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 15 RESULTS
Week 15 was an excellent showing in one of the biggest spots of the year for our rented kickers, as four of our five options hit double-digit production on the week.
Matt Bryant (2 FG attempts, 2 FGs, 4 XPs, 10 points)
A blowout win against the cards gave Bryant plenty of opportunities to put up points, even with Atlanta attempting a likely-unnecessary two-point conversion at the end of the first half when up by 19. Bryant's ten points tied for 8th at the position.
Dan Bailey (2 FG attempts, 2 FGs, 5 XPs, 11 points)
Dan Bailey, (much like the entire Minnesota Vikings offense), has had some rough days this year. This past Sunday wasn't one of them as the Vikings, firing on all cylinders, scored the most points of any team in week 15 and Bailey finished tied for 5th at the position with eleven points.
Adam Vinatieri (3 FG attempts, 3 FGs, 2 XPs, 11 points)
Vinatieri continues the theme to this point of "kickers on the right side of a blowout win". The Colts dismantled a hot Cowboys defense and Vinatieri's 11 points ranked tied for fifth at his position.
Brandon McManus (3 FG attempts, 3 FGs, 1 XPs, 10 points)
Brandon McManus was the beneficiary of one of the most bizarre coaching decisions of the season when Vance Joseph, facing 4th-and-1 at the 6 yard line and trailing by 4 points late, opted to kick a field goal instead of trying for a touchdown to take the lead. Denver never again crossed midfield, but those who started McManus certainly appreciated the extra points and the 8th-place finish on the week.
Mike Badgley (0 FG attempts, 0 FGs, 3 XPs, 3 points)
Badgley was victim to an offense that had too few drives and scored too many touchdowns. Like McManus, he also found himself on the receiving end of one of the most-talked-about coaching decisions of the week as the Chargers opted to eschew the extra point after the potential game-tying touchdown and go for the win in regulation. Los Angeles was rewarded with a season-defining win for their aggression; hopefully, nobody who started Badgley lost their semifinal match by less than a point.
RESULTS TO DATE
To date, Rent-a-Kicker has made 78 weekly recommendations, (eight in Week 1 before settling on the current five-per-week format). Those 73 kickers have averaged 7.47 fantasy points per game, which would rank 12th at the position among regular starters.
A 12th-place finish is misleading for numerous reasons, however. For starters, early in the season before I had a good source for roster data I was highlighting even neutral recommendations to ensure that the players were available. Available players who I rated with a "great" or "good" matchup have averaged 7.69 points per game, which would rank 10th. My top kicker of the week has averaged 7.93 points per game, which would rank 8th.
Only three kickers have outperformed our top-rated amalgam by at least half a point per game so far this season. Two of those kickers were rated 4th and 5th by preseason ADP. The third was undrafted. There's genuinely little reason to ever invest considerable resources at the position.
WEEK 16 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.**