Sports

NFL Analysis: True Impact of Raiders Sebastian Janikowski

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Raiders kicker Sebastian Janikowski just banged home three 50+ yarders in his team's win over the Texans. A few weeks ago he tied the NFL record with a 63-yarder on a warm night in Denver. I was curious about just how much more successful he was at longer distances compared to the average kicker, so I dug up the data.

The graph below is his FG success by line of scrimmage (not kick distance) compared to the league average. His advantage, particularly at longer distances is evident. It looks like a about a 5 to 8 percentage point advantage at extreme ranges.


I'm still not sure Janikowski was worth a first round pick, but he clearly stands out among other kickers of his cohort. Here are a few selected Pro-Bowl kickers' success rates.
 


Vinatieri is purely average, as is Akers. Kaeding is slightly above average, and happens to have hit 3 of 4 kicks in the 36-50 bin. The kicker I find most curious is Matt Stover. He's money in the short and mid ranges, but he was clearly range-limited. In fairness, the data only goes back to 2000, several years after the start of Stover's career. I suspect some of his dramatic drop-off outside the 25 yard LOS is due to an end-point effect--that is, an arbitrary accident of where the LOS bins were selected.