Welcome to Fantasy Football Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em Defense Edition for Week 17 of the NFL season. This week we feature a D/ST who would normally have a devastating matchup on their hands, but due to unforeseen circumstances, became a sneaky play this Sunday.
* Reminder: Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em is intended to present you with the non-obvious choices for your fantasy lineup. We dig deep into player matchups, scoring trends, and other factors to best help you with your fantasy decisions. Be sure to also check out our weekly fantasy football defense rankings to better gauge where these start-sit options compare to the rest of the options at the position.
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DEF: Start ‘Em
Start of the Week: Falcons DEF at TB
Have you watched a Jameis Winston game this season? When it’s all said and done he may torch Atlanta’s secondary to the tune of 400+ passing yards. However, that likely won’t come before a plethora of head-scratching turnovers. Since returning from their Week 9 bye, Atlanta’s D/ST has averaged nearly 10 points per game, ranking as the fifth-best unit over that span.
Patriots DEF vs. MIA
Since Week 8, New England’s D/ST ranks as just the 16th-highest scoring defensive unit in football. A far cry from their early-season success. However, they should be able to get back to their dominant ways in Week 17. Miami has allowed 10+ fantasy points to opposing D/ST on eight separate occasions this season.
Chiefs DEF vs. LAC
Since Week 11, Kansas City ‘s 11.2 fantasy points per game rank behind only the Minnesota Vikings in terms of highest-scoring defenses. The Chiefs have now scored 10+ points in four of their last five games. Philip Rivers’ struggles this season have been well documented, and it has shown in opposing defenses fantasy output. The Bolts have allowed an average of 15.75 fantasy points over four of their last six games to D/STs.
Sleeper: Steelers DEF at BAL
Normally playing a defense against the Baltimore Ravens would be out of the question. However, normally Lamar Jackson is under center for Baltimore, which will not be the case this week. Since Week 2, Pittsburgh ranks as the second-best defense in fantasy with an average of 12.2 points per game.
DEF: Sit ‘Em
Sit of the Week: Texans DEF vs. TEN
Houston’s D/ST racked up 22-points a week ago. However, every defense racks up points against Jameis Winston and the Bucs. If you happened to watch last week’s game you saw a plethora of blown coverages in the Texans secondary that Winston just failed to cash-in on. Ryan Tannehill will not be so courteous to the Houston defense in Week 17.
Seahawks DEF vs. SF
Over the last two games, San Fran has allowed an average of 10 fantasy points to opposing defenses. However, they still surrender the eighth-fewest points per game to D/STs this season. Seattle has scored fewer than eight defensive fantasy points over their last two games, as they’ve been put in less than desirable situations due to Seattle’s recent offensive struggles. That’s something that doesn’t bode well for a team taking on the 49ers and their stellar defense.
Bears DEF at MIN
Previous to Week 16, Minnesota had gone 10 games without allowing a double-digit fantasy point outing to an opposing defense. Chicago’s defense has scored just eight fantasy points or fewer in every game since Week 4.
Buyers Beware: Eagles DEF at NYG
Philadelphia’s defense has improved drastically of late, culminating in a dominant performance against the Cowboys a week ago. However, they’ve still managed to average a meager 5.25 fantasy points over their last four games. New York has allowed 12 total fantasy points to opposing D/STs over four of their last five games.
- *Check out our other Week 17 Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Ems to further optimize your lineups
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READ NEXT: Fantasy: Defense Rankings Week 17