Kickers are one of the most volatile positions in fantasy football, mostly because their production has less to do with their actual talent and more to do with game scripts and matchups. Of course, the kickers attached to the top offenses in the league are going to be elite for fantasy – Justin Tucker (Ravens), Harrison Butker (Chiefs), Younghoe Koo (Falcons), and Mason Crosby (Packers) kick for some of the best offenses in football and find themselves inside of the top five for fantasy this season. Other kickers such as Daniel Carlson (Raiders), Randy Bullock (Bengals), and Rodrigo Blankenship (Colts) have benefitted from offenses that can move the ball between the 20s but struggle to punch it in when they’re in the red zone.
I’m going to focus on matchups and game scripts in this breakdown with a special focus on the games I project to be the highest-scoring on the week. Always 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 Tucker, Butker, and Koo are already owned and started in your league without hesitation, so I’m focusing on lesser-relied upon players here.
Jason Myers: The Seahawks’ Jason Myers has gotten off to a bit of a slow start as he has scored just 14 fantasy points through his first two games, tying him for the 21st-best kicker. Much of this has been due to Seattle’s absurd red-zone scoring efficiency – they’ve scored a touchdown on 100% of their red-zone trips so far this season. However, there’s reason to think that could slow down a bit this week as the Cowboys have held their opponents to a 44% touchdown rate in the red-zone despite facing two high-octane offenses in the Rams and Falcons. Dallas is also one of three teams to allow 6+ field goals this year. This game between Dallas and Seattle has one of the highest over/under totals on the week and Myers should have the opportunity to kick a couple of field goals with the Cowboys’ bend-don’t-break defensive style.
Josh Lambo: It’s been an incredibly fun start to the year for Jaguars’ fans as Gardner Minshew has this team looking capable of making a run at the playoffs. Minshew’s efficiency has been stellar to start the year and the Jags rank third in red-zone touchdown rate at 85.7%. However, without D.J. Chark, their red-zone scoring could take a hit this week. They play the Dolphins this week, one of the worst defenses in football through the first two weeks, and Minshew should be able to move the ball up and down the field. Lambo has been the #10 kicker in fantasy so far this season and should be relied upon as an every-week starter.
Stephen Gostkowski: There were certainly some concerns about Stephen Gostkowski moving forward after his disastrous Week 1 that featured three missed field goals and a missed extra point. He bounced back in a huge way last week, though, nailing both of his field-goal attempts (both from 40+ yards away) and hit three of four extra points. The Titans have a delicious matchup this week against an abysmal Vikings’ defense and should be able to put up tons of points even if A.J. Brown is out again. Minnesota is allowing the most fantasy points to kickers so far this season and Gostkowski should be very viable for fantasy in this matchup.
Chris Boswell: The Steelers’ offense has gotten off to a bit of a slow start, but as Ben Roethlisberger continues to shake off rust there’s real reason for optimism with this group. The wideouts are deep and talented and the offensive line is very good both in pass protection and run blocking. Pittsburgh has the opportunity to produce its best offensive effort of the season this week against the Texans. Houston’s defense has looked poor so far and they are one of three teams to allow 6 field goals (most in the NFL) this year. Chris Boswell’s standing as the #17 kicker for fantasy to this point may not be encouraging, but this is a great opportunity for him and the Steelers’ offense to have their best games of the season.
Daniel Carlson: Currently ranked as the #3 kicker in fantasy, it may seem ludicrous to contemplate benching Daniel Carlson, especially with how strong the Raiders’ offense looks right now. However, the Raiders have to travel to the East Coast on a short week of rest to play the Patriots’ stout defense. New England is allowing the second-fewest fantasy points to opposing kickers so far and the Raiders’ offense is going to find it much harder to move the ball in this game. There’s still a decent chance Carlson finishes as a top-ten kicker this week, but I would not be shocked at all to see a significant regression game from Las Vegas.
Wil Lutz: Last season’s #2 kicker for fantasy on the year has gotten off to a slow start and ranks as just the #13 kicker so far. The Saints’ offense looked lost last week without Michael Thomas and Drew Brees has looked a step slow mentally to start this season. I don’t believe the Saints are going to be the same high-powered offense we’ve grown accustomed to and I’m downgrading Lutz as a result. Green Bay, the Saints’ opponent this week, has also allowed the fewest fantasy points to kickers this season. As a result, I’m looking for other options this week.
Robbie Gould: This is not going to be the same 49ers’ offense we’re used to. They have suffered a litany of injuries to key offensive players including Jimmy Garoppolo, George Kittle, Deebo Samuel, Raheem Mostert, and Tevin Coleman. I still have faith in Kyle Shanahan to find ways to help this offense win games, but Gould has to be downgraded with all of the talent missing. The Giants’ defense has played surprisingly well this season and they have allowed the 12th-fewest points to kickers this season. Gould is still a viable starter, but his upside is capped with all of the injuries and there might be better options this week.
Matt Prater: It sounds like there’s a good chance that Kenny Golladay returns for the Lions this week, which would be a massive boon for their currently struggling offense. Prater has been hurt by the team’s lack of offensive productivity as he currently ranks just 17th among kickers in scoring. While I do expect the Lions’ offense to improve, they face a Cardinals’ defense this week that has been one of the league’s best so far. Arizona has allowed the 10th-fewest fantasy points to kickers this season and I am looking for other options than Prater this week.
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