Streaming a Kicker in Fantasy Football

So you have decided that streaming a kicker is the way you want to go this season. Good for you! Kickers are so volatile that it makes little sense to invest a high draft pick in one. The only problem is figuring out which kicker to pick up from the free agent pool in any given week.

There are very few metrics which seem to hold true on a consistent basis for kickers; however, there is one that is very telling and extremely obvious. Kickers on winning teams earn more fantasy points than kickers on losing teams. Here’s the proof if you actually need it:

Kickers on winning teams from the 2014 NFL season scored an average of 10.2 fantasy points per game. This assumes a scoring system that awards four points for field goals from 40-49 yards and five points for field goals made from 50 or more yards. All other field goals are worth three points and extra points made add one point. Conversely, kickers on losing teams scored an average of just 5.8 points per game.

Here is an interesting breakdown by points scored. The first column is the number of points scored. The second column is the number of times a kicker on a winning team achieved that number of points. The third column is number of times a kicker on a losing team achieved that many points.

Points ScoredNumber of Games - Winning TeamsNumber of Games - Losing Teams
Total Points25931487

There are only 255 games listed in the table above because Carolina and Cincinnati played to a tie in 2014.

Can kickers on losing teams have a very good fantasy day? Sure, the table above proves it; however, a kicker on a winning team, in general, has a better chance of achieving that good fantasy day. The opposite is also true. A kicker on a winning team can have a poor fantasy day, but the chances of that happening are greater for a kicker on a losing team.

The key each week then is to first identify teams you feel stand a good chance of winning their match-up. For instance, if Jacksonville was facing Seattle, then it would not be recommended to play Josh Scobee, the Jacksonville kicker. Even if the Jaguars had a favorable match-up, it would still not be advisable to trot out Scobee as your kicker. That will be explained later.

Home Field Advantage for Kickers

Is there such a thing as home field advantage when it comes to fantasy kickers? Directly there is isn’t, but indirectly there is. In general, there is no difference in the average points scored by a kicker on a winning team whether he is at home or on the road. For 2014, the average points scored by kickers on a winning team at home was 10.0, compared with 10.4 on the road. The same held true for kickers on losing teams. For 2014, the average points scored by kickers on a losing team at home was 5.9 versus 5.8 on the road.

The indirect home field advantage for kickers comes from a team’s propensity to win at home rather than on the road. In 2014, home teams won 56.6% of the time, while road teams won 43.0% of the time. (The remaining 0.4% is due to the tie game mentioned earlier). Of course, individual team home records vary greatly.

The first step to make in streaming a kicker, then, is to determine which teams are likely to win that week. In making that decision, it is quite likely that the venue (home or away) will play a key part in that decision.

Choosing the Right Kicker

The next step is to compare the kickers available. As mentioned earlier, just because a kicker is likely to be playing for a team that wins in a given week, doesn’t necessarily make him a good fantasy play. In 2014, Jacksonville won three games. In those three games, the their kicker, Josh Scobee, averaged only 5.7 fantasy points – well below the league average of 10.2. In fact, his average was actually higher in games which Jacksonville  lost (6.1). No matter the match-up, Scobee was not a kicker to stream in 2014. The Jaguars just didn’t produce enough scoring opportunities to make him a viable option.There are many kickers available on a weekly basis. Choose one that plays for a team that is going to put points on the board. The more scoring opportunities a kicker has, the better his chances to have a good fantasy day.

Another way to look at it is to find defenses that allow their opponent to score a lot of points. In 2014, the Bears allowed the most points to opposing kickers (166). No kicker scored less than seven points in any game against Chicago and the average was 10.4. Those stats alone indicate Chicago did not have a good year. In fact, they won only five games and finished last in the NFC North. Even Nick Folk of the lowly New York Jets (4-12) put up 15 fantasy points in a losing effort against the Bears in 2014.

For more metrics on fantasy kickers, check out our informative Draft Guide and the accompanying spreadsheets. Everything you need to make informed decisions about kickers and every other position will be found there. Best of luck for a successful fantasy football season!

Disclaimer: Fantasy football is a game of speculation; therefore, Fantasy Football Impact disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, regarding player performance or results associated with its opinions or advice.