Published: Dec. 30, 2015 at 10:22 a.m.
Updated: Dec. 30, 2015 at 01:20 p.m.

Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 17: Defenses

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Start 'Em & Sit 'Em is the ultimate look at the weekly NFL matchups and how they'll affect your fantasy football team. All starts and sits are based on standard scoring leagues. Obvious fantasy starters like Tom Brady and Adrian Peterson will not be featured. For your final lineup decisions, check our lineup rankings.

Start 'Em

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Start of the Week - Cincinnati Bengals vs. Baltimore Ravens

The Bengals have scored the seventh-most fantasy points among defenses in the last four weeks, and an upcoming home matchup against the Ravens makes them a solid option for the regular-season finale. In that same time frame, defenses have averaged the third-most fantasy points against Baltimore's injury-ridden offense.

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Denver Broncos vs. San Diego Chargers

The Broncos need a win in their finale in order to improve their postseason seeding, and a matchup against the Chargers makes their defense an even better option for fantasy fans. Over the last four weeks, opposing defenses have scored an average of 11.75 fantasy points per contest when facing Philip Rivers and crew.

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Houston Texans vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

The Texans defense hasn't been among the elite in fantasy football this season, but it's tough to pass up a matchup against the Jaguars. Despite scoring a ton of points on the field, Blake Bortles has had more than his fair share of turnovers too. In fact, defenses have averaged the eighth-most points vs. the Jaguars.

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St. Louis Rams vs. San Francisco 49ers

The Rams have been tough to trust at times, but this unit still ranks sixth in fantasy points among all defenses heading into their regular-season finale. That contest is against the Niners, who have been kind to opposing fantasy defenses this season. Look for St. Louis to help fantasy owners find a serious gold mine.

Good matchups: Colts defense vs. Titans, Redskins defense at Cowboys, Steelers defense at Browns

Sit 'Em

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Sit of the Week - Philadelphia Eagles vs. New York Giants

The Eagles do field one of the top-10 fantasy defenses in the league, but owners would be wise to bench this unit against the Giants. Fantasy defenses haven't fared well against Eli Manning and his offense, scoring an average of fewer than six fantasy points a game. Oh, the G-Men will also have Odell Beckham Jr. back.

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Buffalo Bills vs. New York Jets

The Bills were projected to be a stout fantasy defense this season, but that hasn't been the case. In fact, Buffalo is barely among the top-20 fantasy units in the league. While there will be some motivation to beat the Jets and keep them out of the playoffs, defense haven't fared too well against the New York offense.

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Arizona Cardinals vs. Seattle Seahawks

The Cardinals defense went nuts last week, scoring a ridiculous 33 fantasy points in a blowout win over the Packers. If the Panthers beat the Bucs, however, Arizona coach Bruce Arians could decide to rest some of his starters in what projects to be a tough matchup against Seattle. It's a game you might want to avoid. Stay tuned.

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Minnesota Vikings vs. Green Bay Packers

The last time the Vikings faced the Packers was back in Week 11, and their defense scored a mere one fantasy point. So before you go looking at what the Cardinals did to Aaron Rodgers and his offense, keep in mind that you could be chasing a fantasy stat line that's impossible to repeat. This isn't a great matchup.

Bad matchups: Ravens defense at Bengals, Dolphins defense vs. Patriots, Buccaneers defense at Panthers

In the latest episode of the NFL Fantasy LIVE podcast, the gang weighs in on some Week 17 matchups they like and don't like and talk about some lessons that they have learned during the 2015 fantasy season. Don't forget to subscribe to the show or download each episode HERE!

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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