Kickers averaged 8.1 FP, sa little over their season average of 7.9. The system had a relatively poor week. "Starts" did pretty well, averaging 8.2 FP and posting a good winning percentage. But "Sits" confounded the system, outscoring the "Marginal Starts" and reversing my target W-L. "Neutrals" were the highest scoring group and were more reliable than their expected 50-50 W-L record. "Marginal Starts" were just bad:

Start/Sit Decisions For Kickers in Week 6, 2016

Recommendation

Average FP

W

L

T

PCT

Sit

8.0

1

2

0

0.333

Neutral

8.6

9

5

2

0.625

Marginal Start

6.5

3

3

0

0.500

Start

8.2

3

1

1

0.700

As a reminder, the table shows the Average FP of the kickers in each category. A “Win” is if the recommendation is right, relative to scoring 7 FP. For example, three kickers who rated as “Start” last week scored over 7 FP, so there were three “wins.” One “Start” scored under 7 FP, so that was a “loss”, and one equaled 7 FP, which is a “tie.” Remember, a “Sit” kicker who gets less than 7 FP is a “win” for the system (one of those last week) and over 7 FP is a “loss” (two of those); a tie is a 7 FP day (none).

The algorithm's record on the year is pretty good. "Sits" have been generally bad options (if sometimes obviously bad ones) although they have fallen off the "two-thirds right" goal. "Starts" are also below the 0.667 winning percentage I'd like, but are the highest scoring group. In developing the algorithm for this year, I expected "Marginal Starts" to out-score "Neutrals" by half a point but have about the same W-L record. Instead, "Marginals" have a better W-L mark but have only matched "Neutrals" in average FP:

Overall Start/Sit Decisions For Kickers in 2016

Recommendation

Average FP

W

L

T

PCT

Sit

5.8

11

7

1

0.605

Neutral

8.1

36

31

5

0.535

Marginal Start

8.1

20

11

3

0.632

Start

8.6

12

7

6

0.600

 

Missed kick report

Brandon McManus 56 yard field goal no good

Steven Hauschka 29 yard field goal no good

Steven Hauschka kicks extra point no good, blocked by Ra'Shede Hageman

Andrew Franks 24 yard field goal no good, blocked by Daniel McCullers

Andrew Franks 50 yard field goal no good

Stephen Gostkowski kicks extra point no good

Ryan Succop 58 yard field goal no good

Sebastian Janikowski 52 yard field goal no good

Cairo Santos kicks extra point no good

Cairo Santos 38 yard field goal no good

Nick Novak kicks extra point no good

Wil Lutz 53 yard field goal no good

Graham Gano kicks extra point no good

Source: PFR's Game Play Finder

 

Kickers missed five extra points and three FGs under 40 yards. Of note, four of those eight total misses came in Oakland and Seattle and may be partly attributable to bad weather (which certainly made the field bad in Oakland, whether or not it affected the kickers).

On the watch list, Blair Walsh had a bye, so he stays. Cody Parkey had a second straight "Clean" week, so I'm dropping him from the list. Connor Barth made four short kicks (EP/FG under 40 yards) so he's also off the list. Dan Carpenter was solid with 6 short "makes," so I'm dropping him too.

Graham Gano's kicking woes continue with a missed EP. His coach gave him a vote of confidence on Monday after failing to do so on Sunday. I'm not; Gano goes on the watch list going into his bye.

Cairo Santos had a rough outing on Sunday, missing two short kicks and barely making another EP in the first half. He did close out the day with three successful kicks, so I'm not adding him despite his ranking in a tie for 29th with an 88% success rate on short kicks. I'm also not adding Steven Hauschka, whose 84% rate of making short kicks is below Santos. Hauschka, who I added to several of my teams, made a key 44-yard FG to make up for his earlier misses. Nick Novak almost cost his team a win with a missed EP but also came up with three key kicks down the stretch, so he's not on the list yet either.

There were only three two-point conversion tries in Week 6. Two were score-driven. The odd one out was old friend Mike Tomlin, who went for two early against Miami. Chris Boswell had his FP for the week cut in half by that decision.

 

Last week’s comments

In particular, two "Marginal Starts" to go look at and get are Mason Crosby, whose ownership is still only at 74% after his Week 4 bye, and Steven Hauschka (79%), who may have been dropped for his Week 5 bye.

I took my own advice and added Hauschka (8 FP) in several leagues (and he put up 10 FP in their more tolerant-of-misses- scoring system). I'm happy to have him. Crosby (11 FP) was an even better add if you could get him.

Speaking of that, I think that even though Graham Gano is a "Marginal Start," now might be the time to drop him. His bye is next week, so you have to make a decision soon anyhow, and he is coming off weeks of 5, 7, and 2 FP. Even if Cam Newton returns, this offense has struggled. Of course, the matchup this week is too good (New Orleans) for me to go all-in on this idea, and I'll hold on to him myself (unless Crosby or Hauschka are available). But if you own him, you need to consider your options.

Again, I took my advice and dropped Gano (6 FP) for Hauschka. Obviously, I should have come out stronger against Gano than I did.

I think I've never had such an uninspiring list of "Starts" and "Marginal Starts" to discuss. The #1 kicker per the algorithm is on my watch list. So I'd defer on picking him up until after all the other "Starts" and "Marginal Starts" are unavailable. Both Brandon McManus and Matt Prater are fairly good options, they'd be my first two adds – your preference as to order.

McManus (8 FP) was good enough, Prater (7 FP) so-so.

Then I'd go with Chris Boswell despite his 6.4 Average FP, 50% % Wins, and being a "Marginal Start." But I'm not loving him.

Boswell (1 FP) rewarded my not love, I regret pushing him at all. I blame Roethlisberger's knee.

I don't love Chandler Catanzaro either, but at least he seems to have Carson Palmer back, so he's the #4 add, again despite passing over "Starts" for "Marginal Starts". (If Palmer has a setback, avoid Catanzaro).

I was wrong on Catanzaro (4 FP); the efficiency of his offense did this call in.

Next I'd go back to the "Starts" for Ryan Succop. His numbers are bad, he's a "Start" because "the Browns." If those five guys are not available, or you really trust the algorithm, then go with Dan Carpenter.

Succop (4 FP) was a missed 58-yarder away from proving the algorithm right; it's not like by advice to get Catanzaro or Boswell over him was good. Carpenter (10 FP) was a definite victory for the algorithm over the human.

But all six of those guys are one-week-only options. If you are looking for a rest-of-the-year guy, I'd point at Caleb Sturgis. He's a "Neutral" this week, so you might not have the best short-term results, but he's averaging double-digits and has a 100% rating in the % Wins stat. And his matchup isn't scary (WAS). Matt Bryant has equal stats and a dome but a tougher matchup (SEA) – although the Falcon offense did fine against the Broncos. Sturgis already has had his bye, so that's another plus for him.

Sturgis (8 FP) was perhaps my best call on a widely-available kicker this week. Brynat (6 FP) was not.

 

My kickers

TGR Ultimate Auction League –stuck with Prater (7 FP).

FFPC Main Event League – Added Hauschka (8 FP), dropped Gano (6 FP); win.

FFPC Auction League – Added Hauschka (8 FP), dropped Janikowski (5 FP). Win again.

FPC League 3253 – Added Hauschka (8 FP), dropped McManus (8 FP). Tie but long-term I'm happy with the move.

FPC League 3983 – Added Hauschka (8 FP), dropped Janikowski (5 FP). Still a win.

FPC League 4111 – Kept Adam Vinatieri (12 FP).

 

This week’s recommendations

Start

%Own

% Wins

Average FP

Matt Prater

DET

52

67%

8.0

Adam Vinatieri

IND

98

100%

13.0

Dustin Hopkins

WAS

53

83%

10.5

Brandon McManus

DEN

37

67%

8.5

Ryan Succop

TEN

1

17%

5.3

Roberto Aguayo

TB

13

40%

3.8

         

Marginal Start

     

Matt Bryant

ATL

44

83%

10.0

Mason Crosby

GB

73

80%

9.0

Stephen Gostkowski

NE

99

58%

7.5

Cairo Santos

KC

12

50%

8.0

Mike Nugent

CIN

20

50%

8.8

         

Neutral

     

Jason Myers

JAC

3

40%

8.0

Chandler Catanzaro

ARI

55

33%

6.2

Sebastian Janikowski

OAK

25

42%

7.5

Dan Carpenter

BUF

16

58%

7.3

Josh Brown

NYG

25

80%

9.2

Josh Lambo

SD

22

92%

9.7

Steven Hauschka

SEA

88

60%

8.0

Justin Tucker

BAL

97

83%

10.7

Blair Walsh

MIN

43

40%

7.8

Phil Dawson

SF

2

33%

6.2

Wil Lutz

NO

1

70%

8.8

Nick Folk

NYJ

3

50%

6.8

Andrew Franks

MIA

0

17%

5.5

Chris Boswell

PIT

46

42%

5.5

Greg Zuerlein

LA

2

50%

7.2

Caleb Sturgis

PHI

27

100%

10.6

         

Sit

     

Connor Barth

CHI

1

33%

5.8

Cody Parkey

CLE

0

75%

8.3

Nick Novak

HOU

26

67%

8.5

The kickers are in order from top to bottom of the points the algorithm says they’ll score – it’s not highly accurate but I’d pick a guy at the top of a category over one at the bottom if I needed a tiebreaker.

The “% Owned” column is taken from ESPN’s fantasy leagues. It provides a rough guide to who may be available in most leagues.

The “% Wins” column is the percentage of time the kicker has gotten a “Win” as defined by the 7 FP standard: a win is scoring more than 7 FP, a tie is equaling 7 FP, and a loss is less than that. In calculating the percentage, a tie counts as half a win.

Average FP is based on the algorithm's scoring system.

 

Comments:

Check the news feed link filtered for kickers if you want to quickly review what’s going on at the position.

The comments below focus on the widely available kickers (owned in less than 70% of ESPN leagues). It probably goes without saying, but if there is a “Start” or “Marginal Start” who is a very good kicker on a high scoring team, and he’s above the 70% owned mark but available in your league, pick him up. You don’t need any advice on easy calls like that.

The bye week kickers this week are Graham Gano and Dan Bailey. Gano is an easy drop. He's just 20th in average FP in this system and only has a 42% Wins rating. Plus he's on my watch list. Bailey is a bit tougher call. He's 7th in average FP but his % Wins is so-so at 67% (tied for 11th). I'd probably drop him if I owned him and but if you have roster room and want to hold on, I wouldn't argue too strongly against that decision.

Two widely-owned kickers are "Neutrals" this week – Steven Hauschka and Justin Tucker. I'd keep both in season-long formats (and I own a lot of shares of Hauschka). They may have down weeks, but they are solid long-term options. Last week I also urged adding Caleb Sturgis as a season-long kicker. He's the lowest-rated "Neutral" this week thanks to a tough matchup with MIN, but if you acquired him, I'd bite the bullet and play him in a bad week. If you prefer to stick to week-to-week options over these three guys, there are a number the system likes

My #1 add this week would be Dustin Hopkins, who is averaging double-digit FP and has an 83% Wins number. Then I'd go with Brandon McManus kicking in the thin air of Denver, followed by Matt Prater.

I'd skip over the two remaining widely-available "Starts" for Matt Bryant, a "Marginal Start" but with a record very close to Hopkins. Mason Crosby is still available in some leagues, and he's had his bye, so I'd make him my 5th choice. I'd also play Cairo Santos and Mike Nugent over "Starts" Ryan Succop and Roberto Aguayo.

Those last two names are algorithm calls that rely heavily on the expectation of high-scoring games against shaky defenses. Aguayo has been so inconsistent that I don't see how you can play him (although I'm sure his average FP is higher in scoring systems that go easier on misses than the one I use for this article). The system missed on Succop last week and he has only one game over 7 FP. I would not play him either.

 

Background

Just to review my objective: to identify kickers who are going to score more than seven fantasy points (FP) in the upcoming game. I chose 7 FP because that was around the average kicker scoring in 2006 and 2007. The average is more like 8 FP now but I have not been able to find a formula that consistently picks “winners” at the 8 FP level but have one that works for 7 FP. I think kicker fantasy scoring is too erratic to try to predict the exact scores of kickers or identify who will be the best kicker each week. I’ll be happy if I can predict which kickers will do better (or worse) than average most weeks: two-thirds of the time would be really good, as far as I’m concerned. This will help me pick kickers to start each week who will, on average, keep me competitive and not put me at a big disadvantage to my opponent.

The scoring system I’m using: Extra Point = 1 FP; Field Goal under 40 yards = 3; FG 40-49 yds = 4; FG 50+ = 5; Missed EP = minus 1; Missed Field Goal under 40 yards = minus 1.

To make a prediction on what kicker is going to score each week, I’ve come up with an equation that considers a kicker’s average scoring so far this year , how many points the Las Vegas oddsmakers think his team will score in the upcoming week, and how widely he is owned (a wisdom of the crowd input). I then turn that prediction into a recommendation on whether to start or bench the kicker.

My recommendations fall into four categories: “Sit” the kicker when he’s very likely to score fewer than 7 FP; “Start” him when he’s very likely to score more than 7 FP; consider him a “Marginal Start” if he’s fairly likely to top 7 FP; and “Neutral” when it’s a crapshoot what he’ll do.