Fantasy Football: Week 17 Defense Rankings

/ by Mike DePrisco
Presented By TAP Sports Bar

Offense sells tickets, but defense wins championships. 

You may not pay a ton of attention to which defense you're playing every week, but identifying the right matchups and capitalizing on them in your starting lineup could win you a matchup 

So that's where we come in by ranking the top 20 defense/special teams units in the NFL before Week 17 games begin. 

Week 17 rankings: Quarterbacks | Running Backs | Wide Receivers | Tight Ends | Defense/Special Teams


1. New England Patriots (vs. Jaguars)

The Patriots have routinely destroyed rookie quarterbacks under Bill Belichick and Trevor Lawrence has been a turnover machine this season. After two straight losses, New England will probably look at this game as a chance to get right before a crucial division tilt in Week 18 with Miami. 

2. New Orleans Saints (vs. Panthers)

The Saints' defense has been good all year despite the offense's shortcomings and quarterback changes. Meanwhile, the Panthers' offense has looked like an absolute disaster with Cam Newton. They have yet to win a game with Newton as their starter. 

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. Jets)

The Jets' offense has marginally improved over the course of the year, but that doesn't mean it's good now. The Bucs took care of business last week and only allowed six points to the Panthers, so there's no reason to believe they can't do something similar to New York. 


4. Chicago Bears (vs. Giants)

Jake Fromm made his first career start against the Eagles last week and the Giants' offense couldn't have looked worse. Then Mike Glennon came in during the second half and failed to do much better. The Bears have their issues on offense, but they shouldn't have a hard time keeping New York out of the end zone this week. 

5. Buffalo Bills (vs. Falcons)

The Bills exorcized some of their demons against the Patriots last week, stopping the run just enough to force Mac Jones to throw it 30 times. Atlanta's rushing attack should be easier to stop even though they've gotten great production from Cordarrelle Patterson. 

6. Dallas Cowboys (vs. Cardinals)

The Cardinals aren't the best offense to target with your fantasy defense, but as long as Dallas keeps forcing turnovers at the rate they have all season long, it'll be tough not to start them. 

7. Miami Dolphins (vs. Titans)

The Dolphins are one of the hottest teams in the league right now and their defense is playing at a high level. The Titans' playstyle doesn't play into Miami's strengths, as they like to run the ball to set up play action. But without Derrick Henry, the Dolphins should be able to contain the run enough to make Ryan Tannehill beat them with his arm. 

8. San Francisco 49ers (vs. Texans)

The 49ers pulled off a few goal-line stands in a loss to the Titans last week, their offense simply failed them by not putting enough points on the board. Meanwhile, the Texans have a few upsets under their belt, so if you're starting the 49ers in your lineups, you're hoping they take Houston more seriously than the Chargers did a week ago. 

9. Los Angeles Rams (vs. Ravens)

Even with Lamar Jackson, the Ravens' offense hasn't been that good recently. Injuries are a major reason why, but if you own the Rams, this isn't a matchup to be afraid of. 

10. New York Giants (vs. Bears)

As bad as their offense has been, the Giants' defense has kept them in games longer than you'd expect. Against a bad Bears offense, this should be a low-scoring game on both sides. If you don't have an obvious streaming option for a defense, it might be worth rolling the dice on the Giants. 

11. Indianapolis Colts (vs. Raiders)

12. Philadelphia Eagles (vs. Washington)

13. Los Angeles Chargers (vs. Broncos)

14. Cleveland Browns (vs. Steelers)

15. Washington Football Team (vs. Eagles)

16. Kansas City Chiefs (vs. Bengals)

17. Tennessee Titans (vs. Dolphins)

18. Seattle Seahawks (vs. Lions)

19. Carolina Panthers (vs. Saints)

20. Green Bay Packers (vs. Vikings)

Week 16 Rankings: Quarterbacks | Running Backs | Wide Receivers | Tight Ends | Defense/Special Teams