Rent-a-Defense: Week 3

A look at the best waiver wire defenses to target in Week 3 and candidates to stash for Week 4.

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.

**Minnesota, Jacksonville, Philadelphia, Los Angeles Rams, and Chicago all have good matchups in Week 3 and should be played over rent-a-defenses but are assumed to be rostered**

Week 2 Results

Chicago (vs Seattle) - 6 sacks, 1 INT, 1 fumble recovery, 1 DEF TD

This couldn’t have gone better. Prince Amukamara had a pick six and the Bears pass rush harassed Russell Wilson all night, while their run defense never allowed Brian Schottenheimer to establish the run. This is an elite fantasy D/ST going forward

A Look Ahead: @ARI TB BYE - Even with Fitzmagic taking the world by storm, the Bears are a D/ST you’ll start every week until they put two duds back-to-back, and you’ll also make every effort to hold the Bears through their bye.

Atlanta (vs Carolina) - 2 sacks, 1 INT

There were some errant Cam Newton throws that could have been picked, but the Falcons defense didn’t convert. This was a quiet D/ST day, but in a quiet D/ST week, it wasn’t a big liability.

A Look Ahead: NO CIN @PIT - Throw em back

New Orleans (vs Cleveland) - 3 sacks, 1 INT

This was actually a fine result considering that the Saints played from behind for most of the game. Still, the Saints defense isn’t creating the turnovers and havoc it did last year. Maybe we’ll revisit them when Mark Ingram II returns and their offense is more difficult to get off of the field.

A Look Ahead: @ATL @NYG WAS - We won’t be using the Saints again until they have an outburst

San Francisco (vs Detroit) - 2 sacks, 1 fumble recovery

In a theme of Week 2 D/ST plays, the 49ers controlled the game but didn’t rack up sacks or takeaways against a Lions offense that was strung up by the Jets in Week 1.

A Look Ahead: @KC @LAC ARI - We’ll be getting out of the way of Patrick Mahomes, but come back to the 49ers in Week 5.

Pittsburgh (vs Kansas City) - 1 sack, 1 fumble recovery, 1 safety

The Steelers defense was run up and down the field by the Chiefs, but they had about as many positive moments that mattered for fantasy leagues as most D/ST’s in Week 2.

A Look Ahead: @TB BAL ATL - We won’t mess with Fitzmagic this week.

New York Jets (vs Miami) - 4 sacks, 2 fumble recoveries

The only other semi-hit of Week 2 candidates, the Jets couldn’t go to 2-0, but their defense still showed up, with a surprisingly effective pass rush.

A Look Ahead: @CLE @JAX DEN - The Jets are tied with the Bears at #1 in D/ST scoring in some formats. We’ll consider them.

Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda

Cincinnati (vs Baltimore) - 4 sacks, 2 INT, 1 fumble recovery

The Bengals defensive line is one of the best in the league, and they have an aggressive secondary. Shawn Williams was a one-man wrecking crew.

Green Bay (vs Minnesota) - 2 sacks, 1 INT, 1 ST TD

Geronimo Allison has been making an impact for fantasy teams as a wide receiver, he made a further impact by blocking a punt that the Packers recovered for a score in this one.

Week 3 Candidates

**Minnesota, Jacksonville, Philadelphia, Los Angeles Rams, and Chicago all have good matchups in Week 3 and should be played over rent-a-defenses but are assumed to be rostered**

Tampa Bay (vs Pittsburgh)

Fitzmagic on a Monday night against Road Ben? Sign me up! The Tampa defense has been opportunistic, with two takeaways in each game, a defensive touchdown in one, and three sacks in the other. The high octane offense gives the defense positive game scripts, and the Steelers were a disaster on the road in Week 1.

A Look Ahead: @CHI @ATL CLE - If the Bucs stay hot, they could be worth a roll of the dice against Mitchell Trubisky on the road, to help the chances of keeping them for a Week 6 home game against the Browns.

Houston (vs New York Giants)

The Texans D/ST had a solid day on the road against the Patriots to open the season but didn’t influence the outcome of the game at Tennessee last week despite facing Blaine Gabbert, which might get them dropped this week. The Giants offense is stuck in neutral and couldn’t slow down a relentless Cowboys pass rush. The Texans (and all defenses) should continue to test the Giants offensive line - which just lost their starting center - so they deserve another chance in our lineups as JJ Watt rounds back into form, with hopes that Jadeveon Clowney can get back on the field after missing Week 2.

A Look Ahead: @IND DAL BUF - It’s almost worth playing the Texans the next two weeks to get the Bills matchup in Week 6, assuming they come through this week.

Cleveland (vs New York Jets) **Thursday**

The Browns are surely among the top 3-5 fantasy defenses in most leagues, so this isn’t exactly going out on a limb, and I won’t blame you for making them your top priority after their performance in the Superdome last week. This week they get rookie Sam Darnold on a short week at home in front of a crowd rabid for a win.

A Look Ahead: @OAK BAL LAC - If the Browns come through this week, there’s no reason to abandon them in Week 4

Miami (vs Oakland)

The Dolphins are a top five D/ST in most formats to date, with startable scores against the Titans and Jets. Derek Carr played well last week in a tough road matchup, but if you believe in the west coast team traveling east theory, the Raiders offense is vulnerable against a ball-hawking Miami secondary and deep defensive end group

A Look Ahead: @NE @CIN CHI - While a 3-0 Dolphins team going into Foxboro would make for great TV, it doesn’t make for a great D/ST play.

New York Jets (at Cleveland) **Thursday**

The Jets, like the Browns and Dol[hins, have been good to great D/ST plays in each of the first two weeks after getting little to no regard in best ball drafts this summer. On the road in Cleveland against a Browns team that allowed seven sacks to the Steelers could be a good situation for the Jets D/ST if Sam Darnold can play well against a tough Browns defense.

A Look Ahead: @JAX TEN IND - If the Jets D/ST has three good games in a row, it might be tempting to pull the arm on the Bortles turnover slot machine, but he is playing very well right now.

Kansas City (vs San Francisco)

What? The worst defense in the league in our fantasy lineups? Obviously, the Chiefs should be avoided in points- and yards-allowed leagues, but they had a couple of takeaways against the Chargers on top of a Tyreek Hill return score, and they’re going home for the first time this year. Jimmy Garoppolo could get rattled in Arrowhead if Patrick Mahomes stakes the Chiefs to another big lead.

A Look Ahead: @DEN JAX @NE - If this play works out, seeing what Case Keenum does when facing a deficit could be profitable for your fantasy lineup.

Baltimore (vs Denver)

The Ravens predictably came through in Week 1 against Buffalo but came up empty against what could have been a productive night at Cincinnati last week. A return home against Case Keenum could light the fuse again if they were dropped out of disgust after Week 2.

A Look Ahead: @PIT @CLE @TEN - We won’t go back to the Ravens next week, but their performance this week will inform how much we trust them in upcoming road matchups against the Browns and Titans.

Week 4 Preemptive Pickups

**Jacksonville has a good matchup in Week 4 but is assumed to be rostered**

Green Bay (vs Buffalo)
Dallas (vs Detroit)
Seattle (at Arizona)