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
Overall Week 12 was a great week for us with five "Great Play" options to choose from, each of which finished with at least 8 points. But since I always feel compelled to call out when we caught an unlucky break, I should also mention that our kickers combined to hit 11 out of 11 field goals and 11 out of 12 extra points. Sometimes we get lucky, too.
Cody Parkey (2 FG attempts, 2 FGs, 3 XPs, 9 points)
I always like it when our model lands on someone like Parkey, who according to data from NFL.com fantasy leagues is not even one of the 25 most-rostered kickers in fantasy. He's on virtually no one's radar, yet he's our top play of the week. I especially love it when those unwanted options deliver, as Parkey did. His nine points tied him for 8th.
Jason Myers (3 FG attempts, 3 FGs, 2 XPs, 11 points)
We've come a long way since early in the season. Myers was one of our highlighted kickers in four of the first five weeks, but the Seahawks kept converting drives into touchdowns at an unsustainable week. Through their Week 6 bye, Myers had attempted 21 extra points against just 2 field goals and ranked 28th among all kickers. But did our model give up on him? It did not; Myers has been a featured kicker in four of six weeks since. And it's a good thing, too, because Myers has attempted 13 field goals against 19 extra points over that span. Despite ranking 2nd among all kickers since his bye in total points, GMs continue to hold that early-season stretch against him and Myers is rostered in just 21% of NFL.com leagues. We're going to keep featuring him until that changes, especially if he keeps giving us weeks like this, where he tied for 3rd among all kickers.
Dan Bailey (2 FG attempts, 2 FGs, 2 XPs, 8 points)
Another recent victim of "too many touchdowns" syndrome. It can sometimes be scary to add and use a kicker who ranks 28th in fantasy points despite playing the whole season, as Bailey did heading into last week, but like Myers early in the season, that performance had been deflated by an unsustainable touchdown rate. From Week 6 to Week 11, Bailey attempted 15 extra points against just 2 field goals. Those types of splits tend to regress pretty quickly. Bailey's two field goals and two extra points last week were good enough for a 14th-place finish.
Ka'imi Fairbairn (2 FG attempts, 2 FGs, 3 XPs, 9 points)
The only featured kicker to miss an attempt this week, Fairbairn's missed extra point might have been the only thing that went wrong for Houston's offense on Thanksgiving. His nine points tied him for 8th.
Matt Gay (2 FG attempts, 2 FGs, 2 XPs, 8 points)
The Rams might have underperformed against a reeling 49ers team, but Gay turned in a workmanlike performance with a pair of 40+ yard field goals to go with a pair of extra points. He finished the week 14th among kickers.
Results To Date
To date, Rent-a-Kicker has made 60 weekly recommendations. Those 60 kickers have averaged 7.53 points, compared to last year's 7.65 weekly average. That average would currently rank 10th at the position. Our top weekly recommendation averages 7.92 points and the average of all highlighted kickers with great matchups is 7.89, which would rank 8th and 9th, respectively.
The top 12 kickers by preseason ADP were Justin Tucker (93 points*), Harrison Butker (93 points), Wil Lutz (105 points), Greg Zuerlein (88 points), Robbie Gould (82 points), Matt Gay (cut before the season), Zane Gonzalez (89 points), Younghoe Koo (116 points), Matt Prater (88 points), Dan Bailey (63 points), Jake Elliott (54 points), and Ka'imi Fairbairn (87 points) (giving an extra seven points to any kicker who has had his bye). Despite the extra draft capital expenditure, only two of these kickers have outperformed the average of our highlighted "Great Plays"... and one of those two (Koo) is actually a Rent-a-Kicker alum after he was cut by enough teams to be available in two-thirds of NFL.com leagues as early as Week 4.
*At the time of publishing, Tucker still has not played his Week 12 game. He can also pass the "great play" average with two points this week.
Excluding Gay, the remaining kickers average 87.1 points, which trails the average of "Great Plays" that were available on waivers (94.7 points).
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 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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