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 6 Results
Jason Sanders (1 FG attempts, 1 FG, 3 XPs, 6 points)
With a 21-0 first-half lead that grew to 24-0 in the third quarter, the Dolphins manhandled the fast-imploding Jets before taking their foot off the gas late. Sanders scored six points in the rout, tied for 15th on the week.
Dan Bailey (0 FG attempts, 0 FGs, 1 XPs, 1 point)
The worst victim yet of the blowout penalty, Bailey's Vikings fell behind 20-0 at halftime and 23-0 by the middle of the third. The team scored a trio of garbage-time touchdowns but were so far behind that they opted for two-point conversions after two of them, leaving Bailey with just one point on the day, the 24th-best performance of the week and our lowest mark of the season so far.
Nick Folk (2 FG attempts, 2 FGs, 0 XPs, 6 points)
In another unexpected blowout, the Patriots' offense looked woeful after a long layoff as the Broncos built an 18-3 lead (on the back of six field goals by Brandon McManus, our lowest-rated option of the week). Folk did kick a second field goal late but missed out on an extra point opportunity as the Patriots opted for a 2-point conversion instead. His six points tied for 15th on the week.
Matt Prater (3 FG attempts, 2 FGs, 4 XPs, 10 points)
The lone bright spot last week among our Great Plays, Prater (forgivably) missed a 57-yard attempt but chipped in two shorter field goals and four extra points as the Lions steamrolled the suddenly-awful Jaguars. Prater's ten points ranked 5th among all kickers.
Ryan Succop (1 FG attempt, 1 FG, 5 XPs, 8 points)
The Packers scored the first ten points against the Buccaneers, but Tampa Bay scored the next 38 as the team dominated in all phases. Succop's 8 points ranked 8th among kickers.
Results To Date
To date, Rent-a-Kicker has made 30 weekly recommendations. Those 30 kickers have averaged 7.23 points, compared to last year's 7.65 weekly average. That average would currently rank 15th at the position. Our top weekly recommendation averages a meager 6.60 points, which would rank 21st, but the average of all highlighted kickers with great matchups is 7.42, which would rank 12th.
The top 12 kickers by preseason ADP were Justin Tucker (59 points), Harrison Butker (45 points), Wil Lutz* (52 points), Greg Zuerlein (41 points), Robbie Gould (40 points), Matt Gay (cut before the season), Zane Gonzalez (40 points), Younghoe Koo (56 points), Matt Prater* (48 points), Dan Bailey (29 points), Jake Elliott (31 points), and Ka'imi Fairbairn (44 points) (giving an extra seven points to any kicker who has had his bye). Despite the extra draft capital expenditure, only five 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 44 points, which is virtually indistinguishable from the average of "Great Plays" that were available on waivers (44.5 points).
Week 7 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