Data scientist, physicist, and fantasy football champion

Kicker Consistency

Predicting kickers is nonsense, so let’s see if we can get an idea of who the most consistent kickers are. They may not help you winyour week, but they also (hopefully) won’t lose it for you.

First, a look at the past to see what we might expect from the future. Here are the kickers from 2015 and 2016 who played more than 10 games with one team, arranged by highest minimum score:

PlayeryearTeamminscoremeanscore
Matt Bryant2016ATL610.625
Chris Boswell2015PIT49.75
Justin Tucker2016BAL410.0625
Mike Nugent2015CIN47.5625
Ryan Succop2016TEN46.9375
Stephen Gostkowski2015NE49.9375
Brandon McManus2016DEN37.8125
Connor Barth2015TB38.333333333
Dustin Hopkins2016WAS39
Graham Gano2015CAR39.375
Mason Crosby2015GB37.733333333
Matt Prater2016DET38.625

Matt Bryant never got below 6 points last year, and his mean fantasy points per game was one of the highest in the league. He’s almost certainly taken in your league this year, but take a quick look and snatch him up if possible.

Boswell, Tucker, and Gostkowski are all up here with pretty high mean points per game, and would have been good to have last year or the year before. There are some weird ones up here, though, like Succop and Nugent and McManus, who had high floors but low averages.

This is the highest floor, but what about the smallest window? I found the 10th and 90th percentile for each player’s season, then took the difference. This is another was of saying that 80% of the time they were between these two values. Arranged by smallest window, it looks like this:

PlayeryearTeamquantdiffmedianscorequant10quant90
Mike Nugent2015CIN57510
Chandler Catanzaro2015ARI68.5612
Greg Zuerlein2016LAR6439
Josh Lambo2015LAC67410
Mason Crosby2016GB684.510.5
Dustin Hopkins2015WAS6.274.410.6
Matt Prater2016DET6.58612.5
Ryan Succop2016TEN6.56410.5
Greg Zuerlein2015LAR6.763.310
Andrew Franks2015MIA7518
Chandler Catanzaro2016ARI76.53.510.5
Connor Barth2016CHI752.59.5

I actually wouldn’t have been too happy with many of these guys. Nugent (2015) had the smallest score window; 80% of the time he scored between 5 and 10 points, with a median of 7. That’s not bad, but it’s not great, either. Catanzaro (2015) and Prater (2016) were slightly better with medians of 8.5 and 8. But you halso had guys on this list like Zuerlein, Franks, and Barth, who had small windows, but also small medians (4 or 5 points).

So clearly we can have consistency with high or low median scores, and we can expect some of the top kickers to have years with a minimum of 3 or 4. Let’s take a look at how the top guys are doing so far this year:

PlayeryearTeammedianscoremaxscoreminscorequantdiff
Zane Gonzalez2017CLE4412.1
Chandler Catanzaro2017NYJ81182.1
Aldrick Rosas2017NYG4.5632.4
Younghoe Koo2017LAC4.5632.4
Graham Gano2017CAR91172.8
Mason Crosby2017GB5952.8
Dustin Hopkins2017WAS8.5953.1
Adam Vinatieri2017IND5.5733.7
Brandon McManus2017DEN81064
Wil Lutz2017NO101384.7
Blair Walsh2017SEA7934.8
Connor Barth2017CHI3.5715.1

First: all of these quantile windows are unsustainable. The lowest from the last 2 years was 5, and all of these are below that. There have only been 4 weeks so far. I should revisit this later in the season, but for now, let’s look at these results.

Catanzaro, Gano, Hopkins, McManus, and Lutz all make for interesting options this year. They have all been pretty consistent in their weekly scores with 2 or more FGs per week and have pretty high median scores on the year (greater than or equal to 8) and high minimums.

Hopkins and Lutz are both on byes this week, but I’m going to go grab Gano or Catanzaro if they’re available. Catanzaro is a tough sell on the Jets offense, but remember: kickers are random, so he might be good or bad. At least so far he’s been consistent, and for kickers that’s something.

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