Koko Fantasy Rankings - Kickers

The rankings everyone's been waiting for--kickers. Koko the fantasy football monkey is making his way through each position. In case you aren't familiar with the Koko rankings, they are the simplest projections possible based on previous-year performance. The rankings are intended to serve as the baseline for the bare-minimum accuracy we should expect from all other fantasy projections. A full explanation can be found in the write-up for the QB rankings.

Kickers are highly unpredictable, both in real terms and in fantasy terms. In fact, there is no year-to-year correlation in the fantasy points gained by field goal kicking. But there is some consistency in extra points, which has nothing to do with kicking skill and everything to do with the rest of the kicker's team.

With that in mind, Koko has ranked his kickers based on XPs alone. The bottom line is that kickers are generally interchangeable. Treat the kicker as a position you'll want to swap out later in the year once you get an idea of who's kicking a lot of FGs. For example, look at which teams have good defenses but can't put the ball in the end zone.

One result of relying only on XPs is that we're only interested in team TDs. Therefore, if a kicker is replaced on a team, Koko's projection remains for new kicker on that team. For example, Steve Houshka is replacing Matt Stover in Baltimore. His projection is what Stover's would have been had he remained on the team. To be honest, I'm not closely watching kicker news, so if there are other examples, or if there are guys on here who will be on the IR or out of a job, let me know.

PlayerXP/GFG Pts/GPts/GProj Pts
John Kasay
Mason Crosby
Nate Kaeding
David Akers
Neil Rackers
Adam Vinatieri
Jason Elam
Nick Folk
Jay Feely
Steven Houshka2.45.27.6113.5
Robbie Gould
Garrett Hartley2.45.27.6113.4
Dan Carpenter
Rob Bironas
Ryan Longwell
Stephen Gostkowski
Matt Prater
Kris Brown
Jeff Reed
Matt Bryant
Joe Nedney
Rian Lindell
Josh Scobee
Olindo Mare
Jason Hanson
Sebastian Janikowski
Shaun Suisham
Josh Brown
Phil Dawson
Shayne Graham

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7 Responses to “Koko Fantasy Rankings - Kickers”

  1. Jeff Clarke says:

    Couldn't agree more with the basic premise. The one thing I wonder about.

    "Treat the kicker as a position you'll want to swap out later in the year once you get an idea of who's kicking a lot of FGs. "

    This sort of implies that although FG kicking is not correlated with the previous year's kicking, late season kicking is correlated with early season kicking. I wonder how much that is true. I would imagine that the same factors that would cause year-year numbers to be more or less random would also cause month-month numbers to be more or less random.

    Field goals come down to a team's red zone success rate (or lack thereof) and the skill of the kicker. You already did a post talking about the randomness of red zone success rates so were left with the skill of the kicker.

    With kickers we have to remember that we are already in the way far right part of the bell curve. Unlike say basketball players where there is a basic physical requirement that you be at least 6'5", nearly anybody can theoretically become a kicker. With the global popularity of soccer, there is an absurd amount of young kids learning the basic skill. Also unlike most positions, kickers stay at peak performance for about 20 years so the pool of potential kickers doesn't turn over as often as other positions.

    I have no doubt that there are at least 200 people (probably far more) that are qualified to kick at the NFL average of near 85%. The question is differentiating between the 84% kicker and the 86% kicker. You'd need thousands of samples in order to do that to the point of statistical significance. The 30-40 attempts most get during a year don't come anywhere close.

    Most kicks are going to come down to pure randomness within the NFL average probability for that distance. If a guy made 10 in a row, he probably just got lucky. If he misses one, probably unlucky.

  2. Dave says:

    Don't forget about how injuries can effect a kicker's FF worth. A key cog in an offense goes down and that team is probably attempting a few more field goals.

  3. Vince says:

    Is FGA correlated from year to year? What about XP + FGA?

  4. Ian says:

    Jeff Clarke

    Looking at the 2005 data I agree with you. There is very little, if any, correlation between FG/game early in a season and FG/game late in the season.

    I guess one thing Brian's series can show us the best way to rank players before selection. We all know to pick kickers late, but this eveidence shows that picking kickers is almost all about luck, so might as well pick them last.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I think I have finally found the Kicker Silver Bullet. I looked at the top twenty kicker performances over the last 5 years, and I found a material correlation fact.. Number of Team Wins. I looked at Stats for long term kickers and the typical Kicker averags 8.5 points in wins and 5.5 points in loses. Thus take a kicker on a Team that you expect to Win games, and that will translate over a season. It also suggest taking a pair of kickers and taking the kicker who is most favored to win during a given week.

  6. Brian Burke says:

    Awesome. I buy that, and it goes hand in hand with the extra point connection.

  7. Brian Burke says:

    Vince-A year later, and I checked out FGA. No correlation.

    Anonymous-I checked out the prior year wins from 2002-2008 as a predictor for kicker fantasy performance. There was a small correlation, but it was slightly smaller than using extra points as the predictor.

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