25 Statistics: Boom-Boom Kickers in 2016
Listen I get it… kickers?!? Yes sometimes they can be the worst. I mean like “gouge-my-eyes-out-how-is-this-football?” kind of worst thing ever. In fact, you know you have a good NFL kicker when you don’t hear much publicity about them. But this is fantasy football people!
Like it or not, if your league does deploy these lead-footed men on your rosters, then some weeks having a solid kicker really does matter. It definitely feels like part of the game that is most given to random chance. I always try to convince myself… “You know, that offense is good… but not good enough to actually punch in a TD. I mean they will stall out around the 35 and give my kicker a chance for a 50+ yarder and 5 points on the board!”
It rarely if ever plays out that way but still the points do add up. So I’ve undertaken the insane task to give you 25 meaningful kicker statistics from 2016 (if that is an oxymoron or not). I want to reflect on 2016 to see if there is some meaning behind the madness. Or maybe this is just kicker roulette….
Note: Scoring for kickers varies across formats and websites. For standard scoring, I am referring to 3 points for FG made and 1 for every extra point. For what I will refer to as bonus scoring, 3 points for a FG <40, 4 points for <50, and 5 points for 50+ as well as the 1 for XP.
1. There were 33 different kickers who registered a top 5 bonus league performance in 2016. Greg “the Leg” Zuerlein and the Rams were the only team without a top 5 finish.
2. Matt Bryant’s 158 standard points tie Stephen Gostkowski‘s 2013 season for the most fantasy points by a kicker since 2011. That year was David Akers‘ monster 166 point campaign when he had an insane 52 attempts.
3. Bryant was an absolute beast on the league’s highest scoring offense. He finished as a top 12 kicker 14 times on the year in bonus leagues, the most among kickers.
4. Ravens kicker Justin Tucker really is as good as it gets. He finished in the top 5 in bonus formats 6 times in 2016. No other kicker had more than 4.
5. Tucker is the definition of boom boom. He attempted 10 FGs beyond 50 yards on the season… and made EVERY SINGLE ONE.
6. The Jaguars have allowed the most fantasy points to opposing kickers back-to-back years. Their 9.4 standard points allowed per game is the most since 2012…. when the Jaguars once again were a haven for kickers at 9.6 points per game.
7. Those Jags allowed kickers to score double digit fantasy points 7 times on the year as they hit on 92.7% of their attempts, also highest in the league.
8. Hey Jeff Fisher won at something! The Rams allowed the fewest FG attempts (18) of any team in the league. But for some weird reason, he wasn’t evaluated on this statistic in terms of employment.
9. Adam Vinatieri’s Week 5 explosion was good for 23 points in bonus leagues. He would’ve been the 11th overall fantasy scorer that week in standard leagues equivalent to being the QB6.
10. Despite being the consensus #1 kicker drafted, Stephen Gostkowski finished as the 9th kicker overall in standard. That is after a dominant run when he finished #1 overall 4 years in a row.
11. Matt Prater had a sick 4 week run from Weeks 11-14 finishing as a top 10 kicker every time in bonus formats. He scored more fantasy points in that span than Larry Fitzgerald and Amari Cooper did in PPR formats!
12. Rookie Roberto Aguayo was the subject of much scrutiny as a 2nd round pick while also missing a league-high 9 FG tries. He was still the top kicker in Week 11 and missed less than extra points (2) on the season than Stephen Gostkowski (3).
13. The Eagles’ Caleb Sturgis finished in the top 10 of bonus leagues 10 times on the year. He finished #4 overall on the year despite largely going undrafted.
14. Matt Bryant, Dan Bailey, Adam Vinatieri, and Dustin Hopkins were the only kickers to repeat as the top scoring kicker in bonus formats.
15. Geez, I bet you’re sick of hearing his name in this column. But in bonus scoring formats, Justin Tucker had the longest consecutive top 12 performances at 5 weeks in a row.
16. The Chargers, Giants, Bengals, Buccaneers, and Steelers clearly didn’t have the “oomph” to hit the long ones. They were the only teams not to make a FG beyond 50 yards.
17. Graham Gano was the boom-bust kicker that frustrated fantasy owners. He had more top 2 bonus format finishes (4) than any other kicker in the league. He also finished outside the top 12 in 10 of his 16 games.
18. It makes sense that Sebastian Janikowski excels in bonus formats given his legendary Polish leg. He had 7 top 6 performances in bonus formats, the most in the league. He was the #1 kicker from Weeks 5-15, a huge chunk of the season.
19. Will Lutz was a rock solid kicker in 2016 finishing #5 in standard. Lutz scored 7+ points in 12 of his 16 games. To put this in perspective, his teammate Mark Ingram (the #10 RB in standard) only scored 7+ standard points in 10 of his 16 games.
20. The Chargers’ Josh Lambo started out the year hot with 5 top 7 finishes in the first half of the season as the 3rd overall kicker in bonus formats. However, from Weeks 10-17, Lambo ranked 31st out of 33 qualifying kickers.
21. The Cardinals’ Chandler Catanzaro hit the longest FG of the year (60 yards). Catanzaro still finished a disappointing 20th in bonus formats
22. The Vikings kicking game was looking good starting the year as Blair Walsh finished Week 1 as the 2nd overall kicker. Well you know about his kicking woes, how he got let go and how the entire Vikings team decided to fall apart. They had the longest kicking drought of the year failing to register a top 12 performance until Walsh’s replacement, Kai Forbath, came through in Week 13.
23. Jason Myers’ Week 16 performance against Tennessee was a fantasy championship dream. He hit 4-of-4 FGs while adding 2 XPTs en route to 19 bonus points. Kudos to you if you started him!
24. Randy Bullock had a weird season starting one game as the suspended Josh Brown‘s opening replacement for Week 1 when the Giants beat the Cowboys. He was eventually signed by the Steelers when Chris Boswell was hurt to play against his former team, the Giants, in Week 13. And then he was signed two weeks later by the Bengals after Mike Nugent was hurt to play against his former team, the Steelers, in Week 15. Whew…
25. According to FantasyFootballCalculator.com, 6 of the top 12 kickers in 2016 went undrafted on average, the same number as 2015. In other words, just because you didn’t pick Justin Tucker or Matt Bryant, you’ll find someone who works.