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 12 Results
Greg Zuerlein (3 FG attempts, 2 FGs, 1 XP, 7 points)
Zuerlein graded out as the one likely-available great play in a week with otherwise slim pickings, and while he didn't have a bad game, his week was most notable for what might have been. He hit the upright on a 59-yard attempt, missed an extra point early and lost out on two other potential extra points as Dallas tried to make it up later, and never had an opportunity to kick a game-winner in overtime. He still finished tied for 11th in a week that could have gone so much better.
Dustin Hopkins (1 FG attempt, 0 FGs, 1 XP, 1 point)
Just when it looked like the Chargers' offense was turning a corner they returned to their Jekyll-and-Hyde ways. Hopkins had a forgivable miss from 52 yards but otherwise finished with just a single extra point as the Chargers fell behind and attempted a 2-point conversion after their only other touchdown.
Mike Badgley (1 FG attempt, 1 FG, 4 XPs, 7 points)
The Colts offense continued rolling against the Buccaneers and while fewer touchdowns and more field goals would have been appreciated, Badgley's 7 points still tied for 11th at the position.
Cairo Santos (4 FG attempts, 3 FGs, 1 XP, 10 points)
There aren't many weeks where Chicago's kicker is a good fantasy football play, but Detroit returned to its old ways of giving up bunches of points to opposing kickers. Despite coming up short on a 53-yard attempt, Santos scored 10 points, good for a 5th-place finish.
Evan McPherson (2 FG attempts, 2 FGs, 5 XPs, 11 points)
The Bengals offense was blistering hot against their rival Steelers and McPherson's 11 points were 4th among all kickers in Week 12.
Results To Date
To date, Rent-a-Kicker has made 60 weekly recommendations. Those 60 kickers have averaged 8.15 points, compared to 7.39 in 2020 and 7.65 in 2019. That average would currently rank 6th at the position. Our top weekly recommendation averages 8.42 points, while every highlighted kicker with a great matchup averages 8.34, both of which would rank 3rd after giving every other kicker 7 points in their bye week.
The top 12 kickers by preseason ADP were Harrison Butker* (84 points), Justin Tucker* (98 points), Younghoe Koo* (72 points), Greg Zuerlein* (93 points), Tyler Bass* (101 points), Ryan Succop* (90 points), Jason Sanders (68 points), Rodrigo Blankenship* (89 points), Jason Myers* (58 points), Matt Gay* (98 points), Brandon McManus* (83 points), and Matt Prater* (89 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), none of these kickers are outperforming our top weekly streamer and only one is outscoring the average of all of our highlighted "Great Plays" (by a total of 0.9 points). The twelve kickers have scored an average of 85.3 points compared to 100.1 from the average of our available "great plays".
Week 13 Situations
**Here is a list of the teams with the best matchups based on Vegas projected totals and stadium, along with the expected kicker for each team. The top five players 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 specifically apply to situations; 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
Falcons (Younghoe Koo)
Giants (Graham Gano)
Lions (Austin Seibert)
Texans (Ka'imi Fairbairn)
Patriots (Nick Folk)
Bears (Cairo Santos)
Steelers (Chris Boswell)
Jets (Matt Ammendola)
Broncos (Brandon McManus)
Jaguars (Josh Lambo)