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 8 Results
Greg Joseph (3 FG attempts, 3 FGs, 1 XP, 10 points)
The Vikings' offense struggled more than expected against the Cowboys, but it struggled in a way that was beneficial to their kicker, who benefitted from stalled drives in Dallas' territory. Joseph's 10 points tied for 6th on the week.
Evan McPherson (1 FG attempt, 1 FG, 4 XPs, 7 points)
McPherson's 7 points made for a decent outing (tied for 13th), but he had missed opportunities as well. The Bengals started a drive from the Jets 1-yard line and walked away with no points out of it, and had two drives to kick a tying field goal in the 4th quarter and couldn't move the ball on either.
Dustin Hopkins (1 FG attempt, 1 FG, 3 XPs, 6 points)
We're deep into "scapegoat your kicker" season. Last week, Washington cut Dustin Hopkins to go with Chris Blewitt, prompting the Chargers cut kicker Tristan Vizcaino to go with Hopkins. Fortunately for us, we don't much care who is kicking (as long as it's actually a kicker). Hopkins hit all three of his extra points and a 48-yard field goal to score 6 points, tied for 17th at the position.
Mike Badgley (1 FG attempt, 1 FG, 4 XP, 7 points)
The Colts' offense had a strong day overall but couldn't get across midfield in overtime, so Badgley finished with 7 points, tied for 13th.
Jake Elliott (3 FG attempts, 3 FGs, 5 XPs, 14 points)
I've been talking for weeks about the value of picking on Detroit's defense when streaming kickers. "Whoever is facing Detroit" was the highest-scoring kicker entering this week, and "whoever faced Detroit" tacked on another 14 points to their total, leading all scorers in Week 8. (Unfortunately for us, Detroit is on bye this week.)
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. After a disappointing 3-point showing in a great matchup, Prater sits at 6th since the recommendation.
Results To Date
To date, Rent-a-Kicker has made 40 weekly recommendations. Those 40 kickers have averaged 8.38 points, compared to 7.39 in 2020 and 7.65 in 2019. That average would currently rank 7th at the position. Our top weekly recommendation averages 9.13 points, while every highlighted kicker with a great matchup averages 8.54, which would rank 3rd and 7th, respectively.
The top 12 kickers by preseason ADP were Harrison Butker (52 points), Justin Tucker* (64 points), Younghoe Koo* (57 points), Greg Zuerlein* (70 points), Tyler Bass* (78 points), Ryan Succop (56 points), Jacob Sanders (38 points), Rodrigo Blankenship* (61 points), Jason Myers (43 points), Matt Gay (69 points), Brandon McManus (55 points), and Matt Prater (66 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 three are beating the average of all great plays. The twelve kickers have scored an average of 59.1 points compared to 68.3 from the average of our available "great plays".
Week 9 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