Footballweblog.com provides the best fantasy football cheatsheets for kickers found anywhere. That may sound like a brash and open-ended declaration, but in this post, I’ll back up that claim.
After playing fantasy football for years – dating back to 1986 – I’ve been burned time and again by inaccurate kicker cheatsheets. Whatever means the publishers of these cheatsheets used to come up with their rankings, I’ve always felt they were invariably unreliable.
Until recently, I’d resigned myself to simply accept that kickers are an enigma. I’ve seen some of the best kickers in the league finish near the bottom of the pack in fantasy scoring. I’ve also witnessed kickers struggle with accuracy – barely hang on to a roster spot – yet finish among the highest scorers of the season. From game-to-game, too, the scoring of a kicker seems to carry no logic. One game, a kicker may hit three field goals and three extra points and finish the game with a handsome 12-point outing. The next game, that same kicker may only score a couple extra points. So how does a person make sense of kickers? This past summer, I decided to try and find out.
The first thing I did was look at exactly what makes a successful fantasy kicker. I’m not too proud to say that I used techniques learned while helping my kids with their school science fair experiments. Seriously. I looked for correlations between high fantasy scores and factors such as the ability of a kicker to make long-range field goals, the accuracy of a kicker, whether the team to which a kicker belongs has a run-first or pass-happy mentality, etc. I quickly learned that some seemingly important factors had little bearing on the fantasy success of a kicker, while other particulars clearly demonstrated a relationship.
In the preface of an award-winning cheatsheet published by a major player in the fantasy football industry, it is stated: “When we rank, we take everything we can into account: The players, their teammates, coaching staffs, projected offensive gameplans, schedules, statistical trends, potential free agency moves and what we hear from people around the NFL.” That’s all well and fine, but many of these factors have little or no influence on the fantasy success of a kicker. In fact, by using only factors that correlate to the success of a fantasy kicker, and weighting those factors to reflect the ratios shown in real life, Footballweblog.com is handily outperforming the rankings of this cheatsheet. Even more, through the halfway point of the 2013 NFL season, the pre-season cheatsheet published by Footballweblog.com is besting every other pre-season cheatsheet I’ve been able to find.
It’s scary to think that by applying simple statistics, Footballweblog.com is able to out-do the experts. When you go to a doctor, you trust your health to his expertise. When you fly in an airplane, you put your faith in the skills of the pilot. But I no longer have confidence in anyone’s fantasy football cheatsheets for kickers except those created by Footballweblog.com.
The chart in Figure 1 (below) shows how Footballweblog.com is doing through the first eight weeks of the NFL season compared to other experts in the fantasy football industry. The number on the right side of the chart is the R-squared value for the top-15 players on each cheatsheet. This number is an indication of the accuracy of a cheatsheet. The higher the number, the more closely the actual ranking is to those that were predicted. Incredibly, three expert cheatsheets actually showed a reverse trend. I.e., the kickers they predicted to rank around 15th in the league finished near the top, and vice-versa.
In the scheme of things, kickers admittedly play a small role in the success of a fantasy team, yet a definitive advantage can be gained. If you’re like me, you’ll take any edge you can get. Who knows? The edge that you garner from the kicker cheatsheets at Footballweblog.com could be enough to thrust you into the Championship game. Why wouldn’t you take advantage of that?
As always, run to daylight.