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.
**Arizona, Seattle, Buffalo, Denver are good plays this week and should be played over any rent-a-defense, but they are assumed to be owned**
Week 3 Results
New England (vs Jacksonville) - 2 sacks 1 INT
The Patriots dominated as expected, but the defensive numbers they generated in Week 2 just didn’t come. They’re still a D/ST that is worth going back to in any matchup.
A Look Ahead: BYE @DAL @IND - I hate carrying two defenses, so I won’t carry them through the bye, but I won’t say it’s a bad move.
Arizona (vs San Francisco) - 2 sacks, 4 INT, 2 DEF TD, 1 safety, 7 pts allowed
Yahtzee! Colin Kaepernick + a bunch of ballhawks at home = fantasy bonanza
A Look Ahead: STL @DET @PIT - You’d be crazy to go away from them this week, Keep riding them until they let you down.
Carolina (vs New Orleans) - 1 sack, 1 INT, 1 fumble recovery
Luke McCown was ready and the game plan didn’t leave him exposed to big mistakes.
A Look Ahead: @TB BYE @SEA - I won’t be surprised if Carolina D/ST has a good game, but there are better choices
Cleveland (vs Oakland) - 1 fumble recovery
Oakland isn’t a bad team anymore, or at least they’re better than Cleveland. The Raiders were the much better side of this matchup for D/ST scoring
A Look Ahead: @SD @BAL DEN - Nope.
Green Bay (vs Kansas City) - 7 sacks, 1 INT
Ahh the Packers D/ST at home.
A Look Ahead: @SF STL SD - Easy yes even on the road with the way Colin Kaepernick has been playing.
Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda
Philadelphia (at New York Jets) - 1 sack, 3 INT, 1 fumble recovery, 1 ST TD
A Darren Sproles epic punt return touchdown and Ryan Fitzpatrick playing from behind is a good combination.
Minnesota (vs San Diego) - 4 sacks, 1 INT, 1 fumble recovery, 1 DEF TD
The Chargers offensive line got banged up and Chad Greenway took a pick to the house.
Indianapolis (at Tennessee) - 3 sacks, 2 INT, 1 DEF TD
The Colts defense helped the comeback fight against rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota.
Baltimore (vs Cincinnati) - 2 sacks, 1 INT, 1 fumble recovery, 1 DEF TD
The Ravens defense was mostly in chase mode against Andy Dalton, but on one play, Dalton was chasing C.J. Mosley.
Week 4 Candidates
Green Bay (at San Francisco)
San Francisco is the disaster we expected. Even at home and with the Packers coming off of a short week, the energy will be low and Aaron Rodgers will probably have his way with the 49ers defense. Lots of playing from behind equals turnovers from Colin Kaepernick.
A Look Ahead: STL SD BYE - Packers stay in our lineup for at least another week after this one
Cincinnati (vs Kansas City)
The Bengals run defense has been very good, the offense is one of the best in the league, and we saw what happens to Alex Smith when he has to play from behind. The Chiefs are also coming in short rest.
A Look Ahead: SEA @BUF BYE - Seattle on the road isn’t a terrible matchup if the Bengals D is hot.
Indianapolis (vs Jacksonville)
The Colts didn’t jump ahead, but they still had the key defensive plays to buoy a good D/ST effort for fantasy. Now they get Blake Bortles, who didn’t exactly pay off like a rigged slot machine at Foxboro, but you still have to like your odds.
A Look Ahead: @HOU NE NO - Arian Foster should be back so this is a subpar matchup next week.
Philadelphia (at Washington)
Despite the offensive woes, the Eagles have had at least three sacks+takeaways in each of their first three games, Kirk Cousins is still not good, and Darren Sproles is warming up. We all remember what this team did when they warmed up from a D/ST standpoint last year.
Baltimore (at Pittsburgh) Thursday
This is your Michael Vick fade play. The Steelers are at home, but it’s a short week and the football can be rough on Thursdays. If you think Vick will be a disaster, this is an advisable play.
A Look Ahead: CLE @SF @ARI - If Ravens are good this week, they’ll be worth a play next week.
Week 5 Pre-emptive Pickups
Kansas City (vs Chicago)
New York Giants (vs San Francisco)
Baltimore (vs Cleveland)