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 4 Results
Jake Moody (0 FG attempts, 0 FGs, 5 XPs, 5 points)
For the second straight week, our top recommendation scored nothing but extra points; unfortunately for us, the 49ers only scored 5 touchdowns instead of 10 like the Dolphins. It's a bit of an unlucky break, but Moody's five points rank 19th for Week 4.
Cameron Dicker (1 FG attempt, 1 FG, 3 XPs, 6 points)
The Chargers were rolling against the Raiders with four scores in six drives in the first half. A big lead led to a slower second half; the Chargers only had four meaningful drives, one of which ended in an interception and another on a failed 4th-down quarterback sneak, and Dicker didn't score again after the break. His six points tied for 15th.
Brandon Aubrey (3 FG Attempts, 3 FGs, 3 XPs, 12 points)
Aubrey might be just about the perfect fantasy kicker so far this year. A strong defense means his team is unlikely to wind up in extreme catchup mode, a strong offense results in plenty of scoring drives, and a conservative head coach means lots of kicks from the goal line when other teams might go for the touchdown (this week Aubrey kicked twice from within five yards of the goal). He's the top-scoring kicker on the season so far, and with 12 points, he was the 2nd-highest-scoring kicker for the week.
Matt Gay (1 FG attempt, 0 FGs, 1 XP, 1 point)
Matt Gay demonstrated this week why we try so hard to avoid teams that fall behind early. Gay missed a 47-yarder in the 2nd quarter (after a false start penalty pushed them back), and the next time the Colts were in scoring position, they were down 23-0. As a result, the team passed up two extra points for 2-point conversion attempts and opted to keep the offense on the field on 4th down instead of attempting 38- and 48-yard field goals. Gay's 1-point disaster tied for 31st, worst among all kickers.
Greg Joseph (0 FG attempts, 0 FGs, 3 XPs, 3 points)
Joseph's day wasn't quite the tough-luck disaster Gay's was, but it wasn't much better; with just three extra points, Joseph tied for 25th among kickers. Both of our "good play" choices coming up empty at the same time illustrates the difference in risk between a good play and a great play.
A Tip for Holding Kickers
Last week, I gave a quick rule of thumb for when to hold on to a kicker instead of streaming. As a recap: the order of players within a tier is only of minor importance, but each tier you drop down costs you maybe half a point per game in expectation. I'd start a kicker I wanted to hold over an option rated one tier higher, but I'd rather avoid starting one over a kicker rated two tiers higher if I could avoid it, and I'd never start a kicker over an option rated three or four tiers higher.
I also provided a list of kickers I would consider holding rather than continuing to stream. Since that seems potentially useful, I'm going to turn it into a recurring weekly feature. Here's the current list (in no particular order): Harrison Butker, Tyler Bass, Jake Elliott, Jason Sanders, Brandon Aubrey, and Jake Moody.
Any other kicker is, in my opinion, expendable for anyone with a better matchup this week.
Results To Date
To date, Rent-a-Kicker has made twenty weekly recommendations. Those twenty kickers have averaged 7.95 points, compared to 6.82 in 2022, 8.45 in 2021, 7.39 in 2020, and 7.39 in 2019. That average would currently rank 13th at the position (though many of the players ahead have spent significant time on waivers, as well). Our top weekly recommendation averages 7.5 points per game, while all recommended "great plays" average 9.0. The former figure would rank 13th, the latter figure would rank 8th.
If you've been following along, you should expect to have scored between 30 (the average of our top picks) and 36 points (the average of all our great plays). Here are the Top 12 kickers by preseason ADP as well as how many points they would have gotten you (giving a 6-point bonus for any weeks they may have missed): Justin Tucker (23), Daniel Carlson (18), Harrison Butker (35), Tyler Bass (43), Evan McPherson (25), Younghoe Koo (26), Jason Meyers (37), Jake Elliott (48), Cameron Dicker (30), Graham Gano (16), Brandon McManus (32), Matt Gay (27). Our streaming amalgam has outscored 9 of the Top 12 kickers by preseason ADP as well as the overall average of all drafted kickers (30 points).
Week 5 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