Fantasy Football Kicker Primer Week 8 (2019)
Brett Maher made history on Sunday Night Football, booting a 63-yard field goal to end the first half against the Eagles. Maher is the only player in NFL history to kick three field goals of at least 60 yards in his career. Perhaps more impressive is the next-gen stats on the NBC broadcast indicated that the kick would have been good from 68 yards.
Maher would finish the week as the No. 1 kicker in fantasy, with 15 points on three field goals and four extra points. For the third time this season, ten different kickers posted ten or more fantasy points, including two kickers, Stephen Hauschka and Chase McLaughlin, who are owned in less than 6% of Yahoo leagues.
For the fourth time in seven weeks, Greg “the Leg” Zuerlein finished with at least 11 fantasy points and the second time this season in which he scored 14 points for his owners. Zuerlein continues to benefit from Jared Goff and the Rams offense struggling to convert drives into touchdowns and should be a top fantasy performer for the rest of the season.
Week 8 Stud Performances from Widely Available Kickers
Stephen Hauschka (BUF) vs. Miami: 5% ownership on Yahoo
Hauschka’s low ownership and start rate are not surprising, considering he scored four or fewer points in half of his games up to this point. He does not get enough volume to make him a viable weekly starter, and it was somewhat of a surprise that he put up 13 points this week against a Dolphins team that many thought Buffalo would steamroll. He will be an interesting play this week at home against a Philly team that can be beaten in the air.
Chase McLaughlin (LAC) @ Tennessee: 1% ownership on Yahoo
The rookie kicker for the Chargers posted his first career game of double-digit fantasy points in Los Angeles’ shocking loss on the road to the Titans. The Chargers are not a great team right now defensively, as evident to the fact that they made Ryan Tannehill look like a viable quarterback on Sunday. McLaughlin is an interesting streamer in certain matchups, but he could lose his starting role at any time when Michael Badgley returns to the field.
Brandon McManus (DEN) vs. Tennessee: 5% ownership on Yahoo
The big-legged kicker for the Broncos made three field goals in Denver’s 16-0 win at home over the Titans. McManus now has ten or more points in three of his six games and could evolve into a streaming option if the Denver offense becomes more efficient in moving the ball between the 20s. I anticipate a negative game script will make McManus a risky start against the Chiefs this Thursday Night, but I would be open to starting him on the road against the Colts Week 9.
Josh Lambo (JAX) @ Cincinnati: 46% ownership on Yahoo
Lambo kicked four field goals and an extra point to finish as the third-ranked kicker this week behind only Maher and Zuerlein. I have been writing for weeks about how the fantasy industry has yet to come around on Lambo despite the fact that he ranked in the top three in fantasy points scored this year on the season. Lambo’s floor is six points, and he has eight or more fantasy points in all but two games. What are people waiting for? Pick him up and put him in your lineup, especially against Jets and Texans the next two weeks.
Week 7 Dud Performances from Heavily-Owned Kickers
Mason Crosby (GB) vs. Oakland: 75% ownership on Yahoo
Aaron Rodgers delivered the best fantasy performance of his Hall of Fame career, posting six total touchdowns and a perfect passer rating. The negative effect of Rodgers’ fantastic performance was the lack of field goal opportunities for kicker Mason Crosby, who finished the game with six points on six extra points and zero field goal attempts. It was a nice floor for Crosby owners, but not exactly what you would like when the team puts up over 40 points on the day.
|Rank||ECR||Name||TEAM||Opponent||Spread||O/U||OPP RZ D||RZ EFF*||OFF RNK||K Score**||Weather|
|1||1||Greg Zuerlein||LAR||vs. CIN||-9||47||4||21||12||37||57F 5 mph wind|
|2||4||Matt Prater||DET||vs. NYG||-7.5||49||8||19||8||35||Dome|
|3||3||Harrison Butker||KC||vs. GB||-4||48||12||8||3||23||49F 10 mph wind|
|4||7||Robbie Gould||SF||vs. CAR||-6.5||42||23||3||7||33||74F 3 mph wind|
|5||13||Josh Lambo||JAC||vs. NYJ||-4||41||29||0||9||38||81F 8 mph wind|
|6||5||Mike Nugent||NE||vs. CLE||-11||47||26||13||10||49||55F 6 mph wind|
|7||6||Mason Crosby||GB||at KC||4||48||11||27||11||49||49F 10 mph wind|
|8||2||Jason Myers||SEA||at ATL||-3||54||27||24||5||56||Dome|
|9||8||Zane Gonzalez||ARI||at NO||-7.5||48||25||1||18||44||Dome|
|10||14||Joey Slye||CAR||at SF||6.5||42||2||18||20||40||74F 3 mph wind|
|11||9||Stephen Hauschka||BUF||vs. PHI||-1.5||42||17||30||17||64||53F 9 mph wind|
|12||10||Wil Lutz||NO||vs. ARI||7.5||48||14||9||19||42||Dome|
|13||11||Dan Bailey||MIN||vs. WAS||-14||’40||13||31||1||45||Dome|
|14||12||Ka’imi Fairbairn||HOU||vs. OAK||-6.5||48||31||28||4||63||Dome|
|15||26||Chase McLaughlin||LAC||at CHI||5.5||41||16||7||14||37||57F 10 mph wind|
|16||15||Aldrick Rosas||NYG||at DET||7.5||49||18||12||24||54||Dome|
|17||16||Jake Elliott||PHI||at BUF||1.5||4.2||24||22||23||69||53F 9 mph wind|
|18||17||Matt Bryant||ATL||vs. SEA||-3||54||9||29||16||54||Dome|
|19||18||Eddy Pineiro||CHI||vs. LAC||-5.5||41||28||25||30||83||57F 10 mph wind|
|20||19||Chris Boswell||PIT||vs. MIA||-16||43||32||4||28||64||TBD|
|21||20||Adam Vinatieri||IND||vs. DEN||-5||44||3||26||22||51||Dome|
|22||21||Brandon McManus||DEN||at IND||5||44||19||6||25||50||Dome|
|23||22||Matt Gay||TB||at TEN||2.5||47||21||14||15||50||67F 6 mph wind|
|24||23||Sam Ficken||NYJ||at JAC||4||41||7||10||32||49||81F 8 mph wind|
|25||24||Daniel Carlson||OAK||at HOU||6.5||48||30||16||13||59||Dome|
|26||25||Cody Parkey||TEN||vs. TB||-2.5||47||15||20||26||61||67F 6 mph wind|
|27||27||Randy Bullock||CIN||at LAR||9||47||22||2||27||51||57F 5 mph wind|
*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 8.
Joey Slye (CAR) @ San Francisco: 42% Ownership on Yahoo
The 49ers and their defense have been one of the biggest surprises this season. Even the most diehard Niners fans would tell you that they did not see a 6-0 start to the season as something in the cards when the 2019 campaign kicked off. That stout defense does an excellent job limiting touchdown scoring drives and gives up the second-fewest red zone touchdowns. I like the 49ers to win this game, limiting Kyle Allen and Christian McCaffrey to field goals and not a ton of TDs.
Josh Lambo (JAX) vs. NY Jets: 68% ownership on Yahoo
I hate to sound like a broken record, but Josh Lambo is an excellent fantasy kicker and should be ranked much higher in the consensus ECR. The Jags boast a top 10 offense in average yards per game but rank dead last in red-zone efficiency. This has been the case for most of the season and a big reason why Lambo is the No.3 kicker on the season. As long as he is ranked out of the top 10 ECR, I will have him on this list.
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.
Matt Prater (DET) vs. Minnesota: 22% ownership on Yahoo
ECR Rank: 18
My Rank: 7
Week 7 Finish: tied 13
Prater came through with seven fantasy points and would have been a top 12 kicker most weeks. He nailed a 48-yard field goal and made all three of his extra-point attempts, as the Lions were more effective in scoring touchdowns against the Vikings than I anticipated. Prater owners were likely happy with the floor he provided.
Josh Lambo (JAX) @ Cincinnati: 39% Ownership on Yahoo
ECR Rank: 16
My Rank: 9
Week 7 Finish: 3
Lambo kicked four field goals against the Bengals to finish with 13 fantasy points on the day. It was the third time this season the Jags kicker has topped ten fantasy points. He owns the top K Score on the season right now and has entered set-it-and-forget-it territory.
Joey Slye (CAR): 42% ownership on Yahoo
Most owners dropped Slye over the bye week instead of keeping two kickers. Now that Carolina is back and they take on the tough San Francisco defense, Slye should be picked back up and played in what has the makings for a big fantasy kicker performance.
Other players to consider:
Stephen Hauschka (BUF) vs. Philadelphia: 5% ownership on Yahoo