Kicker Predictatron or Predicting Weekly Fantasy Scores for Kickers

Several months ago I published an article on the site about how you go about choosing a reliable kicker for your fantasy season. It went down the tried and tested road of “pick a good kicker on a good offensive team” and for most players that should be enough to keep you happy for the rest of the fantasy season.

Well I don’t know about you but, I’m never happy with my kicker. Their output is frustratingly random and most of the time I’m just happy to trade off points with my opponents kicker. But what if we could “stream” kickers on a regular basis and start to gain (at least) an advantage or (at best) start to win games with them because we’ve cherry picked the best match-ups?

There are several articles out there that cite statistical analysis of kickers and relate their scores to offensive production, stadium location and game script (a team in a winning position attempts more field goals than a losing one). Now I could turn this into an absolutely crazy regression analysis of different variables that affect kickers, but that just takes things a little too far. I’m not looking for proof, just something that helps guide us in our choice.

This takes us back to the prime variable in all this talk; points scored. In general terms the more points your offense scores then the more points your kicker will score. So if we could somehow predict the number of points an offense scores on a weekly basis perhaps we could predict our kickers output.

Thankfully someone out there already does this for us……Vegas. Vegas has a vested interest in predicting scores as accurately as possible using experts, analysis and statistics. So if we’re going to use scoring as a basis for our predictions why not use data from Vegas to create what I’m calling the Kicker Predictatron©

Here’s how it works. I’ve taken the weekly lines from Vegas (that’s the expected total number of points scored in the game). Applied the spread to each team (the points start (for the underdog) or the points handicap (for the favourites)) and then used the most likely scoring output for a kicker based on NFL scores dating back to 1970. I’ve also used the historical scoring to determine a kicker points per point ratio and this gives us our final prediction range.

e.g. If a team is predicted to score 17 points by Vegas then the most likely makeup of the 17 points is 2 touchdowns + 2 extra points + 1 field goal. Therefore our kicker would be expected to score 5 points.

Here’s how the Kicker Predictatron© did for Weeks 6 and 7 and finally a prediction for Week 8. Note the names of kickers have been masked to protect the innocent!

Let me know what you think!

NFL Team Week 6 Week7  Week 8
Prediction Actual Prediction Actual Prediction
Arizona ARI 9-4 7 10-6 8 9-4
Atlanta ATL 12-9 3 12-9 4 10-6
Baltimore BAL 8-5 8 5-5 4 17-9
Buffalo BUF 6-4 3 8-5 11
Carolina CAR 4-2 3 10-8 9 12-9
Chicago CHI 8-6 14 0 7-3
Cincinnati CIN 8-6 10 0 10-8
Cleveland CLE 6-4 5 9-5 6 6-4
Dallas DAL 0 13-6 8 9-5
Denver DEN 8-5 14 0 8-6
Detroit DET 9-8 13 10-7 7 6-4
Green Bay GBP 11-10 9 0 10-8
Houston HOU 13-6 7 6-4 2 10-8
Indianapolis IND 6-4 3 12-9 3 10-5
Jacksonville JAC 8-5 2 10-5 4
Kansas City KCC 6-4 4 8-5 11 9-4
Miami MIA 8-6 8 9-8 10 6-4
Minnesota MIN 8-5 10 8-6 20 11-7
New England NEP 11-10 10 10-6 12 11-10
New Orleans NOS 8-6 7 10-7 3 9-4
NY Giants NYG 10-7 1 10-8 9 10-7
NY Jets NYJ 9-4 10 5-5 13 8-5
Oakland OAK 0 8-6 13 7-3
Philadelphia PHI 17-9 9 8-6 12
Pittsburgh PIT 5-5 15 13-6 7 11-7
San Diego SDC 9-5 8 9-4 7 11-7
San Francisco SFO 8-6 15 9-5 3 6-4
Seattle SEA 9-4 13 9-4 8 9-8
St. Louis STL 0 9-4 6 17-9
Tampa Bay TBB 0 13-6 12 6-4
Tennessee TEN 8-5 4 6-4 1 6-4
Washington WAS 7-4 10 8-5 7
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