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Fantasy Football Kicker Primer Week 2 (2020)

by Andrew Swanson | @FFtoday_Andy | Featured Writer
Sep 15, 2020

The Chargers converted just 33% of their red zone opportunities, giving Michael Badgley three field goals and an extra point.

Fantasy owners who decided to invest in a top-5 ranked kicker in the draft were rewarded Week 1. Harrison Butker and Wil Lutz each scored ten fantasy points, and Justin Tucker came through win nine fantasy points against the Browns. Although Tucker only had one field goal opportunity, the high powered Ravens offense gave him a floor of five extra points in the matchup.

Stephen Gostkowski entered his first game with the Tennessee Titans as the No.5 ranked kicker all time based on field goal percentage. After missing three field goals and an extra point, the former Patriot great finished the game ranked 8th on the all-time list.

Despite the lack of preseason games that kickers and special teams units use to get ready for regular-season action, week one proved to be a strong week for fantasy kickers, with 13 players scoring nine or more fantasy points.

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Week 1 Stud Performances from widely available kickers

Josh Lambo (JAX) vs. Indianapolis: 5% ownership on Yahoo

Lambo picked up right where he left off as a top-5 kicker in 2019, with 12 fantasy points in Jacksonville’s upset win over the visiting Colts. The Jacksonville defense did an excellent job forcing turnovers by Phillip Rivers and the Colts, which led to a few field goal opportunities for the Jacksonville special teams unit. Only Pittsburgh was worse in red-zone offense last seasons than the Jags, which could lead to another strong season for Lambo.

Daniel Carlson (LV) vs. CAR: 2% ownership on Yahoo

As expected, the matchup between the Raiders and Panthers turned out to be a shootout, with both kickers benefiting from a combined score of 64 points. Although I would not recommend picking up Carlson at this point based on just one game, he is someone to watch should the Raiders offense continue to improve in 2020.

Week 1 Dud Performances from widely-owned kickers

Dan Bailey (MIN) vs. Seattle: 72% ownership on Yahoo

A negative game script created by Aaron Rodgers and the Packers jumping out to an early lead hurt Bailey in his matchup. The Vikings were chasing points and opted to forgo field goals and extra points late. I would not panic, as a Bailey should still finish as a top-12 kicker and he has better days ahead.

Kicker Rankings

Rank ECR Name TEAM Opponent Spread O/U OPP RZ D RZ EFF* OFF RNK K Score** Weather
1 1 Harrison Butker KC at LAC -5.5 51 1 15 15 31 Dome
2 2 Justin Tucker BAL at HOU -6 55 16 25 13 54 Dome
3 5 Robbie Gould SF at NYJ -4 44 5 1 16 22 63F Light Wind
4 3 Wil Lutz NO at LV -5 51 18 14 27 59 Dome
5 4 Greg Zuerlein DAL vs. ATL -7.5 50 32 9 1 42 Dome
6 8 Mason Crosby GB vs. DET -6.5 46 12 10 1 23 65F 14 MPH Wind
7 6 Younghoe Koo ATL at DAL 7.5 50 6 19 2 27 Dome
8 7 Matt Prater DET at GB 6.5 46 23 6 4 33 65F 14 MPH Wind
9 15 Rodrigo Blankenship IND vs. MIN -3.5 47 15 5 3 23 Dome
10 9 Jason Myers SEA vs. NE -3.5 44 10 29 9 48 68F Light Wind
11 10 Chris Boswell PIT vs. DEN -5 44 17 23 21 61 64F Light Wind
12 29 Graham Gano NYG at CHI 5 44 8 2 26 36 64F Light Wind
13 11 Dan Bailey MIN at IND -3.5 47 29 21 10 60 Dome
14 12 Zane Gonzalez ARI vs. WAS -7 46 13 30 6 49 Dome
15 13 Jake Elliott PHI vs. LAR -4.5 49 9 11 29 49 63F Clear Light Wind
16 20 Michael Badgley LAC vs. KC 5.5 51 30 3 18 51 Dome
17 14 Ryan Succop TB vs. CAR -8.5 48 22 28 23 73 86F Light Wind
18 16 Joey Slye CAR at TB 8.5 48 11 18 8 37 86F Light Wind
19 17 Tyler Bass BUF at MIA -3 43 20 4 7 31 90F Light Wind
20 28 Josh Lambo JAC at TEN 11 43 19 26 31 76 73F Light Wind
21 19 Sam Sloman LAR at PHI 4.5 49 24 7 5 36 63F Clear Light Wind
22 21 Ka’imi Fairbairn HOU vs. BAL 6 55 27 31 19 77 Dome
23 26 Brandon McManus DEN at PIT 5 44 3 17 22 42 64F Light Wind
24 18 Nick Folk NE at SEA 3.5 44 21 22 20 63 68F Light Wind
25 22 Stephen Gostkowski TEN vs. JAC -11 43 7 16 12 35 73F Light Wind
26 23 Daniel Carlson LV vs. NO 5 51 31 20 14 65 Dome
27 24 Cairo Santos CHI vs. NYG 5 44 25 13 17 55 6fF 9 MPH Wind
28 25 Dustin Hopkins WAS at ARI 7 46 2 24 32 58 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 seventh in red-zone efficiency; therefore Justin Tucker has a RZ EFF score of 25. 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 2.

Rodrigo Blankenship (IND) vs. Minnesota: 4% Ownership on Yahoo

Although the rookie kicker missed a field goal against the Jags, he did have three opportunities and extra point Week 1. Look for the Colts to bounce back from their disappointing loss against Jacksonville with a strong showing at home against a Vikings team that gave up 43 points at home to Green Bay. Hot Rod’s K Score of 23 is one of the best of the week.

Graham Gano (NYG) @ Chicago: 1% ownership on Yahoo

Gano’s first game with the Giants was uneventful, with only one field goal and one extra point on MNF against the Steelers. His K Score of 36 indicates that he could be in for a strong showing as long as the Giants defense does not give up a large early lead to the Bears. This one is a long shot, but the metric indicates the chance of a good game for Gano.

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.

Michael Badgley (LAC) @ Cincinnati: 29% Ownership on Yahoo

  • ECR Rank: 14
  • My Rank: 9
  • Week 1 Finish: 5th

In my prediction for Badgley this week, I wrote about the red zone troubles Tyrod Taylor has experienced over his career and the fact that the Bengals, despite having one of the bottom half defenses in the league, have been stout in the red zone over the past two seasons. This turned to be correct, as the Chargers converted just 33% of their red zone opportunities, giving Badgley three field goals and an extra point. He also missed a 50-yard attempt, which would have made him the top kicker on the week.

Younghoe Koo vs. Seattle: 43% Ownership on Yahoo

  • ECR Rank: 17
  • My Rank: 6
  • Week 1 Finish: T13

A missed extra point and a negative game script kept Koo from finishing as a K1 this week. While it was a disappointing finish, I would recommend keeping Koo as your kicker based on the fact that the Falcons will finish as a top-10 offense this season, and Matt Ryan has a history of struggling in the red zone.

Waiver Wired

Top Add

Mason Crosby vs. Detroit: 24% ownership on Yahoo

Historically, Crosby has not been a top fantasy kicker because Aaron Rodgers has been one of the better red-zone quarterbacks. However, if the Packers continue to put up points as they did against the Vikings, Crosby should give a solid extra point floor.

Other players to consider:

Michael Badgley (LAC) vs. Kansas City: 29% Ownership on Yahoo

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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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