Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

03 Sep 2009

New kicker every week a good strategy?

Do you guys think it would be beneficial to play matchups with different kickers each week vs. sticking with the same guy? By this I mean going with the kicker with the best offense vs. the worst defense that is available. I know it's not good to get a TD every time or your kicker will not get FG's, but the kickers with the best offenses will not be available, so the matchups will likely be average offenses vs. bad defenses. That sounds like they'll score points but not be too powerful to put it in the endzone every time. Obviously FG attempts are very random but it might be worth a try. My kicker now is Josh Scobee. Thanks for the feedback.

Posted by: WILD BILL on 03 Sep 2009

10 replies , Last at 16 Sep 2011, 11:06am by jabrch

Re: New kicker every week a good strategy?
by Ten Drink Drunk :: Thu, 09/03/2009 - 9:23pm

I don't think it's necessarily a bad idea. That's what I'm doing week 1 anyway since I didn't draft a kicker. I would look into a more permanent kicker after the bye weeks and heading into the playoffs perhaps.

Although we pay for waiver wire and FA moves in our league so it might get expensive if I do it every week ;)

Re: New kicker every week a good strategy?
by Mello :: Fri, 09/04/2009 - 12:26pm

I don't think it's bad. I know a couple of people in my league are trying that. You can probably, on average, match the production of a top kicker doing that. I almost went that route too. Ended up taking Vinatieri with my last pick though since he was still available. If the Colts offense is still close to form and he doesn't suck coming back from injury, I'll be fine. If he starts shanking some FGs in a couple of games or has trouble with the long ones, he'll be cut in a heartbeat though.

Re: New kicker every week a good strategy?
by WILD BILL :: Fri, 09/04/2009 - 5:26pm

Why would you want a more permanent kicker heading into the playoffs? Also, Vinatieri was not drafted in my league and I know he's 3rd in Kubiak but I'm a little worried about how different Kubiak's K rankings are than everywhere else. Mare, Vinatieri, Dawson, Gould, and Reed are 2-5 and none of those guys are in the top 15 in most rankings. I found the below link by Aaron Schatz and it said all you have to do is look at the team, which made me wonder why Dawson and Mare in particular are so high and why a guy like Longwell is 15th(Vikings should have great O and D). The only thing I can think of is that if a guy had a high FG% last year than they are predicting it to go down this year and vice versa. Schatz mentions in the link "There is absolutely no correlation between a kicker's field goal percentage one year and his field goal percentage the next." Maybe I'll get an answer from the FO staff. Anyway, are you guys going by the Kubiak K rankings? Thanks for the feedback.


Re: New kicker every week a good strategy?
by BEEF :: Sat, 09/05/2009 - 12:46am

The pick a kicker every week strategy worked well for me last year. I won the league with a last minute pickup of Longwell and a kick in OT.

The only other stategy I have is find out who is the best kicker available after 2 weeks and stick with them. This seems to work well until about week 10. Then you can't cut the guy because he is in the top 3 in the league, but not quite scoring as well. I have ended up with Nick Folk (2007) and Robbie Gould (2006) with this idea, but it doesn't seem to help come playoff time.

In my league, the kickers go too high (as early as the 7th round). Predictions might be a crap shoot, but they are a mega crap shoot, so don't take one too early.

Re: New kicker every week a good strategy?
by aron7awol :: Tue, 09/08/2009 - 1:06am

I had the same question a couple of years ago and decided to assemble some data to try to figure this out. I had arbitrarily broken up the teams offensively and defensively by yards per game (probably better to use DVOA instead) into groups and then checked to see if a pattern would develop. I don't have the spreadsheet any longer, but IIRC the highest scoring group was good offense vs. average defense. Using DVOA and breaking them into more groups than 3 per side would probably reveal slightly better results. However, keep in mind the performance was still very much random.

Team defenses, OTOH, were much more predictable. The difference being it was almost completely dependent on the offensive team being bad (turning the ball over mostly) rather than the defense. An average (or even more-so, good) defense against a poor offense will consistently score more fantasy points than a good defense against a good or even average offense. This makes the "New DEF every week" strategy the better choice than the "New K every week" strategy, especially since average defenses are usually readily available. Of course, doing both doesn't hurt, unless you're in a transaction fee league.

Re: New kicker every week a good strategy?
by WILD BILL :: Tue, 09/08/2009 - 10:12am

So based on your research would you say a new kicker every week is the strategy to go with over just one kicker? Most of the good offense kickers will probably be taken so I'm guessing most of the matchups would be average offense vs. bad defense. How did that matchup fare? My league doesn't have defenses but that does seem like a good strategy. I have a feeling with the kickers that a new one every week could work well or not work just based on how random FG attempts are and luck. Thanks for the feedback.

Re: New kicker every week a good strategy?
by aron7awol :: Tue, 09/08/2009 - 1:59pm

The conclusion I came to was that it wasn't worth the time wasted in trying to do it. The randomness/luck overpowered the other variables so badly that there was little benefit on a week to week basis. However, if you want to give it a try, try to get good offense vs. average defense, otherwise I agree that average offense vs. bad defense would prob be almost as good. Statistically, in the long run, you should do a little better than just grabbing a kicker, but over one season it will probably be very small.

Re: New kicker every week a good strategy?
by kyclef :: Wed, 09/09/2009 - 1:26pm

i've sometimes taken the kicker on the same team as the QB i am facing that week, to try to alleviate the damage from any offensive production that team may have. is that a statistically sound strategy or am i just being foolish>?

Re: New kicker every week a good strategy?
by aron7awol :: Wed, 09/09/2009 - 2:42pm

I'd say you're overthinking things using that strategy. I wouldn't make any decisions based on the other team's players. You want to pick whichever kicker will score the most points, regardless of what the opposing QB does. Anyway, I doubt you'd see significant correlation between fantasy scoring of a QB and K on the same team per game. As I said earlier in the thread, DEF is the position you can give yourself a significant boost on by playing matchups every week. If I had a lot of free time, I'd re-do my kicker study using offensive and defensive DVOA, but I'm pretty sure the benefit would be so little I don't want to waste my time :)

Re: New kicker every week a good strategy?
by jabrch :: Fri, 09/16/2011 - 11:06am

It's not a bad idea for the first few weeks for sure....usually what I find is that somewhere once the bye weeks start, someone drops one of the top few kickers because they don't want to waste a roster spot carrying two kickers. Then you can swoop in and grab a solid kicker, who someone may have drafted when you were drafting extra WRs and RBs. That's my approach to Ks for sure, sometimes for Ds also depending on how early the good ones go.

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