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 Justin Tucker and Harrison Butker are already owned and started in your league without hesitation, so I’m focusing on lesser-relied upon players here.
Joey Slye: The Panthers’ Slye has now scored double-digit fantasy points in three out of five weeks and has only missed one field goal all season on 14 attempts. This week, Carolina will face a Chicago defense that has allowed the fourth-fewest points on the season but the sixth-most fantasy points to kickers. The Panthers should be able to move the ball in this game, but against a stout red-zone defense, their drives will end in field goals more often than not. Slye is an easy top-10 guy, maybe top-5 for me this week.
Rodrigo Blankenship: What do you get when you combine an offense that can move the ball some but struggles to finish drives with touchdowns? A boatload of field goal opportunities, which is exactly what has happened for the Colts’ rookie kicker Rodrigo “Hot Rod” Blankenship. He leads the NFL in points scored and has gone 15/17 on field goals as he leads the league in attempts. Week 6 should present another phenomenal opportunity as he faces the Bengals who have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to kickers. Blankenship is an obvious top option this week. This is likely the last time I’ll bring up Blankenship in this column as he’s entered the must-start territory.
Jason Sanders: Another guy who is a surprising must-start right now is the Dolphins’ kicker, Jason Sanders. He has averaged 18 fantasy points over his last two games and has had double-digit fantasy points in three of his last four games. The Dolphins shockingly ran roughshod over the 49ers last week on their way to 43 points and five field goals for Sanders. This week, he should have a similar opportunity against the Jets’ defense, one of the worst in the league, that is allowing the seventh-most fantasy points to kickers this year.
Matt Prater: The Lions’ Matt Prater has mostly been hit-or-miss this season as he has scored 11+ fantasy points twice but just 3 points in his other two games. Coming off a bye week, the Lions’ offense should continue to improve with Kenny Golladay working towards full health. They should be able to score plenty against the Jaguars and Prater should benefit, especially against a team that has allowed the 3rd-most fantasy points to kickers. Prater’s and his team’s inconsistency makes him a little less stable, but he should be a strong start this week.
Ka’imi Fairbairn: After scoring 12+ fantasy points in each of the last two games, you may be inclined to start Fairbairn this week. However, he did that against two of the three teams who have allowed the most fantasy points to kickers this year. In Week 6, he faces a Titans squad that has allowed the fewest points to kickers. Fairbairn has missed just one field goal and no extra points this year, but the Titans’ red-zone defense has been dreadful as they’ve allowed the 2nd-most touchdowns in that area. The field goal opportunities may not come for Fairbairn this week and I’d rather go in a different direction.
Cody Parkey: The Browns’ Parkey has now scored double-digit fantasy points in three straight weeks and has gone 7-7 on field goals in that span. The Browns have averaged 39.3 points over that span and now sit at fifth in the NFL in scoring with 31.2 points per game, but things will get much tougher against a Steelers defense that sits sixth in the NFL in points allowed (21.8 per game). The Steelers have also allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to kickers this year, so I’m looking for different options.
Robbie Gould: A picture of consistency in 2019 and finished as the seventh-best kicker in per-game fantasy scoring, but the 49ers have been far from the same elite offensive team this season. A 26-point home loss to the Dolphins was a shocking moment for this team and they now sit in the bottom half of the league in points scored. As the offense has sputtered in recent weeks, Gould only has one double-digit fantasy effort in his last four games. Against a Rams team that has allowed the sixth-fewest fantasy points to kickers, Gould is not a prime target for fantasy lineups.
Randy Bullock: After scoring 9+ fantasy points in each of his first four weeks, Randy Bullock was held to 3 points in Week 5, the same tally for the Bengals’ offense as a whole against the Ravens. I don’t expect the Cincy offense to be that bad all year nor do I expect Bullock to continue turning in 3-point fantasy games, but their Week 6 opponent isn’t going to be much easier to break down. The Colts have allowed the fewest offensive yards and the 2nd-fewest points per game in the NFL even after allowing the Browns to rack up 32 points. Bullock will also have his work cut out for him as the Colts have allowed the eighth fewest fantasy points to kickers this season. I’m looking to pivot away from Bullock this week.