Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Pickups – Win Your Fantasy Playoffs


Amid the vast conspiracy against the kicker position in fantasy football — waged by the ruthless industry elites — we must not give up on exploiting the best kicker matchups down the stretch of the 2018 season.

Kickers are far more predictable than tight ends and D/ST. Yet they remain under attack by those who tilt into the Black Lodge every time their fantasy kicker shanks a field goal.

A few things matter in evaluating a kicker’s prospects, but the one thing we want more than anything is opportunity. Like a good receiver who only gets a few targets, a kicker is only as good as the opportunity he gets in a given game. We want kickers on teams that are most likely to have game script on their side — squads that’ll grab a lead and keep it. Why? Because kickers whose teams are up in the second half are way likelier to attempt field goals in the second half.

Fantasy Kickers to Win Your Playoffs

Below are three kickers I’m targeting for the fantasy football playoffs — guys on teams that should see neutral game script at worst taking on teams that have been generous to kickers throughout 2018.

Brandon McManus (DEN)

Week 14: McManus, who hasn’t see much opportunity in 2018 as the Broncos have rarely had game script firmly on their side, takes on the 49ers in Week 14. Only eight teams have allowed more field goal attempts than the the 49ers, who give up a hefty 3.8 red zone visits per game (second highest through 12 weeks). San Francisco is a bad team. We target bad teams.

Week 15: Denver gets a home game against the Browns in Week 15. Cleveland, which has allowed an average of almost two field goal tries per game, has been a solid kicker matchup even as the team improves post-Hue Jackson. The Browns on paper look to be a less-than-stellar kicker matchup because kickers can’t make a kick against Cleveland: enemy kickers have converted just 68 percent of their attempts against Baker Mayfield’s bunch. The Broncos should be favored in this one.

Week 16: Almost every position does well against Oakland, the Broncos’ Week 16 opponent. That goes for kicker too: Nine of 11 kickers to face off agains the Raiders this year have scored at least eight fantasy points. Nine kickers have had more than one field goal try against the Raiders, who face a constant stream of negative script. McManus has a plush fantasy championship matchup.

Ka’imi Fairbairn (HOU)

Week 14: It hardly gets better for Fairbairn in Week 14, as the Texans play the Colts, who allow the second most field goal attempts through Week 12. While kicker opportunity against Indy has tailed off of late (since the Colts are good now), Fairbairn should be fine here in what is likely to be an evenly matched affair. Fairbairn had four field goal tries when these teams met in September. Colts opponents scored touchdowns in the red zone on just 53.3 percent of their possessions — the eighth lowest rate in the NFL.

Week 15: Houston gets the Jets in Week 15. Gang Green, which has been stingy against opponents in the red zone this season, has given up the ninth most field goal attempts. Only two kickers all season have failed to attempt multiple field goals against the Jets. Fairbairn should have plenty of good script on his side here.

Week 16: The Texans go against the Eagles in fantasy championship week. Philly has become a superb kicker matchup as the team has gradually gotten worse this year, getting shredded via the pass and rarely having script on their side. Kickers have averaged 12 fantasy points per game (on 13 total attempts) against the Eagles over the past four weeks. I expect that to continue, especially against an efficient offense like Houston.

Brett Maher (DAL)

Week 14: Maher, once a top fantasy option, gets his crack at the generous Eagles in Week 14. Maher notched nine fantasy points on three field goal tries when these teams met in Week 10. There’s not much reason to think Dallas’ rejuvenated offense will struggle against the abomination that is the Philadelphia defense.

Week 15: Dallas takes on the Colts in fantasy semifinal week, and could prove a difference maker for the reasons cited above. The Cowboys’ elite running attack should have an easy time turning the Colts front seven into Swiss cheese.

Week 16: The Cowboys take on the Bucs in Week 16, which isn’t the classic process-oriented play we like, but it’s close. Teams are moving the ball at will against the Bucs, maintaining the sort of positive script that brings with it field goal opportunity. Tampa is being gouged for 30.7 points per game. We like kickers attached to offenses that might put up some points.

Denny Carter, owner of and co-host of the Living The Stream fantasy football podcast, writes weekly kicker columns for and offer his various takes on Twitter at @CDCarter13.

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