Kickers are the Rodney Dangerfields of the fantasy football world. Actually, that's not fair. To Rodney.
No respect. I gotta tell you. Until bye week rolls around and you need one. Even then, kickers get no respect.
Odds are that if you can name six NFL kickers it's probably time to step away from the computer and consider moving out of your parents' basement.
The kicker waiver wire is the fantasy football equivalent of the witness protection program. And it doesn't help that being the best waiver wire kicker is akin to winning the title of coolest kid in band camp. However, like death, taxes and "rate my team" posts, there is no escaping them.
Replacing "What's His Name"
There comes a time in every owner's season when your starting kicker—aka "What's His Name"—gets to spend a weekend doing whatever it is NFL kickers do when they are on a bye. And yes, it's a potentially disturbing mental picture.
Week 8 means six more NFL kickers won't be trotting onto the field between now and Monday night. And if one of them has the word "starter" behind his name, odds are that between now and Monday night you are going to have to do something about it (Hint: Monday night is probably too late).
There are three schools of thought at work here:
1. Choose anyone. After all, it's a kicker, not an orthopedic surgeon.
2. Go with the guy who is ranked highest. But wait, this is too easy.
3. Pick a kicker with a good matchup.
A kicker matchup?
Yes, actually, the numbers tell us that kickers—like QBs and RBs and all those other two-letter acronyms—can be matched up with NFL teams that are, for whatever reason, prone to gifting lots of kicker-type points.
And there are two kickers likely available on the waiver wire this week who have matchups that should make your toes curl. Okay, that's going a bit too far.
Just remember, we aren't talking keeper-league material here.
1. Connor Barth, Tampa Bay
C-O-N-N- ... you get it. He's listed under the B's. Although the Bucs are a mess this season, Barth has been steadily plodding along putting up numbers that are respectable if you squint real hard and have a moderately high pain threshold.
Barth, anonymously toiling in the TV blackout-land north of the Sunshine Skyway, quietly posted 17 points (standard scoring system) in Week 7 against the Rams. And this week he'll be teeing it up against the Cardinals. He's owned in about five percent of all leagues, with only half of his owners bothering to start the guy.
Arizona has been among God's gift to kickers so far this season. Barth actually has the ability to put the ball over the crossbar and between the uprights, venturing into 50-yarder land at least once this season. If the trend continues, the numbers tell us he should have a good day.
A very good day.
Through the first seven weeks of the NFL calendar, the Cards have had round heels when it comes to kickers, giving up 53 percent more foot-powered FF points per game than the average NFL team.
Considering Arizona's 2010 history, Princess Catharina-Amalia of the Netherlands would make a decent bye week play.
Barth, unlike Her Royal Majesty, has a promising matchup. And, also unlike Her Royal Majesty, he's probably available on your wire. It's only one week. Take him.
Disclaimer: Barth somehow managed to come away from Week 6 with zero points. As in none. And that's in any scoring system. But this improbable foot feat came against historically kick-stingy New Orleans. Heck, even the princess has a bad day now and then.
There's another potential waiver wire option whose matchup numbers narrowly beat Barth's.
Succop is owned in roughly one-third of all leagues, so he hasn't quite fallen off the fantasy football radar. But he hasn't yet made it to the cool kids table either. If he's treading water on your waiver wire, he might be a better grab than Barth.
The Bills are practically promiscuous when it comes to showing opposing kickers a good time. Pick a kicker, any kicker will do, and Buffalo is all but statistically guaranteed to improve their performance by nearly 57 percent over your average NFL opponent.
And to add to Succop's allure, he is on the payroll of an NFL team that isn't quite as bi-polar as Tampa. And did we mention it's Buffalo?
While his longest of the season is a 45-yarder in Week 5 (along with a 43-yard FG in the same game), the Chiefs preference for TDs rather than field goals has limited his opportunities. But against Buffalo this week, he could have a career game on PATs alone.
Disclaimer: In Week 7, he managed just six points against Jacksonville. They were all PATs. It's not Succop's fault that the Jags were giving up the end zone last week. And Jax has been relatively miserly when it comes to kickers and kicking points allowed. Again, it's that end zone thing.
Two stat-worthy pickups.
Succop and Connor—with Succop getting the edge, if available—give owners the two best stat-worthy Week 8 kicker matchups most likely to be residing on your bye week wire.
That's what the matchup numbers say. And, as we all know, the numbers never lie. Usually.