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Fantasy Football Kicker Primer Week 12 (2019)

by Andrew Swanson | @FFtoday_Andy | Featured Writer
Nov 19, 2019

Week 11 of the 2019 NFL season will be remembered as the week of the comeback, with the Vikings, Cowboys, and 49ers all overcoming substantial early deficits to win their respective matchups. Kirk Cousins led the Vikings with three second-half touchdowns to beat the Broncos, and Jimmy Garoppolo led the Niners back from a 16-point margin to the Cardinals to keep San Francisco’s goal of the No.1 seed in the NFC alive.

It should also be remembered as the worst week of the season for fantasy kickers. Only four kickers managed to hit double digits in fantasy points, with the top two kickers on the week owned in fewer than 5% of fantasy leagues. By comparison, there have been five weeks this season with at least ten kickers scoring ten or more fantasy points.

If you were lucky enough to own heavily owned kickers like Will Lutz and Justin Tucker who scored well above their peers, chances are you had a considerable advantage at the position over your opponent.

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Week 11 Stud Performances from widely available kickers

Stephen Hauschka (BUF) @ Miami: 5% ownership on Yahoo
Chances are if you are on the Buffalo Bills, you had a pretty decent fantasy game on Sunday. That holds true for Hauschka, who made four extra points and three field goals, including a 50-yarder to finish with 15 fantasy points. Before you go out and place a waiver claim on him, keep in mind that Sunday’s monster game is only the second game of over 15 points for Hauschka, and the veteran kicker also has two games of zero fantasy points. I do like him this week at home against Denver, as Haushka has his best K Score of the year in this matchup.

Brandon McManus (DEN) Minnesota: 2% ownership on Yahoo
The Broncos nearly knocking off the Vikings in Minnesota was one of the biggest surprises of the season. It was a shock to see Brandon Allen play as well as he did against Mike Zimmer’s defense, and the impressive offensive performance by Denver created a positive game flow for Brandon McManus to score 12 fantasy points. McManus hit three of four attempts and all both extra points, and he would have finished as the No.1 kicker had he made a 47-yard attempt late in the second half.

Week 11 Dud Performances from heavily-owned kickers

Greg Zuerlein (LAR) vs. Chicago: 96% ownership on Yahoo
As the Rams offense continues to struggle, the dominance of Greg Zuerlein as fantasy football’s top kicker appears to be over. Greg the Leg now has three dud performances in a row and four in his last five games. It may be tough for owners to move on, but as we approach playoff time, Zuerlein is not the player he once was and is not getting the same opportunities as in years past.

Joey Slye (CAR) vs. Atlanta: 79% ownership on Yahoo
The last four weeks have been tough for Slye owners, with the rookie kicker for the Panthers posting four straight games of six or fewer fantasy points. The volume and opportunity have not been there with the Panthers losing three of those four games, and game flow continues to kill Slye’s chances of making fantasy points. It may be time to move on to a kicker playing on a team with a more competent offense and a defense that won’t put him in as many negative game scripts.

Kicker Rankings

Rank ECR Name TEAM Opponent Spread O/U OPP RZ D RZ EFF* OFF RNK  K Score** Weather
1 1 Justin Tucker BAL at LAR -3 49 19 25 2 46 TBD
2 2 Wil Lutz NO vs. CAR -7 48 32 10 14 56 Dome
3 7 Greg Zuerlein LAR vs. BAL 3 49 6 17 13 36 TBD
4 3 Younghoe Koo ATL vs. TB -3 55 21 13 10 44 Dome
5 4 Ka’imi Fairbairn HOU vs. IND -5.5 47 10 26 7 43 Dome
6 5 Matt Gay TB at ATL 3 55 24 21 6 51 Dome
7 15 Chase McLaughlin SF vs. GB -3 44 7 8 5 20 64 Clear 4 mph winds
8 6 Matt Prater DET at WAS -1.5 41 17 18 8 43 44F 11 mph winds
9 16 Brett Maher DAL at NE 7 47 3 15 1 19 38F 4 mph winds
10 8 Nick Folk NE vs. DAL -7 47 8 7 16 31 38F 4 mph winds
11 11 Stephen Hauschka BUF vs. DEN -5.5 35 2 5 19 26 34F  9 mph winds
12 18 Mason Crosby GB at SF 3 44 1 30 17 48 64 Clear 4 mph winds
13 9 Jason Myers SEA at PHI 3 49 20 28 4 52 46 9 mph winds
14 10 Austin Seibert CLE vs. MIA -9 45 16 11 22 49 36F 12 mph winds
15 12 Joey Slye CAR at NO 7 48 15 14 18 47 Dome
16 13 Daniel Carlson OAK at NYJ -3 47 29 16 11 56 45F Clear 7 mph winds
17 14 Chris Boswell PIT at CIN -7 40 5 4 28 37 37F Clear 7 mph winds
18 17 Josh Lambo JAC at TEN 2.5 41 27 1 12 40 54F Clear 6 mph winds
19 19 Jake Elliott PHI vs. SEA 1.5 41 12 23 23 58 46 9 mph winds
20 20 Adam Vinatieri IND at HOU 5.5 47 30 24 21 75 Dome
21 21 Ryan Succop TEN vs. JAC -2.5 41 18 31 26 75 54F Clear 6 mph winds
22 22 Eddy Pineiro CHI vs. NYG -7 41 9 22 30 61 36F 12 mph winds
23 23 Jason Sanders MIA at CLE 9 45 25 19 29 73 36F 7 mph winds
24 24 Sam Ficken NYJ vs. OAK 3 47 31 20 32 83 45F Clear 7 mph winds
25 25 Aldrick Rosas NYG at CHI 7 41 11 12 24 47 34F  10 mph winds
26 26 Brandon McManus DEN at BUF 5.5 35 23 5 25 53 34F  10 mph winds
27 27 Dustin Hopkins WAS vs. DET 1.5 41 28 1 31 60 44F 11 mph winds
28 28 Randy Bullock CIN vs. PIT 7 40 14 2 27 43 37F Clear 7 mph winds

 
*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 12.

Brett Maher (DAL) @ New England: 82% Ownership on Yahoo
The fantasy community has Maher ranked outside the top 12 ECR presumably because of a tough road tilt against the Pats. While I see the logic, Maher’s K Score of 19 is the best of any player all season and indicates he is in line for a big game. This could be more of a field goal game than Vegas anticipates based on the 47-point over-under, and I like both kickers in this game to score double digits in fantasy points.

Chase McLaughlin/Robbie Gould (SF) vs. Green Bay: 5% ownership on Yahoo
It is tough to trust a rookie kicker, especially one like McLaughlin, who burned fantasy owners two weeks ago when he shanked a would-be game-winning 47-yard kick against the Seahawks. This is a leap of faith for some, but McLaughlin’s K Sore and a matchup against the Packers suggests he should be in line for multiple field goal opportunities against the Packers. The 49ers defense should keep Jimmy G and the offense in the game and the bend but don’t break Packers defense should limit 49er red zone opportunities to field goals.

Prediction Review

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.

Zane Gonzalez (ARI) @ San Francisco: 80% Ownership on Yahoo
ECR Rank: 13
My Rank: 9
Week 11 Finnish: 9

A strong performance by the Arizona offense against the vaunted 49ers defense game Gonzo more than enough of an opportunity to finish as a top-10 kicker this week. Gonzo made both of his field-goal opportunities but shanked his first extra point on the year. The net loss of two fantasy points on the missed extra point cost Gonzalez a shot as a top-5 play this week.

Austin Seibert (CLE) vs. Pittsburgh: 6% ownership on Yahoo
ECR Rank: 20
My Rank: 11
Week 11 Finish: Tied for 23

The K score is designed to predict field goal and extra point opportunity for a player. In the case fo Seibert, who missed two field goal changes that would have given him ten fantasy points on the day along with his three extra points. The K score worked, but Seibert choked on his chances and finished as a bust.

Waiver Wired

Top Add

Mason Crosby (GB): 35% ownership on Yahoo
Crosby is the must-add kicker of the week with the Packers returning from their bye to take on the 49ers in San Francisco. Crosby provides a nice average floor of six points with three games of over ten fantasy points on his resume this year. Both kickers in this matchup present above-average K Scores.

Other Player to Consider

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Andrew Swanson is a correspondent at FantasyPros. For more from Andrew, check out his archive or follow him @FFtoday_Andy.

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