Fantasy Defense Rankings Week 17: D/ST must starts, sleepers, busts

It’s Week 17, and fantasy football leagues that are still active see their final action. Pro Football Network has the final installment of the weekly Fantasy Defense/Special Teams (D/ST) rankings for the 2020 season. We now look to fantasy defense rankings for Week 17.

Context for the D/ST rankings

While singular offensive players dominate fantasy football, the other side of the ball sees players work together as a unit. These rankings can be especially useful if you are streaming your defense on a weekly basis.

*When ranking a fantasy defense and special teams, the general scoring includes points for fumbles, interceptions, sacks, safeties, and restricting offensive yards and points. Special teams’ scoring incorporates any kickoff or punt return touchdowns, blocked punts, and blocked field goal attempts.

Week 17 Fantasy D/ST Rankings, Top 10

1) Indianapolis Colts

The Colts had just their second week of negative points this season in Week 16. Still, they are the number three defense in standard defense scoring. A meeting with the Jacksonville Jaguars should bode well, especially considering James Robinson, D.J. Chark, and Collin Johnson won’t be playing in the season finale.

2) Baltimore Ravens

The Bengals are allowing the third-highest sack percentage in the NFL. Add in the Ravens obscenely high blitz percentage, and a team that combined for 11 sacks over the previous two weeks could be rounding into form as they look to clinch a playoff berth with a win.

3) Seattle Seahawks

Multiple sacks dating back to Week 8 and a slew of good performances over the past five weeks and this defense all lead to a phenomenal Week 17 matchup. The San Francisco 49ers will be without their top two quarterbacks, top two wide receivers, and starting running back.

4) New England Patriots

Last week, this defense played downright bad. And the last time the Patriots saw the Jets, they allowed 27 points, and only had one sack and one interception. Yet, it’s still hard to imagine Bill Belichick having a letdown against the Jets twice in one season. Call this D/ST ranking risky but based on historical precedent.

5) Washington Football Team

With everything on the line in the Sunday night matchup, the pass rush for Washington knows it has to show up to secure a playoff spot. This team’s identity begins on the defense with rookie Chase Young now sporting the captain’s patch. Expect a big game from him and the rest of the defensive line — this defense is becoming stalwarts on the fantasy defense rankings, especially in Week 17.

6) Los Angeles Rams

After allowing fewer points to the Seahawks than the Jets, it looks like the Rams remembered how to play defense again. Multiple sacks in six of their last seven games don’t hurt their projection either. Kyler Murray does his best on the move, but this team held up well enough against him in Week 13, where they sacked him twice, forced a fumble, and caused an interception.

7) Tampa Bay Buccaneers

While their playoff fate is not at stake, there are seeding benefits for the Buccaneers. Julio Jones will miss his fourth straight game, and while Calvin Ridley has been a phenomenal replacement, Jones being out is still good for Tampa Bay. With three or more sacks each week since their bye, there is high optimism for this unit.

8) New Orleans Saints

Christian McCaffrey and Mike Davis are both set to miss this game. Teddy Bridgewater has done an admirable job keeping the fantasy success of Robby Anderson, D.J. Moore, and Curtis Samuel afloat. Still, his bouts of inaccuracy could lead to a big day as the Saints look to clinch a first-round bye.

9) Arizona Cardinals

The Los Angeles Rams will be without Jared Goff on Sunday, as well as Cooper Kupp. Andrew Whitworth has practiced this week but won’t likely return until the playoffs. Cam Akers is banged up and is questionable. The Cardinals make an excellent waiver add for those in need of a defense to close things out.

10) New York Giants

The fate of the NFC East will ultimately be decided Sunday night. But if the Philadelphia Eagles are to play spoiler, it will benefit the Giants’ clash with the Cowboys. While they’ve been less than impressive of late, it’s always worth taking a shot on a team with something to play for in Week 17.

Week 17 Defense and Special Teams Fantasy Rankings, Tier 2

11) Dallas Cowboys

12) Cleveland Browns

13) Pittsburgh Steelers

14) Green Bay Packers

15) Minnesota Vikings

16) Philadelphia Eagles

Week 17 Defense and Special Teams Fantasy Rankings, Tier 3

17) Buffalo Bills

18) Miami Dolphins

19) Kansas City Chiefs

20) Las Vegas Raiders

21) San Francisco 49ers

22) New York Jets

23) Los Angeles Chargers

24) Tennessee Titans

25) Denver Broncos

26) Atlanta Falcons

27) Detroit Lions

28) Carolina Panthers

29) Jacksonville Jaguars

30) Chicago Bears

31) Houston Texans

32) Cincinnati Bengals

Want more fantasy football analysis and news?

Be sure to follow us on Twitter: @PFN365 to stay up to date with all things around the NFL and the 2020 fantasy football season beyond fantasy defense rankings for Week 17. Also, continue to visit Pro Football Network for NFL news and in-depth analysis while also seeing our fantasy football section for more coverage and up-to-date rankings.

Andrew Thomas Jordan is an editor and analyst for Pro Football Network covering fantasy football: dynasty, redraft, best ball, DFS, our 2020 D/ST rankings, and more. You can follow him @The_ATJ on Twitter and hear him weekly as host of The Fantasy Force Podcast.