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.
**Seattle, Denver, Arizona, Philadelphia, Carolina, and St. Louis are good plays this week and should be played over any rent-a-defense, but they are assumed to be owned**
Week 10 Results
New York Jets (vs Buffalo - Thursday) - 4 sacks
The Jets were dominated at home as the flipside of this matchup, the Bills, ended up being one of the top D/ST plays of the week.
A Look Ahead - @HOU MIA @NYG - TJ Yates isn’t that big of a downgrade from Brian Hoyer, and with the Texans defense playing better, this matchup doesn’t look great.
Cincinnati (vs Houston - Monday) - 3 sacks, 1 INT
The Bengals offense never gave the defense a comfortable lead to start to play more opportunistic football against a one-dimensional Texans offense.
A Look Ahead - @ARI STL @CLE - Maybe next week against whoever the Rams trot at quarterback, but not this week.
Baltimore (vs Jacksonville) - 3 sacks, 1 INT
Blake Bortles didn’t play all that well, but the Ravens couldn’t turn that into a pick six or a splashy defensive day.
A Look Ahead - STL @CLE @MIA - Case Keenum’s re-introduction to the lineup could make the Ravens worth a look.
Pittsburgh (vs Cleveland) - 6 sacks, 1 INT, 2 fumble recoveries
A Look Ahead - BYE @SEA IND - Back to the waiver wire for now but we could revisit them later.
Oakland (vs Minnesota) - 4 sacks
A Look Ahead - @DET @TEN KC - Probably not an option on the road and with a defense that is being carried by the offense
Washington (vs New Orleans) - 2 sacks, 2 INT, 1 DEF TD
A direct hit, as Drew Brees wilted outdoors after the first quarter
A Look Ahead - @CAR NYG DAL - Nope
Coulda Woulda Shoulda
Kansas City (at Denver) - 5 sacks, 5 INT
Have a good life, Peyton.
Minnesota (at Oakland) - 2 sacks, 2 INT, 1 ST TD
Cordarrelle Patterson says “hey, I’m still in the NFL, y’all”
Week 11 Candidates
Houston (vs New York Jets)
The Texans were supposed to be an elite D/ST this year. Well, over their last four games they have been, in the top five, even top two of most scoring systems in fantasy points per game since Week 6. Ryan Fitzpatrick had thumb surgery and should be ok, but he is still prone to turnoverfests.
A Look Ahead - NO BUF @NE - We’ll stick with the Texans next week if they stay hot.
Baltimore (vs St. Louis)
The Ravens have been a bottom five D/ST all year, but this week brings the 2015 debut of Case Keenum. Maybe that’s actually an upgrade from Nick Foles, but we’ll give the Ravens defense the benefit of the doubt.
A Look Ahead - @CLE @MIA SEA - Johnny Manziel next up. If the Ravens are good in Week 11, we might hold em.
Jacksonville (vs Tennessee - Thursday)
The Jaguars are at home and have had good D/ST weeks in two of the last three. They’re facing a weak opponent in a winnable Thursday night game, which often produces the kind of ineptitude we love when we play a D/ST.
A Look Ahead - SD @TEN IND - If they checkmate the Titans offense this week, we may come back to them on the road in Week 13.
Tennessee (at Jacksonville - Thursday)
Since I have picked the wrong sides of these kinds of underwhelming matchups a few times this year, I have to include the Titans, who really got after Cam Newton and sacked him five times, plus we all know how much Blake Bortles loves the pick six.
A Look Ahead - OAK JAX @NYJ - If the Titans pass rush continues to get home, we might use them at home against the Jags in Week 13.
New England (vs Buffalo - Monday)
The Patriots have missed Jamie Collins Sr and if he’s back this week, this matchup rockets up the board. Despite playing with the lead almost all year, the Patriots D/ST has only had two good weeks, but one of them was against Buffalo in Week 2.
A Look Ahead - @DEN PHI @HOU - All of these matchup are promising if the NE D/ST can build some momentum.
Week 12/Playoffs Pre-emptive Pickups
Green Bay (vs Chicago - Thursday)
Kansas City (vs Buffalo)
Cincinnati (vs St. Louis)
Houston (vs New Orleans)
Kansas City (vs San Diego)
Tampa Bay (vs New Orleans)
New York Jets (vs Tennessee)
New England (vs Tennessee)
New Orleans (vs Detroit - Monday)
Oakland (vs San Diego - Thursday)
Buffalo (vs Dallas)
Kansas City (vs Cleveland)
Detroit (vs San Francisco)
Houston (at Tennessee)
New Orleans (vs Jacksonville)