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 4 Results
Sam Sloman (1 FG attempt, 1 FG, 2 XPs, 5 points)
The Rams offense never quite solved the Giants defense, as Sloman put up just 5 points in a low-scoring battle of attrition. That ranked just 20th among kickers last week.
Jason Myers (1 FG attempt, 1 FGs, 4 XPs, 7 points)
The Seahawks offense has scored 19 touchdowns and attempted just two field goals through the first quarter of the season, which has led to a lot of points for the team but not a ton for its kicker. Their hot streak isn't quite unheard-of— the Titans had a stretch with 43 touchdowns against just one made field goal over the latter half of last season— and regression is inevitable; if the offense stays this productive, their kicker will start scoring a lot more points eventually. In the meantime, Myers' 7 points tied for 13th on the week.
Ka'imi Fairbairn (3 FG attempts, 3 FGs, 2 XPs, 11 points)
The Texans' offense hasn't exactly been rolling, but their game against Minnesota was a good spot for them and Fairbairn delivered. After averaging five points through the first three weeks, Fairbairn put up 11 points and tied for 7th at the position.
Cody Parkey (2 FG attempts, 2 FGs, 5 XPs, 11 points)
I'm not sure anyone saw Cleveland putting up the highest-scoring total of the week, but the Browns topped thirty points by halftime and kept rolling from there. Parkey's 11 points against the Cowboys tied for 7th on the week.
Ryan Succop (2 FG attempts, 1 FG, 5 XPs, 8 points)
Succop came within a field goal of matching Parkey's line from the week, but a 44-yard attempt sailed wide left. Tampa has several injuries on offense that might slow them down, but if the offense keeps coming together like this Succop might find himself getting a promotion from streaming candidate to every-week starter.
Results To Date
To date, Rent-a-Kicker has made 20 weekly recommendations. Those 20 kickers have averaged 7.55 points, compared to last year's 7.65 weekly average. That average would currently rank 12th at the position. Our top weekly recommendation averages 7.50 points, while every highlighted kicker with a great matchup averages 8.09, which would rank 9th.
The top 12 kickers by preseason ADP were Justin Tucker (38 points), Harrison Butker (31 points), Wil Lutz (33 points), Greg Zuerlein (24 points), Robbie Gould (29 points), Matt Gay (cut before the season), Zane Gonzalez (26 points), Younghoe Koo (30 points), Matt Prater (31 points), Dan Bailey (20 points), Jake Elliott (28 points), and Ka'imi Fairbairn (26 points). Despite the extra draft capital expenditure, only two of these kickers have outperformed the average of our highlighted "Great Plays", and one of them only by a fraction of a point. Excluding Gay, the remaining kickers average 28.7 points, which trails the average of "Great Plays" that were available on waivers (32.4 points).
Week 5 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.**
Harrison Butker, KC
Greg Zuerlein, Dal
Justin Tucker, Bal
**Jason Myers, Sea
**Ka'imi Fairbairn, Hou
Wil Lutz, NO
**Tyler Bass, Buf
Robbie Gould, SF
**Younghoe Koo / Elliott Fry, Atl
Nick Folk, NE
Zane Gonzalez, Ari
Mike Badgley, LAC
Notes: Week 4's positive Coronavirus tests are still creating ripple effects into Week 5. At the time of publishing, Vegas still hasn't released an over/under for the Titans/Bills game, which is at risk of getting rescheduled. I've substituted an estimate instead, but this should be treated with a lower degree of confidence. Nick Folk ranks high enough to qualify as our fifth kicker this week, but this ranking presumes Cam Newton starts this week, which is still up in the air, so we've bypassed him for Sloman. Finally, Atlanta's kicker situation has nothing to do with coronavirus, that's just good old-fashioned injury. Incumbent Koo is dealing with a groin strain and is probably unlikely to play this week. If he doesn't, the Falcons have signed Elliott Fry to take his place. Fortunately for us, we're talent-agnostic and will evaluate whichever of the two suits up this week. As always, if any games are canceled or rescheduled we'll evaluate the next kicker down the list who is rostered in fewer than 50% of NFL.com fantasy leagues.