I know half of you are in the “ban kickers from fantasy” camp — hell, I have petitioned for that in a few leagues myself — but the truth of the matter is that the vast majority of us need to roster a kicker. This is actually a very good thing. Streaming kickers provides a fantasy football opportunity that most people ignore. So many fantasy managers draft a kicker and set it and forget it, completely ignoring matchups and opportunity. This is a mistake for two key reasons.
Why Streaming Kickers is a Winning Strategy
First, there is a correlation between kicker production and teams with high Vegas point totals, high passing yardage offenses, and red-zone struggles, and kicker production. Second, kicker points count. In a weekly head-to-head matchup, every point matters, and kickers can produce high-level totals. The top-five kickers averaged 13.6 points this week, the same total as Odell Beckham Jr. got you in PPR leagues this week.
Take a look at the three highest-scoring kickers from Week 1: Harrison Butker, Stephen Gostkowski, and Zane Gonzalez. Butker’s Kansas City Chiefs had a 28 implied point total, are a prolific passing offense (third in pass yards per game last year), and were playing against a good red-zone defense. Gostkowski’s story is similar. Gonzalez is perhaps a name that surprises you. Vegas had the Arizona Cardinals ranked in the middle of the pack with an implied point total of 22.5 points. However, the Cardinals were facing the fourth-easiest matchup for passing according to the RotoViz Strength of Schedule Streaming App.
Streaming kickers allows you to postpone dropping a position player that may hold seasonal value as you switch out kickers every week. You definitely do not want to be cutting the wrong players. (Check out my Do Not Cut List article for more on that.)
Week 2 Streaming Options
All ownership percentages are based on Yahoo! leagues.
Shallow Leagues (50% – 65% owned)
1.Brett Maher, Dallas Cowboys, 63%
The Cowboys tick most of the major boxes this week — the 12th-highest implied point total (24.5) and the league’s leading pass yardage offense. They play a Washington team that had the eighth-best red-zone defense last year, allowing touchdowns on only 53% of red zone drives.
2. Jake Elliott, Philadelphia Eagles, 58%
Another strong option as the Eagles implied point total is the seventh-highest at 25.5 points. Wentz had a strong passing game last week putting up 313 passing yards, which was the 11th most.
Average Leagues (25% – 50% owned)
3. Matt Bryant, Atlanta Falcons, 25%
Don’t be dismayed by Bryant’s goose egg this past week. The Falcons were in catch-up mode and decided to go for 2-point conversions. He’ll be fine. Bryant also has the benefit of playing indoors, and the Falcons are tied with the Eagles with that 25.5 implied point total. Last week the Eagles allowed two field goal attempts and three extra point attempts, and we all think the Falcons sport a better offense than Washington.
Deep Leagues (less than 25% owned)
4. Chris Boswell, Pittsburgh Steelers, 10%
Last week the Cincinnati Bengals torched the Seattle Seahawks for 395 passing yards. At home, the Steelers should have similar success moving the football down the field. Fortunately for Boswell’s outlook, the Seahawks have a stingy red-zone defense. They were tied for fourth best in 2018 and have started off 2019 tied for the best. The Hawks gave up three field goal attempts last week, two of which were shorter than 40-yard tries.
5. Joey Slye, Carolina Panthers, 2%
6. Austin Seibert, Cleveland Browns, 4%