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Defenses (DEF) to Start in Week 17: Fantasy Tiers & Rankings

For those of you fantasy football owners out there who are still in the hunt and have questions about defenses, RotoBaller has got you covered with around-the-league analysis of the Week 17 NFL defensive matchups.

Just as in every other week of the fantasy football season, we're here to give you the insight to help make your defense streaming and Week 17 lineup decisions a bit easier. Unlike every other week, the majority of fantasy leagues have already crowned their champions, so we'll only be covering a few of the top streaming targets. Good luck in your playoff matchups, RotoBallers!


Week 17 Defenses: Playoff Tiers & Rankings

Tier 1: Seattle Seahawks, Houston Texans

At the top of the first tier, we find Seattle with a nice matchup against the St. Louis Rams. Shaun Hill, Tre Mason and Kenny Britt have been putting up 21 PPG, but the Seahawks have continued their dominance and are allowing fewer than seven points per game over the last five weeks. The Rams have allowed 45 sacks on the year, and Seattle's pass rush has been effective recently, with 20 sacks in their past six games.

The Texans travel to Jacksonville to take on Blake Bortles and Allen Hurns, who have only been able to put up 15.5 per game offensively. They've turned the ball over 26 times and have allowed over 60 sacks. The Texans have only been giving up 19 points per game, and they will look to capitalize on opportunities against a turnover-prone offense. They've racked up 33 sacks including 11 in their past four games, with nine turnovers in that span, as well. Both these teams are locked-in starts this week for any playoff matchup.


Tier 2: New England Patriots, Denver Broncos, Indianapolis Colts

The second tier starts off with the New England Patriots playing host to Kyle Orton, Sammy Watkins and the Buffalo Bills, a team that has been putting up 22 PPG, while turning the ball over 22 times and allowing 37 sacks on the year. The Patriots, on the other hand, have generated 38 sacks of their own, and have only been giving up 20 points per game.

The Broncos host the lowly Raiders, who have only been averaging 16 PPG offensively with Derek Carr, James Jones and Latavius Murray. Oakland has turned the ball over 27 times on the year, and their O-Line has let up 25 sacks. Denver had been allowing 22 per game prior to their Monday night game against the Bengals, and they have generated 21 turnovers to go with their 38 sacks.

Rounding out the second tier, we find the Colts heading to Tennessee to take a Titans team that has only been putting up 16 points per game. They've turned the ball over 25 times on the year and have let up more than 40 sacks. Indianapolis has been giving up 24 PPG, and other than their most recent performance against the Cowboys, have been pretty good the past month or so. They've racked up 25 turnovers and 37 sacks on the year, and will look finish the regular season strong going into the playoffs. These three tier two teams are pretty much must-starts this week, as there won't be many other viable options.


Tier 3: Miami Dolphins, Baltimore Ravens

In the third tier, we find two pretty good defenses against mediocre opponents, starting off with the Dolphins playing host to the New York Jets. Geno Smith, Percy Harvin and Eric Decker have only been able to put up 16 per game and have turned the ball over 23 times so far. They've also let up more than 45 sacks and are facing a Dolphins pass rush with 39 sacks to go with their 24 takeaways and 22 PPG.

Wrapping up the third tier are the Ravens hosting the Browns, who may be without either of their QBs. Cleveland has only been putting up 19 per game and has turned the ball over 21 times on the year. They've also let up 24 sacks and will be facing one of the league's better pass rushes, which boasts 45 sacks on the year. Baltimore has 20 takeaways to go with their impressive sack total and 19.5 PPG average. Either of these third-tier squads are likely to be among the better options for fantasy managers in their championship games.


Good Luck Rotoballers!