Rent-a-Defense: Week 11

A look at the waiver wire defense performances in Week 10 and a look at waiver wire defense candidates for Week 11 and beyond

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.

**Jacksonville and Detroit are better than any rent-a-defense, but assumed to be owned in all leagues**

Week 10 Results

New Orleans (at Buffalo) - 2 sacks, 1 INT

The Saints controlled the game from start to finish, but didn’t force a lot of sacks or takeaways. To be fair, they didn’t need to.

A Look Ahead: WAS @LAR CAR - The Saints are back at home and should play with the lead. That’s more than enough to stick with them despite the disappointing Week 10 result.

Pittsburgh (at Indianapolis) - 3 sacks, 1 INT

The Steelers were playing from behind for most of the game and they also suffered two injuries in the secondary.

A Look Ahead: TEN GB @CIN - Marcus Mariota hasn’t been a mistake-prone quarterback, although we might stick with Pittsburgh this week at home on a short week, because it means we get them in prime time again facing Brett Hundley in Week 12.

New York Giants (at San Francisco) - 1 INT, 1 fumble recovery

The Giants weren’t much different than the Saints and Steelers in fantasy terms, but they were probably the worst defense on the field in Week 10, allowing four embarrassingly easy touchdowns to one of the worst offenses in the league.

A Look Ahead: KC @WAS @OAK - That’s it for the Giants this year.

Minnesota (at Washington) - 1 sack, 1 INT

We got the game script we wanted here when the Vikings jumped ahead, but the healthier Washington offensive line and sound play from Kirk Cousins kept it from being a hit.

A Look Ahead: LAR @DET @ATL - For all of the talent this team has on defense, they have only had one outburst for fantasy - whenever they knocked Aaron Rodgers and most of the Packers offensive line out of the game. Pass.

Chicago (vs Green Bay) - 3 sacks

The Packers offense finally got on track. Brett Hundley protected the ball AND made a few plays downfield.

A Look Ahead: DET @PHI SF - We may come back to them in a few weeks, but there’s no reason to hold the Bears right now.

New York Jets (at Tampa Bay) - 1 sack, 1 INT

It wasn’t the best week for rent-a-defenses. The Jets were outclassed by the Bucs, which wouldn’t have sounded odd a few months ago, but was a surprise based on our current understandings of these teams.

A Look Ahead: BYE CAR KC - Bye bye.

Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda

Atlanta (vs Dallas) - 8 sacks, 2 fumble recoveries

Chaz Green had maybe the worst performance by any single player in any game this year. Tyron Smith, we need you.

Tampa Bay (vs NY Jets) - 6 sacks, 1 INT, 1 fumble recovery

Finally, the Jets are a good D/ST matchup.

New England (at Denver) - 1 INT, 1 fumble recovery, 1 ST TD

It wasn’t Brock Osweiler, but Dion Lewis and his speed on a kickoff return that made the Patriots D/ST worth playing for the first time this year.

Week 11 Candidates

**Jacksonville and Detroit are better than any rent-a-defense, but assumed to be owned in all leagues**

Kansas City (vs NY Giants)

The Chiefs D/ST was universally drafted in fantasy leagues this year, but they were a dud in three of the last four games leading into their bye and might have been dropped in a bye week squeeze. We’ll be starting any viable D/ST against them for the rest of the season.

A Look Ahead: BUF @NYJ OAK LAC MIA - With a huge run of Arrowhead games coming, we might be going back to leaving the Chiefs in our lineup every week.

Baltimore (vs Green Bay)

The Ravens have been a very good D/ST when they have been good, but little help when the team trails. They might have been dropped for their bye despite scoring near the top of the rankings on average, carried by their boom/bust profile. They will test Brett Hundley and should have a good day as long as they don’t inexplicably fall behind.

A Look Ahead: HOU DET @PIT @CLE IND - We’ll want the Baltimore D/ST for Weeks 12, 15, and 16 so they are an easy add.

Philadelphia (at Dallas)

The Eagles have been relentless on both sides of the ball heading into their bye, but they could have been dropped in a bye week crunch. Their defensive line rotation won’t have Chaz Green to pick on, but the vulnerability of the Cowboys offense without Ezekiel Elliott has been exposed nonetheless. The Eagles are also likely to build a lead against the Dallas defense that is missing Sean Lee.

A Look Ahead: CHI @SEA @LAR @NYG OAK - We’ll want them for Weeks 12, 15 and 16

Los Angeles Chargers (vs Buffalo)

The Chargers pass rush should feast on a Bills team that is starting to sag on offense. The Bills defense is doing the offense no favors, although the Chargers might have to rely on Kellen Clemens if Philip Rivers doesn’t clear concussion protocol, so this one is tricky. As long as Rivers is active, this is an easy pick as a rent-a-defense. If he’s not, they are still worth a look, but riskier.

A Look Ahead: @DAL CLE WAS @KC @NYJ - Weeks 13 and possibly 16 look ok, and potentially Week 12 on Thanksgiving if Dallas’s offensive line looks woeful again this week.

New Orleans (vs Washington)

The Saints had a D/ST orgy against the Lions and very strong afternoon against the Bucs the last two times they were at home. Kirk Cousins offense and line are getting healthier, but the Saints momentum going into this one is hard to ignore.

A Look Ahead: WAS @LAR CAR @ATL NYJ ATL - We’ll at least hold the Saints for the remaining home matchups.

Denver (vs Cincinnati)

The Broncos D/ST has fallen from grace and they were a liability the last two weeks in leagues that score points and yards allowed. That should come to a halt against Andy Dalton, who can’t function against a good pass rush playing behind a line that can’t properly protect him. The Broncos defense should be angry this week and they were likely dropped in most leagues while struggling to a bottom ten ranking through ten weeks.

A Look Ahead: @OAK @MIA NYJ @IND @WAS - Weeks 13 and 15 are considerations despite being road games - if the defense comes back to life

Houston (vs Arizona), Arizona (at Houston)

The Texans D/ST joins the Chiefs and Broncos as one that had high expectations, but instead has been unreliable from week to week. It’s tough to want to start a D/ST that is relying on Tom Savage for field position and game situation advantages, but it’s even tougher to want to play a D/ST tied to a banged up Drew Stanton or Blaine Gabbert. One or both of these D/ST’s could be good plays this week. The Texans have four D/ST touchdowns already this year, while the Cardinals are coming off of back-to-back five sack weeks.

Houston Look Ahead: @BAL @TEN SF @JAX PIT - Week 14, maybe. We’ll throw them back after this week
Arizona Look Ahead: JAX LAR TEN @WAS NYG - Week 16 could be interesting if David Johnson and or Carson Palmer return, but don’t hold them for that.

Week 12 and Playoffs Preemptive Pickups

 

Week 12

Washington (vs New York Giants) **Thanksgiving**
Cincinnati (vs Cleveland)
Atlanta (vs Tampa Bay)
Philadelphia (vs Chicago)
Kansas City (vs Buffalo)
Pittsburgh (vs Green Bay)
Baltimore (vs Houston)

Week 14

Houston (vs San Francisco)
Denver (vs New York Jets)

Week 15

Denver (at Indianapolis)
Philadelphia (at New York Giants)
Baltimore (at Cleveland)
Minnesota (vs Cincinnati)
New Orleans (vs New York Jets)
Carolina (vs Green Bay)
Washington (vs Arizona)

Week 16

Baltimore (vs Indianapolis)
New England (vs Buffalo)
Chicago (vs Cleveland)
Carolina (vs Tampa Bay)
Arizona (vs New York Giants)
Pittsburgh (at Houston)