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 16 Results
Greg Zuerlein (0 FG attempts, 0 FGs, 8 XPs, 8 points)
He didn't attempt a single field goal this week, but Zuerlein's eight extra points were one shy of the NFL record (9 by Charlie Gogolak in 1966, for anyone curious), and he still tied for the 11th-best kicker of the week.
Dustin Hopkins (3 FG attempts, 3 FGs, 0 XPs, 9 points)
Hopkins connected from 50, 46, and 35, but due to weird scores didn't get to attempt an extra point after any of the Chargers' three touchdowns. His nine points were still enough for an 8th-place fantasy finish.
Jake Elliott (3 FG attempts, 2 FGs, 4 XPs, 10 points)
Jake Elliott missed a 41-yard attempt but hit every other kick en route to 10 points and a 6th-place finish.
Jason Myers (2 FG attempts, 1 FG, 3 XPs, 6 points)
Myers was playing in snowy conditions, but he missed a 39-yard attempt in the 4th quarter that the Seahawks could have used in a 1-point loss. Myers' six points ranked 18th among kickers in Week 16.
Mike Badgley (3 FG attempts, 2 FGs, 2 XPs, 8 points)
Badgley's lone miss was a forgivable one from 53 yards. He connected on all of his other attempts, scoring 8 points to tie for 11th.
Results To Date
To date, Rent-a-Kicker has made 80 weekly recommendations. Those 80 kickers have averaged 8.38 points, compared to 7.39 in 2020 and 7.65 in 2019. That average would currently rank 4th at the position. Our top weekly recommendation averages 8.50 points, while every highlighted kicker with a great matchup averages 8.68, 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 (121 points), Justin Tucker (124 points), Younghoe Koo (103 points), Greg Zuerlein (132 points), Tyler Bass (130 points), Ryan Succop (119 points), Jason Sanders (98 points), Rodrigo Blankenship (117 points), Jason Myers (79 points), Matt Gay (143 points), Brandon McManus (105 points), and Matt Prater (119 points) (after giving each kicker 7 points for every game he missed). Despite the extra draft capital expenditure (and the relatively generous bonus for missed games), only Matt Gay is outperforming the average of our highlighted "great plays". The twelve kickers have scored an average of 115.8 points compared to 138.9 from the average of our available "great plays".
Week 17 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
Steelers (Chris Boswell)
Vikings (Greg Joseph)
Jaguars (Matthew Wright)
Panthers (Lirim Hajrullahu)
Browns (Chase McLaughlin / Chris Naggar)
Lions (Riley Patterson)
Falcons (Younghoe Koo)
Giants (Graham Gano)
With multiple teams dealing with active COVID outbreaks, make sure you double-check Sunday morning both to make sure that your preferred kicker is still good to go and perhaps to see if an opportunity has opened up on a team with an even better matchup.