Fantasy Football Kicker Primer: Week 3 (2019)
Rookie kicker Joey Slye kicked four field goals against the Bucs on Thursday Night Football, including two 50-yard attempts to finish as the No. 1 fantasy kicker for the week. The former Virginia Tech Hokie who went undrafted in 2018 has been a stud streaming option so far in the young season, with double-digit fantasy points in each of his first two games with the Panthers.
Another rookie kicker, Eddy Pineiro of the Chicago Bears, shined on Sunday with three field goals against the Broncos, including a game-winning 52-yard attempt as time expired. Pineiro is four-for-four on the season, giving Bears fans hope that the team has finally solved their kicker dilemma that has plagued the franchise since Robbie Gould left.
On a negative note, future Hall of Fame kicker Adam Vinatieri continues to struggle for the Colts with two more missed extra points. Vinatieri refused to speak with reporters after the game with the intention of holding a press conference on Monday to presumably announce his retirement. Instead, head coach Frank Reich told reporters the team has the utmost faith in Vinatieri and insists the 23-year old vet is still their kicker.
Week 2 Strong Performances from Widely-Available Kickers
Joey Slye (CAR) vs. Tampa Bay: 12% ownership on Yahoo
Slye led all kickers with 16 fantasy points this week by hitting two 40-yard field goals and two over 50-yards for a struggling Carolina Panther offense. The Panthers have converted just 50% of their red-zone trips over the first two games despite moving the ball reasonably well between the 20s (347 yards per game). Let Cam Newton’s struggles benefit your team by adding Slye as a streaming kicker this week against the Cardinals on Sunday.
Eddy Pineiro (CHI) @ Denver: 1% ownership on Yahoo
Not to be outdone by his fellow rookie Joey Slye, Eddy Pineiro came through in the clutch for a struggling Bears offense that ranks 30th out of 32 in total offense through the first two weeks of the year. The 24-year-old former Florida Gator has made all four field-goal attempts on the season but isn’t worth a pick up until Matt Nagy, and Mitchell Trubisky gets the Chicago offense on track.
Zane Gonzalez (ARI) @ Washington: 3% ownership on Yahoo
Gonzalez has been excellent for fantasy owners so far in 2019 with 23 points in his first two games against the Ravens and the Panthers. Kyler Murray and the Arizona offense has posted two consecutive games of at least 300 passing yards but ranks second to last in red-zone efficiency. I like Gonzalez again this week to put up at least two field goals at home against the Panthers, making Gonzo a sneaky streaming option.
Week 2 Dud Performances from Heavily-Owned Kickers
Stephen Gostkowski (NE) @ Miami: 100% ownership on Yahoo
Gostkowski is one of two 100% owned kickers who disappointed fantasy owners this week due to superb offensive performances by their respective teams. In my kicker draft primer, I wrote about the pros and cons of owning a kicker on two-tier offenses, in that they provide a solid floor of extra point production but often come up short in total fantasy points for the week due to no field goal attempts. That is what happened to Gostkowski this week, as the Patriots manhandled the hapless Dolphins.
Harrison Butker (KC) @ Oakland: 100% ownership on Yahoo
Butker made all four extra-point attempts in Kansas City’s 28-10 win over the Raiders in Oakland on Sunday. Sunday marks the fourth time since Week 1 of 2018 in which Butker did not attempt a field goal due to the Chiefs offense under Patrick Mahomes succeeding at scoring in the red zone and on long touchdown passes. With the likelihood of the Chiefs getting shutout slim, Butker will always give fantasy owners a decent floor of extra-point attempts. But he can also be a bit frustrating at times, with six or fewer points during those games without a field goal attempt.
|Rank||ECR||Name||TEAM||Opponent||Spread||O/U||OPP RZ D||RZ EFF*||OFF RNK||K Score**||Weather|
|1||3||Harrison Butker||KC||vs. BAL||-6||52||9||5||3||17||72 Partly Cloudy, 9 mph winds|
|2||5||Justin Tucker||BAL||at KC||6||52||7||16||1||24||72 Partly Cloudy, 9 mph winds|
|3||1||Stephen Gostkowski||NE||vs. NYJ||-22.5||48||19||8||5||32||79 Clear, 7 mph winds|
|4||2||Brett Maher||DAL||vs. MIA||-16||47||25||27||2||54||Dome|
|5||4||Greg Zuerlein||LAR||at CLE||-2.5||51||16||19||13||48||78 Mostly Cloudy, 11 mph winds|
|6||13||Zane Gonzalez||ARI||vs. CAR||3||44||20||1||12||33||Dome|
|7||6||Robbie Gould||SF||vs. PIT||-7||47||10||4||7||21||85F Partly Cloudy, Light Winds|
|8||8||Ka’imi Fairbairn||HOU||at LAC||4||49||21||24||21||66||84F, Overcast, 6 mph winds|
|9||9||Jake Elliott||PHI||vs. DET||-7||50||5||13||14||32||85F Partly Cloudy, Light Winds|
|10||10||Jason Myers||SEA||vs. NO||-5||45||18||30||24||72||60F, Light Rain, Light Winds|
|11||26||Aldrick Rosas||NYG||at TB||-3||44||3||18||6||27||89F, Partly Cloudy, 11 mph winds|
|12||11||Joey Slye||CAR||at ARI||-3||44||12||14||19||45||Dome|
|13||7||Mason Crosby||GB||vs. DEN||-6.5||44||27||25||29||81||69F, Light Rain, 14 mph winds|
|14||12||Matt Prater||DET||at PHI||5||45||15||22||8||45||85F Partly Cloudy, Light Winds|
|15||20||Wil Lutz||NO||at SEA||5||45||13||6||10||29||60F, Light Rain, Light Winds|
|16||24||Brandon McManus||DEN||at GB||6.5||44||2||2||16||20||69F, Light Rain, 14 mph winds|
|17||14||Matt Bryant||ATL||at IND||-2||48||28||10||17||55||Dome|
|18||28||Michael Badgley||LAC||vs. HOU||-4||49||14||15||4||33||84F, Overcast, 6 mph winds|
|19||15||Austin Seibert||CLE||vs. LAR||2.5||51||26||23||15||64||78 Mostly Cloudy, 11 mph winds|
|20||16||Steven Hauschka||BUF||vs. CIN||-4||41||23||31||9||63||77F, Partly Cloudy, 10 mph winds|
|21||17||Dan Bailey||MIN||vs. OAK||-7||43||6||20||20||46||Dome|
|22||18||Eddy Pineiro||CHI||at WAS||-5||43||22||11||30||63||TBD|
|23||19||Matt Gay||TB||vs. NYG||-4||49||30||3||26||59||89F, Partly Cloudy, 11 mph winds|
|24||21||Cairo Santos||TEN||at JAC||-1.5||49||8||29||27||64||76F, Mostly Cloudy, 14 mph winds|
|25||22||Dustin Hopkins||WAS||vs. CHI||5||43||11||26||25||62||TBD|
|26||23||Josh Lambo||JAC||vs. TEN||1.5||49||32||7||18||57||76F, Mostly Cloudy, 14 mph winds|
|27||25||Adam Vinatieri||IND||vs. ATL||2||48||17||28||22||67||Dome|
|28||27||Randy Bullock||CIN||at BUF||4||41||31||0||11||42||77F, Partly Cloudy, 10 mph winds|
|29||29||Daniel Carlson||OAK||at MIN||7||43||29||17||22||68||Dome|
|30||30||Chris Boswell||PIT||at SF||7||47||4||21||28||53||85F Partly Cloudy, Light Winds|
|31||31||Sam Ficken||NYJ||at NE||22.5||48||1||12||31||44||79 Clear, 7 mph winds|
|32||32||Jason Sanders||MIA||at DAL||16||47||24||9||32||65||Dome|
*Red Zone Efficiency is based on the inverse of how well the kicker’s offense does in the red zone. For example, the Ravens rank second in red zone efficiency; therefore Justin Tucker has a RZ EFF score of 31. The lower number, the better for kickers, as playing on a team that struggles to score touchdowns in the red zone equates to more field goal opportunities.
**The K Score is the sum of a player’s opponent red zone, the red zone efficiency of his offense, and the overall rank of his respective team in terms of total yards. A low score indicates that a kicker has variables working in his favor for a good fantasy kicking performance.
Kicker rankings are based on numerous factors, including matchups, Vegas lines and score projections, weather conditions, the ability of a kicker’s team offense and their ability to move the ball into field goal range, offensive red zone efficiency, and how well the opposing defense limits touchdowns in the red zone. These factors are a guide, but not a definitive way to predict kicking success, as other variables and negative game scripts significantly impact the outcome.
Based on all of the variables mentioned above, the following two kickers are players ranked outside of the FantasyPros ECR top 10 who could be an excellent play Week 3.
Zane Gonzalez (ARI): 4% Ownership on Yahoo
Just like Ka’imi Fairbairn last season, fantasy football owners are not buying into the early success of Zane Gonzalez despite two double-digit performances to start the year. Like Fairbairn last season, Gonzo has K Score variables working in his favor, with the Kyler Murray-run offense ranking in the top 12 in yards per game, but struggling to convert drives into touchdowns in the red zone as the 19th ranked team based on red-zone efficiency. As long as this trend continues and Murray has a home game in the dome, Gonzalez will likely be a top 10 kicker.
Aldrick Rosas (NYG): 12% ownership on Yahoo
Rosas has been a fantasy dud up to this point due to the fact that the Giants offense struggled to move the ball against the Cowboys and Bills, two fairly strong defensive units. Eli Manning has been replaced by rookie Daniel Jones, and the Tampa Bay Bucs defense has been surprisingly strong so far this season. I anticipate Jones will move the ball well but struggle in the red zone like most young quarterbacks.
Each week I suggest two kickers ranked outside the FantasyPros ECR top 10 who I believe will be solid performers based on the variables described in the K Score section. The following is a review of my picks from the previous week to see where I was successful and where I missed the mark.
Randy Bullock (CIN): vs. San Francisco
ECR Rank: 24
My Rank: 13
Week 10 Finish: Tied #15
A negative game script created by the 49ers blowing out the Bengals negated the value of Randy Bullock in this matchup, as the Bengals gave up 41 points on the road to a team that managed just one offensive touchdown against the Bucs in Week 1. Bullock did come through with five points and beat his ECR rank by 11, but he did not garner the opportunity I expected based on his elite K Score.
Chris Boswell (PIT): vs. Seahawks
ECR Rank: 18
My Rank: 12
Week 9 Finish: Tied #5
Boswell made two field goals and two extra points to finish tied for the No.5 kicker of the week. The K Score logic proved to be correct with Boswell, as the Steelers offense continues to struggle and the Seahawks defense held Big Ben/Mason Rudolph to two total touchdowns. I am not sure if Boswell will continue to be a viable option with Rudolph running the offense for the rest of the season. But we will know more after a few weeks of data becomes available.
Zane Gonzalez (ARI) vs. Carolina: 3% ownership on Yahoo
Gonzalez has everything in line for a solid game this week, as he plays for a top-12 offense that ranks second to last in red-zone efficiency. As long as Kyler Murray continues to move the ball well between the 20s, Zane is going to be a top-12 kicker. Add him now before it is too late.
Other players to consider:
Joey Slye (CAR) @ Arizona 13% ownership on Yahoo