Week 13 Kicker Start, Sit: Who to Play at Kicker

In this breakdown, I will focus on matchups and game scripts with a special focus on the games I project to be the highest-scoring on the week. Remember that most kickers are tough to depend on week-to-week, and it’s important to optimize your chances for success at the position with weekly management. I’m going to assume guys like Younghoe Koo, Justin Tucker, and Wil Lutz are already owned and started in your league without hesitation, so I’m focusing on lesser-relied upon players here.

Start ‘Em

Oakland RaidersDaniel Carlson: The Raiders’ offense completely fell flat last week in Atlanta as they scored just 6 points as a team – Carlson finished with 6 points as well. Despite two disappointing outings in a row, though, Carlson still ranks 4th among kickers in fantasy scoring as he’s averaged 9.8 fantasy points per game. He’s hit on 23 of 25 field-goal attempts and 31 of 31 extra points. He’s put up double-digit fantasy points in six of eleven games and has a great chance to do so again. This week, the Raiders should get back on track against a weak Jets’ defense, including Carlson producing top-five numbers at the position. New York has allowed the most fantasy points per game to kickers, so Daniel Carlson is a strong start.

Pittsburgh SteelersChris Boswell: One of the best ways to identify fantasy opportunity for kickers week-to-week is identifying bend-don’t-break defenses around the NFL. Washington fits the bill as they’re allowing the lowest percentage of touchdowns in the red zone this season. Pittsburgh should still move the ball against them, though, as they’re scoring the 4th-most points per game. Red zone stops for Washington will create field goal opportunities for Boswell, and he’s hitting on 94.7% of his field-goal attempts this season. Boswell has been incredibly consistent as he’s scored 8+ fantasy points in nine of eleven games, and being a part of one of the best offenses in football has propelled him to fantasy success. Boswell’s baseline makes him a strong play here.

Buffalo BillsTyler Bass: Not among the few household names at the kicker position, Tyler Bass has been surprisingly stellar for fantasy purposes this season as he’s averaging 9.4 fantasy points per game, the third-most in the NFL. That is a bit misleading as he has three games with 14+ fantasy points and two with 18+ fantasy points, and he has 6 or fewer points in five of eleven games. However, I like this matchup for him as the 49ers have allowed the 6th-most fantasy points per game to kickers. The Bills’ offense has led to Bass’s great opportunities, and while the 49ers’ defense is finally getting relatively healthy, Buffalo should still be able to move the ball here. Bass is a high-upside, low-ceiling play, but with relatively few options at the position, it’s hard not to call him a start.

Minnesota VikingsDan Bailey: The Vikings’ kicker is not on the radar in fantasy for most managers as Bailey has averaged just 5.7 fantasy points per game, just the 28th-most in the NFL. However, he’s coming off his second double-digit performance of the season last week and is a sneaky start against the Jaguars, who allow the 4th-most fantasy points per game this season. Bailey hasn’t missed a field goal in the past two months, although he only has 12 attempts all season. However, the Vikings’ offense has been much better as of late, with 27.4 points per game over their past five outings. The Jaguars have allowed 29.5 points per game, the third-most in the NFL, and I’m projecting another strong outing for Minnesota offensively. You could do a lot worse than Bailey this week.

Sit ‘Em

Dallas CowboysGreg Zuerlein: In his first season with the Cowboys, it’s been an up-and-down year for Greg Zuerlein, and he ranks just 18th in per-game fantasy scoring. Things have been better as of late, though, as he’s scored double-digit fantasy points in three of his past four games. However, this week the Cowboys play the Ravens, allowing the third-fewest points per game and the second-fewest fantasy points per game to opposing kickers. Zuerlein has been solid with an 87.1% conversion rate on field goals, but he’s uncharacteristically missed a few extra points after missing just three over the previous three seasons. Baltimore’s defense will dominate in this matchup, and it’s unlikely I’d play Greg the Leg, as much as I love the player.

Cincinnati BengalsRandy Bullock: With double-digit fantasy points in five of his first seven games, Randy Bullock had been one of my favorite kickers to target early in the season. However, things have come off the rails as of late. The Bengals haven’t surpassed 20 points in any of their last three games as offensive line injuries and a devastating season-ending injury to Joe Burrow has derailed the offense. Bullock has averaged just 4.6 fantasy points per game over that span. This week, the Bengals face the Dolphins, who allow the 2nd-fewest points defensively this season and allow the fewest fantasy points per game to kickers. It’s the perfect trifecta of bad offense, bad matchup, and a mediocre kicker here. Avoid Bullock at all costs this week.

Arizona CardinalsZane Gonzalez: A solid fantasy option for much of this season, Zane Gonzalez has regressed as of late as he has scored five or fewer fantasy points in each of the past two weeks. He missed his fifth field goal of the season last week against the Patriots to bring him to just 76.2% on the year, and he’s missed an extra point as well. With Kyler Murray not 100% healthy, the offense has taken a step back, and things don’t look great against the Rams, who allow the fourth-fewest points per game. Fantasy kickers have not fared well against LA as the Rams allow the seventh-fewest fantasy points per game to kickers. With the offense stagnating and a brutal matchup on deck, I’m out on Gonzalez this week.

Houston TexansKa’imi Fairbairn: With Deshaun Watson on fire as of late, Ka’imi Fairbairn has turned into a very effective fantasy weapon. Outside of an uncharacteristic 1-point effort in brutal weather conditions in Cleveland a couple of weeks ago, he has scored 8+ fantasy points in four of his last five games. However, Will Fuller V will miss the remainder of the season after testing positive for PEDs, and Watson will now be without his top receiving weapon for the remainder of the year. Houston also has to face the Colts’ stout defense this week that gets a few key front seven players back this week after they missed last week’s game due to COVID-19. The Colts have allowed the sixth-fewest fantasy points per game to kickers, so I’m avoiding Fairbairn this week.

  
There are few things I love more in this world than the sweet glory of fantasy football. It's a year round sport and championships are won and lost well before the draft. When I was 15 I put together my first fantasy league and I was hooked for life.

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