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What we learned from the last DFS season - the kicker position

A lot of – or even most of – Daily Fantasy Players don´t give much consideration to the kicker position. That fact alone is a great argument to really study the kicker position.

Most of – or even all of – DFS players don’t know what to look for when studying the kicker position. That means that you will have a bid advantage if you know what you’re doing.

Many fantasy writers don’t care about the kicker position, don’t know anything about the kickers, or both. The rankings tend to be very similar. The reason is that the majority is lazy and is just copycatting some one else’s work.

The easy way to find good production from a kicker is to get one on a very good offense, and hope for a few red zone stops so you get field goals instead of extra points. That’s the way to go if you don’t have the time to put in the effort to deep dive in the kicker position. Four extra points and a field goal is nothing special, but it will not ruin your day.

If you want to deep dive into the kicker position – perhaps certain weeks when playing DFS – you should try to look for a team that:

  1. Have a good passing offense, but no run game. The theory is that the team will be stopped more in the red zone without the run game, hence more field goals.
  2. Have a good offense but are meeting a team with a very good defense, especially red zone defense.
  3. Have a good defense themself, so they don’t have to score a TD in every possession.
  4. Is playing in a dome, or at least without wind.

K Stephen Gostkowski, New England Patriots, had produced the most fantasy points two years in a row coming in to the 2016 season. He was ranked number one almost everywhere. I didn’t have him ranked first, but I cannot fault anyone who did. The fault was to overpay for him, like so many did.

K Matt Bryant, Atlanta Falcons, was on a team with a very good offense and playing in a dome. The problem as I saw it was that the offense was too good, but the defense was supposed to be bad. The ones who went the simple road were rewarded this season.

K Justin Tucker, Baltimore Ravens, was my number one ranked. The team had a good passing offense, and a bad run game. The defense was good and field goals with ball control would often be enough. QB Joe Flacco is a gunslinger, but uneven. I could see him making progress to field goal territory and then being stopped when the attacking zone got smaller and crowded. That’s pretty much exactly what happened all season long.

Matt Bryant and Justin Tucker where the two stars at the kicker position with 176 and 174 points. Third was Adam Vinatieri with 145 points. A difference of 30 points equals 2,3 points per game. That’s more than you think.

K Graham Gano, Carolina Panthers, was consensus ranked 4th. Given the season before when Panthers had one of the best offenses and made the Super Bowl as big favorites it made sense. But it made bigger sense to stay away. In DFS you sell high and buy low.

K Chris Boswell, Pittsburgh Steelers, was a very popular choice last season. On the surface it made sense. He was on perhaps the most talented offense of them all, which should produce many points with all pieces back and healthy. But there where many reasons to look another way. Steelers didn’t have a good defense. Pittsburgh is way up north, with bad weather come November. Most importantly: Head Coach Mike Tomlin is the coach who choses to go for 2-points instead of extra points the most, and it’s not even close. The ones who picked Boswell made a mistake, and the fantasy writers who had him ranked high should be ashamed.

K fantasy studs                  Fantasy points       ADP                Place vs ADP

Matt Bryant                                    176                            16                   +15

Justin Tucker                      174                            2                     0

Adam Vinatieri                   145                            11                   +8

K fantasy duds                   Fantasy points       ADP                Place vs ADP

Chris Boswell                     106                            2 (LOL!)        -20

Stephen Gostkowski        135                            1                     -8

Graham Gano                     133                            4                     -10

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