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.
**Denver 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 8 Results
Carolina (vs Indianapolis)- 2 sacks, 3 INT, 1 fumble recovery
Mission accomplished in the rain. The Panthers pass rush wore out and let the Colts back in the game, but overall the defense did their job.
A Look Ahead: GB @TEN WAS - On short rest against Aaron Rodgers, not sure I want to go back to the well, but I might do it to keep Panthers for those upcoming matchups
Detroit (vs Kansas City - London) - 3 sacks
I’m sorry y’all. Doing 100 pushups for getting the wrong side of a London matchup AGAIN.
A Look Ahead: BYE @GB OAK - Bye bye.
New England (vs Miami - Thursday) - 5 sacks, 2 INT, 1 safety, 7 pts allowed
The second best D/ST score of the week.
A Look Ahead: WAS @NYG BUF - We’ll stick with the Patriots until they let us down.
Atlanta (vs Tampa) - 2 sacks
Match, Winston. The Falcons defense has had its moment, but none of them came in this one.
A Look Ahead: @SF BYE IND - And then they get Blaine Gabbert. Here’s your consolation if you played the Falcons last week.
New Orleans (vs New York Giants) - 3 sacks, 1 fumble recovery
I hope giving up 49 points isn’t a bad thing in your scoring system.
A Look Ahead: TEN @WAS BYE - On the plus side, you get the Titans in disarray if you have to hold the Saints.
Coulda Woulda Shoulda
Houston (vs Tennessee) - 7 sacks, 1 INT, 2 fumble recoveries, 6 pts allowed
Once Mettenberger was announced as starter, we should have been all over this. The Texans D/ST finally comes through heading into their bye.
Kansas City (vs Detroit - London) - 6 sacks, 2 INT
Again, sorry for picking the wrong side here. At least my colleagues David Dodds and Maurile Tremblay nailed it.
Cincinnati (at Pittsburgh) - 3 sacks, 3 INT
If you counted on Roethlisberger rust creating turnovers, you were rewarded.
New York Giants (at New Orleans) - 2 INT, 1 DEF TD
The Giants defense was horrible, but it was a lean D/ST week, so a pick six put them in the top five for Week 8.
Week 9 Candidates
New England (vs Washington)
This one is straightforward. The Patriots will jump out to a lead and force Kirk Cousins to operate with looser decision-making and voila! Fantasy points.
A Look Ahead: @NYG BUF @DEN - We’ll stick with the Patriots as long as they keep scoring well
Atlanta (at San Francisco)
If you’ve been waiting years to have a chance to play a D/ST against Blaine Gabbert, your time has come.
A Look Ahead: BYE IND MIN - One-off
New Orleans (vs Tennessee)
A Look Ahead: @WAS BYE @HOU - We might be coming back to this unit if Drew Brees doesn’t slow down.
New York Jets (vs Jacksonville)
A Look Ahead: BUF @HOU MIA - The Jets could have staying power if the defense gets back on track after Derek Carr made them look helpless to stop the Raiders.
Cincinnati (vs Cleveland - Thursday)
Short week, home game, a green or banged up starting quarterback, no running game to defend, what’s not to like?
A Look Ahead: HOU @ARI STL - A double dip if the Bengals D/ST has their second good week in a row Thursday.
Carolina (vs Green Bay)
Playing a D/ST against Aaron Rodgers is generally a bad idea - even the Broncos didn’t have a big fantasy day against them, but the Panthers next two matchups could make it worth it.
A Look Ahead: @TEN WAS @DAL - See? Choice games coming up for a good defense + Ted Ginn Jr
Week 10 Pre-emptive Pickups
Green Bay (vs Detroit)
Carolina (at Tennessee)
Philadelphia (vs Miami)
Baltimore (vs Jacksonville)