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Rent-a-Defense: Week 14

A look at waiver wire defense performances in Week 13 and a look ahead to the best waiver wire defenses to target for Week 14 and beyond.

Unless most of the teams in your league carry a backup defense, more than half of the league should be available to you every week. Perhaps instead of playing one above average defense every week, regardless of matchup, we should instead target the widely available waiver wire defenses with the best matchups in any particular week? You can always make exceptions if your rent-a-defense gets hot - heck, you might find a team worth starting all year by accident. Even if you don't, good matchups will continue to get greater in number as more QBs get injured or yanked as the season goes on. You can steal some points from bad weather come December. Each week I'll list the startable fantasy defenses on most waiver wires and rank them.

**Jacksonville is better than any rent-a-defense, but assumed to be owned in all leagues**

Week 13 Results

Los Angeles Chargers (vs Cleveland) - 3 sacks, 1 INT, 1 fumble recovery

Not a yahtzee, but good enough to be a top ten D/ST score in most leagues. DeShone Kizer benefited from the return of Josh Gordon in this one.

A Look Ahead: WAS @KC @NYJ - Kirk Cousins has been having to take more of the offense on his shoulders with less help from his skill players. The Chargers D/ST is a strong consideration this week.

New England (at Buffalo) - 4 sacks, 1 INT, 3 points allowed

The Patriots aren’t racking up turnovers, but they are a very effective defense at limiting the opponents scoring and yardage, and have earned some trust.

A Look Ahead: @MIA @PIT BUF - The Patriots have a great track record against Jay Cutler and should be in consideration this week.

Oakland (vs New York Giants) - 3 sacks, 2 fumble recoveries

Geno Smith didn’t throw any picks and the Giants were actually able to move the ball as well as or better than they had with Eli Manning

A Look Ahead: @KC DAL @PHI - The Raiders D/ST production has been anemic this year, so this was a one-off selection.

Chicago (vs San Francisco) - 2 sacks, 1 INT, 1 ST TD

Thank you Tarik Cohen. The Bears defense did get a pick with an aggressive play after a reception, but overall Jimmy Garoppolo looked ready to be an NFL starter on a team other than the Patriots.

A Look Ahead: @CIN @DET CLE - Andy Dalton has been playing well, and DeShone Kizer is taking better care of the ball. The Bears aren’t an essential hold for Week 16 or a strong Week 14 play.

Tennessee (vs Houston) - 4 sacks, 1 INT

The Titans pass rush is still strong, but they didn’t force a lot of errors from Tom Savage despite Savage losing two wide receivers and his starting tight end during the game.

A Look Ahead: @ARI @SF LAR - Since Garoppolo looks solid and Blaine Gabbert has been adequate, we probably won’t be going with the Titans again.

Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda

Miami (vs Denver) - 3 sacks, 3 INT, 2 safeties, 1 DEF TD

Trevor Siemian was the worst quarterback on the field in Week 13 and the Dolphins took advantage.

Dallas (vs Washington) - 4 sacks, 2 INT, 2 fumble recoveries, 1 ST TD

Kirk Cousins and Washington’s offense are falling apart and Ryan Switzer’s speed and crafty punt return skills certainly didn’t hurt.

Los Angeles Rams (at Arizona) - 6 sacks, 2 INT, 1 DEF TD

Blaine Gabbert wasn’t terrible in this game, but he was no match for Wade Phillips’ defense.

Green Bay (vs Tampa Bay) - 7 sacks, 1 fumble recovery, 1 DEF TD

Jameis Winston was actually safe with the ball when passing, but the depleted offensive line did a terrible job protecting him against a pass rush that wasn’t all that scary coming into Week 13

Denver (at Miami) - 2 sacks, 2 INT, 1 fumble recovery, 1 DEF TD

The Broncos defense outscored their offense, but the Dolphins defense outscored them both combined

Week 14 Candidates

**Jacksonville is better than any rent-a-defense, but assumed to be owned in all leagues**

Los Angeles Chargers (vs Washington)

The Chargers have been an elite D/ST since the team’s 0-4 start, the Washington offense is in decline, and this one is in Los Angeles. An easy call.

A Look Ahead: @KC @NYJ - Even though they are on the road, the Chargers should be a consideration to ride all the way out if they continue to come through for us.

New England (at Miami)

Three of the five best D/ST performances by the Patriots this year have come in the last four weeks. The Patriots have beaten Cutler by at least 28 points in all three of their career meetings. Another easy call.

A Look Ahead: @PIT BUF - The Pats D/ST won’t be a desirable play in Week 15, but as long as they are good this week, hold them for a Week 16 start against the Bills.

Dallas (at New York Giants)

The Cowboys D/ST is back now that the running game is on track again. The Giants run defense is terrible, the offense continues to be turmoil, and the Cowboys are getting Sean Lee back this week. Yet another easy call.

A Look Ahead: @OAK SEA - This will likely be the last time we use the Cowboys this year, even with Ezekiel Elliott due back in Week 16

Denver (vs New York Jets)

It sure was ugly, but the Broncos D/ST produced last week, and Josh McCown has been known to be less than safe with his decisions in the passing game. Aqib Talib is back this week to help. It’s hard to know if the Broncos defense will show up out of pride, but the pass rush and secondary talent is there for a good result.

A Look Ahead: @IND @WAS - One reason to try the Broncos this week is the upcoming schedule, which could be a wave to catch if the defense gets hot.

Detroit (at Tampa Bay)

The Lions D/ST is cold the last two weeks, but they are still mathematically alive for the playoffs, unlike the Bucs. The Bucs offensive line is in shambles and they made the Packers look like a strong unit last week. It’s worth a shot considering how opportunistic the Lions defense and punt return game has been this year at creating scores.

A Look Ahead: CHI @CIN - If the Lions come through this week, we might go back to them against Mitchell Trubisky next week.

Green Bay (at Cleveland)

The Browns don’t look creampuffs on offense with Josh Gordon and a more under control DeShone Kizer, but that doesn’t mean that this won’t be a wise play. The Packers defense has at least five sacks+takeaways in each of the last four games.

A Look Ahead: @CAR MIN - The Packers defense aren’t exactly an all-star crew, but if Aaron Rodgers is back next week, we will take a longer look at them.

Buffalo (vs Indianapolis)

The Bills being an elite D/ST is a distant memory now and they might be without stud rookie corner Tre’Davious White, but it is the fading Colts defense in Buffalo and the pass rush is showing signs of life with five sacks in the last two weeks after only posting five in the previous seven games.

A Look Ahead: MIA @NE - The winds is out of the sails of this team, so they are only a mediocre option this week and probably a non-factor in Week 15 unless Cutler craters against the Pats and defense is strong against Jacoby Brissett.

Playoffs Preemptive Pickups

 

Week 15

Denver (at Indianapolis)
Detroit (vs Chicago)
Minnesota (vs Cincinnati)
New Orleans (vs New York Jets)
Carolina (vs Green Bay) **Monitor Rodgers Status**

Week 16

Los Angeles Chargers (at New York Jets)
New England (vs Buffalo)
Minnesota (at Green Bay) **Monitor Rodgers Status**
Carolina (vs Tampa Bay)
Pittsburgh (at Houston)