Yes, you should care about kickers in fantasy. We’ve seen some great kicking performances this year and if you haven’t taken advantage of them, you’re probably kicking yourself. If you don’t have some of the top guys on your team like Justin Tucker or Wil Lutz, don’t worry. There are some guys that you can pick up right now to help you both get to the playoffs and win the championship. We will be using ESPN and Yahoo to pull league ownership and starting percentages.
While Younghoe Koo is owned and started in about two-thirds of ESPN leagues and about 73% of Yahoo leagues. Fellow Georgia Southern-product Tyler Bass is owned and started in an eye blinking 3.8% of ESPN leagues and only 7% of Yahoo leagues despite putting up a strong showing in his rookie season.
Bass is currently 19-for-25 on field goals and is 29-for-30 on extra points. The Buffalo Bills‘ offense started strong on the season and Bass was left not doing much. But he really picked up his production when the Bills took on the New York Jets. Bass exploded that game as Buffalo’s offense was unable to finish any of their drives and he was trotted out EIGHT times to attempt field goals. He only made six of them, but that was enough to make him the top kicker of that week and since then, the Bills offense has regained its legs and Bass has had better finishes since. Over the past two weeks, he has put through a total of 14 kicks (eight extra points and six field goals).
Rest of Bass’ season
Tyler Bass and the Bills’ schedule for the rest of the regular season and playoffs looks promising as the Bills take on a weak defense in the Chargers and some favorable-kicker matchups in the Broncos, 49ers, and Patriots. Denver and San Francisco have had formidable defenses this year, but when applied to kickers, they have allowed many field goals. The Broncos have averaged allowing 2.7 field goal attempts (FGAs) per game which is the second-most in the league.
New England and San Francisco on the other hand have each allowed an average of two field goals per game. However, the 49ers have averaged 46.2 yards per field goal allowed, which is the most in the NFL. The Patriots also have allowed three extra points and at least two field goals in four of their past six games.
Really the only matchup that isn’t looking favorable is when Buffalo takes on the undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 14 when most playoffs begin. Now if your team has a first-round bye, no harm no foul. If you have to play in the first round then it may be a risk as Pittsburgh has only allowed two or more field goal attempts in three games and in two of those games, the kicker missed one of their attempts. The Bills offense could as easily buck this trend as it could go back to its early-season struggles. So, you might have to turn to this next guy for that week.
A safer play, Jason Myers is not looking like he will even challenge for his career-high in field goals this year. The Seattle Seahawks offense has not had to settle for field goals a lot, but Myers has remained as a solid option. Why? Because he has kicked so many fluffing extra points. You can go back and look at kicker finishes in previous years and many of the top kickers come from high powered offenses. Yet, Myers is only started in about 18% of ESPN leagues. Also even though it is a small sample size, Myers is perfect on field goals so far at 12/12, which is more impressive when you consider nine of them have been from at least 40 yards away including a 61-yarder that, to this point, is the longest field goal of the season.
Rest of Myers’ season
The Seattle Seahawks have one of the best schedules fantasy owners could have asked for to end their season. They start with Philadelphia this week who is a little below average in allowing field goals and has allowed a combined nine field goal attempts and five extra points over their last three games. The secondary is very attackable, but the defensive front may be able to make a few stands in their own territory to add to Myers’ field-goal tries.
The Seahawks also get two more NFC East teams in Week 13 and 15 as they face the New York Giants and Washington. They rank around the same as the Eagles and should give Myers solid outings, but won’t give him too much opportunity to boom. Week 14 though should be a great matchup as the Seahawks take on the New York Jets. The Jets have allowed 2.6 FGA per game and the Jets’ game and their game against Buffalo was the only time where they haven’t allowed at least three extra points to kickers. So, if you really need a win in Week 14, Myers is definitely the kicker to go with.
For some non-kickers that you can pick up off the waiver wire click here
Kickers to snap up
Outside of those guys, you will be digging deep to grab any other productive kickers that are still hanging around on the wire. But if you’re lucky, you might be able to snap these guys up.
A worthy add that isn’t as widely available would be Brandon McManus. He is on waivers in about 50% of ESPN leagues and 72% of Yahoo leagues.
Daniel Carlson could very well finish as the number 1 kicker of the year. ESPN leagues seem to know that as Carlson is starting in over 80% in their leagues. However, he is on a roster in under 50% of Yahoo leagues. So if you play on Yahoo, Carlson is a must-add.
Another option is Graham Gano. Who, despite being off to his best season, is started in less than 2% of Yahoo and ESPN leagues. Why? Well, the Giants recently placed Gano on the COVID-19 list after testing positive. News about Gano broke last week so if he has a speedy recovery, Gano could be back for the start of fantasy playoffs. Gano has only missed one kick all year and was on pace to make the most field goals of his career. So if he makes it back by Week 14, he will be a great addition to any fantasy playoff team.
Also, don’t worry he’s still practicing his craft in quarantine.
Co-host and contributor for the Time Skew Podcast.