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 11 Results
Dan Bailey (0 FG attempts, 0 FGs, 4 XPs, 4 points)
The Minnesota Vikings scored nothing but touchdowns against the Cowboys and Bailey had to subsist on nothing but extra points. His four points unfortunately ranked 23rd for the week.
Chris Boswell (3 FG attempts, 2 FGs, 3 XPs, 9 points)
Boswell missed a 45-yard attempt on Pittsburgh's first possession, but after that pretty much nothing went wrong for the Steelers, who outscored Jacksonville 27-3. Boswell's nine points were the 5th-most of any kicker in Week 11.
Jason Myers (2 FG attempts, 2 FGs, 2 XPs, 8 points)
The Seattle Seahawks seem allergic to playing normal games. Against Arizona, they scored 28 points, which seems pretty normal, but those 28 points came from three touchdowns (with one missed extra point), two field goals, and a safety. However they got there, the 8 points made for a solid outing for Myers, who tied for 9th at the position.
Mike Badgley (2 FG attempts, 2 FGs, 4 XPs, 10 points)
It never hurts when you're facing the New York Jets, but the Chargers' offense kept rolling and Badgley kept rolling right along with it to the tune of ten points, second-most of any kicker.
Zane Gonzalez (0 FG attempts, 0 FGs, 3 XPs, 3 points)
Gonzalez was one of the highest-scoring kickers in the league and Seattle's defense has been struggling so far this season, so you'd think he would have been a slam dunk, but our model was cooler on him than most, rating him as just a "Good Play". Everyone who was relying on him saw their worst fears come true, as Arizona scored nothing but touchdowns and Gonzalez finished with just three extra points, ranking 24th among kickers.
Results To Date
To date, Rent-a-Kicker has made 55 weekly recommendations. Those 55 kickers have averaged 7.40 points, compared to last year's 7.65 weekly average. That average would currently rank 10th at the position. Our top weekly recommendation averages 7.82 points and the average of all highlighted kickers with great matchups is 7.75, which would rank 9th and 10th, respectively.
The top 12 kickers by preseason ADP were Justin Tucker (93 points), Harrison Butker (84 points), Wil Lutz (98 points), Greg Zuerlein (78 points), Robbie Gould (71 points), Matt Gay (cut before the season), Zane Gonzalez (84 points), Younghoe Koo (97 points), Matt Prater (82 points), Dan Bailey (55 points), Jake Elliott (51 points), and Ka'imi Fairbairn (78 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 (Koo) has been cut in enough leagues since the season started that he's actually Rent-a-Kicker alumni.
Excluding Gay, the remaining kickers average 79.2 points, which trails the average of "Great Plays" that were available on waivers (85.3 points).
Week 12 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.**
Brandon McManus, Den
Avoid at All Costs