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Fantasy Football Kicker Guide Week 13 (2020)

by Andrew Swanson | @FFtoday_Andy | Featured Writer
Dec 1, 2020

Matt Prater could outperform his ECR this week against the Bears.

With 12 weeks of games in the books, we have more than enough data to evaluate fantasy football kicker stats to see how it compares to ADP.

The first ten kickers drafted this summer were Justin Tucker, Harrison Butker, Wil Lutz, Greg Zuerlein, Robbie Gould, Matt Prater, Zane Gonzalez, Matt Gay, Jake Elliott, and Younghoe Koo.

Of those ten players, only Wil Lutz, Justin Tucker, and Younghoe Koo are ranked in the top-10 at the position, with Koo currently ranked first overall with 29 field goals made and 22 extra points.

Two rookies, Rodrigo Blankenship and Tyler Bass are top-7 plays this season, with both players posting multiple top-3 weekly performances. Jason Sanders and Daniel Carlson are in the midst of career seasons, and each currently sits in the top-5 in total points scored, while 11-year veteran Graham Gano is on pace to set career-highs in field goals made and fantasy points per game.

Yet Unlike most positions, fantasy owners tend to not stray from their drafted kicker, even if that player is not delivering value based on their draft position. Five of the top ten kickers on the season still have a rostership level under 60%, and even Koo, the top kicker in fantasy and the No.1 player this past week, is still available in 20% of Yahoo leagues.

Only kickers, the red-headed stepchild position in fantasy football, would there be the top player available on 20% of waiver wires heading into the playoffs. If he is available, be sure to pick up Koo and play him the remainder of the year.

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Week 12 Stud Performances from Widely-Available Kickers

Graham Gano (NYG) @ Cincinnati: 3% rostership on Yahoo
Gano made four field-goal attempts and his only extra-point try to finish with 15 points and the No. 2 kicker on the week. It was the third-consecutive 10-point performance for the veteran kicker and the third time this season where he topped 13 fantasy points. The injury to Daniel Jones will likely limit Gano’s value this week against Seattle in what could be a lopsided win for the Seahawks, but he could be an excellent start in a few weeks in a home matchup against the Browns.

Dustin Hopkins (WAS) @ Dallas: 0% rostership on Yahoo
Less than 1% of managers started Hopkins on Thanksgiving day against the Cowboys. Although Hopkins did come through with 11 points and a top-7 finish, it was only his second double-digit performance of the year. He is not someone I would recommend picking up at this point in the year.

Week 12 Dud Performances from widely-owned kickers

Rodrigo Blankenship (IND) vs. Tennessee: 56% rostership on Yahoo
A negative game script left Blankenship with just two extra-point tries on the week and no field goal attempts. It was the second time this season that the rookie failed to make a field goal, yet only the fifth time in which he failed to score at least ten points. It may take some guts to play Hot Rod again this week, but he does project to be one of the best scoring kickers in Week 13.

Kicker Rankings

Rank ECR Name Team Opp. Spread O/U OPP RZ D RZ EFF* OFF RNK K Score** Weather
1 2 Harrison Butker KC vs. DEN -13 48 4 20 1 25 36F, 2 mph winds
2 1 Younghoe Koo ATL vs. NO 3 46 31 5 10 46 Dome
3 5 Rodrigo Blankenship IND at HOU -3.5 53 15 14 16 45 Dome
4 6 Daniel Carlson LV at NYJ -8 48 6 11 17 34 47F, 12 mph winds
5 3 Jason Sanders MIA vs. CIN -10 43 27 18 30 75 68F, 11 mph winds
6 4 Justin Tucker BAL vs. DAL NL NL 25 12 23 60 TBD
7 7 Wil Lutz NO at ATL -3 46 29 23 13 65 Dome
8 8 Tyler Bass BUF at SF -3 48 17 19 11 47 TBD
9 14 Matt Prater DET at CHI 3 44 2 15 22 39 39F, 15 mph winds
10 12 Zane Gonzalez ARI vs. LAR 3 49 19 28 2 49 Dome
11 17 Michael Badgley LAC vs. NE pk 49 16 9 3 28 Dome
12 9 Jason Myers SEA vs. NYG -10 49 7 30 5 42 46F, 4 mph winds
13 10 Chris Boswell PIT vs. WAS -10 44 1 25 20 46 37F, 9 mph winds
14 11 Mason Crosby GB vs. PHI -8 49 20 29 4 53 40F, 11 mph winds
15 13 Dan Bailey MIN vs. JAC -9 50 12 31 7 50 Dome
16 15 Ka’imi Fairbairn HOU vs. IND 3.5 53 26 14 16 56 Dome
17 16 Robbie Gould SF vs. BUF 3 48 14 19 14 47 TBD
18 23 Matt Gay LAR at ARI -3 49 5 21 6 32 Dome
19 18 Greg Zuerlein DAL at BAL NL NL 28 3 9 40 TBD
20 19 Graham Gano NYG at SEA 10 49 24 1 29 54 46F, 4 mph winds
21 20 Nick Folk NE at LAC pk 49 13 9 21 43 Dome
22 21 Stephen Gostkowski TEN vs. CLE -3.5 52 9 27 8 44 41F, 6 mph winds
23 24 Cairo Santos CHI vs. DET -3 44 22 4 31 57 39F, 15 mph winds
24 25 Jake Elliott PHI at GB 8 49 23 16 28 67 40F, 11 mph winds
25 22 Cody Parkey CLE at TEN 3.5 52 30 24 18 72 41F, 6 mph winds
26 26 Dustin Hopkins WAS at PIT 10 44 8 10 26 44 37F, 9 mph winds
27 27 Randy Bullock CIN at MIA 10 43 11 6 24 41 68F, 11 mph winds
28 28 Brandon McManus DEN at KC 13 48 32 2 27 61 36F, 2 mph winds
29 29 Chase McLaughlin JAC at MIN 9 50 12 17 25 54 Dome
30 30 Sergio Castillo NYJ vs. LV 8 48 21 0 32 53 47F, 12 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 20th in red-zone efficiency; therefore Justin Tucker has an RZ EFF score of 12. 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 11 who could be an excellent play Week 13.

Matt Prater (DET) @ Chicago: 63% rostered on Yahoo
It may sound crazy to project Prater for a big game after two straight weeks of dud performances. The reason why I like Prater is the team finally moved on from Matt Patricia and could now have a spark similar to what we saw from the Texans after they moved on from Bill O’Brien. Also, the Bears are the No.2 red zone defense and should limit the Lions to only a few touchdowns. The one caveat is the wind. If the wind at Soldier Field on Sunday is above 20 mph, I would go with another option.

Zane Gonzalez vs. LA Rams: 45% rostered on Yahoo
Gonzo missed a possible game-winning field goal for the Cardinals last week against the Patriots and burned owners with just five fantasy points. Look for him to bounce back this week against the Rams in what could be a high-scoring game. Two of the last three kickers to face the Rams have each posted double-points, and three made 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.

Greg Zuerlein (DAL) vs. Washington: 42% rostered on Yahoo
ECR Rank: 11
My Rank: 8
Week 12 Finish: 8
Greg the Leg made all three field-goal attempts and an extra point in Dallas’ lopsided home loss to the Washington Football Team on Thanksgiving Day. His K Score of 25 was the top score on the week and proved to be correct with a top-8 finish. He would have scored even higher had the Dallas defense done a better job keeping the game close, as the negative game script late negated more opportunities for Zuerlein.

Mason Crosby (GB) vs. Chicago: 38% rostership on Yahoo
ECR Rank: 15
My Rank: 11
Week 12 Finish: 24
One of the reasons why Mason Crosby continues to be ranked outside the top 5 at the position is the uber-efficient offense run by Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. Crosby does not get enough field goal opportunities in most situations and should only be played against teams who rank in the top 5 in red zone defense. With the Bears entering the game as the top red zone defense in the league, Crosby appeared to be on pace for an excellent performance. Instead, Rodgers and the Packers destroyed the Bears, and Crosby was limited to just extra points, one of which he missed.

Waiver Wired

Top Add

Jason Sanders (MIA) @ Jets: 73% rostership on Yahoo
Although his rostership slowly grows, it is surprising that Sanders is not rostered and started in more leagues. The matchup this week against the Bengals does not project to be a monster week, but he does have a nice floor and continues to lead the league in kicked over 50 yards.

Other players to consider:

Daniel Carlson (LV) @ New York Jets: 59% rostership 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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