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Greg Zuerlein is fantasy football’s true MVP

Greg the Leg is doing something no other kicker has ever done and that’s pretty valuable.

USA Today/Peter Rogers Illustrations

Yesterday I tweeted a poll asking who you thought has been the fantasy MVP this season. In the poll, I had Russell Wilson, Carson Wentz, Todd Gurley and Alvin Kamara, all of whom are pretty obvious choices. Wilson leads all of fantasy football in standard scoring, averaging 23.3 fantasy points per game with Wentz right behind him with 21.4 FPPG. Gurley is the first running back to make it on the list, ranked seventh with 17.7 FPPG while Kamara ranks 15th, averaging a very fitting 15.7 FPPG. (Kamara is currently leading by a bajillion votes and rightfully so as he has been a one man wrecking crew in the fantasy world. Plus, he gets the added plus that he went undrafted in probably every single league. A true Cinderella story.)

But I’m sad to say that I gave you all an incomplete MVP ballot. Had I only scrolled down just a little bit more, I would have seen the clear option for fantasy football MVP. Someone who you would never expect to see in the top 25 of total points, yet if you look right now, you will see his name wedged between Andy Dalton and Mark Ingram (well, technically between Deshaun Watson and Ingram because even after only playing seven games, Watson still is in the top 25 in total scoring. Pour some out).

That name is Greg Zuerlein.

Yes, Greg the Leg, the kicker for the Los Angeles Rams, is averaging more fantasy points per game than Mark freaking Ingram. A running back. A running back who is currently a part of one of the most potent rushing attacks in the NFL. Want to know who else MVP Zuerlein is currently outscoring? Kareem Hunt (13.6), Melvin Gordon (13.5) and DeAndre Hopkins (13.5). Ingram, Hunt and Gordon are RB4, 5 and 6 respectively in standard scoring and Hopkins is WR2. Zuerlein is outscoring THE SECOND BEST RECEIVER IN FANTASY FOOTBALL. To find the next kicker, you have to scroll all the way down to 40, where Stephen Gostkowski is putting together a very strong season, averaging 11.3 FPPG.

Zuerlein’s season certainly feels like an anomaly. After all, if kickers regularly were outscoring every wide receiver in the game save one, you’d think their draft stock would be a little bit higher. But how much of an anomaly is it? I can’t say that I’ve paid enough attention to the average fantasy kicker to know if 13.9 points per game is an insane mind boggling number or just slightly better than average. It certainly feels like it is the former, but what do the numbers say?

Here are the league leaders over the last eight years in terms of total fantasy points scored:

Best kicker (2016-2009)

2016 Matt Bryant 179 16 11.2
2015 Stephen Gostkowski 171 16 10.7
2014 Stephen Gostkowski 170 16 10.6
2013 Stephen Gostkowski 179 16 11.2
2012 Blair Walsh 168 16 10.5
2011 Stephen Gostkowski 154 16 9.6
2010 Sebastian Janikowski 158 16 9.9
2009 Mason Crosby 137 16 8.6

Right off the bat, you can see why Stephen Gostkowski is the first kicker taken over all. That’s a hell of a track record this guy has. Also, he’s currently on pace to pass his 179 total point season and put up 180 points. If that happened, it would be the best fantasy season from a kicker of the last eight years.

But, that’s in a world without Greg Zuerlein.

In this world, the world with Greg Zuerlein, it’s Week 14 and the Leg already has 167 total points. If he keeps this rate up, he’ll finish with well over 200 total points. Something tells me that even if I went back further than 2009, I wouldn’t stumble upon a casual 200 point season from a kicker. It’s just not something that happens. This means the season we’re seeing from Zuerlein isn’t an anomaly, it’s downright historic.

Would many people admit to Zuerlein being fantasy football’s MVP? I doubt it. MVP is a sexy award for sexy stats at sexy positions and sadly a kicker is none of those things. Would I call him the MVP? Hell yea I would! He’s in the midst of likely the greatest fantasy season for a kicker ever and sure, kicker isn’t as valuable as a quarterback or running back to your team, but having a guy who adds an extra Mark Ingram or DeAndre Hopkins to your lineup, that’s someone I consider to be most valuable.

Maybe even the most valuable.