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, Carolina, Kansas City, and Arizona should be played over any rent-a-defense, but they are assumed to be owned**
Week 14 Results
Kansas City (vs San Diego) - 5 sacks, 1 INT, 3 pts allowed
A very solid, but not spectacular game. Consider this their floor against the Ravens this week.
A Look Ahead: @BAL CLE - You’re sticking with the Chiefs to the bitter end.
New York Jets (vs Tennessee) - 5 sacks, 1 INT, 8 pts allowed
No massive splash plays, but a shutdown effort nonetheless.
A Look Ahead: @DAL NE - Matt Cassel is fading, so the stock of the Jets D/ST is rising
Detroit (at St. Louis) - 1 sack, 1 INT
Yet another time this year that I steered y’all to the wrong side of a matchup. My bad.
A Look Ahead: @NO SF - No thanks.
Tampa Bay (vs New Orleans) - 2 sacks
A Look Ahead: @STL CHI - Now that St. Louis has bounced back, there’s no need to look to the Bucs.
Green Bay (vs Dallas) - 2 sacks, 1 INT, 7 pts allowed
The Cowboys offense stopped themselves more than the Packers stopped them.
A Look Ahead: @OAK @ARI - Nope.
Miami (vs NY Giants - Monday Night) - 1 fumble recovery
That couldn’t have gone much worse.
A Look Ahead: @SD IND - When two bad teams get together strange things happen, but nah.
Coulda Woulda Shoulda
Jacksonville (vs Indianapolis) - 3 sacks, 1 INT, 1 fumble recovery, 1 DEF TD, 1 ST TD
Look who’s back in the AFC South race!
Pittsburgh (at Cincinnati) - 3 sacks, 3 INT, 1 DEF TD
Welcome to the NFL starting quarterback club, AJ McCarron
Indianapolis (at Jacksonville) - 3 sacks, 2 fumble recoveries, 1 DEF TD
You just know that an AFC South “showdown” would feature multiple big gaffes by the offenses.
St. Louis (vs Detroit) - 4 sacks, 1 INT, 1 DEF TD
A pick six was the key play in this game to send it on a Todd Gurley script.
Oakland (at Denver) - 5 sacks, 2 fumble recoveries, 1 safety
Instead of Oakland D/ST, just insert “Khalil Mack”
Week 15 Candidates
New England (vs Tennessee)
The Patriots defense has been hovering in mediocre D/ST scoring range, but they had one of their better games all year against Houston and the Titans are coming off of a terrible effort against the Jets
A Look Ahead: @NYJ - Probably one to avoid
St. Louis (vs Tampa Bay - Thursday)
The Rams ferocious D/ST at home is back! Jameis Winston is always prone to a few throws he’d like to have back a game, and the Rams could take any of them back to the end zone like they did against Matthew Stafford last week. The Thursday night start only helps.
A Look Ahead: @SEA - No sir
NY Jets (at Dallas)
As long as the Jets can open up a lead and force Dallas to be less conservative, Matt Cassel should expose the soft underbelly of this offense by throwing more.
A Look Ahead: vs NE - Nope.
Jacksonville (vs Atlanta)
Playing the D/ST facing Atlanta has netted you three top 5 D/ST weeks in the last four (hat top @LateRoundQB). The Jaguars are coming off of their best D/ST game of the year. This one is pretty simple.
A Look Ahead: @NO - Probably best to pass on this one.
Pittsburgh (vs Denver)
The Steelers have been a top five D/ST since Week 5 and a top three option since Week 10. If they can build a lead on Denver’s vaunted defense, the offensive line that Khalil Mack destroyed will be exposed.
A Look Ahead: @BAL - Hopefully Matt Schaub will be healthy enough to play.
Cincinnati (at San Francisco)
The Bengals D/ST has been steady, but mostly unspectacular. This week they’ll get Blaine Gabbert and an offensive line that just gave up nine sacks to the Cleveland Browns pass rush that had 17 sacks in 12 games coming into that one.
A Look Ahead: @DEN - No thanks.
Playoffs Pre-emptive Pickups
Oakland (vs San Diego - Thursday)
Kansas City (vs Cleveland)
Detroit (vs San Francisco)
Pittsburgh (at Baltimore)
Minnesota (vs New York Giants)