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Rent-a-Defense: Week 11

A look at waiver wire defensive performances for Week 10 and candidates to roster in Week 11 and down the stretch

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.

**Chicago should be played over rent-a-defenses but is assumed to be rostered**

Week 10 Results

Los Angeles Chargers (at Oakland) - 4 sacks, 1 fumble recovery, 6 pts allowed

Derek Carr’s penchant for throwing short doesn’t create a lot of pick six opportunities, but the Chargers were still able to get to him and post a Top 10 D/ST score for the week.

A Look Ahead: DEN ARI @PIT - “Home” against Case Keenum and Josh Rosen is promising for a D/ST that has averaged 4.5 sacks a week over the last five games

Kansas City (vs Arizona) - 5 sacks, 2 INT

This was a Top 5 hit in a quiet week of D/ST production. Justin Houston made an impact by pilfering a screen pass and should be even better going forward.

A Look Ahead: @LAR BYE @OAK - The Rams aren’t exactly generous to opposing defenses, but this could be a wild, wide open game and you get hold the Chiefs for a Week 13 tilt with the Raiders

Philadelphia (vs Dallas) - 4 sacks

The Eagles defense has lost their 2017 home mystique and their secondary is held together by duct tape right now.

A Look Ahead: @NO NYG WAS - We’ll look for signs of life with some home divisional games up after a trip to the Big Easy.

Green Bay (vs Miami) - 6 sacks, 1 INT, 1 fumble recovery

Another predictable hit as Aaron Jones carried the Packers and Brock Osweiler couldn’t get dialed in against the Packers with both of his starting tackles out.

A Look Ahead: @SEA @MIN ARI - The Packers have been a good D/ST at home, so we’ll look at them in Week 13.

San Francisco (vs New York Giants) - 1 sack

So much for this surging defensive line.

A Look Ahead: BYE @TB @SEA - That’s the last time we’ll consider the 49ers D/ST this year.

New York Jets (vs Buffalo) - 1 sack

The surprise move to Matt Barkley who wasn’t even on the Bills roster in Week 9 was too much for the Jets defense.

A Look Ahead: BYE NE @TEN - Do we dare consider them against the Bills in Week 14? No, no we don’t.

Buffalo (at New York Jets) - 3 sacks, 2 INT

The Bills defense is good for some surprisingly strong games, and this week was one of them, making Josh McCown look like the journeyman he is instead of the stabilizing influence on a young offense that he was last year.

A Look Ahead: BYE JAX @MIA - It’s hard to crack the formula of when to play the Bills D/ST but at least we know that there’s some chance they’ll come through with some poor offenses left on the schedule after the bye.

Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda

Pittsburgh (vs Carolina) - 5 sacks, 1 INT, 1 fumble recovery, 1 DEF TD

Vince Williams had a pick six with an assist from TJ Watt and the Steelers showed a willingness to take risks to produce pressure on the quarterback, something to file away going forward.

Washington (at Tampa Bay) - 2 sacks, 2 INT, 2 fumble recoveries, 3 pts allowed

One week after being humiliated at home, Washington employed a bend but don’t break defense against the Bucs, stopping them in the red zone with takeaways on multiple drives.

Week 11 Candidates

**Chicago should be played over rent-a-defenses but is assumed to be rostered**

Baltimore (vs Cincinnati)

The Ravens D/ST has been a letdown this year, save for a predictable Week 1 thrashing of the Bills and surprising road shutout of the Titans. Here’s their chance at redemption with the season on the line against the Bengals. It could even mark the debut of Lamar Jackson as the starter - a potential shot in the arm for the team. The Bengals offense is fading fast without AJ Green

A Look Ahead: OAK @ATL @KC - The best reason to try the Ravens out of their bye is the bonus home start next week against the Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers (vs Denver)

Melvin Ingram III is coming on and the Chargers defense has at least 5 sacks+takeaways in four of the last five games. Case Keenum is prone to errors and the Broncos are a team that could start to phone it in knowing that their head coach and quarterbacks are lame ducks.

A Look Ahead: ARI @PIT CIN - The Steelers aren’t a preferred D/ST opponent, but the Chargers could be worth a start next week and in Week 14.

Arizona (vs Oakland)

The Cardinals have at least four sacks in four of their last five games and their run defense has also stopped the bleeding. There’s not much to worry about when defending the Raiders these days, although Derek Carr’s timid nature as a passer might limit interception opportunities.

A Look Ahead: @LAC @GB DET - Maybe one more helping of the Cardinals D/ST in Week 14

Kansas City (vs Los Angeles Rams - Mexico City)

Avoid the Chiefs in points/yards allowed scoring, but be open to the them in leagues where we just care about sacks, turnovers, and defensive/return scores. The Rams haven’t been a generous offense to opposing defenses, but the Chiefs defense is coming together at the right time and this game could be a freewheeling, wide open affair.

A Look Ahead: BYE @OAK BAL - Playing the Chiefs in a suboptimal matchup this week and holding them through the bye will yield two good starts in Weeks 13 and 14, and if they have a strong performance against the Rams, we’ll probably want to ride them the rest of the way.

Los Angeles Rams (vs Kansas City - Mexico City)

The reasoning is similar here as above, while the Chiefs aren’t an offense to target, the Rams have playmakers on defense and this game could get both quarterbacks to live on the edge in an attempt to keep up with each other.

A Look Ahead: BYE @DET @CHI - Much like the Chiefs, there’s a reason to add the Rams, play them this week, and hold a second D/ST through their bye. The Rams D/ST has only come up small on the road against Drew Brees, Russell Wilson, and Case Keenum (go figure). They might be worth riding the rest of the way if they can frustrate Patrick Mahomes II this week.

Pittsburgh (at Jacksonville)

The Steelers D/ST has been up and down all season, with good games against the NFC South and Browns, and weaker games against the Ravens, Bengals, and Chiefs. Blake Bortles and the Jaguars seem to fit more in column A than column B and the Jaguars might be flat after a bitter road loss that might have effectively ended their season.

A Look Ahead: @DEN LAC @OAK - Week 14 is circled on the calendar

Carolina (at Detroit)

The Panthers have only been a good D/ST at home this year, which is discouraging for this week’s matchup, and their defense is coming off of a whoopin in Pittsburgh, but there’s potentially something here. Marvin Jones Jr and Kerryon Johnson are banged up and the Lions offense had no answer for the Bears pass rush last week.

A Look Ahead: SEA @TB @CLE - This week will be a good test case for using the Panthers D/ST in good matchups on the road with Week 13 in mind.

Week 12 Preemptive Pickups

Baltimore (vs Oakland)

New England (at NY Jets)

Los Angeles Chargers (vs Arizona)

Indianapolis (vs Miami)

Playoffs Preemptive Pickups

Week 14

Kansas City (vs Baltimore)

Pittsburgh (at Oakland)

New England (at Miami)

Los Angeles Chargers (vs Cincinnati)

Buffalo (vs New York Jets)

Week 15

Kansas City (vs Los Angeles Chargers)

Houston (at New York Jets)

Minnesota (vs Miami)

Baltimore (vs Tampa Bay)

Week 16

New England (vs Buffalo)

Dallas (vs Tampa Bay)