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 17 Results
Robbie Gould (3 FG attempts, 3 FGs, 2 XPs, 11 points)
Greg Zuerlein (1 FG attempt, 0 FGs, 2 XPs, 2 points)
Zuerlein missed from 43 yards, lost an opportunity when the Cowboys went for a 2-point conversion late, and never got a chance at a game-tying field goal before time ran out. His 2 points were 28th among all kickers in Week 17.
Mike Badgley (2 FG attempts, 2 FGs, 2 XPs, 8 points)
Badgley had a workmanlike day with two field goals and two extra points. His 8 points tied him for 14th.
Brett Maher (4 FG attempts, 4 FGs, 0 XPs, 12 points)
Maher hit the upright on his lone extra-point attempt, but otherwise, the Saints enjoyed a field-goal fest against the Panthers. Maher's 12 points ranked 6th.
Jason Myers (3 FG attempts, 3 FGs, 6 XPs, 15 points)
The Detroit Lions defense performed one last miracle of the season for us, bringing Russell Wilson and the moribund Seahawks offense back to life and giving up a whopping 15 points to kicker Jason Myers, which led all kickers.
This year, Rent-a-Kicker made 85 weekly recommendations. Those 85 kickers have averaged 8.45 points, compared to 7.39 in 2020 and 7.65 in 2019. That average would have ranked 3rd among all kickers this year. Our top weekly recommendation averaged 8.65 points, while every highlighted kicker with a great matchup averaged 8.58, both of which would rank 2nd after giving every other kicker 7 points in their bye week. The model outperformed every kicker except for Nick Folk (9.0 points per game), though it's worth pointing out that Folk himself was a Rent-a-Kicker alum. It was easily our best year to date, which is mostly just luck because the model is the same as it's always been, but I'm happy that the model's good fortune is your good fortune.
The top 12 kickers by preseason ADP were Harrison Butker (128 points), Justin Tucker (137 points), Younghoe Koo (110 points), Greg Zuerlein (134 points), Tyler Bass (133 points), Ryan Succop (127 points), Jason Sanders (101 points), Rodrigo Blankenship (124 points), Jason Myers (94 points), Matt Gay (145 points), Brandon McManus (112 points), and Matt Prater (132 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), not a single one of those kickers outperformed the average of all "great plays" over the course of the season. The twelve kickers scored an average of 123.1 points compared to 145.9 from the average of our available "great plays" or 147 from our top weekly pick, so drafting and holding a kicker instead of streaming for free would have cost you an average of 1.3 points per game in expectation.
Week 18 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.**
Buccaneers (Ryan Succop)
Cowboys (Greg Zuerlein)
Rams (Matt Gay)
Packers (Mason Crosby)
Football Team (Joey Slye)
Seahawks (Jason Myers)
Vikings (Greg Joseph)
Raiders (Daniel Carlson)
Chargers (Dustin Hopkins)
Patriots (Nick Folk)
Avoid at All Costs