Rent-a-Defense: Week 13

A look at the waiver wire defense performances from Week 12 and the best candidates for Week 13 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.

**Chicago and Houston should be played over rent-a-defenses but are assumed to be rostered**

Week 12 Results

New Orleans (vs Atlanta - Thanksgiving) - 6 sacks, 1 INT, 3 fumble recoveries

The Falcons did their part to help with three fumbles in the Saints end of the field, including two at the goal line, but the New Orleans pass rush was also fierce and taking advantage of playing with yet another huge lead.

A Look Ahead: @DAL @TB @CAR PIT - They won’t be at the Superdome until Week 16, but Saints are still a tempting D/ST to ride all the way home because of game script.

New England (vs New York Jets) - 2 sacks, 1 INT

The Patriots were in a tight game in the first half and their defense did not look good along the way. Their solid performances through eight weeks feel like a distant memory now.

A Look Ahead: MIN @MIA @PIT BUF - Week 16 still stands out as a potential championship week hit, but they’re not an essential hold with the recent cold streak.

Jacksonville (vs Buffalo) - Zero. Nada. Bupkis.

Trusting the Jaguars D/ST has been a losing proposition for the most part since a Week 1 outburst. This will go down as one of the most precipitous falls in fantasy D/ST history.

A Look Ahead: IND @TEN WAS @MIA - Nope nope nope

Buffalo (vs Jacksonville) - 3 sacks, 2 INT

And one fired offensive coordinator and one benched quarterback. Good enough for a top 10 score in most formats.

A Look Ahead: @MIA NYJ DET @NE - There are worse options for Week 13 and you’ll get two cold weather home matchups in Weeks 14 and 15 against weaker offenses.

Indianapolis (vs Miami) - 1 sack, 1 fumble recovery

The Dolphins offense used Kenyan Drake well and Leonte Carroo reeled in a deep ball to keep the Colts defense at bay in this one. Ryan Tannehill took care of the ball and Frank Gore gave his all as usual.

A Look Ahead: @JAX @HOU DAL NYG - Even with Cody Kessler in, the Colts D/ST on the road hasn’t been good enough to merit a long look here.

Los Angeles Chargers (vs Arizona) - 2 sacks, 1 INT

The D/ST line doesn’t tell the whole story here as this game got away from the Cardinals quickly despite an early lead and both teams seemed to let up in the second half.

A Look Ahead: @PIT CIN @KC BAL - We might hold the Chargers for Week 14 if we don’t believe in Jeff Driskel, although he didn’t look too bad in relief of Andy Dalton last week.

Baltimore (vs Oakland) - 3 sacks, 1 fumble recovery, 1 DEF TD, 1 ST TD

The hit of the week, with a punt return and fumble return score to fuel an easy win over the Raiders.

A Look Ahead: @ATL @KC TB @LAC - Week 15 is a good one, but we won’t want to play the Ravens D/ST otherwise.

Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda

Tampa Bay (vs San Francisco) - 4 sacks, 2 INT

The Nick Mullens feel good story is starting to wind down.

Dallas (vs Washington - Thanksgiving) - 3 sacks, 3 INT

Colt McCoy was forced to play from behind which created great results for the Cowboys.

Week 13 Candidates

**Chicago and Houston should be played over rent-a-defenses but are assumed to be rostered**

Kansas City (at Oakland)

The Chiefs have been a good play in four of the last five and five of the last seven weeks if your league doesn’t penalize yards and points allowed. The Raiders this week is too good to pass up. Week 11 showed that opponent doesn’t matter. Eric Berry could be back soon to make them an even better play.

A Look Ahead: BAL LAC @SEA - None of these are as good as the Raiders matchup, but game script should still make them worthy plays nonetheless

Los Angeles Rams (at Detroit)

Like the Chiefs, the Rams showed us that matchup doesn’t matter in Week 11, but this matchup is a good one. The Lions offense is depleted and the Rams are well-rested and trying to keep pace with the Saints.

A Look Ahead: @CHI PHI @ARI - Maybe the Week 16 matchup against the Cardinals is a good reason to prioritize the Rams over the Chiefs if they were dropped.

Green Bay (vs Arizona)

The Packers D/ST has been a solid-to-good play in every home game this year, they are in a must-win situation, and they’ll get a rookie quarterback on a lost season team behind a suspect offensive line. Enough said.

A Look Ahead: ATL @CHI @NYJ

Seattle (vs San Francisco)

The Seahawks defense came through in their one home game against a middling quarterback (Dak Prescott), so we should have high hopes for their potential against one of the worst quarterbacks to take the field in Week 12.

A Look Ahead: MIN @SF @KC - If this one goes well, we could come back to them in Week 15

Denver (at Cincinnati)

The Broncos defense is playing with a lot of pride and basically keeping their season alive at this point. While they are away from Denver this week, they are facing a backup quarterback on a team that is mailing it in at this point.

A Look Ahead: @SF CLE @OAK - The Broncos defense could be road warriors for us in Weeks 14 and 16 if this week goes well.

Tennessee (vs NY Jets)

The Titans D/ST has been mostly quiet this year, but they have been generating a good pass rush lately and they should get a better game script with Marcus Mariota dealing strikes. They become a better play if Sam Darnold starts. They become a positively exciting play if Davis Webb somehow starts.

A Look Ahead: JAX @NYG WAS - If the Titans D/ST gets hot, the fantasy playoffs could be very good

Carolina (at Tampa Bay)

The Panthers defense is ice cold after a strong start to the season, and we rarely look to a D/ST on the road, but how long do you think Jameis Winston will continue to play sound, safe football?

A Look Ahead: @CLE NO ATL - Chances are this is a one and done use of Carolina unless Baker Mayfield gets hurt this week.

Week 14 Preemptive Pickups

New Orleans (at Tampa Bay)

Los Angeles Chargers (vs Cincinnati)

Pittsburgh (at Oakland)

Buffalo (vs NY Jets)

Tennessee (vs Jacksonville)

Denver (at San Francisco)

Week 15

Baltimore (vs Tampa Bay)

Buffalo (vs Detroit)

Week 16

Dallas (vs Tampa Bay)

New England (vs Buffalo)

Denver (at Oakland)

Cleveland (vs Cincinnati)