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Corleone

The Importance of Kickers

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29 minutes ago, Shimmer said:

I place a much higher value on kickers than most. I see the kicker as the linchpin to close match-ups - they can drive the dagger home and seal the deal if they're capable of consistently drilling 40 and 50+ yard FGs. Zuerlein saved my bacon again last week in a narrow 6 point victory where he outscored my WR3, TE, and nearly my RB flex.

As you mentioned the reason why they're not valued more is because the majority of fantasy players are sheep and blindly follow a notion that says Kicker and D last two picks because they count less towards your weekly total and it's more important to have a 2nd or 3rd QB sitting on your bench putting up 20-30 points for e-peen points.

I generally take my kicker of choice around rounds 11-12 depending on if I feel like I can wait on getting my depth/flyer guys starting next round or not.

Oh boy, you know when a poster calls people "sheep", they probably have a trash argument. Defensive performance year to year is NEGATIVELY correlated. NEGATIVELY. I'm not sure what the case is for kickers, but I know they have a lower ADP to performance correlation than defenses do. Drafting defenses and kickers late, or not at all, is a strategy supported by decades of statistics. 

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10 minutes ago, Cord said:

I just looked and last year our championship match featured K13 Janikowski (winner) vs. K7 Crosby. Year before that it was K14 Jake Elliott (winner) vs. K6 Justin Tucker. 

I've no doubt that kickers are important. But outside the top 2-3 and bottom 2-3 they're mostly interchangeable based on matchups. 

I've always preferred to simply take a kicker on one of the best offenses in the league to ensure scoring opportunities. I'd rather have a kicker who steadily scores 8-10 points than one who is up and down.

I had Elliott in 2017 myself...though that was only because Greg Zuerlein got hurt after Week 14. Just out of curiosity, are you able to tell if the Elliott owner had Zuerlein?

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2 minutes ago, JaeTM said:

Anyone ever play around with the settings and adjust points for the position? 

Default has it at 0-39 is 3 points, 40-49 is 4 points and 50+ is 5 points. Having a great week and losing because a kicker put up 20+ sucks. 

Anyone ever try something like 0-39 = 1 pt, 40-49 = 2 pts, 50+ = 3 points. This way they're still relevant by adding points but not influencing it greatly like you sometimes see now. 

 

I’m in a league where a 50+ yarder is worth 8 points. So yeah in that league kickers are mega important.

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Just now, daethfromabove1979 said:

 

I’m in a league where a 50+ yarder is worth 8 points. So yeah in that league kickers are mega important.

Wow, that's something else. Do kickers still mostly wait until later rounds to be drafted with a format like that? 

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Just now, Corleone said:

Wow, that's something else. Do kickers still mostly wait until later rounds to be drafted with a format like that? 

 

I waited until the end and got Robbie Gould but you’ll see guys draft kickers before they take bench players.

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I think it's an incorrect statement to say that people think Kickers aren't important.  The problem is, there is no real way to know what kicker is going to have a good year when you're in the draft.  Generally, you want one on a good offense, but not too good or they'll only get extra points, but not too bad because they need to get into field goal range.  

Are they important to your team?  Absolutely.  Is the top scoring kicker for next week sitting on the waiver wire in your league? Possibly...but you have no real way of guessing.

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I love leagues that include kickers.  With all the negative feelings about kickers, this is an area that I think I can gain an advantage over casual players in the league.  

The funny thing is, statistically speaking, QBs and Ks perform somewhat similarly - you have a few elites at the position, and then you have 20 or so that are streamable from week to week.  But nobody is saying to get rid of QBs like they say to get rid of Ks.  The solution to the depth at QB is to go to 2-QB, not 0-QB.  You'd probably get torched for suggesting this, but what if the solution to depth at K is to go 2-K, rather than 0-K?

As for general K-strategy, in my experience, the top streamable option each week compares favorably to the performance of any elite K, so I find no reason to waste a 9th round pick on a Zuerlein when a suitable streamer can be found pretty much every week.  Moreover, I believe it is important to pay attention to recent trends, both on the offense that the kicker is on, and on the defense that the kicker will be playing.  Offensive lines gel over the course of the season, and the offense that consistently stalled in the red zone in September may now be punching in TDs with more regularity in November, reducing the value of its kicker.  The defense that used to be lights-out may be allowing a bit more with its ProBowl middle linebacker out for a month with injury.  It's trends like that that make me feel good about starting someone like Zane Gonzalez over a Jason Myers this week.

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Kickers still put real points on the board, therefore they’re necessary. The standard 3,4,5(&6?) should apply to every league. We also penalize by -3,-2,-1 so an accurate kicker is important

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40 minutes ago, FitzMagic said:

Which can be risky if your opponent has someone droppable on their bench and can block you from picking up that kicker. I'd only risk that with defense, since those are much more unpredictable.

 

Agreed, and it has happened before. I tend to play a game of poker there but worst case I make a decision before the 4 PM games if I only have 1 kicker option beyond that point and am playing a savvy owner.

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57 minutes ago, Corleone said:

Agreed in that I personally wouldn't want to be in a league without kickers. To me, they're part of the game (just as they are in a real NFL game). Sometimes it works out with them, sometimes it doesn't.

Using a punter is interesting. Obviously not for everyone, but it's intriguing.

 

So should we all figure out stats for OL and play them, too? Are you in an IDP league that utilizes all three levels of defense? What about ST coverage teams? They're all part of the real NFL game, too. Not trying to be snarky...just pointing out that there are many parts of the NFL game that are not included in FF. 

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11 minutes ago, Flyman75 said:

 

So should we all figure out stats for OL and play them, too? Are you in an IDP league that utilizes all three levels of defense? What about ST coverage teams? They're all part of the real NFL game, too. Not trying to be snarky...just pointing out that there are many parts of the NFL game that are not included in FF. 

 

It all depends on the preference of the league.  The league I described earlier scores traditional things but also scores things like rushing attempts, kick and punt return yards, tackles for losses, completions and incompletions, and sack yardage among other things.  These are all things that affect the outcome of the game.  We also break out DTs, DEs, Ss, and CBs on D.  All tackles are scored, including on STs.  So are punts downed inside the 20.

 

I think you could utilize O lines or linemen but would probably need to integrate it with skill positions/QB scoring since those yards are factored into their scoring.  Then you would need to find a platform to support it.  But if your league really wanted to drill down then the answer is yes.  Why not?  All that matters is what makes it fun for your league.  

Edited by Bronco Billy

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1 hour ago, dontclapGonorrhea said:

I usually take the guys with a high chance for their drives to stall or get extra points. I usually target 5 kickers every year.

 

Tucker

Lutz

Greggy the Leggy

Butker

Gostkowski 

I see what you're trying to say here, but all 5 of those guys are on good offenses.  Their teams get lots of scoring opportunities.  That's why they're getting the points, not because drives are stalling.  Gost, Lutz, and Butker were the top 3 kickers last year in PAT, so their offenses were scoring a tons of TDs.  Greg the Leg probably would have been up there too if he didn't miss 5 games with injury.  And BAL is probably going to see more PAT opportunities this year for Tucker with Lamar leading a better offense, so that's less FGs (actually, just noticed he leads the league right now).  Of course when you have a good offense, you're going to get lots of FG opportunities too because statistically nobody scores TDs every time they have the ball, no matter how good the offense (obviously).

 

My point is I'd rather have a reliable kicker on a good offense (e.g. add in Bryant) than trying to predict which offenses are good enough to get close and not score a TD.  Fairbairn and Myers came out of nowhere to be top fantasy producers last year, so good luck figuring out who that guy is going to be from year to year.  The 5 guys you listed though are easy choices because they are reliable kickers on good teams who score a lot.  Also, if you go back to 2017, three of "your" guys lead the league again in PAT with Tucker being #6 and Butker playing for a pre-Mahomes Chiefs.  Fairbairn was nowhere near the top, but Gould was (on an offense that wasn't great).  Again, good luck figuring out which kicker on not a great offense is going to be your fantasy savior at the position.  I'll stick with using one on a good offense, or if that's not possible, I'll try to stream one with a favorable matchup or kicking indoors, especially later in the season when the weather is worse.

 

No offense meant, btw.  Just saying your kicker choices don't support your comment about stalling offenses, but obviously they do get a shot at extra points because their offenses are putting them in the position to get more opportunities to score.

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10 minutes ago, Flyman75 said:

 

So should we all figure out stats for OL and play them, too? Are you in an IDP league that utilizes all three levels of defense? What about ST coverage teams? They're all part of the real NFL game, too. Not trying to be snarky...just pointing out that there are many parts of the NFL game that are not included in FF. 

Kickers put points directly on the board. Offensive lineman don't. Yes they're an incredibly important cog of an offense, but they don't score points. 

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Don't know why you guys are wasting time in this thread arguing about scoring formats rather than talking about actual kickers but I think Zane Gonzalez is criminally flying under the radar. Hasnt had less than 3 fga thru two games and Cardinals' offense seems like the perfect balance between good but not good enough to ensure this guy will be getting at least 3 attempts per game for the rest of the season. 

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I almost never roster a kicker.  Only time I ever do is if there's absolutely nobody I'm interested in on the wire, and I'll usually pick one up right before the playoffs just to be safe.  But in my league, a good week for a kicker is probably 10 points, while a winning week is usually 250+ points total.  My philosophy has been that kickers almost never make the difference between winning and losing in my league, and almost without exception, I've been proven right.  I'd much rather have an extra roster spot instead for stashing a high upside guy or for bye weeks/injuries, particularly early in the season.

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4 minutes ago, BadMoon said:

Don't know why you guys are wasting time in this thread arguing about scoring formats rather than talking about actual kickers

 

Because of the thread’s topic?

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Kickers are extremely important. It's a position that I think gets overlooked by most people.  I tend to wait in drafts to take one, but the last few years it's been board dependent.  If I think a kicker that's likely to be top 5 is on the board and the position players aren't that desirable I will go kicker.  I think more people have been doing this as Greg the Leg went fairly early (for a kicker) in every draft I've done this year.  Twice at a point where I was considering taking him with my next pick.

Things I look for in a kicker at draft time are the offense they play in (duh), the home stadium (dome, cold weather, windy/stormy place, etc), and the bye week.  All are fairly common sense I think.  From year to year certain kickers tend to be at the top, but not all.  Some do fluctuate.  Greg the Leg, Tucker, Gots tend to be in the top of the league.  Each year there are always kickers that have that money season. Right now I have the Dallas kicker in 2 leagues figuring he kicks in a weather protected place, on turf, for an offense that's good.  The problem so far has been that the offense is too good and has scored TDs and hasn't stalled for FG's. So I may need to move on. 

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27 minutes ago, Flyman75 said:

 

So should we all figure out stats for OL and play them, too? Are you in an IDP league that utilizes all three levels of defense? What about ST coverage teams? They're all part of the real NFL game, too. Not trying to be snarky...just pointing out that there are many parts of the NFL game that are not included in FF. 

Well, I actually am in an IDP league that utilizes all three levels of defense.
Special teams TD's & fumble recoveries are part of defensive scoring of my leagues. Thought that was the case with most leagues, but perhaps not.
As for offensive line, let's be realistic now :) 

Offense, defense and the kicking game are all the three main units of a football team that can score points. I personally like that they're all reflected in fantasy. Sometimes an NFL team loses because the opposing offense went off. Sometimes an NFL team, loses because an opposing defense was dominant. And sometimes an NFL team loses because the opposing kicker was on fire. I'm fine with fantasy reflecting all of those possible outcomes.

Edited by Corleone

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Personally I like to hold off on Kers and then look for ones on teams with strong Ds but average offenses.  They’ll control field position better and keep games close, have enough ability to move the chains a bit, but can’t finish drives.  CHI, SEA, MIN, and TEN have been good qualifiers in the past.  GB has looked like that kind of team so far this year (hoping the O catches up) and OAK and TB might be surprise entrants.

Edited by Bronco Billy
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1 hour ago, JaeTM said:

Anyone ever play around with the settings and adjust points for the position? 

Default has it at 0-39 is 3 points, 40-49 is 4 points and 50+ is 5 points. Having a great week and losing because a kicker put up 20+ sucks. 

Anyone ever try something like 0-39 = 1 pt, 40-49 = 2 pts, 50+ = 3 points. This way they're still relevant by adding points but not influencing it greatly like you sometimes see now. 

 

We did something like this a year or two ago in my league. We subtracted one from all the field goals, so 50+ = 4, 40+ = 3, anything else = 2. Missed PATs are -1 and missed FGs inside 50 yards are -0.5. everyone has been happy with it and there are no more weeks of kickers putting up RB1 numbers.

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2 hours ago, Corleone said:

Some people will read the Subject title and immediately say "They're not important at all".

I get the reputation of kickers in fantasy. Some people don't believe they're important, and some leagues have even banned kickers altogether. But for those of us in leagues with kickers, we're still counting those points.

This thread is NOT for "Should I start X kicker this week?". There's a separate forum for that. 

But what I'm curious about, is how important have kickers proven to be in your leagues? For those in long-running leagues, are you able to look up the kickers that the league champ has had? 

I'm in a long-running league (10 team, 2QB) that has been going since 2006. I took a look at the rosters of the league champ each season, and these were their kickers:

image.png.35e52a47c63c87bfb8fdebcd75c08891.png

So overall, of the championship teams, 8 of 13 had a Top 5 kicker that season. Only 2 of 13 had a kicker outside of the top 10.
I don't recall if either of those below-average teams (or any others) made kicker changes before Week 16 due to a favorable matchup...though it's not likely anyone grabbed an elite kicker off the WW right before the championship week.

We know that the "experts" say that kickers should only be taken in either the last or second-to-last round of your draft. Or in auction leagues, receive a $1 bid. After all the "experts" say, kickers fluctuate from year-to-year and don't make enough of a difference. But have you seen any type of correlation to winning fantasy teams having good kickers? 

 

There are top 5 kickers that go undrafted every year. Lots of winning teams work the waiver wire in season and pick up said kickers. Thst is all I see here.

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1 hour ago, GChicago said:

I think it's an incorrect statement to say that people think Kickers aren't important.  The problem is, there is no real way to know what kicker is going to have a good year when you're in the draft.  Generally, you want one on a good offense, but not too good or they'll only get extra points, but not too bad because they need to get into field goal range.  

Are they important to your team?  Absolutely.  Is the top scoring kicker for next week sitting on the waiver wire in your league? Possibly...but you have no real way of guessing.

Some people absolutely think kickers aren't important. Trust me, I've seen plenty of comments saying that over the years.

As for which kicker is going to have a good year, the top kickers often are consistently amongst the top kickers. 

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1 hour ago, miasma16 said:

Oh boy, you know when a poster calls people "sheep", they probably have a trash argument. Defensive performance year to year is NEGATIVELY correlated. NEGATIVELY. I'm not sure what the case is for kickers, but I know they have a lower ADP to performance correlation than defenses do. Drafting defenses and kickers late, or not at all, is a strategy supported by decades of statistics. 

Give your balls a tug and quit tip-toeing around the tulips with meek and mild insinuations and just ask! Come on, kitten - I won't bite! Making generalizations, typing in all caps, and throwing around decades of statistics which you didn't even care to share with the class - yeah, your argument has me convinced.

Edited by Shimmer

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4 minutes ago, Corleone said:

Some people absolutely think kickers aren't important. Trust me, I've seen plenty of comments saying that over the years.
 

 

And yet 8 of the top 9 scorers in the NFL right now are kickers.  Ask CHI how important kickers are.  Opinions aren’t facts.

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@CorleoneSo the reasoning for PK's having importance is because historically the champion of your 10 team league *usually has a top-10 ranked PK on their team?  I would say that's pretty well to be expected - nobody holds a second kicker, so you probably only have 10 PK's rostered at any time.  If you have a PK rostered outside of the top 10 then you should probably hit the WW and upgrade (not sure what your 2015 champion was thinking with the #19 PK in the championship game of a 10 team league).

To expand on your chart in the OP, I added on what those PKs' ADP was that year.  The source I was using didn't go back to 2006, so I ignored that year.  And three of the years the PK's were beyond the top 12-15 chosen and didn't seem to have reliable data, so I just put "NA", basically not drafted.  

From what I take from the data, there isn't a lot of correlation between teams taking a PK early and winning the 'ship.  Twice in 13 years a team that took the top PK won, and one of those 2 years it was Vinatieri, who finished 13th and wasn't likely much of a factor in their win. In only 5 of 13 years did the championship team even draft a top-5 ADP PK. 

By average, the championship team started a PK that finished around PK6, slightly worse than "average" assuming 10 PK's are rostered.  And their ADP averaged out to past PK8, and I'm sure in some of those cases, were just WW pickups through the season (see the NA ADP's and double digits). 

spacer.png

 

Furthermore, if we look at who was the #1 PK in each of those years by ADP, the chart below looks at where each of them finished the year.  As you can see, there is a high degree of variance.  Outside of a strong stretch of years from Gostkowski, the #1 drafted PK never finished a season better than PK5, or average in your 10 team league.  So if the inference is that we should take more care in drafting a PK and not wait until the end, and you decided to jump the gun and take a PK early, there's very little chance that move even pays off.  

By average, the top drafted PK finished as PK11, outside of even the starting range in a 10 team league.  If there is no correlation between ADP and performance, what is the point in spending any draft capital at all on a PK?  

spacer.png

Continued in next post . . .

 

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