Fantasy Football Kicker Guide Week 15 (2020)
Week 14 proved to be a rough kicking environment for those playing in the first week of the fantasy playoffs or those looking to secure a place in the postseason. There were 12 missed field goal opportunities, including a chip shot 29-yarder by Jake Elliott, and seven wayward extra points.
Only six kickers managed to reach double digits in fantasy points, and no kicker topped 14 points on the week. To make matters worse, only one of the six kickers to top double digits in fantasy points was rostered in over 75% of leagues.
Chances are that if you played a kicker this week, they did not give you what you wanted in terms of fantasy production. But take solace in the fact that you likely did not start Dan Bailey of the Vikings, who came through for negative four points for the 37% of poor souls who started him in Yahoo leagues.
Bailey missed all three field-goal tries on the day and his lone extra-point attempt in Minnesota’s 26-14 loss to the Buccaneers. Not only did Bailey likely cost the Vikings a chance at the playoffs, but he also cost more than a few fantasy managers a chance to survive and advance to Week 15.
Week 14 Stud Performances from widely available kickers
Mike Nugent (ARZ) at New York Giants: 0% rostered on Yahoo
Zane Gonzalez was a late scratch from the game with a back injury, forcing the Cardinals to bring up veteran Mike Nugent from the practice squad. The former second-round pick out of Ohio State came through with four made field goals and two extra points for 14 fantasy points.
Greg Zuerlein (DAL) at Cincinnati: 38% rostered on Yahoo
Greg the Leg now has ten or more fantasy points in four of his last six games, including 14 points this week on the road against the Bengals. Zuerlein is not the most consistent fantasy performer this season, but he has been solid in good matchups at home against above-average defenses. This week’s home game against the 49ers would fit that bill, making Zuerlein an interesting streaming option.
Week 14 Dud Performances from widely-rostered kickers
Wil Lutz (NO) at Philadelphia: 96% rostered on Yahoo
For two weeks in a row now, Lutz has been on the dud list with two fancy points. The usually reliable kicker has been anything but for fantasy managers and head coach Sean Payton. This week could be a bad week for Lutz again if the Chiefs jump out to an early lead and force a negative game script.
*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 14th in red-zone efficiency; therefore, Justin Tucker has an RZ EFF score of 18. 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’s red-zone defense, 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 they’re 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 12 who could be an excellent play Week 15.
Greg Zuerlein (DAL) vs. San Francisco: 32% rostered on Yahoo
Greg the Leg scored at least ten points in four of his last six games, including 14 points last week to tie for the weekly high with Rodrigo Blankenship. He does not have the same floor as some of the other kickers ranked in my top 10 this week, but he does have a matchup and a K Score that indicates a high probability of multiple field goal attempts this Sunday against the 49ers. If you are looking for a home run play that could help get you to the fantasy Super Bowl, Zuerlein may be it.
Jason Myers (SEA) at Washington: 76 % rostered on Yahoo
Myers scored ten fantasy points last week at home in a blowout win over the Jets. Seattle moved the ball at will against the hapless Jets, giving Myers a floor of three extra points to go along with two field goals. The Football Team’s defense is playing well and should make it more difficult for Russell Wilson and the offense to score touchdowns. This could be a sneaky, low-scoring game with Myers posting multiple field goals.
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.
Joey Slye (CAR) vs. Denver: 22% rostered on Yahoo
ECR Rank: 17
My Rank: 10
Week 14 Finish: T7
Slye made both field-goal attempts and three extra points to finish with nine fantasy points on the day, ahead of other higher-ranked players like Justin Tucker, Harrison Butker, and Younghoe Koo. His K Score of 28 was one of the best scores last week, and he came through with a top-seven performance in a week in which most kickers disappointed.
Robbie Gould (SF) vs. Washington: 34% rostered on Yahoo
ECR Rank: 22
My Rank: 12
Week 14 Finish: 32
This proved to be my worst choice of the year, with the 49ers falling behind early to the Washington Football Team. Gould was left with just one extra point and no field goal attempts, as Nick Mullens struggled to move the ball and committed costly turnovers vs. Washington.
Tyler Bass (BUF) at Denver: 36% rostered on Yahoo
Bass ranks seventh in fantasy points over the past five games, including double-digit performances in all but one game. For some reason, owners are not paying much attention to the rookie kicker for the Bills based on his rostership rate of below 40%. He is a top-five kicker for me this week on the road in Denver.
Other players to consider:
Jason Myers (SEA) at Washington: 76% rostered on Yahoo
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