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 a dozen or more starting kickers are 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 11 Results
Robbie Gould (1 FG attempt, 1 FG, 5 XPs, 8 points)
The 49ers moved the ball at will against the overmatched Cardinals and Gould was the primary beneficiary. I would have hoped for a shot at a longer field goal attempt in the high altitude of Mexico City, but the way this season is going, I'm not going to complain about getting 8 points from our top recommendation. Gould finished the week ranked 13th.
Jake Elliott (1 FG attempt, 1 FG, 2 XPs, 5 points)
The model continues to recommend Elliott every week because the Eagles' offense has been strong all year, scoring 20+ points in every game. That hasn't translated to points for their kicker because they've been scoring so many touchdowns, but eventually, players in strong offenses get some field goal attempts to go with the extra points. (Just witness Harrison Butker and Tyler Bass last week.) Unfortunately for Elliott, Philadelphia's offense has started seeming much less potent of late, culminating in 17 points against a reeling Colts squad. If that holds up, Elliott will quickly fall off our radar. For now, his five points ranked 18th among kickers.
Cairo Santos (2 FG attempts, 1 FG, 3 XPs, 6 points)
Santos had a 56-yard attempt that came up just short, hitting the crossbar and bouncing back into the field of play. The bigger concern was the Bears' potential loss of Justin Fields, who had the offense suddenly looking fairly intriguing. Santos' 6 points ranked 17th in Week 11.
Greg Joseph (1 FG attempt, 1 FG, 0 XPs, 3 points)
The Vikings were another offense that had been playing really well (which resulted in their kicker becoming a mainstay on our list of recommendations), but they ground to a halt against a ferocious Dallas pass rush and Joseph's field goal accounted for their only points all day. Joseph ranked 23rd.
Brandon McManus (4 FG attempts, 3 FGs, 1 XP, 10 points)
The Broncos offense has been among the worst in the league, but they still play in Mile High stadium. That's still enough to earn the occasional spot start against a terrible defense. McManus delivered with ten points and could have done even better; he had a chip-shot attempt blocked and never got a chance to kick in overtime. His 10 points still tied for 7th on the week, just in time for him to go right back to the "avoid" list.
Results To Date
To date, Rent-a-Kicker has made 55 weekly recommendations. Those 55 kickers have averaged 6.36 points, compared to 8.45 in 2021, 7.39 in 2020, 7.65 in 2019, and 7.43 in 2018. That average would currently rank just 19th at the position (after giving 6 points to every kicker who has had their bye week already). Our top weekly recommendation averages just 5.27 points, and every highlighted kicker with a great matchup averages 6.19, marks that would both rank 25th.
Here are the Top 12 kickers by preseason ADP along with how many points they've scored to date in parentheses: Justin Tucker (92), Tyler Bass (99), Matt Gay (66), Harrison Butker (72), Daniel Carlson (87), Evan McPherson (75), Matt Prater (55), Ryan Succop (85), Brandon McManus (73), Nick Folk (87), Dustin Hopkins (69), and Rodrigo Blankenship (64). (All kickers are credited with 6 additional points for every week they missed)
So far, the Top 12 kickers by preseason ADP average 77.0 points compared to 68.1 from the average of all of our great plays.
Week 12 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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