Let me make a somewhat controversial statement. You're playing fantasy football wrong. I know that's going to bring up a few questions, so hear me out.
The most useless position in all of fantasy sports resides in fantasy football. That position is the Kicker. The Kicker is not only the most volatile and unpredictable position; it is also the only position that annually gets drafted in the last round of fantasy football drafts. This article will be based on the standard scoring system of Kickers, which is 1 point for a PAT (Point after Attempt), 3 points for a Field Goal from 30-39 yards, 4 points for a Field Goal from 40-49 yards and 5 points for a Field Goal from 50+ yards. Some leagues may operate differently than this, but the majority of fantasy football leagues use this scoring system.
There are people out there that believe all Kickers are not created equal and proceed to draft the #1 ranked kicker in the 9th or 10th round, and to those lost souls, I’m sorry. I have finally lost all sympathy. I feel this needs to be said.
There is no strategical advantage to drafting a Kicker earlier than the last round. The yearly point difference from the top ranked kicker and the 12th ranked kicker is so small that you could toss 12 names in a hat and any one of them could end up the highest scoring kicker. You should never waste a mid-round draft pick (typically Rounds 6-12) on a Kicker when year in and year out there are QB’s, RB’s and WR’s drafted in the middle rounds that end up being extremely productive for fantasy teams. It’s amazing that I hadn’t come to this conclusion sooner.
Some people also argue that if you draft a kicker on a high scoring offense, your kicker will have the best chance to put up big numbers week to week. While that is not entirely false, it is also very misguided. A high scoring offense could put up 35 points in a dominating victory, which equates to 5 total touchdowns, and that kicker would end up with 5 fantasy points. Conversely, a team could lose 35-6, yet that losing team’s Kicker converted on a 41-yard field goal and a 46-yard field goal, which equates to 8 fantasy points. Is this the type of world we live in? Where a Kicker on a team that gets embarrassed 35-6 can outscore a Kicker on a team that wins 35-6? If that’s not as volatile as it gets, just wait.
How often in fantasy football do you think you lose a matchup by 5 or less points? While some may point out their QB’s bad week or their star RB having a touchdown vulture’d by the back-up running back, I always choose to look at the Kicker position, and what I found is quite disturbing. A team in your league loses because of the Kicker more often than you think. I want you to do an exercise with me. I encourage you to go back to your 2015 season and look at every single matchup and see how many matchups were decided by the Kicker. I’m willing to bet the number is around 35%. That’s far too high of a percentage for my liking.
You know the drill. Your starting Kicker puts up a measly 2 points, and your opponents’ kicker explodes for 11 points. That’s a difference of 9 points. No matchup should ever be decided by a Kicker. The player on your team that you put absolutely no effort into strategizing or planning for. The player on your team that is a waste of a draft pick. The player on your team that just takes up space. The player on your team that takes absolutely no skill in drafting. That player is the Kicker. That player plays the most volatile position not just in fantasy football, but in all fantasy sports.
Booting the Kicker (shameless pun) legitimizes a league for a few reasons. First, it completely eliminates the fluke factor that comes with the position. As I mentioned above, a Kicker could tally 15 points one week and 2 points the next. It is extremely difficult to project what a Kicker will do on a week to week basis. The best team will win in every matchup, not which team’s Kicker tallied 14 points that week. It also expands the player pool if you decide to keep the total number of roster spots the same. If your league has 17 roster spots including the Kicker, if you eliminate that position then that is an extra 10 or 12 (depending on league size) roster spots to be used on the other positions. That is a whole team of depth players and potential lottery tickets that can be rostered. Instead of the team with the #1 waiver priority getting the first shot at the Waiver Wire wonder after Week 1, that player in most cases would have been drafted in the draft. Furthermore, the last round of your draft will actually serve a purpose. No longer will your league mates be packing up their things to leave your live draft while waiting to select a random Kicker, instead your league mates will be tuned in to draft what they hope is the next Odell Beckham Jr. or David Johnson in the last round of your draft.
I highly implore you to keep the kicker on the sideline and go for it on 4th down. Uh, I mean, I highly implore you to take the Kicker position out of your league. You could add another flex position to make the player pool even deeper, or you can just take the kicker out and keep the rest of the positions the same. At least in the absence of a kicker, when you lose a matchup, you can blame a bad decision of starting a boom or bust WR (that busted) instead of blaming your kicker. You can rest easy knowing that you will never again have to face a Monday Night kicker when your holding on to a 7-point lead, and finally you can enter each season knowing that the volatility of the Kicker position will never be involved in your league again.
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