyone following this column.


Week 8 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 on waivers in over 50% of leagues 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.**

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