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 5 Results
Jason Myers (0 FG attempts, 0 FGs, 3 XPs, 3 points)
I wrote last week about how the Seahawks' red zone success would inevitably abandon them. This is 100% true. So far Seattle has scored 23 touchdowns against just 2 field goal attempts, a ludicrous split that they absolutely, positively will not sustain. Seattle has scored a touchdown on 89% of their red-zone trips; last year, they scored on 65%. For the Russell Wilson era, they score a touchdown on just 56% of red-zone trips. All of this no doubt comes as little comfort to anyone who has bet on Myers so far this season, though; Seattle stalling out on a reasonable number of red-zone trips this year probably would probably leave Myers ranked somewhere around 12th among kickers to date. Instead, he ranks 28th. At some point, the ball will stop bouncing their way. But this week was not that week, and Myers' three points tied for 24th.
Ka'imi Fairbairn (3 FG attempts, 3 FGs, 3 XPs, 12 points)
You wouldn't think a team that just fired its head coach would be a likely candidate to break out of their recent offensive rut, but the model likes who the model likes and the model liked the Texans against the Jaguars. Houston delivered in a big way, notching their first win of the season as Fairbairn ranked 5th among all kickers.
Tyler Bass (1 FG attempt, 1 FG, 1 XPs, 4 points)
With the way Buffalo's offense had been rolling, one might have worried that the biggest risk facing Bass was the team scoring too many touchdowns, not struggling to score in the first place. But Tennessee played its best game of the year, the Bills fell into the kind of big hole that wrecks kickers' days, and Bass scored just 4 points, ranking 21st on the week.
Younghoe Koo (3 FG attempts, 3 FGs, 1 XP, 10 points)
Koo missed last week to a late injury, but returned this week and showed no ill effects from his layoff, hitting field goals from 46 and 31 yards before being gifted a meaningless 54-yarder with four seconds left in the game. Points are points, however, and Koo's 10 points ranked 10th for the week.
Sam Sloman (1 FG attempt, 1 FG, 3 XPs, 6 points)
Sloman missed his first extra-point attempt of the day but made all of his other kicks in a pedestrian 6-point outing that ranked him 16th for the week.
Results To Date
To date, Rent-a-Kicker has made 25 weekly recommendations. Those 25 kickers have averaged 7.44 points, compared to last year's 7.65 weekly average. That average would currently rank 14th at the position. Our top weekly recommendation averages a meager 6.60 points, which would rank 17th, while every highlighted kicker with a great matchup averages 7.87, which would rank 12th.
The top 12 kickers by preseason ADP were Justin Tucker (47 points), Harrison Butker (37 points), Wil Lutz (45 points), Greg Zuerlein (37 points), Robbie Gould (34 points), Matt Gay (cut before the season), Zane Gonzalez (32 points), Younghoe Koo (40 points), Matt Prater (38 points), Dan Bailey (28 points), Jake Elliott (31 points), and Ka'imi Fairbairn (38 points) (giving an extra seven points to any kicker who has had his bye). Despite the extra draft capital expenditure, only three of these kickers have outperformed the average of our highlighted "Great Plays"... and one of those three 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 37 points, which trails the average of "Great Plays" that were available on waivers (39.3 points).
Week 6 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.**
Avoid at All Costs