Fantasy Football Kicker Primer Week 11 (2019)
This week, 23-year-old kicker Chase McLaughlin learned that life comes at you pretty fast in the National Football League. With a 47-yard field goal as time expired in regulation, the undrafted rookie from the University of Illinois was the hero of the night for the 49ers, filling in for the injured Robbie Gould.
McLaughlin would get another chance at a 47-yard field goal, in the same direction and at nearly the same spot as his game-tying kick just ten minutes prior. This time, McLaughlin shanked the kick so far left it almost hit a man standing in the tunnel in the corner of the end zone.
Assuming Gould returns to the team this week, that is likely the last play with the 49ers for McLaughlin, closing the book on his fourth team in just one year in the league.
The life of a kicker.
Week 10 Stud Performances from widely available kickers
Younghoe Koo (ATL) at New Orleans: 0% ownership on Yahoo
Koo made all four field-goal attempts on the day in his first game as the starting kicker for the Falcons. After a rough rookie stint with the Chargers in which he made just 50% of his kicks, Koo is getting a second chance with the Falcons and could be an interesting kicker down the stretch. The Falcons do have a top-15 offense in yards-per-game, and they rank in the middle of the pack in red-zone efficiency. The biggest reasons why Matt Bryant struggled this season is a lack of accuracy and lack of opportunity presented by negative game scripts. If the defense can play as they did against the Saints, those negative game scripts won’t be as prevalent, and Koo could be a sneaky good kicker for the playoff run.
Jason Sanders (MIA) at Indianapolis: 0% ownership on Yahoo
In a week of shocking upsets, the Dolphins going into Lucas Oil Stadium and beating the Colts might be the biggest of all. The low scoring game and the struggles by the Colts to score against one of the worst defenses in the league created an opportunity for Sanders to score 13 fantasy points on three for three field-goal attempts and an extra point. This is a nice showing by one of the more underrated kickers in the league, but I would not chase Sanders as he will continue to be up and down.
Sam Ficken (NYJ) vs. N.Y. Giants: 1% ownership on Yahoo
Ficken posted his second consecutive 12-point game this week in the Jets’ 34-27 win over the Giants. As New York continues a nice stretch of games against bottom-tier teams like Miami, the Giants, and Washington, Ficken has been the beneficiary of high scoring games and positive game scripts for kicking, something that eluded him for most of the season. As long as the game scripts continue, he will likely be a top-12 kicker and is an interesting add in deeper leagues.
Week 10 Dud Performances from heavily-owned kickers
Greg Zuerlein (LAR) at Pittsburgh: 97% ownership on Yahoo
Greg the Leg has been more like Greg the Dud over this last two games, with six and four fantasy points against the Bengals and Steelers. I would not panic on Zuerlein based on what projects to be a great kicking opportunity this week, but it is hard not to be a little worried now that Zuerlein has three subpar games in his last four.
|Rank||ECR||Name||TEAM||Opponent||Spread||O/U||OPP RZ D||RZ EFF*||OFF RNK||K Score**||Weather|
|1||1||Wil Lutz||NO||at TB||-5||51||19||8||14||41||70F 9 mph wind|
|2||2||Harrison Butker||KC||at LAC||-3||49||17||7||3||27||TBD|
|3||3||Justin Tucker||BAL||vs. HOU||-5||49||30||27||2||59||43F 6 mph wind|
|4||4||Greg Zuerlein||LAR||vs. CHI||-7.5||42||11||17||12||40||81F 5 mph wind|
|5||11||Dan Bailey||MIN||vs. DEN||-10.5||39||2||25||8||35||Dome|
|6||5||Brett Maher||DAL||at DET||-2.5||52||28||15||1||44||Dome|
|7||7||Matt Gay||TB||vs. NO||7||54||16||23||7||46||43F 6 mph wind|
|8||8||Michael Badgley||LAC||vs. KC||3||49||20||10||16||46||TBD|
|9||12||Zane Gonzalez||ARI||at SF||-14||44||1||1||18||20||73F 2 mph wind|
|10||6||Joey Slye||CAR||vs. ATL||-7||54||27||21||21||69||43F 6 mph wind|
|11||20||Austin Seibert||CLE||vs. PIT||-3||42||9||6||19||34||36F 10 mph wind|
|12||21||Josh Lambo||JAC||at IND||3.5||44||12||2||11||25||Dome|
|13||9||Ka’imi Fairbairn||HOU||at BAL||5||49||7||26||4||37||43F 6 mph wind|
|14||10||Daniel Carlson||OAK||vs. CIN||-8||49||5||20||13||38||72F 2 mph wind|
|15||14||Matt Prater||DET||vs. DAL||2.5||52||3||14||6||23||Dome|
|16||13||Robbie Gould||SF||vs. ARI||14||44||24||9||9||42||73F 2 mph wind|
|17||15||Stephen Hauschka||BUF||at MIA||-7.5||39||21||30||23||74||77F 12 mph wind|
|18||16||Chris Boswell||PIT||at CLE||3||42||23||4||28||55||36F 10 mph wind|
|19||17||Nick Folk||NE||at PHI||-3||46||25||11||15||51||47F 8 mph wind|
|20||18||Jake Elliott||PHI||vs. NE||3||46||4||24||20||48||47F 8 mph wind|
|21||19||Adam Vinatieri||IND||vs. JAC||-3.5||44||14||19||22||55||Dome|
|22||20||Younghoe Koo||ATL||at CAR||7||54||32||16||10||58||43F 6 mph wind|
|23||22||Eddy Pineiro||CHI||at LAR||7.5||42||18||22||29||69||81F 5 mph wind|
|24||23||Randy Bullock||CIN||at OAK||8||49||29||0||26||55||72F 2 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 10.
Zane Gonzalez (ARI) at San Francisco: 80% ownership on Yahoo
A five-point showing two weeks ago against the 49ers caused more than a few owners to move on from Gonzo, despite five double-digit performances in his last six games. Gonzo came through with 11 points last week against the Bucs, and his elite K Score of 20 indicates that he will have another double-digit game this week.
Austin Seibert (CLE) vs. Pittsburgh: 6% ownership on Yahoo
Like Daniel Carlson last week, the pick of Austin Seibert against the Steelers on Thursday Night Football will take a bit of a leap of faith. Although I am a bit worried about the cold weather conditions, Seibert has average nine fantasy points in his last three games, and I like what I saw from the offense last week against Buffalo.
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.
Jason Myers (SEA) at San Francisco: 86% ownership on Yahoo
ECR Rank: 13
My Rank: 8
Week 10 Finish: Tied for 6
Myers did what Chase McLaughlin could not do on Monday Night, which was kick the game-winning field goal to give his team the victory. Myers had two long field goals and three extra points on the night to finish with 11 fantasy points. The former Jet and Jaguar now has double-digit fantasy production in three of his last four games, and he should be solid waiver claim on the Seahawks’ bye in Week 11.
Daniel Carlson (OAK) vs. L.A. Chargers: 6% ownership on Yahoo
ECR Rank: 16
My Rank: 12
Week 10 Finish: Tied for 11
Carlson technically finished as a K1 for the week, but he was a disappointment based on the fact that he missed a 50-yard attempt that would have made him a top-5 kicker on the week. His K score indicated that he was in line for a top 12 performance, and that came to fruition, but it is hard not to think of the five fantasy points he left on the table with his missed kick and a missed extra point.
Matt Gay (TB) vs. New Orleans: 51% ownership on Yahoo
Gay has three games in a row of at least ten fantasy points and now gets to host the Saints and then a road matchup against the Falcons. He is a must-add and should be a top-10 kicker this week.
Other players to consider:
Younghoe Koo (ATL) at Carolina: 7% ownership on Yahoo