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5 Year Fantasy Analysis - Kickers
by David M. Dorey
July 11, 2003
 
Quarterback Running Back Wide Receiver Tight End Kickers Defenses

  1998 Pts 1999 Pts 2000 Pts 2001 Pts 2002 Pts
1 G Anderson 164 M Vanderjagt 145 M Stover 135 J Wilkins 127 J Feely 138
2 S Christie 140 O Mare 144 R Longwell 131 M Vanderjagt 125 D Akers 133
3 A Del Greco 136 T Peterson 134 J Nedney 126 J Elam 124 J Carney 130
4 R Longwell 128 M Hollis 130 M Gramatica 126 K Brown 124 R Longwell 128
5 J Elam 127 J Wilkins 124 D Akers 121 M Stover 115 M Gramatica 128
6 Cunningham 127 J Elam 116 M Vanderjagt 121 D Akers 115 S Janikowski 128
7 A Vinatieri 125 M Stover 116 A Del Greco 118 J Feely 115 J Elam 120
8 M Andersen 120 J Carney 115 O Mare 117 J Carney 113 M Andersen 117
9 J Hall 120 B Conway 115 S Janikowski 112 A Vinatieri 113 A Vinatieri 117
10 Stoyanovich 115 R Longwell 113 G Anderson 111 P Edinger 112 M Hollis 115
11 J Hanson 114 J Hall 108 S Christie 109 S Janikowski 111 O Mare 114
12 M Hollis 108 S Christie 108 K Brown 107 T Peterson 108 J Nedney 111
13 Vanderjagt 104 P Stoyanovich 108 D Brien 106 J Hall 104 M Bryant 108
14 W Richey 103 A Vinatieri 107 A Vinatieri 106 R Longwell 104 J Hall 107
15 N Johnson 99 M Gramatica 106 M Hollis 105 J Cortez 101 R Lindell 107
16 O Mare 99 J Hanson 106 J Elam 103 B Conway 100 J Cortez 103
17 T Peterson 98 A Del Greco 106 T Seder 102 M Andersen 98 M Vanderjagt 103
18 J Carney 97 K Brown 105 J Hanson 101 M Gramatica 97 J Hanson 100
19 B Daluiso 95 G Anderson 103 M Andersen 98 O Mare 96 P Dawson 100
20 M Husted 92 J Kasay 99 J Hall 93 P Dawson 95 M Stover 96
21 J Kasay 92 W Richey 93 J Wilkins 89 J Nedney 94 P Edinger 95
22 D Brien 91 D Brien 92 W Richey 88 R Lindell 93 J Wilkins 94
23 J Jaeger 90 M Husted 90 B Daluiso 85 J Kasay 91 G Anderson 90
24 M Stover 87 Cunningham 89 P Edinger 84 W Richey 89 S Christie 89

Rank 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002
1 164 145 135 127 138
2 140 144 131 125 133
3 136 134 126 124 130
4 128 130 126 124 128
5 127 124 121 115 128
6 127 116 121 115 128
Top 6 822 793 760 730 785
7 125 116 118 115 120
8 120 115 117 113 117
9 120 115 112 113 117
10 115 113 111 112 115
11 114 108 109 111 114
12 108 108 107 108 111
7 - 12 702 675 674 672 694
13 104 108 106 104 108
14 103 107 106 104 107
15 99 106 105 101 107
16 99 106 103 100 103
17 98 106 102 98 103
18 97 105 101 97 100
19 95 103 98 96 100
20 92 99 93 95 96
21 92 93 89 94 95
22 91 92 88 93 94
23 90 90 85 91 90
24 87 89 84 89 89
13-24 1147 1204 1160 1162 1192
Total 2671 2672 2594 2564 2671

Ah yes, those wonderful kickers.

Kickers had been showing a downward trend in scoring at the upper levels for four years until last season had a mild increase to stop the trend. As shown to the right, in most seasons the difference between the very best kicker and the sixth overall kicker is typically about a dozen points over the course of a season.

The difference between the best kicker and the 12th, or last starting fantasy kicker is much more pronounced and ends up about one or two points per game. It makes a difference, albeit small, but having the difference makers is what a championship team is all about.

Every team wants to have a 100 point kicker and last season saw 19 different kickers reach the mark, a five year high. There is depth, of sorts, but with no more than two points per game separating the best from the 12th best indicates either you find the top guy or play mix and match each week - a big challenge for this position. As always, a kicker's opportunity relies not on what he can do, but how close the offense gets to the endzone before stalling.

In the world of short memories, the last season always weighs heaviest in the minds of people ranking their kickers. However, the top six kickers - those that made a difference for the pick - only show one kicker repeating the feat the following season. 2000 witnessed a record three remain consistently high, but it is a safe bet that 2000 was the anomaly, not a new trend.

If you remove Jason Elam and Mike Vanderjagt from the equation, there was almost no kicker repeating the
Top 6 kicker next year became:
  98 99 00 01
Top 6 1 1 3 1
7-12 2 1 0 1
13-24 3 3 3 3
Duds 0 1 0 1
next year. Those of you that grabbed Vanderjagt last year were taught that even he was not above a nosedive.

Those kickers that fell in the 7th to 12th rank the prior season were actually a little better at reaching the top six the following year than were those that had reached it the prior year. Still, most seasons see these 7th to 12th kickers more likely fall the next year than rise, though 2002 had a record three kickers (Feely, Carney and Janikowski) rise up to the highest level after a solid yet unspectacular season in 2001. What does this all mean?

6th to 12th kicker next year became:
  98 99 00 01
Top 6 1 2 1 3
7-12 1 1 1 1
13-24 3 1 1 1
Duds 1 2 3 1

Kickers are not worthless, but their value is exceedingly difficult to determine based on prior factors. The best kickers almost exclusively come from playoff-bound teams that are scoring well. Kicker success is largely the product of the offense. They have no plays to learn, no real chemistry to create and no particular development is needed. They tee it up and kick it straight and the main component of their value is how often they get to do that. When selecting a kicker, you are actually selecting an offense more than a person.

Quarterback Running Back Wide Receiver Tight End Kickers Defenses