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Fantasy Football Kicker Guide Week 14 (2020)

by Andrew Swanson | @FFtoday_Andy | Featured Writer
Dec 8, 2020

The stout Broncos red-zone defense will create multiple field goal chances for Joey Slye.

Harrison Butker was drafted as the No. 2 kicker in fantasy drafts this summer behind only Justin Tucker of the Baltimore Ravens, the perennial No.1 pick over the past few seasons.

Butker finished the 2019 season as the No. 1 kicker in fantasy with a league-best 34 field goals made on 38 attempts while adding 45 extra points as the placekicker for one of the league’s best offenses.

Although Butker finished as the No.1 kicker this week with 17 fantasy points against the Broncos, he has been somewhat of a disappointment for most of the year. Butker ranks 6th at the position this season, with six games of seven or fewer fantasy points, including three games of five or less.

Why did Butker slip out of the top 5 this season? At first glance, it does not make much sense, as the Chiefs are the No.1 offense in yards per game, and they are about the same as last season in red-zone efficiency. Butker is also more efficient with his field-goal attempts, with a 92% made percentage in 2020 vs. 90% in 2019.

The only difference is his relative struggles with extra points. Butker missed just three extra points in all of 2019 but has shanked six extra points this year. Those six misses accounted for a net loss of 12 points, or a full point per game. Butker averaged 9.2 points per game in 2019 and is sitting at 8.5 in 2020.

Bottom line: Those extra points may seem insignificant at the time for fantasy owners, but they can add up over the course of the season.

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Week 13 Stud Performances from Widely-Available Kickers

Dustin Hopkins (WAS) @ Pittsburgh: 1% rostership on Yahoo
The Washington Football Team accomplished an improbable feat on Monday with the upset win over the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field. Comeback player of the year lock Alex Smith and his bloodied sock shocked the Steelers, and Dustin Hopkins sealed the deal with three clutch field goals and two extra points. Hopkins now has eight or more fantasy points in each of his last five games and double digits in three of them.

Cody Parkey (CLE) @ Tennessee: 1% rostership on Yahoo
Parkey benefitted from a massive lopsided victory for the Browns over the Titans, with five extra points and two field goals. He did not project to have a great game, but the Browns punched the Titans in the mouth and provided a ton of scoring opportunities. Parkey is historically not a very accurate kicker and someone you may not want to target, but he does have back-to-back double-digit games and should be someone to monitor.

Week 13 Dud Performances from Widely-Owned Kickers

Wil Lutz (NO) @ Arizona: 98% rostership on Yahoo
Lutz had his worst game of the season in what was projected to be an excellent opportunity for fantasy points indoors against the Falcons. The usually automatic kicker made all three extra points but missed his only field-goal attempt on the day and finished with two fantasy points. Better days are ahead for Lutz managers. Hopefully, you are still in the playoff hunt to benefit from them.

Kicker Rankings

Rank ECR Player Team Opponent Spread O/U OPP RZ D RZ EFF* OFF RNK  K Score** Weather
1 5 Harrison Butker KC at MIA -7 46 9 8 1 18 82F, 9 mph wind
2 1 Younghoe Koo ATL at LAC -2 50 14 3 11 28 Dome
3 3 Rodrigo Blankenship IND at LV -2.5 52 28 16 13 57 Dome
4 4 Ryan Succop TB vs. MIN -6.5 46 3 26 18 47 77F, 10 mph wind
5 9 Graham Gano NYG vs. ARI 3 46 4 1 31 36 61F, 10 mph wind
6 2 Jason Myers SEA vs. NYJ -15 47 26 27 8 61 47F, Light Rain, 7 mph wind
7 6 Wil Lutz NO at PHI -7 46 21 24 12 57 60F, 11 mph wind
8 7 Justin Tucker BAL at CLE -3 48 15 12 24 51 TBD
9 8 Stephen Gostkowski TEN at JAC -9.5 54 12 28 5 45 70F, 8 mph wind
10 17 Joey Slye CAR vs. DEN -4 46 2 6 20 28 58F, 8 mph wind
11 10 Daniel Carlson LV vs. IND 2.5 52 22 15 15 52 Dome
12 22 Robbie Gould SF vs. WAS -4.5 44 1 23 14 38 Dome
13 12 Tyler Bass BUF vs. PIT 2.5 48 8 17 10 35 36F, 13 mph wind
14 11 Jason Sanders MIA vs. KC 7 47 32 13 28 73 82F, 9 mph wind
15 13 Greg Zuerlein DAL at CIN -3.5 44 20 2 9 31 36F, 10 mph wind
16 16 Brandon McManus DEN at CAR 4 46 11 4 25 40 58F, 8 mph wind
17 14 Matt Prater DET vs. GB -7 46 24 20 19 63 Dome
18 15 Matt Gay LAR vs. NE -6.5 46 17 22 3 42 Dome
19 26 Zane Gonzalez ARI at NYG -3 46 6 31 6 43 61F, 10 mph wind
20 24 Dustin Hopkins WAS at SF 4.5 44 10 14 26 50 Dome
21 18 Mason Crosby GB at DET 7 46 29 30 2 61 Dome
22 19 Ka’imi Fairbairn HOU at CHI -2 46 5 11 16 32 29F, 12 mph wind
23 20 Chris Boswell PIT at BUF -2.5 48 16 21 21 58 36F, 13 mph wind
24 21 Michael Badgley LAC vs. ATL 2 50 30 10 7 47 Dome
25 32 Dan Bailey MIN at TB 6.5 46 18 29 4 51 77F, 10 mph wind
26 23 Cody Parkey CLE vs. BAL 3 48 19 25 17 61 TBD
27 25 Nick Folk NE at LAR 6.5 46 25 9 22 56 Dome
28 27 Cairo Santos CHI vs. HOU 2 46 13 7 30 50 29F, 12 mph wind
29 28 Randy Bullock CIN vs. DAL 3.5 44 27 5 27 59 36F, 10 mph wind
30 29 Chase McLaughlin JAC vs. TEN 9.5 54 31 19 23 73 70F, 8 mph wind
31 30 Jake Elliott PHI vs. NO 7 46 23 18 29 70 60F, 11 mph wind
32 31 Sergio Castillo NYJ at SEA 15 47 26 0 32 58 47F, Light Rain, 7 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 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 14.

Joey Slye (CAR) vs. Denver: 22% rostered on Yahoo
The Panthers come off the bye to face the Broncos at home. Slye has averaged eight fantasy points per game over his previous eight games, and the Broncos give up the most points to kickers on the season. The return of Christian McCaffrey should boost the Panthers’ offense, but the stout Broncos red-zone defense will create multiple field goal chances for Slye.

Robbie Gould (SF) vs. Washington: 34% rostered on Yahoo
Gould has 29 combined points in his last three games. His “home” game in the climate-controlled State Farm Stadium against a Washington Football Team that boats the best red-zone defense appears to be a recipe for a solid fantasy performance. The industry has him ranked outside the top 20. I think he has a decent chance of being a K1 this week.

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.

Matt Prater (DET) @ Chicago: 63% rostered on Yahoo
ECR Rank: 14
My Rank: 9
Week 13 Finish: T20
The projected game script did not go as planned in Chicago, with Matthew Stafford and Adrian Peterson having no trouble scoring touchdowns on the Bears. Prater should have posted a decent but disappointing five points in his five extra-point tries. Instead, he shanked one for negative points and ended the day with just three points.

Zane Gonzalez (ARI) vs. LA Rams: 45% rostered on Yahoo
ECR Rank: 12
My Rank: 10
Week 13 Finish: T20
Gonzalez made all four extra-point tries on the day but shanked a 40-yard attempt that would have given up eight points. Eight points would have placed Gonzo inside the top-10 on what proved to be a low-scoring week for kickers. After making 86% of his kicks last season, Gonzo ranks 33rd at the position with 72% of his kicks made and could be out of the job soon.

Waiver Wired

Top Add

Ryan Succop (TB) vs. Minnesota: 16% rostership on Yahoo
If Succop was dropped in your league on the bye and you are in need of a kicker, the Tampa Bay placekicker is you guy. He projects to be a top-five kicker this week, and his final two games are indoors against Atlanta and Detroit.

Other players to consider:

Joey Slye (CAR) vs. Denver: 22% rostered 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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