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.
**Carolina, Denver, Pittsburgh and Baltimore have great Week 3 matchups, but are assumed to be owned in most leagues**
Week 2 Results
Baltimore (vs Cleveland) - 3 sacks, 4 INT, 1 fumble recovery
The Ravens are the #1 D/ST through two weeks, and they have been Top 3-5 in every scoring system in both weeks, The matchups were easy, but that’s what we expext a good D/ST to do - make bad offenses look bad.
A Look Ahead: @JAX PIT OAK - No reason to bail on the Ravens heading into a matchup with Blake Bortles
Oakland (vs New York Jets) - 4 sacks, 2 fumble recoveries
Not a week-winning performance by any measure, but still good for a Top 10 week in most scoring systems.
A Look Ahead: @WAS @DEN BAL - Going on the road to face a solid Washington offense is not a recipe for D/ST points
Jacksonville (vs Tennessee) - 1 sack 1 INT
It only took one week for the Jaguars to go back to being hunted instead of the hunter.
A Look Ahead: BAL @NYJ PIT - Joe Flacco isn’t the most imposing competition, but it looks like the Jags aren’t a trustworthy D/ST after all.
Cincinnati (vs Houston) **Thursday** - 3 sacks
The game stayed close and Deshaun Watson stayed in a comfort zone that didn’t force him to take risks
A Look Ahead: @GB @CLE BUF - We could turn back to the Bengals in Week 4 against the Browns when Vontaze Burfict returns.
Los Angeles Rams (vs Washington) - 2 sacks
Washington was conservative on offense and leaned heavily on the running game, denying the Rams many chances to make big plays
A Look Ahead: @SF @DAL SEA - Brian Hoyer on a short week of preparation sounds like a possible play despite the disappointing Week 2.
Houston (at Cincinnati) **Thursday** - 3 sacks, 1 fumble recovery
Too bad defenses don’t get points for demoralizing an opponent. This one was worse for Andy Dalton than the numbers make it appear
A Look Ahead: @NE TEN KC - Throw the Texans back for now
Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda
Tampa Bay (vs Chicago) - 1 sack, 2 INT, 2 fumble recoveries, 1 DEF TD
The Bucs were a dominant defense at home at times in the second half last year and they disemboweled their former backup quarterback. The Bucs just missed the cutoff for Week 2 candidates, I won’t let that happen again.
Detroit (at New York Giants) - 5 sacks, 1 INT, 1 ST TD
Start your defenses against Eli Manning and the Giants offensive line
Atlanta (vs Green Bay) - 3 sacks, 1 INT, 1 fumble recovery, 1 DEF TD
Home cookin in the new stadium made the Falcons a good D/ST play even though they were facing Aaron Rodgers
Week 3 Candidates
Philadelphia (vs New York Giants)
The Eagles are one of the best at getting pressure on the quarterback and the Giants are one of the worst at protecting the quarterback. This one could get ugly.
A Look Ahead: @LAC ARI @CAR - The Eagles defense is strong, but only the home matchup with the Cardinals is appealing over the next three weeks.
Green Bay (vs Cincinnati)
Will a new offensive coordinator make a difference for the Bengals? Probably not when it comes to restoring Andy Dalton’s confidence. The Packers can jump out to a lead at home and put Dalton behind the eight ball in this one.
A Look Ahead: CHI @DAL @MIN - If Mike Glennon doesn’t look any better this week against Pittsburgh, we might stick with the Packers in Week 4.
New England (vs Houston)
The Patriots D/ST lacks punch up front, but against an inexperienced Deshaun Watson who is likely to be playing from behind, they can still create some big plays.
A Look Ahead: CAR @TB @NYJ - We’ll come back to the Patriots D/ST in Week 6
Miami (at New York Jets)
A Look Ahead: NO TEN @ATL - We’ll pass on the Dolphins for a while after this week.
Indianapolis (vs Cleveland)
The Colts D/ST doesn’t scare anyone, but DeShone Kizer is also prone to produce 2-3 turnovers out of thin air. Indianapolis put up four sacks and a pick against Carson Palmer, they can do at least that against Kizer.
A Look Ahead: @SEA SF @TEN - Believe it or not, we might come back to the Colts in Week 5.
Cleveland (at Indianapolis)
When two bad teams get together, they generally play bad football, which leads to miscues and D/ST points. The Browns actually opened as the favorite in this one, so they might be the better play. They were able to sack Joe Flacco twice and force two turnovers, so there could be something there.
A Look Ahead: CIN NYJ @HOU - Don’t look now, but the Browns could warm up over the next few weeks.
Los Angeles Rams (at San Francisco) **Thursday**
Brian Hoyer is one of the worst starting quarterbacks in the league. If the Rams can play from ahead on the road, it could be a big game for their D/ST
A Look Ahead: @DAL SEA @JAX - We’ll have that Week 6 matchup circled if Blake Bortles doesn’t improve.
Week 4 Preemptive Pickups
Green Bay (vs Chicago)
Jacksonville (at New York Jets)
Atlanta (vs Buffalo)
Arizona (vs San Francisco)
Seattle (vs Indianapolis)