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 16 Results
Jason Sanders (3 FG attempts, 2 FGs, 2 XPs, 8 points)
Sanders and the Dolphins opened the game against Green Bay on fire, as the team scored 20 points and Sanders provided 8 of them in the first half. Reports after the game indicate quarterback Tua Tagovailoa suffered a concussion early in the 2nd half, which would explain why the offense fell off a cliff, with the closest thing to a score coming from a missed 48-yard attempt in the 3rd quarter. Sanders tied for 14th on the week.
Greg Joseph (2 FG attempts, 2 FGs, 3 XPs, 9 points)
Minnesota continues to live on the edge, running their record to 12-3 despite only scoring five more points than they've allowed for the season. This last week was no exception as Greg Joseph nailed a 61-yard game-winner as time expired, running his total to 9 points on the day, good for 11th on the week.
Cameron Dicker (2 FG attempts, 2 FGs, 2 XPs, 8 points)
There was concern in some quarters heading into this season that the Chargers' kicker would struggle in fantasy. Many believed that head coach Brandon Staley was too enamored with the analytics to kick short field goals. That hasn't been the case all season, and Sunday underlined that, with Dicker scoring from 24 and 21 yards on his two field goals. His 8 points tied for 14th.
Graham Gano (3 FG attempts, 3 FGs, 1 XPs, 10 points)
It's always stressful when the model recommends a kicker who we've been avoiding rather than one of the weekly fixtures, but it's always rewarding when those unsung kickers come up big for us. Such was the case for Gano, whose 10 points weren't enough for a win for his team, but were enough for an 8th-place weekly finish.
Mike Badgley (1 FG attempt, 1 FG, 2 XPs, 5 points)
The model didn't have high hopes for Badgley last week, rating him as a "neutral play", but we always go five deep and didn't have enough Good or Great Plays to go around. Badgley rewarded our tepid faith with five points, which ranked 21st among all kickers.
Results To Date
To date, Rent-a-Kicker has made 80 weekly recommendations. Those 80 kickers have averaged 6.74 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 18th at the position (after giving 6 points to every kicker to account for byes). Our top weekly recommendation averages just 6.38 points, and every highlighted kicker with a great matchup averages 6.68, marks that would rank 21st and 14th.
Here are the Top 12 kickers by preseason ADP along with how many points they've scored to date in parentheses: Justin Tucker (131), Tyler Bass (130), Matt Gay (107), Harrison Butker (112), Daniel Carlson (126), Evan McPherson (109), Matt Prater (93), Ryan Succop (114), Brandon McManus (102), Nick Folk (124), Dustin Hopkins (99), and Rodrigo Blankenship (94). (All kickers are credited with 6 additional points for every week they missed)
So far, the Top 12 kickers by preseason ADP average 111.8 points compared to 106.8 from the average of all of our 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.**
Continue reading this content with a PRO subscription.
"Footballguys is the best premium
fantasy football only site on the planet."
Matthew Berry, NBC Sports EDGE