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 9 Results
Chris Boswell (2 FG attempts, 2 FGs, 0 XPs, 6 points)
In a rarity, Pittsburgh scored three touchdowns but Boswell didn't record a single extra point. His first attempt of the day was missed to the left. His second was blocked up the middle. And then, after the third touchdown, Pittsburgh went for a 2-point conversion to chase the lost points. Boswell could have used the points, as he finished 20th among all kickers last week.
Ka'imi Fairbairn (2 FG attempts, 2 FGs, 3 XPs, 9 points)
Houston's game against Jacksonville wound up being much closer than anyone might have expected, but Fairbairn still had plenty of opportunities to score, finishing his day with 9 points and tying for 9th at the position.
Dan Bailey (0 FG attempts, 0 FGs, 4 XPs, 4 points)
Good process, bad outcome. The Minnesota Vikings dominated the Detroit Lions on offense, finishing tied for the 3rd-highest score of the week. But all of that scoring came on touchdowns, meaning all five of Bailey's kicks were extra points, one of which he missed. The result was a disappointing 25th-place showing.
Ryan Succop (1 FG attempt, 1 FG, 0 XPs, 3 points)
In one of the most surprising results of the season so far, the Saints somehow managed to shut down the red-hot Buccaneers offense, holding the team scoreless outside of a pointless field goal with six minutes left in the game. Succop finished the week 27th among all kickers.
Zane Gonzalez (2 FG attempts, 1 FG, 4 XPs, 7 points)
While a missed game-tying 49-yard field goal in the 4th quarter loomed large for the Cardinals, Gonzalez's 7 points were still a solid enough showing for those who relied on him in fantasy football, tying for 17th on the week.
Results To Date
To date, Rent-a-Kicker has made 45 weekly recommendations. Those 45 kickers have averaged 7.24 points, compared to last year's 7.65 weekly average. That average would currently rank 14th at the position. Our top weekly recommendation averages 7.56 points and the average of all highlighted kickers with great matchups is 7.63, both of which would rank 13th.
The top 12 kickers by preseason ADP were Justin Tucker* (78 points), Harrison Butker (72 points), Wil Lutz* (83 points), Greg Zuerlein (66 points), Robbie Gould (57 points), Matt Gay (cut before the season), Zane Gonzalez* (67 points), Younghoe Koo (81 points), Matt Prater* (70 points), Dan Bailey* (44 points), Jake Elliott* (43 points), and Ka'imi Fairbairn* (68 points) (giving an extra seven points to any kicker who has had his bye). Despite the extra draft capital expenditure, only four of these kickers have outperformed the average of our highlighted "Great Plays"... and one of those three (Koo) 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 66.3 points, which trails the average of "Great Plays" that were available on waivers (68.6 points).
Week 10 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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