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2 kickers to start and 2 kickers to fade in Week 18 fantasy football

We go over who you should start and who you should sit at kicker for Week 18.

NASHVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 29: Brett Maher #19 of the Dallas Cowboys kicks against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium on December 29, 2022 in Nashville, Tennessee. Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

Kickers can prove to be the unlikely factor in swinging a fantasy football matchup in your favor, but choosing the right one in Week 18 may be tricky. Aside from the right matchups to exploit, it’s key to roll with a kicker that is playing for significance in the NFL’s regular-season finale. We have the breakdown of who to target and which names to avoid in lineups for Week 18.

Kicker Starts

Brett Maher, Dallas Cowboys vs. Washington Commanders

Maher has scored nine or more fantasy points in four straight games, and he has a chance to make it five straight versus the Commanders on Sunday. Washington surrenders an average of 7.06 fantasy points to opposing kickers, but that number increases to 10.3 over their last four games. Dallas should pile on the points as well with a chance, albeit a slim one, to clinch the division and secure a home playoff game in the wild-card round.

Harrison Butker, Kansas City Chiefs vs. Las Vegas Raiders

Butker is having the worst season of his career this year, converting just 73.9 percent of his field goal attempts. But perhaps the right matchup is just what he needs to cure his kicking woes. The Raiders allow an average of 7.31 fantasy points to opposing kickers, which ranks 18th among teams this season. Better yet, Kansas City, even at 13-3, will have plenty to play for on Saturday as they hope to secure the AFC’s number-one seed and a lone first-round bye in the playoffs. Moving the ball at will against their division rival’s 25th-ranked scoring defense should set up Butker with ample kicking opportunities.

Kicker Sits

Matt Prater, Arizona Cardinals vs. San Francisco 49ers

Prater has been the best kicker in fantasy football over the last three weeks, riding a three-game streak of double-digit fantasy points and totaling a combined 42 points over that period. But all good things must come to end, and it’s not far-fetched to assume his hot streak comes to a close against the league’s best defense in the 49ers. San Francisco allows the fewest points per game overall and the fewest fantasy points per game to opposing kickers.

Nick Folk, New England Patriots vs. Buffalo Bills

Folk will face the league’s second-best defense versus kickers in Week 18, as the Patriots travel to Buffalo with a potential postseason appearance on the line. The Bills allow just 5.67 fantasy points per contest to kickers this season, and Folk was already at the expense of their stingy defense back in Week 13. As the Patriots were easily defeated 24-10, Folk accumulated just 4.0 fantasy points after converting one of two field goal attempts.