Hold on, is this a waiver wire streamer article about kickers for two weeks in a row?
That’s right. You’ve stumbled upon a kicker series.
Highlighted by the 49ers’ Jake Moody last week, his five fantasy points off five extra points show the conundrum when trying to find a kicker who’ll give us an edge in fantasy. But this week, one kicker exemplifies the perfect situation we want when optimizing the position in fantasy that most (if not all) find the hardest to care about.
To reiterate from my last article in this exuberant series:
Kickers won’t find their way into Upside Wins Championships dogma because power law distribution really doesn’t apply to kickers. In standard scoring, there was only a 1.8 point-per-game difference between the K1 and the K20 in 2022.
Yes, Justin Tucker finished as the K1 last season. But no, he doesn’t separate from the pack enough to stand out as a prime contributor on fantasy league-winning rosters.
Still, we care about a 1.8 PPG difference at other positions. Last season, that was the difference between Lamar Jackson and Geno Smith. Between Aaron Jones and Cordarrelle Patterson. Between Chris Godwin and Allen Lazard. And between Evan Engram and Jordan Akins.
So then, we would have wanted Jason Myers over Jake Elliott.
Wait. Everybody loves Geno, but Myers (Seahawks) over Elliott (Eagles)? Ah yes, standard kicker scoring in fantasy tasks us with the art of seeking kickers on good offenses, not great. Even borderline dysfunctional offenses could make the cut, as the Raiders’ Daniel Carlson finished K2, the Rams’ Brett Maher as the K3, and the aforementioned Myers as the K4.
Meanwhile, Jake Elliott, and his league-leading extra points made finished as the K21. And as impressive as Patrick Mahomes‘ season was, Harrison Butker was no better on a fantasy PPG basis than Elliott.
So, who are these low-owned options that may be worth streaming in Week 5 on decent but not great offenses?
Week 5 Bye Weeks: Browns, Chargers, Seahawks, Buccaneers
Note: Ownership percentages are Yahoo/ESPN/NFL.com
NICK FOLK, TENNESSEE TITANS (23%/10%/37.4%)
AT INDIANAPOLIS COLTS
Aside from falling totally flat against the Browns in Week 3, the Titans’ offense has been good enough to get Folk an average of three field goals per game. And the Colts’ defense isn’t the Browns and afforded Brett Maher five field goal attempts for the Rams last week.
The Titans are also fourth-worst in red zone success rate, with only five touchdowns in thirteen attempts.
KA’IMI FAIRBAIRN, HOUSTON TEXANS (1%/1%/2.4%)
AT ATLANTA FALCONS
CJ Stroud has made the Texans offense legit through four weeks, letting Fairbairn accrue three field goals and three extra points against the Steelers, even with a pretty banged-up offensive line.
Now the Texans face the Falcons, in a dome, and while Atlanta is 10th in points-per-game allowed, the lackluster play of the Desmond Ridder-led offense could lead to better opportunities for the Texans offense.
The Texans are another team that hasn’t been successful finishing drives, with only five touchdowns in 14 red zone appearances.
BRANDON AUBREY, DALLAS COWBOYS (50%/34%/37.8%)
AT SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
Aubrey exemplifies exactly the kind of situation we want: an offense that’s great at getting in the red zone, and terrible at getting into the end zone.
After Week 4, the Cowboys are tied with the Bills for the most red zone opportunities at 19 but have the third-worst success rate with only seven TDs. He’s a prime option not just as a streamer, but season-long as well.
Jerry Jones might not think the ‘Boys red zone struggles are a long-term concern, but let’s see it before believing it.
Though the Cowboys get a tough test at San Francisco, the offense is good enough to have the kind of decent success we look for here, with opportunities for decent drives that fall short of the goal line, plus a 49ers offense that’s good enough in their own right that Dallas may be chasing points.
Fun fact: The rather unknown Aubrey was a first-round pick by Toronto FC in the first round of the 2017 MLS SuperDraft after playing soccer for Notre Dame. After being unable to crack the first team, he bounced around in soccer for a year before switching to football and having a dominant USFL season in 2022—cool stuff from the 28-year-old rookie.