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 10 RESULTS
Before getting into last week's results, (spoilers: it was a rough outing!), I wanted to make a note. Sometimes the reasons kickers are available cheaply is because they're bad. Bad kickers miss more kicks than good kickers. But the reason why we are content with budget kickers is that over a large sample, the difference between bad kickers and good kickers is tiny.
Over the last five years, 44 different kickers attempted 30 or more field goals. The 5th-best kicker, (Robbie Gould), converted 90.3% of his attempts. The 5th-worst kicker, (Nick Folk), converted 80.4%. That's the difference of maybe one extra miss every four or five games.
But over a small sample, all bets are off, and this week is the perfect example. The five kickers we highlighted combined to go 4 of 9 on field goal attempts and 8 of 10 on extra points. Every other kicker in the league combined to go 38 of 41 on field goal attempts and 62 of 63 on extra points.
Had our kickers hit their attempts at the same rate as the rest of the league, they'd have averaged 7 points this week. Instead, they averaged 4. These kinds of massive and consequential swings are a big reason why kickers are the most random and unpredictable position from week to week. Our process last week produced an awful result. But over the long run, the swings will even out and I'm confident the true value will shine through. On to the results:
Mike Badgley (2 FG attempts, 2 FGs, 2 XPs, 8 points)
The only one of last week's options to hold his own, Badgley scored 8 points for the Chargers, which ranked 11th overall but was still a major upgrade over the rest of the top streaming picks.
Cody Parkey (2 FG attempts, 0 FGs, 2 XPs, 2 points)
Cody Parkey accomplished a never-before-seen feat that would have been impressive... if it had been intentional. On just six kick attempts, (two field goals, four extra points), Parkey somehow managed to hit the uprights four times, and just like that, a potential 10-point outing turned into a 2-point nightmare.
Chandler Catanzaro (3 FG attempts, 1 FG, 0 XPs, 3 points)
Joining Parkey in the two-missed-field-goals club is Chandler Catanzaro, whose poor performance left him tied for 23rd and looking for a new team.
Giorgio Tavecchio (1 FG attempt, 1 FG, 1 XP, 4 points)
Tavecchio fell victim to a sputtering Falcons offense and a surprisingly potent Browns defense. He also lost out on an extra point attempt as Atlanta went for a desperation 2-point conversion late in the 4th quarter.
Adam Vinatieri (1 FG attempt, 0 FGs, 3 XPs, 3 points)
Proving that it isn't just bad kickers who miss kicks, Vinatieri missed a tough 52-yarder. He also had an extra point taken off the board by a defensive offside penalty; Indianapolis opted to attempt the shorter 2-point conversion after.
RESULTS TO DATE
To date, Rent-a-Kicker has made 53 weekly recommendations, (8 in week 1 before settling on the current 5-per-week format). Those 53 kickers have averaged 7.25 fantasy points per game, or about 73 points over the full year, which would rank 16th at the position (after pro-rating kickers who have already had their bye).
A 16th-place finish is misleading, however, because many of the kickers ahead of our amalgam were likely not actually used in fantasy for much of the year.
The top 12 kickers by preseason ADP were Stephen Gostkowski, Greg Zuerlein, Justin Tucker, Harrison Butker, Wil Lutz, Jake Elliott, Matt Bryant, Chris Boswell, Robbie Gould, Dan Bailey, Matt Prater, and Mason Crosby. Of those 12, just seven, (Gostkowski, Tucker, Butker, Lutz, Crosby, Gould, and Prater), have outperformed our Frankenkicker. Meaning someone who streamed kickers has probably gotten league-average results without investing a single resource at the position.
WEEK 11 SITUATIONS
**Since streaming kickers is so popular and rostered players can vary across leagues, here is a list of how favorable every kicker's situation is based on Vegas projected totals and stadium. Quality plays who are especially likely to be on waivers based on NFL.com roster percentages are italicized and will be highlighted in next week's column. Also, note that these rankings are kicker-agnostic; teams will occasionally change kickers mid-week, but any endorsements apply equally to whatever kicker winds up eventually getting the start.**
**Giorgio Tavecchio, Atl
**Adam Vinatieri, Ind
**Sebastian Janikowski, Sea
Aldrick Rosas, NYG
Cody Parkey, Chi
Ryan Succop, Ten
Matt Prater, Det
Randy Bullock, Cin
Phil Dawson, Ari
Brett Maher, Dal
Cairo Santos, TB
Daniel Carlson, Oak
Dan Bailey, Min
Ka'imi Fairbairn, Hou