Week 17 Fantasy Football DEF/ST Strategy

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The most insignificant week of fantasy football is upon us. Most leagues in Ballers’ Preferred Format end in Week 16 when we have a reasonable idea of who should be suiting up for which teams. Playing in Week 17 adds an entirely new difficulty level to something that isn’t all that easy, to begin with. If you play in Week 17, I don’t agree with your decision, but I’m here to support you.

Whereas most things in Week 16 went the way we figured they would, picking the winners and losers in the season’s final week can sometimes come down to who is actually going to play. A couple of playoff teams have nothing to play for, the Baltimore Ravens have already announced they will be resting their superstars, and more than half the league is already statistically eliminated from the playoffs and might be planning for 2020. These types of personnel groups can change the complexion of what we should expect in Week 17.

Week 16 Top Performances

Indianapolis Colts vs CAR
Coming into this game, the Colts D/ST had produced one TD all season long. They scored two TDs on Nyheim Hines punt returns in this one. The Colts only allowed six points scored and added five sacks and three interceptions to their best performance of the season. On top of being the #1 performance of Week 16, it was also the 3rd best fantasy score we’ve seen from a DEF/ST in 2019.

Week 17 Matchup: @ JAX
Only pride on the line in this game but the Colts just finished as the #1 fantasy DEF/ST and the Jaguars give up the 8th most fantasy points to D/ST. If you’re streaming, why not?

Houston Texans @ TB
Jameis gonna Jameis. Four interceptions, including a pick-6 in the game’s 1st minute. Sacked three times. And that is just what the Texans did to Jameis Winston. They also forced a Peyton Barber fumble and blocked a kick. The Buccaneers have simultaneously scored the 3rd most offensive points in the NFL and given up the 2nd most points to fantasy defenses. Jameis. Gonna. Jameis.

Week 17 Matchup: vs TEN
The Titans are in a “win and you’re in” scenario and the Texans have very little to play for in this game, they’ve won the division but cannot earn a first-round bye. There may be some allure to possibly knocking a division foe out of the playoffs but not enough to gamble on this DEF vs the red-hot Ryan Tannehill…a phrase I never thought I’d say in fantasy football.

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New York Jets vs PIT
The Steelers offense continues to disappoint their excellent defense and Week 16 was no exception. The Jets offense only scored 16 points but that was enough. They held Pittsburgh to 10 points scored and finished with two interceptions and four QB sacks. Not exactly a stellar performance but you don’t need stellar against this Pittsburgh offense.

Week 17 Matchup: @ BUF
Interesting matchup as Buffalo has nothing to play for, they will be the #5 seed no matter what happens in this game. I’m guessing they rest their starters after half-time and the Jets could see some turnovers in the 2nd half. If you are streaming, there are worse options.

Week 17 Starts

New England Patriots vs MIA
The Patriots need a win to guarantee a first-round bye and are playing the Dolphins…Start. Of. The. Week. The #1 overall fantasy DEF has slowed considerably over the last month but they showed in their game vs Cincinnati that they still beat up on bad teams.

Adam Glanzman/Getty Images Sport

Green Bay Packers @ DET
The Packers still have an outside chance at the #1 seed in the entire NFC and are facing one of the worst offenses in the NFL right now. Detroit’s offense hasn’t scored more than 20 points since Week 11 and has allowed three fantasy D/ST to finish in the top-10 during that span.

Pittsburgh Steelers @ BAL
Pittsburgh’s defense has to be cursing their offense on a weekly basis. The Steelers defense hasn’t allowed more than 17 points since Week 10 but the team is 3-3 in those six games. While this DEF/ST has cooled as of late, they will be facing the Ravens’ 2nd string and have their pride, and a possible playoff berth, on the line.

Stream of the Week

Dallas Cowboys vs WAS
Washington will be without Dwayne Haskins in this game, which might actually be better for the Redskins, but that doesn’t mean it will be any worse for the Cowboys. They give up the 6th most points to fantasy defenses and Case Keenum threw four picks against four TDs in his last five games as a starter. With the playoffs (possibly) on the line, look for Dallas to get it done and they are available in 34% of fantasy leagues.
Other Streaming Options: KC, CLE, ATL

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Week 17 Sits

Chicago Bears @ MIN
The fact that 74% of leagues still have the Chicago DEF rostered will haunt my nightmares this offseason. Since Week 9, the Bears have scored 30 fantasy points total. The Colts scored 30 fantasy points in Week 16 alone. The Vikings give up the 6th fewest points to D/ST and the Bears are a trash fantasy D/ST.

Seattle Seahawks vs SF
The 49ers give up the 8th fewest points to fantasy D/ST and their offense has scored 22+ points in five of their last six games. Seattle’s D/ST has been hit or miss this season and this feels like a miss.

Philadelphia Eagles @ NYG
After what Daniel Jones just did to Washington, there is no way you can trust the Eagles shaky secondary. The Eagles D/ST have only managed to score 10+ fantasy points once since Week 9.

Top DEF/ST Year-to-Date
Team Fantasy Points Weeks in Top 12 Points Allowed Sacks Int Fum Rec Def/Ret TD Safety Blocked Kick Rank vs Pass Rank vs Run
1 Patriots 222 10 174 45 25 11 7 1 4 2 7
2 Steelers 172 11 265 51 19 17 4 0 1 5 10
3 49ers 162 9 269 47 12 15 5 0 0 1 17
4 Vikings 136 8 282 44 17 13 2 1 1 16 14
5 Rams 135 10 316 49 11 8 4 1 0 10 22
6 Ravens 131 7 272 34 13 10 5 0 2 7 4
6 Chiefs 131 6 281 42 14 7 3 0 2 8 26
8 Saints 123 7 331 49 11 9 3 1 1 17 5
8 Buccaneers 123 7 383 41 12 15 5 0 0 29 1
10 Bills 122 9 238 42 13 9 1 1 2 3 11
11 Colts 120 8 323 38 14 8 3 2 0 22 8
12 Jets 118 6 335 34 10 8 6 2 1 15 2
12 Titans 118 7 317 39 13 9 4 1 4 24 11

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