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.
**Kansas City, Denver, and Carolina should be played over any rent-a-defense, but they are assumed to be owned**
Week 11 Results
Houston (vs New York Jets) - 3 sacks, 2 INT
Not a Yahtzee, but a very solid performance and one that reinforces that idea of keeping them until they have a dud. J.J. Watt defensive touchdown is due
A Look Ahead - NO BUF @NE - Brees can get loose with the ball and Week 13 opponent Tyrod Taylor is banged up. Stick with them.
Baltimore (vs St. Louis) - 1 sack, 4 fumble recoveries
One of those fumble recoveries was a result of Case Keenum being egregiously left out there after a concussion, but it was still a top 6-8 day for the Ravens D/ST.
Jacksonville (vs Tennessee - Thursday) - 4 sacks, 1 fumble recovery
The Titans were the slightly better play here, but both were middling.
A Look Ahead - SD @TEN IND - The Chargers offense is disintegrating, but not sure we should trust the Jags
Tennessee (at Jacksonville - Thursday) - 4 sacks, 1 INT, 1 fumble recovery
No Bortles pick six, but a solid D/ST showing nonetheless.
A Look Ahead - OAK JAX @NYJ - Derek Carr sputtered last week, but good opposing D/ST numbers did not follow
New England (vs Buffalo - Monday) - 2 sacks, 1 fumble recovery
The Patriots defense is very, very good, but it is not based around forcing turnovers, so they are a tough sell
A Look Ahead - @DEN PHI @HOU - Brock Osweiler could come unraveled, but he looked very comfortable in the highly structured Kubiak offense. Pass.
Coulda Woulda Shoulda
Tampa Bay (at Philadelphia) - 3 sacks, 3 INT, 1 fumble recovery, 1 DEF TD
Mark Sanchez fell apart along with the Eagles as this team appears to be in crisis heading into a Turkey Day game at Detroit.
Indianapolis (at Atlanta) - 1 sack, 3 INT, 1 fumble recovery, 1 DEF TD
An ill-advised Matt Ryan pass from his own end zone keyed this performance.
Kansas City (at San Diego) - 3 sacks,1 INT, 1 fumble recovery, 1 DEF TD, 3 pts allowed
The cat is out of the bag. Kansas City is probably the best defense to own from here on out.
Dallas (at Miami) - 3 sacks, 1 INT, 1 DEF TD
Dallas should be able to put more teams in desperate situations if they can continue to get almost two-thirds time of possession like they did in 2014.
Week 12 Candidates
Note: If Kansas City is available they should be played this week and left in your lineup until further notice.
Houston (vs New Orleans)
Since Week 6, the Texans have been a top 3 D/ST for fantasy. J.J. Watt is due for a score, Drew Brees is not the most careful with the ball, the Texans are at home.
A Look Ahead: @BUF NE @IND - If the Texans come through this week, I like them on the road vs. a banged up Tyrod Taylor next week
New York Giants (at Washington)
The #1 D/ST in typical scoring since Week 6 is the Giants, who have non-offensive touchdowns in three of the last four games. Jason Pierre-Paul being back only helps. The Giants are on the road, but Washington allowed a Yahtzee week to Carolina in Week 11, so I’m not afraid of using the Giants.
A Look Ahead: NYJ @MIA CAR - Next week against Ryan Fitzpatrick is another good matchup.
Cincinnati (vs St. Louis)
The Bengals have been a bottom third D/ST despite limiting points heading into last week’s game at Arizona. This week they get a Rams quarterback that is among the worst starting this Sunday no matter who it is, and the Ravens D/ST was an even bigger dud this year until they faced St. Louis last week.
A Look Ahead: @CLE PIT @SF - Johnny Football could be a very nice matchup next week, stay tuned.
Cleveland (vs Baltimore)
The Browns have been a meek D/ST for fantasy purposes most weeks this year, but this week they get a rare Monday night home game and they face broken man Matt Schaub at quarterback.
A Look Ahead: CIN SF @SEA - Maybe in Week 14 if Blaine Gabbert reverts to previous form against Arizona.
Green Bay (vs Chicago - Thursday)
The Packers can pour it on in Lambeau, and the Thursday factor should only help. Eddie Lacy, James Jones, and Aaron Rodgers bounced back last week and the Bears are coming off of a hard fought physical loss to Denver.
A Look Ahead: @DET DAL @OAK - One and done.
Arizona (at San Francisco)
The Cardinals D/ST has slowed down after a hot start, they are on the road, and Blaine Gabbert is actually playing pretty well coming into this one, but no one should be surprised if it turns into a the rare road divisional romp.
A Look Ahead: @STL MIN @PHI - St. Louis is deteriorating so it might end up being the right play to target the Cardinals D/ST in back-to-back road divisional games as odd as that sounds.
Jacksonville (vs San Diego)
The Jags defense is picking up the slack for the offense in their run for a division title, and they should smell blood in the water against the Chargers this week. Philip Rivers offensive line is in shambles and his array of passing weapons isn’t in much better shape. The Jags have also notched 11 sacks and nine takeaways in the last four games after a slow start.
A Look Ahead: @TEN IND ATL - Chances are we throw them back, but Tennessee isn’t a terrible Week 13 matchup.
Week 13/Playoffs Pre-emptive Pickups
Arizona (at St. Louis)
Miami (vs Baltimore)
Chicago (vs San Francisco)
Cincinnati (at Cleveland)
New England (vs Philadelphia)
New York Giants (vs New York Jets)
Pittsburgh (vs Indianapolis)
Kansas City (vs San Diego)
Tampa Bay (vs New Orleans)
New York Jets (vs Tennessee)
New England (vs Tennessee)
New Orleans (vs Detroit - Monday)
Dallas (vs New York Jets)
Oakland (vs San Diego - Thursday)
Kansas City (vs Cleveland)
Detroit (vs San Francisco)
Houston (at Tennessee)
New Orleans (vs Jacksonville)
Pittsburgh (at Baltimore)