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Week 17 waiver wire: Streaming defenses to target

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All right, we're turning the page to Week 17 already. For those of you still playing for a fantasy championship, there are a few solid D/ST streaming options that should still be available which are listed in this article. And for those of you who are done for the season but want to get in some DFS lineups for the final week of the NFL regular season, all of the teams listed here are good options, including the last two teams in this article which are only listed for DFS reasons and should not be considered streaming options.

As always, we'll warn you with the caveat that defensive fantasy points are one of the most difficult things to predict with complete accuracy, but if you're in need, here are some suggestions that represent good value plays or have low ownership on NFL.com. Let's throw a few of these at the wall and see what sticks.

Top Week 17 streaming options:

 

Minnesota Vikings (14.9 percent owned) at Green Bay Packers

At just 14.9 percent ownership on NFL.com, the Vikings might be the best bargain on the season-long streaming D/ST and DFS slate in Week 17. With the healthy return of top playmakers Harrison Smith, Anthony Barr and Linval Joseph who have all missed the better part of the last month with injuries, the Vikes took advantage of a Giants offense that was sans Odell Beckham Jr. on Sunday night. In all, Minnesota picked off Eli Manning three times, one of which was returned by Smith for a touchdown. They also sacked the Giants quarterback four times. The fact that he was throwing to no-name pass-catchers like receiver Myles White and tight end Matt LaCosse didn't help, but it was still a dominant performance by the Vikings. Minnesota's defense has now recorded nine sacks in its last two contests and is a force to be reckoned with at full health.

The Vikings will head to Lambeau Field to take on a Packers offense that struggled mightily against Arizona. In a game that will determine the NFC North champion, you can bet that Minnesota wants nothing more than to squash the team that's dominated the division for four straight seasons. Aaron Rodgers is coming off a game in which he was tormented by the Cardinals defense. Despite a 10-5 record, Green Bay's offense is not playing like the powerhouse we've become accustomed to over the last few years. The team has fewer than 300 total yards in two straight games now and has fewer than 250 pass yards in six straight games. And since Week 4, Green Bay has had only one wide receiver gain 100 or more yards (James Jones, Week 11 at MIN). While Rodgers and Green Bay's offense does play better at home, the confidence of the Vikings defense combined with the Packers' recent inconsistency on offense is a recipe for a nice fantasy total for Minnesota's D/ST.

 

New York Jets (40.2 percent owned) at Buffalo Bills

The Jets defense is available in nearly 60 percent of NFL.com leagues and is a solid streaming option against the Bills in Week 17. New York is coming off a game where its defense held New England to its lowest point total (tied, 20) and lowest yardage total (284) of the season. And just like the Cardinals, the Jets defense has held its opponents to 20 points or fewer in five straight contests. In that span, New York's defense is allowing an average of 16.8 points per game against, 314.6 total yards per game to opponents, and has collected nine takeaways and 15 sacks. And over the last month, with fantasy point totals of six, 11, 11 and five points, the unit is a top-10 option.

In order to clinch a playoff spot, the Jets need to beat the Bills in Week 17, so they'll be giving this one everything they've got. Of course there's extra motivation for the Jets to beat Rex Ryan's Bills as they failed to do so when these teams met back in Week 11 at MetLife stadium. Buffalo's offense at home has some potential, but as long as Darrelle Revis can lock down Sammy Watkins and the Jets top-ranked run defense can limit Karlos Williams and the rest of Buffalo's backfield, New York has a good shot at putting up a solid fantasy line in a must-win situation.

 

Indianapolis Colts (30.2 percent owned) hosting Tennessee Titans

Well, the Colts quarterback situation is far from ideal with Matt Hasselbeck and Charlie Whitehurst both injured. But we're talking defenses here and Indy's D/ST is one of the best Week 17 streamers and DFS values against a Titans team that is allowing more fantasy points than any other team to the position.

The Titans have allowed 50 sacks this season, second-most in the NFL and are tied for the most fumbles recovered by opposing teams (16). And things got even worse with Zach Mettenbeger under center against Houston on Sunday. The Titans surrendered four giveaways to the Texans and Mettenberger totaled just 234 passing yards on 51 attempts. That's not good. The Colts could use a win to stay alive in the AFC South playoff race and while they might have their own issues on the offensive side of the ball, Indy's defense should be able to do work against the Titans, as opposing teams have been able to do all season long. In its last three contests, the Colts D/ST has managed nine, eight and 14 points for fantasy owners and the unit is available in nearly 70 percent of NFL.com leagues. If you're desperate for a streamer in Week 17, Indianapolis has one of the best matchups of the week and will also allow you to go big on other positions in DFS tournaments.

 

Top Week 17 DFS plays:

 

Arizona Cardinals hosting Seattle Seahawks

At 95 percent ownership on NFL.com, the Cardinals defense is obviously not a streaming option in Week 17 but the unit does represent a solid value in DFS play during the final week of the regular season. The Cardinals need a win to have a chance at home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs so they've got something to play for which always helps.

If you didn't see how the Cardinals defense performed in Week 16, here's a quick synopsis for you. Arizona completely dominated the Packers, allowing just 178 total yards (77 passing, 101 rushing). The unit racked up nine sacks and collected four takeaways including two fumbles recovered and returned for touchdowns. They were also inches away from getting a safety on a play where Scott Tolzien was sacked in the end zone but after official review, it seemed like the referees were calling mercy and let the Packers punt instead of awarding another two points and the ball to Arizona. It goes without saying that the Cardinals were the top scoring D/ST in fantasy for Week 16 with 33.00 points.

Next up for Arizona is a Seattle Seahawks team that, after a streak of offensive prowess, was hindered by the Rams on Sunday. Seattle allowed four sacks against St. Louis and only managed 60 total rushing yards, 39 of which were gained by Russell Wilson. In a game script where the Seahawks found themselves in a hole early, Wilson matched his season high of 41 pass attempts and threw for 289 yards, his third-highest mark of the season. Cleary, when Seattle's ground game is unable to balance out the offense the team struggles. Arizona has allowed just one 100-yard rusher all season and has held its opponents to 20 points or fewer in five straight games with multiple takeaways in nine games this year. Some exposure to the Cardinals defense at home against Seattle is a must for Week 17 DFS lineups.

 

St. Louis Rams at San Francisco 49ers

As is the case with the Cardinals, the Rams can't really be considered a season-long streaming option this week, but the unit does represent a value play with upside in DFS play for Week 17. Why you ask? Well how about a matchup against the lowly San Francisco 49ers? Yeah, that should do the trick.

Every game, all season

San Francisco's offense is averaging 14.6 point per game this season, dead last in the NFL. Try naming the 49ers starting running back without looking it up, I'll wait ... Yep, didn't think so. The team rolled out Jarryd Hayne as its starting back against the Lions on Sunday and fed 11 carries to DuJuan Harris, formerly of the Seahawks, on which he managed 73 yards. I have a feeling that duo won't do much against a Rams defense that limited the Seahawks to 60 total rush yards in Week 16. As for Blaine Gabbert and the 49ers "passing attack," sure, maybe they get lucky on a home run bomb to Torrey Smith (not likely). Or maybe Anquan Boldin has seven catches for 83 yards. But there's an even better chance that the Rams score at least one defensive touchdown here. So whatever the 49ers end up doing on offense won't be enough to pivot away from the St. Louis D/ST in Week 17 DFS lineups.


Matt Franciscovich is an associate fantasy editor at NFL.com. He's got "The Trouble With Us" by Marcus Marr and Chet Faker on repeat lately. Hit Matt up on Twitter @MattFranchise for music recommendations and fantasy advice.

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