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Start 'Em, Sit 'Em: Defenses for Week 17

Start 'Em & Sit 'Em is the ultimate look at the weekly NFL matchups and how they'll affect your fantasy football team. Sleeper alert features an under-the-radar player who could produce good numbers. Owners beware features a regular fantasy starter who could fail to meet expectations based on the strength of his opponent. Obvious fantasy starters like Aaron Rodgers and Arian Foster will not be featured in this column. For your final lineup decisions, check our lineup rankings.

Start of the week


Denver Broncos vs. Kansas City Chiefs: The Broncos defense has emerged into one of the better units in fantasy football, and this week's game against the Chiefs makes it a must-start. Home defenses facing this unit have combined to score the second-most fantasy points in 2012.

Start 'em


Giants defense vs. Philadelphia Eagles: Michael Vick is back under center this week, but that doesn't change the fact that home defenses have combined to score the third-most fantasy points against the Eagles. That's good news for the Giants in a must-win situation.

NFL Exposure

Week 17 waiver wire

Need to improve your fantasy football roster? Take a look at the top 10 waiver wire targets for Week 17.

Sleeper alert - Steelers defense vs. Cleveland Browns: The Browns could be forced to start a third-string quarterback, and stud running back Trent Richardson will be playing (and maybe even limited) at less than 100 percent. That makes the Steelers a terrific option in Week 17.

Sit of the week


Cowboys defense at Washington Redskins: There is likely to be a whole lot of offense in Sunday night's NFC East showdown, so neither defense is a good fantasy option. The Cowboys are the lesser option, as visiting defenses have struggled to score fantasy points at FedEx.

Sit 'em


Cardinals defense at San Francisco 49ers: The Cardinals might be a top-10 fantasy unit based on points, but facing the Niners on the road (and after a loss) makes this a bad matchup. Visiting defenses have combined to average just 5.71 points when playing in San Francisco.

Owners beware - Rams defense at Seattle Seahawks: The Rams went off for 25 fantasy points last week, but that was against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, not the Seahawks. Visiting units have combined to score the second-fewest fantasy points when facing Seattle on their home field.

Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on NFL.com and NFL Network and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) Hall of Fame. Have a burning question on anything fantasy related? Tweet it to @Michael_Fabiano or send a question via Facebook!

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