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
Matt Gay (1 FG attempt, 1 FG, 5 XPs, 8 points)
Despite a case of "too many touchdowns" syndrome, Gay still finished the week with 8 points, which was good for 11th at the position.
Evan McPherson (2 FG attempts, 2 FGs, 4 XPs, 10 points)
The Lions defense remains a prime matchup going forward, and McPherson capitalized with 10 points, tied for 6th among kickers last week.
Chase McLaughlin (0 FG attempts, 0 FGs, 2 XPs, 2 points)
In our biggest wipeout of the season (so far), the Browns couldn't keep up their end of the bargain in an expected shootout with the Cardinals and kicker McLaughlin walked out with just a pair of extra points, ranking 25th.
Zane Gonzalez (2 FG attempts, 2 FGs, 2 XPs, 8 points)
He didn't get a chance to add to his total in overtime, but Gonzalez's 8 points in regulation were still enough to finish 11th among kickers.
Randy Bullock (2 FG attempts, 2 FGs, 4 XPs, 10 points)
Bullock was another kicker who had the potential to benefit from overtime but the Buffalo Bills opted to try to win in regulation rather than play for the tie. Regardless, 10 points placed Bullock 6th at the position.
Matt Prater Tracker
I mentioned heading into Week 3 that if anyone wanted off the streaming kicker carousel, Matt Prater looked like a fantastic off-ramp. He was available in 82% of NFL.com fantasy leagues, he was the #2 recommendation the week before so plenty of readers likely already had him rostered, the Cardinals offense was looking like a potential powerhouse, and their head coach was giving Prater a green light to kick from some truly absurd distances. Since the recommendation, Matt Prater has been the #3 fantasy kicker behind Tyler Bass and Mason Crosby.
Shockingly, Prater is still rostered in just 44.9% of NFL.com fantasy leagues, which means we get to use him at least one more time for this column. And it's a good thing, too, because his matchup against the Houston Texans is the highest-rated matchup of the season so far.
Results To Date
To date, Rent-a-Kicker has made 30 weekly recommendations. Those 30 kickers have averaged 8.27 points, compared to 7.39 in 2020 and 7.65 in 2019. That average would currently rank 8th at the position. Our top weekly recommendation averages 9.33 points, while every highlighted kicker with a great matchup averages 8.64, which would rank 2nd and 6th, respectively.
The top 12 kickers by preseason ADP were Harrison Butker (41 points), Justin Tucker (52 points), Younghoe Koo* (38 points), Greg Zuerlein (55 points), Tyler Bass (63 points), Ryan Succop (45 points), Jacob Sanders (31 points), Rodrigo Blankenship* (47 points), Jason Myers (32 points), Matt Gay (53 points), Brandon McManus (48 points), and Matt Prater (56 points) (after giving each starred kicker 7 points for every game he missed). Despite the extra draft capital expenditure (and the relatively generous bonus for missed games), only one of these kickers is outperforming our top option and only five are beating the average of all great plays. (One of those five is Prater, who was discussed above.) The twelve kickers have scored an average of 46.8 points compared to 51.8 from the average of our available "great plays".
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.**
Mike Badgley, Ind
Avoid at All Costs