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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 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 7 Results
Jake Moody (1 FG attempt, 1 FG, 2 XPs, 5 points)
Moody (or, more accurately, the San Francisco 49ers offense) was having a truly disastrous day through the first three quarters, with only 14 points against a middling Vikings defense. The 4th quarter didn't really improve things for the offense, but at least it brought a 55-yard field goal attempt for Moody, who made it to finish with five points, tied for 17th in a rough week for kickers overall.
Jason Sanders (1 FG attempt, 1 FG, 2 XPs, 5 points)
This was another disappointing day as Miami's offense didn't score after halftime (though the defense did record a touchdown). Sanders had an identical stat line to Moody and likewise finished 17th among kickers.
Anders Carlson (1 FG attempt, 1 FG, 2 XPs, 5 points)
Carlson gave us our third straight 1 field goal, 2 extra point day of the week. The Denver Broncos defense has been a great unit for struggling offenses to "get right" against, but Green Bay looked lost and Jordan Love's hot start is looking more and more like a fluke. Carlson once again finished tied for 17th.
Wil Lutz (4 FG attempts, 4 FGs, 1 XP, 13 points)
Between byes and bad matchups, our model expected last week to be a bad one for kickers, with only two great plays and five good plays to choose from-- which was borne out in the results, with only nine kickers scoring more than seven points and only six kickers reaching double digits. As a result, we had to dip into "neutral plays" for just the second and third time all season. It's a good thing we did because those kickers both went off, starting with Lutz, whose Broncos could only manage one touchdown in four trips to the red zone. Their loss was our gain, as Lutz's 13 points were the second-most of any kicker last week.
Dustin Hopkins (4 FG attempts, 4 FGs, 3 XPs, 15 points)
The only kicker who outscored Lutz last week was Hopkins. Cleveland's passing game has been a mess this season, and outside of a single long run, their rushing game wasn't any better this week. But thanks to four defensive turnovers and a blocked field goal, the Browns didn't need to move the ball to score, posting field goal "drives" of 0, 6, and 17 yards. Hopkins' 15 points led all kickers.
A Tip for Holding Kickers
In Week 4, 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, 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 35 weekly recommendations. Those 30 kickers have averaged 7.83 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 12th at the position (though many of the players ahead have spent significant time on waivers, as well). Our top weekly recommendation averages 6.82 points per game, while all recommended "great plays" average 8.25. The former figure would rank 10th, the latter figure would rank 16th.
If you've been following along, you should expect to have scored between 48 (the average of our top picks) and 57.8 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 (53), Daniel Carlson (42), Harrison Butker (64), Tyler Bass (52), Evan McPherson (46), Younghoe Koo (47), Jason Meyers (58), Jake Elliott (68), Cameron Dicker (46), Graham Gano (37), Brandon McManus (57), Matt Gay (54). Our streaming amalgam has outscored 5-9 of the Top 12 kickers by preseason ADP as well as the overall average of all drafted kickers (50.5 points).
Week 8 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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