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2 key D/ST starts, 2 D/ST sits to consider for Week 17 fantasy football

We break down team defenses to consider as you prepare for the final weekend of regular season fantasy football.

Damontae Kazee of the Atlanta Falcons rushes after making an interception during the second half of the game against the Carolina Panthers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 8, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

Here is a look at a few D/STs that fantasy owners can consider either starting or sitting in DraftKings contests this week. The first two D/STs mentioned are generally available in seasonal leagues, which can make them Week 17 streaming options for fantasy owners who are wrapping up their leagues this week.

D/ST Starts

Atlanta Falcons ($3,400) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Falcons have a high-upside matchup against turnover machine Jameis Winston and a Buccaneers offense that has given the ball away an NFL-high 38 times. Winston leads the NFL in interceptions (28) and interceptions returned for touchdowns (6). Winston has also fumbled the ball 12 times, tied for fifth most, adding to his turnover issues. Winston’s tendency to throw pick-sixes gives the Falcons’ defense some serious fantasy upside. The Buccaneers have also been sack-prone, allowing the sixth most sacks, so they also carry sack upside in addition to turnover upside. The Falcons are just 11% owned in mainstream seasonal leagues, making them a widely available streaming option in Week 17.

Kansas City Chiefs ($3,700) vs. Los Angeles Chargers

The Chiefs’ defense has been better at home in Arrowhead Stadium, which is considered a difficult venue for opposing offenses. The Chiefs have held QBs to just a 78.8 passer rating at Arrowhead Stadium, significantly below the 2019 league average passer rating of 90.9. Kansas City has an appealing home matchup vs. the Chargers, who have given the ball away the fourth most times. QB Philip Rivers has been interception prone, as he is tied for the second most INTs behind only Jameis Winston. With the Chiefs still in play for a first-round bye, they are not much of a risk for rest. The Chiefs are 43% owned in mainstream seasonal leagues, which also makes them a Week 17 streaming option.

D/ST Sits

Baltimore Ravens ($3,100) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

The Ravens rank as the fourth best D/ST on the Week 17 slate by DraftKings fantasy points, producing 9.1 DKFP per game, and rank as the third best team defense by points allowed. The Ravens are also getting a home matchup against QB Delvin Hodges ($4,600), who has a poor 75.8 passer rating and has thrown more interceptions (eight) than touchdowns (five). That said, Baltimore has clinched the top seed and home field in the AFC playoffs, and they are already resting star QB Lamar Jackson. With the Ravens taking their foot off the gas this week to rest up for the postseason, it’s unclear how much playing time their regulars will get on defense and how much actual game-planning the defense will do to face the Steelers in a meaningless game.

Houston Texans ($2,800) vs. Tennessee Titans

The Texans are coming off a magical 22.0 DKFP Week 16 performance against the aforementioned Jameis Winston, but like the Ravens, it’s unclear how much Houston will elect to play their starting defensive players. The Texans have little to play for, as they have already clinched the division and are unable to secure a first-round bye. Tennessee is also facing a win-and-in situation, so they will be full-blast for this game. Fantasy owners are better served avoiding playoff teams with little incentive to play full-go in Week 17, as playing backups or holding back game-planning could reduce defensive effectiveness.