Off-season: Explore the unlocked site! Projections reflect re-calculations of 2022, based on end-of-season knowledge.

Components Contributing to Kicker Predictability

What factors of kicker performance are predictable-- and what is not? Fantasy kicker scoring is most of all linked to the production of field goals. I have made an analysis of different components, and how strongly they can predict kicker fantasy scoring. This discussion only shows direct kicker data, not other causal things like team offensive strength etc.:

The correlation of past component data with future fantasy kicker scores.

 

"K-standard" represents default fantasy kicker scoring, and as you can see, among the other parameters shown, it is the best at predicting itself in the future. As you can also see, "sum of all FGs" is the component with the highest predictive value, for forecasting kicker score. Here are some other interesting observations:

  • Long field goals are indeed indicative of future kicker production.

  • However, short "bad in the red zone" kicking is not as predictive as many of you think.

  • Missed kicks (percent or sum, FG or XPA) have very little forward-predictive value-- if any.



It is also interesting to look at how "reproducible" each factor is, by analyzing how much each component "predicts itself":

 

How much each kicker component is able to self-predict its own future occurrence.

This graph tells a story about "what makes fantasy kicker scoring more or less random". As you can see, total #Kicks (FGs + PATs) or just PATs would be the most predictable number -- if you were trying to optimize predictability alone, within your league scoring. This sounds pretty boring, because we want to reward FGs. However, you can see FGs are what make kicker prediction so difficult, whereas PATs are the most predictable individual component of kicker scoring: historical Extra points are indicative of future extra points. For field goals this is less true. Other points I note:

  • Missed kicks ARE somewhat predictive of future missed kicks. (However less predictive of future fantasy scoring, as shown from the first graph.)

  • Long FGs are the most self-predictive kind

  • Medium-length FGs and very short FGs are least self-predictive.



There's always a lot of talk about if "stalling in the red zone" is a predictive thing, versus long kickers being dependable. And there's also discussion about what kind of kicker scoring helps to not randomize things too much. So I hope the above helps your intuition moving forward.