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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 3 Results
With a 4.6-point average from our top selections, Rent-a-Kicker is coming off of its worst week since it switched to the current format back in 2019. Collectively, our five picks this week attempted nine field goals; given leaguewide averages, we'd expect about 7.5 made kicks. Instead, they made just 4, costing us more than 2 points in expectation on average (which is the difference between a below-average week and "the worst week in column history"). Sometimes the variance helps us. Other times, it hurts us, but we'll continue to stay the course either way.
Greg Joseph (2 FG attempts, 0 FGs, 4 XP, 4 points)
Joseph's misses were the most forgivable since both came from 56 yards out, but still, we hoped for more from our top choice of the week. Instead, his four extra points left him tied for 24th.
Dustin Hopkins (1 FG attempt, 1 FG, 1 XP, 4 points)
There were ominous rumblings around the Chargers late in the week when news broke that quarterback Justin Herbert might not play. Herbert suited up, the Los Angeles was still the victim of a vicious (and surprising) blowout from the Jaguars. The Chargers had a chance to kick field goals of 49 and 28 yards but had to pass on both because they were already trailing by 21+ points in the fourth quarter. Hopkins tied Joseph for 24th among kickers.
Jake Elliott (1 FG attempt, 1 FG, 3 XPs, 6 points)
The Eagles have started to develop a pattern of racing to an early lead and then taking their foot off the gas. They have yet to score any fourth-quarter points this year and haven't scored anything after halftime since Week 1. Elliott had six points in the first half, and the Eagles continue to show intriguing upside if they ever meet a team that will give them more of a contest. Elliott was the 17th-ranked kicker in Week 3.
Brandon McManus (2 FG attempts, 1 FG, 0 XPs, 3 points)
When they traded for quarterback Russell Wilson, the Broncos thought he was the last piece they needed to get their offense soaring. Instead, they've been stuck on the runway, putting up just 11 points in a win against a tough San Francisco defense. McManus did lose an extra point opportunity when Denver attempted a 2-point conversion, but even that wouldn't have been enough to salvage a respectable day as McManus was the 27th-best kicker of the week.
Austin Seibert (3 FG attempts, 1 FG, 3 XPs, 6 points)
Seibert mirrored his counterpart on the Vikings with a pair of missed field goals, one of which hit the upright. His six points were still the best any of our picks managed this week, ranking him 17th.
Results To Date
To date, Rent-a-Kicker has made fifteen weekly recommendations. Those ten kickers have averaged 6.07 points, compared to 8.45 in 2021, 7.39 in 2020, and 7.39 in 2019. That average would currently rank just 19th at the position. Our top weekly recommendation averages 7.33 points, though, while every highlighted kicker with a great matchup averages 7.00, marks that would rank 12th and 15th, respectively. While the results have been poor so far, the model hasn't changed and kicking in the NFL hasn't changed, so brighter days are on the horizon.
This has been a rough season so far, but if there's any consolation, it's that it's been rough for everyone. The Top 12 kickers so far have averaged 25.25 points; through three weeks last year that was 27.67, so kicker scoring is down nearly a point per game across the board. And the kickers who have been playing well are largely ones no one has been expecting.
Here are the Top 12 kickers by preseason ADP along with how many points they've scored to date in parentheses: Justin Tucker (21), Tyler Bass (23), Matt Gay (19), Harrison Butker (10*), Daniel Carlson (28), Evan McPherson (24), Matt Prater (14), Ryan Succop (27), Brandon McManus (23), Nick Folk (14), Dustin Hopkins (16), and Rodrigo Blankenship (16*). (Butker is credited with Ammendola's three points playing in relief, and Blankenship is credited with the eight points McLaughlin scored since he got cut.)
Our top picks have scored 22 points and the average of all "Great plays" has scored 21, which matches or beats seven of the Top 12 kickers by preseason ADP and handily outperforms the average of all twelve (19.58 points).
Week 4 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.**
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