If you’ve defied logic and stuck with kicker options highlighted in this space, you benefited in Week 13, a week without any nuclear kicker performances.
Our main streamer, Randy Bullock, notched nine fantasy points against the ghost of the Titans defense, while Shaun Suisham scored 10 fantasy points thanks to two field goals of more than 40 yards against the Saints.
I simplified my approach to kickers a few weeks back, as you might remember. I’m intent on highlighting kickers attached to offenses with the most favorable matchups. To put it simply: I want kickers whose teams will march up and down the field, rather than kickers who may or may not benefit from their offenses stalling in or around the red zone.
Let’s get into Week 14’s top options, with an eye on quarterback matchups — which have a high correlation with kicker production — along with schedule-adjusted points, red zone stop rate, and various other statistics meant to give us some edge in selecting weekly kickers.
Caleb Sturgis (MIA) vs. Baltimore Ravens
The Dolphins’ offense isn’t moving the pigskin down the field in chunks, but Ryan Tannehill and company are a more-than-decent unit going up against a Ravens’ defense that have allowed a gaudy 391.9 total yards per game over their past three.
Baltimore will be without the recently suspended Haloti Ngata in this one too.I’m not saying Ngata’s absence is a giant boon for Sturgis, but it certainly doesn’t hurt the kicker’s prospects.
The Ravens, through 13 weeks, have allowed touchdowns on just 47.5 percent of their opponents’ red zone possessions — a mark bettered by five teams. Sturgis has noticeable home-away splits, notching 10.2 fantasy points per game in Miami and 8.8 points on the road. The Ravens allow 1.9 field goal attempts per contest, enough to make me hopeful that Sturgis will see enough opportunity in this one.
He’s owned in just 24 percent of leagues.
Randy Bullock (HOU) at Jacksonville Jaguars
Here’s Bullock again, facing a prime matchup against a Jaguars team allowing the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing kickers, when adjusted for strength of schedule. Jacksonville also has the league’s second best red zone stop rate, trailing only Kansas City’s defense.
Bullock has thrived in games that have seen the Houston offense eclipse 20 points. It’s in those contests that Bullock has averaged 12 fantasy points, while he’s been unuseable in games that have seen the Texans’ offense struggle. That might seem elementary until you consider the myriad kickers who put up fine production when their offenses aren’t in full gear.
The matchup doesn’t get a whole lot more favorable than this, as teams are gaining 383.3 yards per game against Jacksonville, moving the ball at will through much of the 2014 season. Fire up Bullock, available on 95 percent of waiver wires, if you can’t snag Sturgis.
Josh Brown (NYG) at Tennessee Titans
I can’t tell you how much I didn’t want to include Brown in this week’s column, but against a Tennessee defense allowing the second-most adjusted fantasy points to kickers — and one that has allowed eight double-digit kicker performances — it’s hard to look away.
Brown, mired in an inconsistent Giants’ offense that has been inexplicably good inside the red zone, hardly has any opportunity, as we saw last week against the Jaguars. He’s cracked nine fantasy points precisely twice in 2014. That’s horrendous.
He’s available in almost every league though, and Big Blue’s offense shouldn’t have any trouble against a Titans’ defense simply going through the motions. Maybe Brown will fall out of bed and post 10 fantasy points.