Week 8 K Start, Sit: Who to Play at Kicker: Brandon McManus to Bounce Back Against Chargers

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 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.

Start ‘Em

Wil Lutz: Still one of the most consistent kickers in the NFL, Lutz has drained all 11 of his field-goal attempts and all 21 of his extra-point attempts this season. A matchup against the Bears could convince you to fade some Saints’ players, but this may actually set up favorably for Lutz. The Saints are still the 7th-highest-scoring team in the NFL and should be able to move the ball against the Bears. However, Chicago is allowing the lowest red-zone touchdown rate in the NFL at just 42.3%. That correlates positively with more field goal opportunities and it’s the reason Chicago allows the 7th-most fantasy points to kickers despite boasting a strong defense. Don’t consider benching Lutz this week – he could be the top scorer at the position.

Jake Elliott: The Eagles have figured things out offensively a bit and will be getting back rookie Jalen Reagor this week just in time for a matchup against one of the league’s worst defenses in the Cowboys. Elliott has been inconsistent this season as he’s hit just 8-12 field goals, but he’s previously been one of the better kickers in the NFL as he’s hit 83+% of his field goals in each of the past three years. I’m expecting the entire Eagles’ offense to get back on track this week and that includes a strong performance from Elliott against the Cowboys who allow the 5th-most fantasy points to kickers.

Jason Myers: A mainstay in this column at this point, Myers has been up-and-down this season as the field goal opportunities have been few and far between with the best red-zone offense in terms of TD% in Seattle. However, the Cardinals forced the Seahawks into two field-goal attempts last week and are the 2nd-best defense at stopping teams from scoring touchdowns in the red zone. Similar opportunities could be in store for Myers this week against the 49ers who give up the 3rd-fewest touchdowns in the red zone at a 46.7% rate. Myers is attached to one of the hottest offenses in the NFL and should be in line for an uptick in field goal opportunities in this matchup.

Brandon McManus: As a Broncos fan, I can tell you firsthand how frustrating our red-zone offense has been. We’re scoring a touchdown on just 47.1% of our red-zone drives, the 3rd-worst mark in the NFL, and only better than the two New York teams. He had a bit of a let-down against the Chiefs last week, but incredibly turnover-heavy play from Denver hurt their offense as a whole. This week, Denver should be able to move the ball some against the Chargers and at least get McManus in range to hit field goals. McManus has made 13/14 field goals this year and has hit under 80% of his field goals in just one season since becoming the Broncos’ full-time starter, so we know he’ll hit them if he gets the opportunities. He should get back on track this week.

Sit ‘Em

Randy Bullock: It’s quietly been a very strong season for Randy Bullock as he has scored 9+ fantasy points in six of seven games this year. He’s gone 17-19 on field-goal attempts as the Bengals have sported the fifth-worst red-zone touchdown percentage in the NFL. However, the Titans could change that for Cincy this week as Tennessee is allowing opposing offenses to score a touchdown on 81% of red-zone trips, the 2nd-most in the NFL. That has led to the Titans also allowing the fourth-fewest fantasy points to kickers this year. Bullock could still be a fine play in what should be a very high-scoring game between the Titans and Bengals, but his field-goal attempts could be down this week.

Buffalo BillsTyler Bass: It was a wild ride for the Bills’ rookie kicker last week as he attempted 8 field goals in a terrible red-zone showing for Buffalo. Wide receiver John Brown looks set to return this week which would help this offense significantly, but I don’t expect Bass to have 8 field goal attempts again. He had averaged just 1 attempt per game over his prior five appearances and has already missed five field goals this year. He’s not a reliable player yet and I don’t trust the volume he saw last week to continue, even against a Patriots’ defense that has been tough in the red zone.

Jason Sanders: I’m sadly fading one of my favorite streamers at kicker this season in Sanders as the Dolphins switch from Ryan Fitzpatrick to Tua Tagovailoa at quarterback. I actually do think the Dolphins have a chance to win this game, but I don’t anticipate it being a particularly high-scoring affair. The Rams have allowed the fifth-fewest fantasy points to kickers this season and have been one of the league’s better defenses in general. The future looks bright in Miami and I’m expecting to be recommending Sanders as soon as next week against the Cardinals, but there are too many variables at play against a tough defense to roll with Sanders this week.

Stephen Gostkowski: I originally had Gostkowski pegged as a starter for this week, but I changed my mind after doing some reading. He’s going to be talked about in the media for all of the wrong reasons after he missed a potential game-tying field 45-yard field goal with 19 seconds left in the game against the Steelers. Gostkowski has had an up-and-down season as he’s scored a combined 18 fantasy points since his Week 3 25-point outburst. That has coincided with the Titans becoming one of the league’s best red-zone offenses – they’re now scoring a touchdown on 80% of their red-zone trips, the second-most in the NFL. The Bengals are allowing a touchdown on 72% of their red-zone defensive trips (7th-most), so while this game has a high over/under, the field goal opportunities don’t look like they’re going to be there often enough for Gostkowski.

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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