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 14 Results
Los Angeles Chargers (vs Washington) - 2 sacks, 1 INT
It was a blowout, but one that didn’t produce a lot of defensive fireworks for the Chargers.
A Look Ahead: @KC @NYJ - We might want to hold the Chargers for Week 16, which became a dream D/ST matchup when Josh McCown went down.
New England (at Miami) - 2 sacks
A Look Ahead: @PIT BUF - So much for the Patriots D/ST being one to count on… but if they get healthier in time for Buffalo in Week 16?
Dallas (at New York Giants) - 2 INT
The Cowboys weren’t able to generate a great pass rush and the garbage time touchdowns came on offense, not defense
A Look Ahead: @OAK SEA - The Raiders sleepwalked through Week 14, but we shouldn’t necessarily count on that happening again this week
Denver (vs New York Jets) - 4 sacks, 1 INT, 1 fumble recovery, 0 points allowed
The biggest hit of the week, thanks to the Broncos stifling Josh McCown, and then knocking him out of the game. A massive score in leagues that reward low yards allowed.
A Look Ahead: @IND @WAS - We’ll stick with them through the rest of the season now that they got their game back in order.
Detroit (at Tampa Bay) - 3 sacks, 2 INT, 3 fumble recoveries
The other biggest hit of the week. Jameis will always be there for us.
A Look Ahead: CHI @CIN - Mitchell Trubisky actually played well last week and the Lions are struggling against the run. This isn’t a slam dunk despite the Week 14 result
Green Bay (at Cleveland) - 2 sacks, 2 INT
Not a terrible result, but DeShone Kizer played one of his best games of the year and the Packers had to frantically come back to win.
A Look Ahead: @CAR MIN - That’s all for the Packers D/ST this year.
Buffalo (vs Indianapolis) - 1 sack
Snow turns football into rugby, which turns D/ST scoring into a joke
A Look Ahead: MIA @NE - Jay Cutler and the Dolphins are hot, so we’ll go away from the Bills.
Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda
Philadelphia (at Los Angeles Rams) - 2 sacks, 2 fumble recoveries, 1 DEF TD
Only a score on a desperation play at the end of the game made this a successful afternoon for the Eagles D/ST
Carolina (vs Minnesota) - 6 sacks, 2 INT, 1 fumble recovery
Case Keenum was actually better against pressure than this line indicates, or this could have been even better for the Panthers D/ST
Los Angeles Rams (vs Philadelphia) - 2 sacks, 1 INT, 1 ST TD
A blocked punt made the Rams D/ST’s day
Washington (at Los Angeles Chargers) - 2 sacks, 1 INT, 2 DEF TD
A garbage time defensive score by the team that was getting blown out? That’s a change
Week 15 Candidates
New Orleans (vs New York Jets)
If you had to watch any of the Jets offensive possessions at Denver last week, you’ll know why this is the #1 rent-a-defense of the week
A Look Ahead: ATL - It is in the Superdome. We might use them again.
Denver (at Indianapolis) **Thursday**
If you had to watch the Denver defense at home last week, you’ll know why this is the #2 rent-a-defense of the week. Jacoby Brissett and a beat-up Frank Gore on a short week is no recipe for offensive success. Just imagine for a second that we were looking forward to Andrew Luck playing in this game instead.
A Look Ahead: @WAS - Kirk Cousins is going down the tubes, we might consider this one.
Minnesota (vs Cincinnati)
If you had to watch any of the Bengals offensive possession except one at home last week, you’ll know why this is the #3 rent-a-defense of the week
A Look Ahead: @GB - We’ll probably throw them back even if Brett Hundley is starting. The rare D/ST that isn’t nearly as good for fantasy as it is in “real” football.
Miami (at Buffalo)
Raise your hand if you knew that the Dolphins have been the #1 D/ST over the last three weeks - and that includes two matchup against the Patriots. Don’t love that they are on the road, but they will face Joe Webb III, Nathan Peterman, or a hobbled Tyrod Taylor.
A Look Ahead: @KC - No thanks
Carolina (vs Green Bay)
A Look Ahead: TB - Another reason to use the Panthers this week is to have them at home against Jameis Winston in the championship.
Detroit (vs Chicago)
Mitchell Trubisky looked like a real quarterback and the Bears offense looked like a real offense, but the Bengals defense was missing a ton of starters and didn’t look like a real defense. The Lions give up points and yards but always seem to find a way to force turnovers and even score on defense.
A Look Ahead: @CIN - I’m open to using the Lions again in the championship in an all big cat matchup if they come through this week
Tennessee (at San Francisco)
The Titans have 20 sacks over the last three week. That’s as many as the Colts have had all season. The 49ers offense has settled down with Jimmy Garoppolo, but this could still be a solid play if the Titans offense is functional.
A Look Ahead: LAR - Remember when we though the Titans would be the better team in this matchup of former Jeff Fisher jams?
Playoffs Preemptive Pickups
Los Angeles Chargers (at New York Jets)
Carolina (vs Tampa Bay)
New England (vs Buffalo)
Pittsburgh (at Houston)
Detroit (at Cincinnati)
Denver (at Washington)
Arizona (vs New York Giants)