Rent-a-Defense: Week 12

A look at the waiver wire defense performances for Week 11 and a look ahead to waiver wire defense candidates for Week 12 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, Philadelphia and Baltimore are better than any rent-a-defense, but assumed to be owned in all leagues**

Week 11 Results

Kansas City (vs NY Giants) - 1 INT

The Chiefs seemed to catch the lethargy that seized the Giants for most of the season. Their D/ST has been a liability four out of the last five weeks.

A Look Ahead: BUF @NYJ OAK LAC MIA - If you lost this week because of the Chiefs D/ST, the good news is that you get to take advantage of their matchup with the flaming wreckage of the Bills offense this week.

Baltimore (vs Green Bay) - 6 sacks, 3 INT, 2 fumble recoveries, 0 pts allowed

This one went about as well as it could have without a defensive score. The Ravens defense knows how to put the submission hold on offenses that don’t have many clear advantages to exploit

A Look Ahead: HOU DET @PIT @CLE IND - We might avoid Weeks 13 and 14, but the Ravens D/ST could be a key element of a championship team this year. Only the Jaguars D/ST is more valuable.

Philadelphia (at Dallas) - 4 sacks, 3 INT, 1 fumble recovery, 1 DEF TD

This one was just as bad as it looked on paper even though it was a road game. The Eagles defensive line and secondary are starting to feed off of each other and creating a perfect storm for D/ST production.

A Look Ahead: CHI @SEA @LAR @NYG OAK - We might avoid Russell Wilson in Week 13 and the Rams offense in Week 14, but it would also be a viable play to ride the Eagles D/ST from here on out.

Los Angeles Chargers (vs Buffalo) - 1 sack, 5 INT, 1 fumble recovery, 2 DEF TD

Nathan Peterman giveth, and Nathan Peterman… giveth, and giveth, and giveth, and giveth.

A Look Ahead: @DAL CLE WAS @KC @NYJ - Tyron Smith is back this week, so perhaps it’s not a great week to go back to the Chargers D/ST, but it might worth it to hold them to get the Browns matchup next week. The team is thinking playoffs, so Week 16 could be a good one at the Jets too.

New Orleans (vs Washington) - 2 sacks

Losing Marshon Lattimore and Alex Okafor in this one hurt, and the Saints defense had multiple total breakdowns on touchdown plays.

A Look Ahead: @LAR CAR @ATL NYJ ATL - We won’t go back to this defense this week, and maybe not again this year, save for Week 15 when the Jets come to the Superdome.

Denver (vs Cincinnati) - 2 sacks

Three touchdowns allowed on 25 attempts from Andy Dalton? The fall from grace is complete.

A Look Ahead: @OAK @MIA NYJ @IND @WAS - The Broncos D/ST has given us two good weeks. They and the Chiefs are hammering home how volatile D/ST scoring is year-to-year.

Houston (vs Arizona) - 2 sacks, 2 INT
Arizona (at Houston) - 1 sack, 1 INT, 1 fumble recovery

Not exactly a defensive outburst game, as both Tom Savage and Blaine Gabbert both greatly exceeded expectations, but both units had an output that is reasonable in a terrible week for D/ST scoring.

Houston Look Ahead: @BAL @TEN SF @JAX PIT - Maybe Week 14 at home against the 49ers, especially if they win this week.
Arizona Look Ahead: JAX LAR TEN @WAS NYG - There aren’t any good matchups left to target for this underachieving unit, but wow can Budda Baker play!

Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda

Tampa Bay (at Miami) - 1 sack, 3 INT, 2 fumble recoveries, 1 DEF TD

Jay Cutler and a last play of the game touchdown return fueled the Bucs to their second straight good D/ST week.

Atlanta (at Seattle) - 3 sacks, 1 INT, 1 fumble recovery, 1 DEF TD

The Falcons defensive line has come alive after Adrian Clayborn’s all-time performance in Week 10.

Pittsburgh (vs Tennessee) - 5 sacks, 4 INT

The aggressive Steelers defense created a lot of production when they were given a play from ahead game script at home in prime time.

Week 12 Candidates

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

Pittsburgh (vs Green Bay)

The Steelers were lethal at home in prime time in Week 11, forcing Marcus Mariota into a lot of bad decisions. Brett Hundley seems hand-picked to reproduce that result on Sunday night this week.

A Look Ahead: @CIN BAL NE @HOU - We’ll keep the Steelers for Week 14 and 16, and maybe even Week 13

Kansas City (vs Buffalo)

The Chiefs D/ST has cratered for fantasy purposes, but the Bills offense has been even worse the last three weeks. The home setting and need for a get right game should fuel the Chiefs defense this week.

A Look Ahead: @NYJ OAK LAC MIA - In theory, we want to ride the Chiefs D/ST all the way home, but they need to come through this week to encourage us to do that.

Carolina (at New York Jets)

Don’t forget that the Jets offense turned back into a pumpkin pie before their bye. The Panthers front seven is more than good enough to force some big plays even though this one is on the road.

A Look Ahead: @NO MIN GB TB - If Aaron Rodgers isn’t back for Week 15, we’ll want the Panthers D/ST in our lineups, and Week 16 is looking great for this potential playoff team.

Atlanta (vs Tampa Bay)

The Falcons defensive line has created two straight great D/ST fantasy games, and they go home to face Ryan Fitzpatrick this week, suddenly back in the playoffs again after a choppy October.

A Look Ahead: MIN NO @TB @NO - Probably the last week we will use the Falcons D/ST this year.

Seattle (at San Francisco)

The Seahawks defense was toothless against the Falcons, but they could find their bite against the 49ers this week. Whether it’s CJ Beathard or Jimmy Garoppolo, the potential is there for the Seahawks to play from ahead on the road in front of a deflated crowd in Santa Clara.

A Look Ahead: PHI @JAX LAR @DAL - it’s odd to type this, but we’re done with the Seattle D/ST after this week

New England (vs Miami)

Should we hope for Jay Cutler to get cleared or Matt Moore to start after he melted down against the Ravens in his only other start this year? Either way, a Patriots D/ST that will be playing from ahead has potential this week.

A Look Ahead: @BUF @MIA @PIT BUF - If the Patriots can actually generate some pass rush, they’ll be useful down the stretch against the worst of their division. 

Week 13 and Playoffs Preemptive Pickups

 

Week 13

Los Angeles Chargers (vs Cleveland)
Los Angeles Rams (at Arizona)
New England (at Buffalo)
Chicago (vs San Francisco)
Tennessee (vs Houston)

Week 14

Houston (vs San Francisco)
Pittsburgh (vs Baltimore)
New England (at Miami)

Week 15

Minnesota (vs Cincinnati)
New Orleans (vs New York Jets)
Carolina (vs Green Bay) **Monitor Rodgers Status**
Washington (vs Arizona)
Tennessee (at San Francisco)

Week 16

Minnesota (at Green Bay) **Monitor Rodgers Status**
New England (vs Buffalo)
Chicago (vs Cleveland)
Carolina (vs Tampa Bay)
Pittsburgh (at Houston)
Los Angeles Chargers (at New York Jets)