Dispersed between my multitude of kicker takes in this degenerate space this season have been real and useful ways to identify situations conducive to kickers scoring fantasy points.
One of the key indicators, as you certainly know by now, is points scored by a given team. Opportunity is and always will be king in selecting kickers, but zeroing in on potentially high scoring affairs -- according to Vegas totals -- has proved helpful in 2016.
How have kickers on the NFL's highest scoring offenses fared this season? Funny you ask.
Team (Average Points)
Kicker FG Attempts
Kicker Fantasy Points (Rank)
Five kickers form the top-10 highest scoring teams have ranked inside the top-12 this season -- what I would call a K1. Many of these kickers (in seasonal leagues) have served as little more than desperate bye-week streaming options. Hopefully if you ended with with Stephen Gostkowski in August, you haven't rolled out the former fantasy great every week for three months
If you have, rest in peace.
You'll notice that kickers with massive weekly opportunity come from offenses that consistently shred opponents through the air. Washington, San Diego, Oakland, Atlanta -- they all have premiere passing attacks and their kickers have benefited in big ways. That makes sense since passing yards correlate much more closely with kicker production than rushing yards.
We can't boil down kicker strategy to a single “when in doubt" taek, but if we had to -- if someone was threatening physical harm against us unless we gave them this taek -- I would say to chase Vegas point totals with teams that regularly put up gaudy numbers through the air. That's not always available, of course. But when it is, we should strike.
Now let's get into Week 13 kicker plays on FanDuel.
Justin Tucker (BAL) vs. Miami Dolphins ($5,200): Tucker, last week's top-priced play of choice in this space, went nuclear against the Bengals. Now he gets a shot at a Miami team allowing 2.3 field goal tries per game, though much of the kicker production against the Dolphins has come in big performances. That's hardly a foreign concept to Tucker, who has the fifth most field goal attempts this year and has scored at least nine fantasy points in eight of 11 games. Tucker is a cool $700 over the minimum in Week 13, so it'll be tough to jam him into your cash lineup. The NFL's best kicker, however, is always a candidate to be a difference maker in more volatile tournament lineups.
Matt Prater (DET) at New Orleans Saints ($4,800): I'm more than willing to go ahead and chase Prater's points this week, as Detroit has a stupid-high road total of 24.25 points and the Saints are allowing the sixth most field goal attempts per contest. Kickers have scored more than 13 fantasy points against New Orleans in four of five weeks heading into Week 12, when Greg Zuerlein predictably put up a dud against the Saints. New Orleans gives up a hefty 3.5 red zone scoring chances per game, evident by the spate of short and mid-range field goals kickers have made against the Saints over the past month. The opportunity has certainly been there for Prater: he's attempted at least two field goals in five of the Lions' past seven tilts. His FanDuel price makes him much more feasible than Tucker.
Brandon McManus (DEN) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars ($4,700): Perhaps daily gamers, scarred from Dan Carpenter's inexplicable debacle against the Jaguars, will fade McManus in Week 13, terrified that it could happen again. The Jags, despite Carpenter's very uncool Week 12 disappearing act, are still allowing the most kicker fantasy points per game. Carpenter was the first kicker to fail to notch eight fantasy points against Jacksonville. McManus is fifth in field goal tries per game (2.5) and eighth in field goals made (2.1). Only once all season has McManus not attempted at least two field goals. Denver's offense is hardly inspiring, but no matter: I'm rolling out McManus as the floor play in Week 13.
Roberto Aguayo (TB) at San Diego Chargers ($4,500): In a week sporting no obvious minimum-priced kickers on the FanDuel main slate, I'm going to break my pledge to you and recommend Aguayo, the second round kicker who seemed on the verge of being cut from the roster after a stunningly heinous start to his rookie campaign. Aguayo has (mostly) recovered from missing five (five!) field goals in the season's first six weeks. In expert parlance, that's what we consider “not good." His Week 13 matchup is a sneaky one, as the Chargers are now allowing two field goal tries per game, along with 3.6 red zone scoring chances per contest (only three teams allow more). Aguayo has five performances of eight or more fantasy points; it's not as if he has failed to post floor-type numbers in 2016. The rookie has given no indication that he has a ceiling worth chasing, meaning I'm bearish on him in tournaments. If you can't possibly muster the FanDuel cash for Prater or McManus, hold your nose, pray to your favorite deity, and plug in Aguayo against the Chargers.
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