Week 16 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.

Start ‘Em

Houston TexansKa’imi Fairbairn: The Texans’ offensive inconsistency has held back their kicker Fairbairn this season, but he’s made 84.6% of his field goals and 93.9% of his extra-point attempts. This week, Fairbairn faces the Bengals who are allowing 10.4 fantasy points per game to kickers, the fifth-most in the NFL. Cincinnati has also allowed 11.6 fantasy points per game to kickers over the past five weeks, the most in the NFL. Fairbairn’s consistency and connection to one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL make him a weekly consideration for your lineup, but this incredibly favorable matchup makes him a clear-cut must-start kicker.

Miami DolphinsJason Sanders: It’s been a couple of weeks since Jason Sanders has appeared in this column, but he’s averaging just 5.5 fantasy points per game over the past two weeks and I feel the need to reaffirm your confidence in the Dolphins’ kicker. Sanders is still scoring 10.6 fantasy points per game, the second-most in the NFL, and draws a great matchup against the Raiders who are allowing the 9th-most fantasy points per game to kickers. Sanders has missed a couple of field goals in the past two weeks, but he’s still hitting on 90.9% of his attempts this season and has been a very reliable option. The entire Dolphins’ offense should be able to get back on track with the expected return of some key skill players, and you should be able to trust Sanders in your championship matchup this week.

Chicago BearsCairo Santos: The Bears’ kicker has made 25 of his 27 field goal attempts this season, a 92.6% rate, and hasn’t missed a field goal since Week 3. He has also scored 12.5 fantasy points per game over the past two weeks. Chicago’s offense has woken up recently with 31 points per game over the past four weeks – that would make them the highest-scoring offense in football. This week the Bears face the Jaguars who are allowing 30.2 points per game, the third-most in the NFL, and 418.2 yards from scrimmage per game, more than any other team. Jacksonville is also allowing 10.1 fantasy points per game to kickers, the sixth-most in the NFL, and has allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to kickers over the past five weeks. Santos has been very efficient this year, and with a tremendous matchup this week, he’s a must-start kicker option.

washington football team 1Dustin Hopkins: This one comes with a massive disclaimer as I would only ever play Hopkins this week if Alex Smith returns to the field. The Washington offense has been putrid under Dwayne Haskins and I’m hesitant to rely on any of their players if he remains the quarterback this week. However, if Smith does return, Hopkins will return to fantasy relevance as he did with four straight double-digit fantasy performances from Week 11 to 14. This week, Hopkins faces the Panthers who are allowing the eighth-most fantasy points per game to kickers. This is projected as a lower-scoring game this week, but Washington’s defense should put them in good field position repeatedly, and that should result in field goal opportunities. If Smith is good to go, you can trust Hopkins this week.

Sit ‘Em

Oakland RaidersDaniel Carlson: The Raiders’ offense has been very strong this season with 26.9 points per game, the 11th-most in the NFL. However, Las Vegas draws a very difficult matchup this week in the Dolphins who are allowing just 18.4 points per game. Daniel Carlson has scored 6+ fantasy points in every game this season and 9.5 per game this year, making him one of the most consistent kickers in fantasy. However, he faces the Dolphins this week who are allowing just 5.4 fantasy points per game to kickers, the second-fewest in the NFL. Carlson isn’t someone to completely rule out for fantasy given his strong efficiency this season, but he isn’t the top-tier, consistent play he’s been all season in a very difficult matchup against Miami.

Seattle SeahawksJason Myers: While the Seattle offense has been one of the best in the NFL, Jason Myers has been hit-or-miss as the Seahawks have finished drives with touchdowns rather than field goals more often than not. However, this week against the Rams, I’m worried about the Seahawks’ offense as a whole. Los Angeles is allowing just 286.1 yards per game, the fewest in football, and 19.2 points per game, the 3rd-fewest in football. This has translated to minimal success for kickers in fantasy as the Rams have allowed just 6.9 fantasy points per game to the position, the sixth-fewest in the NFL. With Seattle’s offense in for one of their toughest challenges of the season, Myers is likely someone to avoid in fantasy. He still has some upside as Russell Wilson is more capable than most at producing against the Rams, but I’m looking elsewhere for fantasy points at the kicker position.

Green Bay PackersMason Crosby: With 7.6 fantasy points per game, Mason Crosby has been a decent option for lineups, but I’m less confident in him this week against the Titans who are allowing just 6.8 fantasy points per game to the position, the fourth-fewest in the NFL. This is primarily due to a poor red-zone defense that has allowed a touchdown on 70.9% of drives, the third-highest rate in the NFL. The Packers have scored a touchdown on 78.4% of drives, the highest rate in the NFL, so it’s hard to project many field goal opportunities for Crosby on most weeks. He has surpassed one field goal attempt just once since Week 4. With Crosby’s upside severely capped, I’m avoiding him in fantasy this week, even in what is projected as the highest-scoring game of the week.

Tampa Bay BuccaneersRyan Succop: The Buccaneers’ kicker has been a low-upside, consistent fantasy option, but I’m worried about his lack of upside against the Lions this week. Detroit has allowed a touchdown on 73.2% of red-zone trips on defense, the second-highest rate in football. That indicates the Buccaneers will be able to finish drives with touchdowns more often than not as they have the sixth-highest rate of red-zone touchdowns in the NFL. Detroit’s lack of success in the red zone has translated to them allowing the eighth-fewest fantasy points per game to kickers despite their defensive struggles all season. Succop hasn’t surpassed 10 fantasy points once in the past month, and I don’t see him as having that type of upside this week. Succop has made 92.6% of his field goals this year, so there are certainly worse options, but I’m not very confident in his ability to be a difference-making kicker for fantasy this week.

I've been writing about sports for Lineups since the beginning of 2020 and on my own website since 2018. In May 2021, I graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in sport management. I've been playing fantasy football for as long as I can remember and am now in far more leagues than any person should take part in. There are few things that give me as much joy and excitement as fantasy football, and I'm excited to share my input with you in your journey towards a championship.

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