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2 defenses to start, fade in Week 17 fantasy football

We go over who you should start and who you should sit at defense for Week 17.

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - DECEMBER 26: Khalil Mack #52 of the Los Angeles Chargers lines up for a play in the third quarter against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 26, 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

For fantasy managers still vying for a title in Week 17, there is no more margin for error in the last week of the fantasy season. Every position matters when finalizing your last starting lineup of the year, including the often-overlooked D/ST. Unless you have one of the few elite units at your disposal, chances are you are looking for some viable options. We have a number of defenses you should consider as well as some you are better off avoiding.

D/ST Starts

Chargers vs. Rams

The Chargers have not been fantasy relevant for much of the season, but that’s where one matchup can swing the momentum in your favor. Incoming are the Rams, who are among the league’s top-3 most heavily sacked and intercepted offenses. The Rams give up an average of 3.4 sacks per game (30th) and surrender nearly an interception per game (0.9). The Chargers are also coming off a strong defensive outing versus the Colts last week, limiting them to just a field goal and recording three interceptions and seven total sacks.

Giants vs. Colts

The Colts are coming off a horrendous performance with Nick Foles under center last week, but their track record to date has shown they are susceptible to giving up turnovers ad nauseam. Indianapolis is tied for the most interceptions thrown per game (1.1) and give up the second-most sacks per game (3.7). Whether Foles lines up under center once more, or if the Colts move to Matt Ryan or Sam Ehlinger, the Colts are deeply lacking in playmakers on offense, setting up New York to reap the benefits.

D/ST Sits

Jets vs. Seahawks

Seattle has cooled off a bit over the last month, but they are still tied for the ninth-best scoring offense which averages 24.3 points per game. The Seahawks, still clinging onto their postseason hopes, will have plenty to play for as they return home for this Week 17 bout with the Jets. Even with Tyler Lockett’s status up in the air, New York will have plenty of names to account for with DK Metcalf, Noah Fant, and Kenneth Walker III. Unless they get some consistency from the quarterback position, the Jets’ defense could succumb to being on the field for long stretches versus a high-octane pass attack from Seattle.

Bills vs. Bengals

Any time there is a potential for a shoot-out, the sound strategy is to steer clear of any defenses involved in the matchup. While Buffalo ranks second in scoring defense (17.5 PPG allowed), it’s safe to say they will have their work cut out for them in containing Joe Burrow, Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, and Joe Mixon, just to name a few. The Bengals have the sixth-ranked scoring offense (26.1 PPG) this season, and the loss of Von Miller is not favorable if they hope to pressure Burrow in Week 17. Fantasy managers are better off finding a safer bet on defense.