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, and Minnesota should be played over any rent-a-defense this week**
Week 8 Results
Tennessee (vs Jacksonville) - 2 sacks, 1 interception
Blake Bortles was a lot worse than the stat line indicates. This game went exactly the way you’d want if you played the Titans D/ST, but Bortles wasn’t bad in a way that led to D/ST fantasy points
New York Jets (at Cleveland) - 1 sack, 2 interceptions
Not a total loss, but Josh McCown started and staked the Browns to first half lead. It was actually the Jets third best D/ST score of the season.
A Look Ahead: @MIA LA BYE - The Dolphins offense is respectable all of the sudden. Pass.
Tampa Bay (vs Oakland) - 2 sacks, 1 fumble recovery
Derek Carr had an extra period to rack up stats on the Tampa defense as the Raiders offense had the upper hand in this game.
A Look Ahead: ATL CHI @KC - Tampa is at home again, but the Falcons offense is still humming. No thanks.
New England (at Buffalo) - 2 sacks
I won’t recommend the Patriots again, I promise.
A Look Ahead: BYE SEA @SF - Bye bye.
Buffalo (vs New England) - 5 sacks
The Bills got trounced and actually outscored the Patriots D/ST
A Look Ahead: @SEA BYE @CIN - Going to Seattle is not a great setting for D/ST scoring.
Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda
Carolina (vs Arizona) - 8 sacks, 1 interception, 1 fumble recovery, 1 DEF TD
Carson Palmer was a pinata in this game. We’ll file this away for when the Cardinals face another defense with a good front seven.
San Diego (at Denver) - 1 sack, 1 interception, 2 fumble recoveries, 1 DEF TD
Kansas City (at Indianapolis) - 6 sacks, 1 interception, 1 fumble recovery
A week after containing the Titans pass rush on the road, the Colts couldn’t keep the Chiefs at bay at home.
Week 9 Candidates
Kansas City (vs Jacksonville)
The Chiefs D/ST has been strong since they picked off six Ryan Fitzpatrick passes. Being in front of the home crowd with Blake Bortles drowning in the middle of the ocean is exactly what you want from your D/ST.
A Look Ahead: @CAR LA @DEN - If the Chiefs stay hot, we might play them in Week 10 just to get the Rams (and maybe Jared Goff) in Week 11.
Baltimore (vs Pittsburgh)
The Ravens defense is coming on, with multiple takeaways in their last three games. This week they will get Landry Jones or Ben Roethlisberger possibly coming back a week or two too early from knee surgery. Roethlisberger is much better at home, so either way this is a positive matchup for the Ravens.
A Look Ahead: CLE @DAL CIN - We’ll go back to the Ravens next week in just about any event.
San Diego (vs Tennessee)
The Chargers have been a surprise D/ST with at least four sacks+takeaways in every game this year. A home game with the Titans coming to town could be very good if Philip Rivers can stake them to a lead and force exotic smashmouth out of its comfort zone.
A Look Ahead: MIA BYE @HOU - Come for the Titans, stay for the Dolphins.
Green Bay (vs Indianapolis)
The Packers have had four or more sacks+takeaways in three of their four home games. Against the porous Colts offensive line, that trend should continue. Aaron Rodgers is comfortable and shouldn’t have any problem setting up the Green Bay defense to play from ahead.
A Look Ahead: @TEN @WAS @PHI - Away from Lambeau means stay away from the Packers D/ST
Miami (vs New York Jets)
The Dolphins D/ST has at least four sacks+takeaways in three of their four home games. The newfound running game will have to find openings in one of the best run defenses in the league, but the Dolphins could also benefit from a deteriorating Ryan Fitzpatrick at quarterback for the Jets.
A Look Ahead: @SD @LA SF - We’ll go back to Miami in Week 12.
Week 10 Preemptive Pickups
If you like to devote two roster spots to a D/ST, or you suspect other teams are going to stream defenses this year, you might want to grab a top option for next week to stash away. Here are the best ones to target:
Arizona (vs San Francisco)
Baltimore (vs Cleveland)
New York Jets (vs Los Angeles)