Never Draft A Kicker In Yahoo! Fantasy Football

The default format for Yahoo! Fantasy Football allows you to leave your draft without drafting a kicker. You don't need to leave the draft with a full roster. You do need to pick up a kicker before the season as you'd take a zero if you left that slot blank. Is it worth it to skip taking a kicker for an extra reserve you may just cut between now and Week 1?

I think the answer is yes. Here's the case for not taking a kicker.

First, kickers are almost random. The fantasy football community does a poor job of predicting who will be a top kicker.
Since 1998, kickers taken in the top 125 overall of ADP haven't finished in the top 12 at the end of the season in fantasy points by a whopping 61 percent of the time (35 of 57). And those are kickers that fantasy owners were excited enough to take in the first 11 rounds of a 12-team draft.

It gets even worse when you look at all the kickers taken in an average draft. In a 12-team league that starts 9 players (QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, TE, K, DEF) and has an eight person bench (a roster of 16), there are 192 draft selections. Kickers since 1998 taken in the top 192 overall of ADP have finished outside the top 12 at their position 75 percent of the time. So you have a 25 percent chance that your kicker is going to be someone better than freely available on the waiver wire.

Meanwhile, a considerable amount of players that end up with significant fantasy value end up undrafted.
Just look at the last three years at the number of players that finished in the top 192 in VBD (so ranked against their position) that were undrafted or taken outside the top 192 picks.

2010 - 85 players (including No .1 in overall value/VBD, Arian Foster; and 3 of the top 10 in VBD)
2011 - 77 players  (including No. 9 in overall value/VBD, Cam Newton)
2012 - 75 players  (including No. 5 in overall value/VBD, Alfred Morris)

So on average over the past three years, you had a 41 percent chance that an undrafted player would finish the season in the top 192. Of course, it's not that easy since there are a lot of undrafted players. But I'd assume that most of those undrafted players who finish in the top 192 were on the cusp of being drafted. They're backups, rookies and players who a team couldn't find a roster spot in the preseason.

And it's not clear when those undrafted players accumulated their value according to my study. Maybe it was after a starter got hurt in Week 7.

But the overall trend here is pretty clear. The odds are the kicker you take, especially if you take one lower in the rankings, is highly likely to not finish in the top 12 among kickers. You'll probably be dropping him at some point. At the same time there's a significant chance that some undrafted player will become a top 192 player.

Why not take the free option on a reserve and pick up your kicker based on who's available in free agency?


There have been no comments made on this article. Why not be the first and add your own comment using the form below.

Leave a comment

Commenting is restricted to registered users only. Please register or login now to submit a comment.

Tell Someone

  • Digg it
  • submit to reddit reddit
  • Add to Mixx!

Recent Favorites

What I Think You Should Know About The USMNT
Needless to say, it's been a great World Cup thus far. The USMNT having some success would be awesome.
La-La-La-L.A. Gets Lord Stanley!
Just a few things that caught my eye:
  • Alec Martinez's Cup-winning goal celebration? # priceless. I wonder if he'll ever get his gloves back.
  • Henrik Lundqvist stopped the 50th shot of the game. He couldn't stop the 51st. #connsmythe if the Rangers had found a way to come back in this series.
Do Analytics Take the Fun Out of Sports?
Apparently that was the topic of one of the presentations at the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in Boston last week. The presenter, Yale's Edward Tufte, opined:

Don't let people tell you analytics are reductionist and take the joy out of sports. They mostly just take the stupidity out of sports.

Is he right?

RotoWire's AL LABR Squad
The 2014 AL LABR auction went down at the Arizona Republic offices in downtown Phoenix Saturday night. It's a 12-team, 5 x 5, AL-only league with 2 C, 1 1B, 1 2B. 1 3B, 1 SS, 1 CI, 1 MI, 5 OF, 1 U and 9 pitchers. Everyone has $260 to spend.
The Problem With Drafting Billy Hamilton
Billy Hamilton went for $28 in the NL LABR auction this past weekend. I discussed this with a fellow writer who participates in Tout Wars with me later this month and we discussed the problem with investing heavily into Hamilton.

RSS Feeds