Originally posted: December 26, 2017
If your league fights on into Week 17, you’ll need all the points you can get to take home that elusive trophy. While some may scoff at researching the kicker position, we’ve found that projecting a kicker’s output isn’t as difficult or random as you may think—in fact, taking a look at Vegas odds is the best way to accurately predict a kicker’s weekly potential. By focusing in on the team implied point totals, game totals, and favorites, we can get a cumulative idea of how an offense will perform when it comes to settling for field goals, distance of kicks, and the like.
Another metric useful in projecting a kicker’s output is 4for4’s schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed or aFPA. By removing the schedule bias, we can compare matchups in an apples-to-apples manner. By Week 4, there’s a solid sample size to work from, and the info gets more trustworthy with each data-filled week.
The goal in streaming is to roster a player who will return starting kicker fantasy points, and Week 16 proved to be a productive one for my streamers. Dan Bailey had the second-highest fantasy points with 16, followed by Kai Forbath’s 10 as kicker 10. Dustin Hopkins checked in as kicker 14 with nine points. 4for4’s optimal streaming kicker has 221 total points on the season, enough for first place among all kickers in the league. Let’s move forward to Week 17 and attack that fake football championship!
In order to provide advice that you can actually implement, candidates for streaming must be available in at least 40% of Yahoo fantasy leagues.
Kai Forbath (MIN) vs. CHI
The second-seeded Vikings can clinch a first-round bye in the playoffs with a win or a tie in Week 17. They get a home contest against Chicago, a team with very little to play for, besides perhaps the coaches’ jobs. Minnesota’s implied team total is 25.75, projecting a solid amount of work for Forbath on Sunday. At a 46% Yahoo ownership, he’s the best steamer on the slate.
Graham Gano (CAR) @ ATL
Both teams in this contest are currently playoff bound, with the Falcons needing a win, or for Seattle to lose their matchup. Vegas has the over/under at a hefty 46.5 for this NFC South showdown with a team implied total of 21.5 for the Panthers. Gano is averaging 8 fantasy points a week and is owned in 36% of Yahoo leagues heading into Week 17.
Stephen Hauschka (BUF) @ MIA
This AFC East contest takes place in sunny Florida, between the eliminated Dolphins and a Bills team that needs quite a bit of help to keep playing after next week. Buffalo still has a shot at postseason glory, so should be putting all they have into this Week 17 tilt. With a 42.5-point over/under and Buffalo favored to win by two and a half points, Hauschka should have plenty of chances to score on Sunday. At just a 30% ownership, he’s there if you need him.
Josh Lambo (JAX) @ TEN
Both these teams are currently slotted to make the postseason, with Jacksonville’s AFC South title assuring their spot. The over/under on this division rival matchup is 41, with the Titans needing a win or tie to have a shot at that sixth seed. I expect a battle, with decent kicking chances for Lambo throughout the game. He’s on the waiver wire in 70% of Yahoo leagues, so he’s most likely available in yours.
Blair Walsh (SEA) vs. ARI
As the only streamable kicker left on a team that’s battling for a playoff berth, Walsh fits the bill this week. Seattle needs to win or tie with an Atlanta loss to grab that six seed in the NFC, so should be at full strength on their turf in Week 17. The Seahawks implied team total sits at 23 points, with the home team favored by 7.5. Walsh hasn’t been the strongest kicker this season but should put up some points on Sunday as his team fights for their postseason lives. Rostered in just 25% of leagues, he’s widely available for the taking.
Other Streaming Candidates:
- Brandon McManus (DEN) vs. KCC – 25% owned
- Robbie Gould (SF) @ LAR – 26% owned
- Mason Crosby (GB) @ DET – 33% owned
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