Rent-a-Defense: Week 15

A look at waiver wire defense performances in Week 14 and candidates for Week 15 and 16

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, Houston, Los Angeles Rams, and Kansas City should be played over rent-a-defenses but are assumed to be rostered**

Week 14 Results

Denver (at San Francisco) - 3 sacks, 1 INT

The Broncos proved to much more mortal against Nick Mullens on the road than they were against Josh Rosen on the road, when they had two pick sixes. After they fell behind 20-0, there were little to no opportunities for them to fluster an inexperienced quarterback into mistakes.

A Look Ahead: CLE @OAK - Even back in Denver, perhaps playing the Broncos against Baker Mayfield isn’t advisable this week.

Los Angeles Chargers (vs Cincinnati) - 3 sacks

The Chargers defense was only able to muster three sacks and forced no turnovers against Jeff Driskel playing behind an offensive line in disarray.

A Look Ahead: @KC BAL - That’s all folks

New Orleans (at Tampa Bay) - 4 sacks, 1 INT

The Saints defense didn’t turn Jameis Winston back into a turnover machine, and for a half he seemed to have them solved. After he got banged up, the Saints defense got the upper hand and did enough to post a result that was acceptable in a quiet week for D/ST scoring.

A Look Ahead: @CAR PIT - Cam Newton was safer with the ball against the Browns, but the Saints still aren’t a terrible option despite being on the road this week.

New York Giants (at Washington) - 5 sacks, 3 INT, 1 DEF TD

Betting on Mark Sanchez to look like a quarterback that shouldn’t be on an NFL field in Week 14 was a winning bet indeed. Too bad we won’t have him to kick around this week.

A Look Ahead: TEN @IND - No more matchups with Mark Sanchez means no more Giants D/ST in our lineups

Jacksonville (at Tennessee) - 1 sack, 1 INT, 1 safety

The Jaguars defense actually got off to an ok start on Thursday night and might have been on their way to a defensive duel with the Titans if Derrick Henry didn’t go Incredible Hulk on them.

A Look Ahead: WAS @MIA - Josh Johnson isn’t Mark Sanchez, and we don’t quite know the state of the Jaguars defense spirit right now, but playing the Jaguars D/ST is at least worth considering.

Seattle (vs Minnesota) - 2 sacks, 1 fumble recovery, 1 DEF TD

A Monday Night hit, especially in points and yards allowed leagues. The Seahawks made Kirk Cousins look like an 84 million dollar mistake

A Look Ahead: @SF KC - The Seahawks defense is hot and should be in consideration after dominating the 49ers two weeks ago

Dallas (vs Philadelphia) - 2 sacks, 1 fumble recovery

The Cowboys were ahead and shutting out the Eagles for more than half of this game, but couldn’t force any big mistakes out of Carson Wentz or otherwise get after him with their pass rush

A Look Ahead: @IND TB - Maybe Week 16 if Jameis Winston crumbles in Baltimore this week

Buffalo (vs New York Jets) - 1 INT, 1 fumble recovery

This had the look of big D/ST possibilities for the Bills when they jumped out to a lead. Sam Darnold got banged up and then righted himself enough for the Jets to pull off the comeback win

A Look Ahead: DET @NE - Matthew Stafford should be safe with the ball, but you never know

Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda

Chicago (vs Los Angeles Rams) - 3 sacks, 4 INT, 1 safety, 6 pts allowed

I put there one here to honor the Bears performance. I benched them in two playoff matchups for the Giants and Titans in leagues with points and yards allowed. In neither matchup did the decision make a difference, but I’ll remember it in future years when we have a clear #1 D/ST playing at home, no matter the matchup.

Detroit (at Arizona) - 3 sacks, 1 INT, 1 DEF TD, 3 pts allowed

Darius Slay strikes again, and the Lions so easily did what Mike McCarthy couldn’t in Week 13 - dispense the Cardinals.

Green Bay (vs Atlanta) - 2 sacks, 1 INT, 1 fumble recovery, 1 DEF TD

Matt Ryan has been a good quarterback to target with your rent-a-defense for three weeks in a row now

Week 15 Candidates

**Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles Rams, and Kansas City should be played over rent-a-defenses but are assumed to be rostered**

Baltimore (vs Tampa Bay)

Jameis Winston has been playing better as of late, but he’s banged up coming into this one and the Ravens defense should be out for blood at home

A Look Ahead: @LAC - The Ravens go back to their roost for Week 16

Seattle (at San Francisco)

The Seahawks defense has revived images of the Legion of Boom at home in their last two games. Can they take this show on the road? They face a 49ers team they disemboweled just two weeks ago, so they’re worth the start.

A Look Ahead: KC - We’ll release the Seahawks to be free and soar over ocean cliffs

Jacksonville (vs Washington)

Trusting the Jaguars defense after Derrick Henry ran around, through, and over them last week seems risky and Josh Johnson played well in garbage time, but plugging in a defense with the talent of Jacksonville’s against a street free agent quarterback is a good proposition in Week 15.

A Look Ahead: @MIA - If Ryan Tannehill struggles or gets hurt further in Minnesota this week and the Jaguars get their feeding frenzy form back, we could use them in championship week

New Orleans (at Carolina)

The Saints have been one of the top five D/STs over the last five weeks with at least three sacks and a turnover in every game. Cam Newton is compromised right now to help the case for the Saints.

A Look Ahead: PIT - Even against Ben Roethlisberger, this Saints defense in the Superdome deserves our trust in Week 16.

Detroit (at Buffalo)

Even though they’re on the road, perhaps the Lions D/ST is a better play than the team they are facing this week. Since Josh Allen came back, the opposition has been the better play in each of the last two weeks. The Lions defense is also playing some of their football of the season coming into this one.

A Look Ahead: MIN - If Kirk Cousins continues to play like the 84 million dollar mistake and the Lions defense stays hot, we’ll actually take a closer look here

Buffalo (vs Detroit)

The Bills D/ST will be at home against an undermanned Lions offense. They wilted against the Jets last week, but the setting and opponent make them worth a look.

A Look Ahead: @NE - Let the Bills roam the plains in Week 16

Week 16 candidates

Tennessee (vs Washington)

New England (vs Buffalo)

Dallas (vs Tampa Bay)

New Orleans (vs Pittsburgh)