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Rent-a-Defense: Week 17

A look at waiver wire defense performances for Week 16 and candidates for Week 17

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.

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

Week 16 Results

Tennessee (vs Washington) - 2 sacks, 2 INT, 1 DEF TD

A defensive touchdown on the last play of the game! A Christmas Miracle!

A Look Ahead: IND - Only bad Luck would be good luck if you play TEN D/ST. No thanks.

Indianapolis (at New York Giants) - 1 INT

Eli and company were actually in control of this game for most of it, but couldn’t finish

A Look Ahead: @TEN - Only if Blaine Gabbert is starting and right now it looks like Mariota is going to give it a go.

New England (vs Buffalo) - 2 INT, 1 fumble recovery

Not a fantasy disaster, but not exactly a week winner as the Patriots contained Josh Allen, but didn’t get home with the pass rush

A Look Ahead: NYJ - Did you hear Sam Darnold is actually good already?

Miami (vs Jacksonville) - 6 sacks, 1 fumble recovery

Blake Bortles is back!

A Look Ahead: @BUF - Ehhhhh

Minnesota (at Detroit) - 3 sacks

The Vikings actually trailed for most of the first half

A Look Ahead: CHI - This could work out, but chances are it will be a boring ball control game and yield little in the way of D/ST scoring

New Orleans (vs Pittsburgh) - 3 sacks, 2 fumble recoveries

Oh Stevan Ridley. Oh Juju Smith-Schuster. The Steelers was excellent, but had enough lapses to make the Saints D/ST a solid play.

A Look Ahead: CAR - They’re facing a third string quarterback at home, but have little to play for. Still worth a look this week.

Cleveland (vs Cincinnati) - 3 sacks

The Browns controlled the game as expected, but didn’t have any splash plays on defense.

A Look Ahead: @BAL - Lamar Jackson has had ball security issues, but this is likely to be a dud

Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda

Baltimore (at Los Angeles Chargers) - 4 sacks, 2 INT, 1 fumble recovery, 1 DEF TD

The Ravens frustrated Philip Rivers all night and were actually even better than the stat line.

Jacksonville (vs Miami) - 3 sacks, 1 INT, 1 fumble recovery, 1 DEF TD

A hugely disappointing year for the #1 drafted D/ST hits a high note thanks to Telvin Smith Sr

Dallas (vs Tampa Bay) - 3 sacks, 2 fumble recoveries, 1 DEF TD

Jameis Winston continues to play much safer with the ball, but Jaylon Smith’s fumble return makes the week anyway

New York Jets (vs Green Bay) - 4 sacks, 1 fumble recovery, 1 ST TD

Andre Roberts has been on fire as a returner lately and make the Jets a hit in Week 16. Remember when they were a strong weekly D/ST play earlier this year?

Atlanta (at Carolina) - 2 sacks, 3 INT, 1 fumble recovery

The Falcons defense had a strong game against a backup on the road

Oakland (vs Denver) - 1 sack, 2 INT, 1 ST TD

Dwayne Harris gives the Oakland fans something to remember in probably the last game ever in Oakland with a savvy punt return score

Week 17 Candidates

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

Pittsburgh (vs Cincinnati)

The formula is simple in Week 17. We want defenses that are playing for something against teams that are playing for nothing, or failing that, teams facing backup quarterbacks. The Steelers qualify in both categories.

Philadelphia (at Washington)

The Eagles, like the Steelers are going against a backup quarterback with something to win against a team whose season is over. They’re on the road, but otherwise this is ideal.

Seattle (vs Arizona)

The Seahawks are playing to draw the Cowboys instead of the Bears on wild card weekend. Is that enough to make D/ST magic? Against Josh Rosen in Seattle, it surely can be.

New Orleans (vs Carolina)

The Saints are facing a backup and possibly playing some backups on defense for some or all of the game, but playing at home, and facing a rookie third stringer who was never contemplated as a possible starter even a month ago.

Buffalo (vs Miami)

The Bills are facing Ryan Tannehill, who could be a backup next year, and the Dolphins offense surrendered one of the biggest D/ST lines last week and in Week 15.

Miami (at Buffalo)

The Bills haven’t been paying off as a D/ST matchup lately, but the Dolphins have been coming through the last two weeks, and either D/ST could be a hit in what should be a poor offensive game.

Thanks for supporting another great season of rent-a-defense!