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.
**Kansas City has a great Week 4 matchup, but is assumed to be owned in most leagues**
Week 3 Results
Philadelphia (vs New York Giants) - 2 INT
Eli Manning, Odell Beckham, Sterling Shepard, and Brandon Marshall found their game in Week 3 and the Eagles were not able to sack Manning once despite facing a Giants line that was a bunch of turnstiles in Weeks 1 and 2.
A Look Ahead: @LAC ARI @CAR - We’ll move on from the Eagles
Green Bay (vs Cincinnati) - 3 sacks, 1 fumble recovery
Bill Lazor got the ball out of Andy Dalton’s hands quickly and that kept the disastrous plays at a manageable level. Dalton still missed opportunities to pull off a huge road win, but we don’t get D/ST points for wins and losses.
A Look Ahead: CHI @DAL @MIN - Mike Glennon was atrocious on the road in Week 2, so the Packers deserve consideration with the short week of rest.
New England (vs Houston) - 2 sacks, 2 INT
You’ll take it if you started the Patriots, but it could have been a lot better if Deshaun Watson didn’t show calm beyond his years and all but beat the Patriots in Foxboro.
A Look Ahead: CAR @TB @NYJ - The puny Saints D/ST was one of the best of Week 3 against Cam Newton, so we’ll bookmark this one.
Miami (at New York Jets) - 2 sacks, 1 fumble recovery
The meager stats were better than the performance, that’s how bad the Dolphins were against the Jets in Week 3.
A Look Ahead: NO TEN @ATL - Drew Brees is hot right now and should be avoided in D/ST matchups.
Indianapolis (vs Cleveland) - 1 sack, 3 INT
DeShone Kizer is becoming one of our more dependable D/ST targets with his erratic decision-making.
A Look Ahead: @SEA SF @TEN - Playing a D/ST in Seattle is not a recipe for fantasy points.
Cleveland (at Indianapolis) - 3 sacks, 1 fumble recovery
Jacoby Brissett had an outstanding game against the Browns in Week 3 and kept mistakes to a minimum.
A Look Ahead: CIN NYJ @HOU - The Bengals are a tempting D/ST matchup when they are facing a good defense, but the Browns are not one.
Los Angeles Rams (at San Francisco) **Thursday** - 4 sacks, 1 INT, 1 fumble recovery
As long as your scoring system doesn’t penalize for points and yards against, this was actually the best Rent-a-defense performance of the week. It does still give us pause before targeting Brian Hoyer in the future.
A Look Ahead: @DAL SEA @JAX - The Cowboys offense is one of the best at not feeding opposing D/STs. Pass.
Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda
Cincinnati (at Green Bay) - 6 sacks, 1 INT, 1 DEF TD
Who would have thought Aaron Rodgers would be the quarterback running for his life and throwing a pick six in Lambeau this week?
Detroit (vs Atlanta) - 2 sacks, 3 INT, 1 DEF TD
Who would have thought the Lions would be the #1 D/ST through three weeks? They have been a top five play all three weeks, and scored on special teams or defense in all three weeks.
Houston (at New England) - 5 sacks, 1 fumble recovery, 1 DEF TD
Who would have thought the vaunted Texans defense would get their pass rush on track against Tom Brady on the road?
Washington (vs Oakland) - 4 sacks, 2 INT, 1 fumble recovery
Who would have thought the Washington defense would toy with and frustrate what looked like one of the five best offenses in the league coming into Week 3?
New Orleans (at Carolina) - 4 sacks, 3 INT
Who would have thought the Saints defense would come to life on the road after failing to record a takeaway in the first two weeks of the year?
Week 4 Candidates
Seattle (vs Indianapolis)
The Seahawks have been in the bottom five in D/ST scoring through three weeks, so it’s very possible that they were dropped heading into a choice home matchup with the Colts in Week 4.
A Look Ahead: @LAR @NYG HOU - After thinking this unit could turn into an elite fantasy D/ST again, it looks like they are just a one-off streamer for at least the next three weeks
Green Bay (vs Chicago)
A short preparation week and road game for Mike Glennon could equal trouble for the Bears and points for the Packers D/ST. Aaron Rodgers has a three touchdown game and a six touchdown game in the last three home meetings with Chicago.
A Look Ahead: @DAL @MIN NO - Nothing to see here in the next three weeks
Jacksonville (at New York Jets)
Do we dare go back to the Jekyll and Hyde Jaguars? Against the Jets, that should be an easy yes. The Jaguars are riding high and the offense is settling down.
A Look Ahead: @PIT LAR @IND - We’ll move on from the Jaguars for now.
Cincinnati (at Cleveland)
The Bengals pass rush was good enough to corral Aaron Rodgers six times and they also forced a pick six. DeShone Kizer doesn’t stand a chance if Carl Lawson and company can get after him like they did Rodgers.
A Look Ahead: BUF BYE @PIT - Tyrod Taylor is playing well, but if Bengals come through, we might keep them for Week 5.
New England (vs Carolina)
If the Saints defense can bring down Cam Newton four times and force three picks, the Patriots can surely force him into some big mistakes assuming Tom Brady stakes them to a lead with his newfound deep passing game.
A Look Ahead: @TB @NYJ ATL - Week 6 against the Jets could draw some interest if the Patriots roll this week
Week 5 Pre-emptive Pickups
Oakland (vs Baltimore)
Detroit (vs Carolina)
Pittsburgh (vs Jacksonville)