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Fantasy Football Kicker Primer Week 16 (2019)

by Andrew Swanson | @FFtoday_Andy | Featured Writer
Dec 17, 2019

Saints kicker Wil Lutz has been one of the most valuable kickers in the league this season.

Lamar Jackson is the runaway favorite for the 2019 MVP award and the league-winning stud for those owners lucky enough to snag him in drafts this summer. Not only does Jackson lead the league in passing touchdowns with 33, but he also set the NFL record for rushing yards by a quarterback with 1,103 to go along with seven rushing touchdowns. Jackson has been the cheat code, no doubt, and chances are the guy who owns Jackson in your league is playing for a title this weekend.

For kickers, the fantasy MVP of the 2019 season goes to Wil Lutz of the New Orleans Saints. Although Lutz trails Harrison Butker by two points heading into the championship weekend, his consistency down the stretch provided owners with elite production with five consecutive weeks of at least 10 fantasy points.

With Justin Tucker stumbling with ten points combined in Weeks 14 and 15, and Butker failing to reach double figures in three of his last four games, Lutz was the gold standard for kickers at the most critical time of the year.

The breakout player of the year award goes to rookie Matt Gay of the Tampa Bay Bucs. The fifth-round pick from the University of Utah made 25 of 29 field-goal attempts and benefited from the high-flying Bucs offense with the second-most extra point attempts on the year.

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K Score Review

At the heart of my weekly kicker primer is the K Score, a metric that provides a numerical value for each kicker play based on multiple variables that go into predicting fantasy opportunity. The majority of experts who rank kickers each week simply rank players based on the offense the kicker plays on and the projected over/under by Vegas oddsmakers. While those two variables to factor into kicker success, the K Score goes far deeper to identify players ranked outside the top 10 ECR.

Using the K Score, I was able to successfully pick a player outside of the ECR Top 10 each week who finished as a K1 in all but two weeks this season. Five of the kickers that I identified finished as a top-five kicker that week, and the K Score game through with two weeks of identifying the No.1 kicker.

Hopefully, many of you were able to use some of the insight provided by this weekly series to make the playoffs and battle for a fantasy championship.

Week 16 Kicker Rankings:

Rank ECR Name TEAM Opponent Spread O/U OPP RZ D RZ EFF* OFF RNK K Score** Weather
1 3 Harrison Butker KC at CHI -4 45 15 7 5 27 37F, 7 mph wind
2 1 Justin Tucker BAL at CLE -7 49 20 28 2 50 35F, 7 mph wind
3 5 Robbie Gould SF vs. LAR -6.5 45 29 8 6 43 59F, 9 mph wind
4 2 Wil Lutz NO at TEN -3 51 30 11 9 50 48F, 4 mph wind
5 4 Matt Gay TB vs. HOU 3 53 32 23 3 58 73F, Light Rain, 18 mph wind
6 9 Younghoe Koo ATL vs. JAC -7 46 13 12 11 36 Dome
7 6 Jason Myers SEA vs. ARI -9.5 49 17 21 4 42 42, Overast 5 mph wind
8 7 Dan Bailey MIN vs. GB -4.5 47 5 27 10 42 Dome
9 12 Michael Badgley LAC vs. OAK -6.5 47 31 6 8 45 64F, 7 mph wind
10 8 Ka’imi Fairbairn HOU at TB -3 53 16 25 7 48 73F, Light Rain, 18 mph wind
11 15 Jason Sanders MIA vs. CIN -3 47 3 9 29 41 75F, Overcast 15 mph wind
12 10 Greg Zuerlein LAR at SF 6.5 45 11 19 12 42 59F, 9 mph wind
13 11 Nick Folk NE vs. BUF -7 39 19 5 18 42 30F, Overcast 2 mph wind
14 13 Jake Elliott PHI vs. DAL 2.5 48 9 26 15 50 43F, 5 mph wind
15 22 Kai Forbath DAL at PHI -2.5 48 24 18 1 43 43F, 5 mph wind
16 21 Matt Prater DET at DEN 6.5 38 1 16 13 30 56F, Overcast 2 mph wind
17 14 Mason Crosby GB at MIN 4.5 47 4 29 21 54 Dome
18 28 Austin Seibert CLE vs. BAL 7 49 2 13 17 32 35F, 7 mph wind
19 16 Chris Boswell PIT at NYJ -3 39 18 0 30 48 38F, 4 mph wind
20 17 Brandon McManus DEN vs. DET -6.5 38 26 16 27 69 56F, Overcast 2 mph wind
21 18 Josh Lambo JAC at ATL 7 46 23 3 20 46 Dome
22 19 Zane Gonzalez ARI at SEA 9.5 49 25 2 23 50 42, Overast 5 mph wind
23 20 Daniel Carlson OAK at LAC 6.5 47 14 10 14 38 64F, 7 mph wind
24 23 Aldrick Rosas NYG at WAS -3 43 21 14 25 60 42, Overast 3 mph wind
25 24 Randy Bullock CIN at MIA 3 39 27 1 26 54 75F, Overcast 15 mph wind
26 25 Ryan Succop TEN vs. NO 3 51 22 30 15 67 48F, 4 mph wind
27 26 Joey Slye CAR at IND 6.5 47 12 22 19 53 Dome
28 27 Dustin Hopkins WAS vs. NYG 3 43 8 5 32 45 42, Overast 3 mph wind
29 29 Chase McLaughlin IND vs. CAR -6.5 47 28 24 24 76 Dome
30 30 Stephen Hauschka BUF at NE 7 39 6 20 22 48 30F, Overcast 2 mph wind
31 31 Eddy Pineiro CHI vs. KC 4 45 7 15 28 50 37F, 7 mph wind
32 32 Sam Ficken NYJ vs. PIT 3 39 10 17 31 58 38F, 4 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 16:

Michael Badgley (LAC) vs. Oakland: 14% Ownership on Yahoo
Phillip Rivers fumbled the ball while the Chargers were in field goal range in the first half against the Vikings on Sunday. Instead of a 45-yard field goal for Badgley that would have given him a top-12 finish on the week, the play went for a fumble recovery touchdown and a negative game script that killed Badgley’s value and limited the Charger kicker to just five fantasy points. I am staying in the flames with Badgley this week in a matchup at home against the Raiders.

Jason Sanders (MIA) vs. Cincinnati: 3% ownership on Yahoo
Sanders has been on a tear as of late with 42 fantasy points in his last three games, including 22 points two weeks ago when he tied the NFL record with seven field goals against the Jets. The Bengals are not a great defense, but one thing they do well is limiting opposing teams in the red zone. Assuming the wind in Miami does not get too bad, Sanders could be a league-winning play this week.

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Jason Sanders (MIA) vs. Cincinnati: 3% ownership on Yahoo
The Dolphins struggled to score touchdowns two weeks ago against the Jets, with Sanders posting seven field goals and 22 fantasy points. While I don’t anticipate another monster game like that for Sanders, he does have a solid K Score this week and could be in line for another big game against a Cincinnati team that is strong in red-zone defense.

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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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