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.
**Baltimore and Jacksonville have great Week 7 matchups, but are assumed to be owned in most leagues**
Week 6 Results
Denver (vs NY Giants) - 3 sacks
No one told the Broncos that there was a football game Sunday night. The Giants were the first team to have any success running the ball against the Broncos as Denver just didn’t show up for this one.
A Look Ahead - @LAC @KC @PHI - The Broncos have only had one good D/ST performance in five games. Drop them like it's hot
Baltimore (vs Chicago) - 4 sacks, 2 fumble recoveries, 2 ST TD
Bobby Rainey and Michael Campanaro saved the day! The defense actually accounted for enough on their own against a very conservative Bears offense to make this play worth it, but the return game almost salvaged a win for Baltimore and pushed some fantasy teams over the finish line this week.
A Look Ahead - @MIN MIA @TEN - Case Keenum facing a D/ST that has been a good play 4 of 6 weeks? Sure why not?
Washington (vs San Francisco) - 3 sacks, 1 INT
Not a disaster, but San Francisco messed this us for us by putting CJ Beathard in, and the rookie messed this up by playing well and getting the offense to function much better in the second half.
A Look Ahead - @PHI DAL @SEA - Carson Wentz is playing so well. Time to move on.
New Orleans (vs Detroit) - 5 sacks, 3 INT, 2 fumble recoveries, 3 DEF TD
The D/ST performance of the year!! You get a touchdown, you get a touchdown, everybody gets a defensive touchdown!! I won a few matchups on the back of this outburst, I hope you did too.
A Look Ahead - @GB CHI TB - The Saints D/ST has three straight great games and they are facing a backup quarterback? Even on the road, yes.
Houston (vs Cleveland) - 4 sacks, 3 INT, 1 DEF TD, 1 safety
A Look Ahead - BYE @SEA IND - Kevin Hogan is not walking through that door again this year
Atlanta (vs Miami) - 1 INT
Ok, enough trying to make this Falcons D/ST thing work
A Look Ahead - @NE @NYJ @CAR - Falcons fly the coop
Tennessee (vs Indianapolis) - 1 fumble recovery
They got the home win, but the defense and specialt teams were not the reason.
A Look Ahead - @CLE BYE BAL - Dare we go back to one of the worst D/ST’s in fantasy to get a piece of the Cleveland matchup? Debatable.
Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda
Los Angeles Rams (at Jacksonville) - 5 sacks, 1 INT, 2 ST TD
Rams join the Ravens as special teams heroes in Week 6.
Detroit (at New Orleans) - 2 INT, 1 fumble recovery, 1 DEF TD, 1 ST TD
This unit keeps getting it done and is a good rent-a-defense no matter the opponent or setting.
New York Giants (at Denver) - 4 sacks, 2 INT, 1 fumble recovery, 1 DEF TD
Giants join the Rams in the “we had the wrong side of this one” category. The Broncos thought they would be given this game. They weren’t.
Chicago (at Baltimore) - 3 sacks, 2 INT, 1 fumble recovery, 1 DEF TD
When two offenses as bad as Chicago and Baltimore get together, you can’t wrong no matter when D/ST you start.
Tampa Bay (at Arizona) - 2 sacks, 1 INT, 1 fumble recovery, 1 DEF TD
Sometimes when a team jumps out to a 24-0 lead at the half, they get a little complacent on offense in the second half.
Minnesota (vs Green Bay) - 4 sacks, 3 INT
This is what happens when you knock Aaron Rodgers and three offensive linemen out of a game.
Week 7 Candidates
New Orleans (at Green Bay)
The Saints D/ST is red zone, they are facing a backup quarterback in his first NFL start, the opposing offensive line is in shambles, and they have a good enough offense to force the opponent to take risks to stay in the game. The only thing that would make this better is if it was at the Superdome
A Look Ahead: CHI TB @BUF - Could it be that we will ride the Saints D/ST for a while?
Minnesota (vs Baltimore)
The Vikings are a quality defense at all three levels and the Ravens offense is a poor unit in every facet of the game. This is also in Minnesota. Sign me up.
A Look Ahead: @CLE BYE @WAS - We will double-dip with Minnesota next week, possibly making them the pickup of Week 7.
Pittsburgh (vs Cincinnati)
The Steelers generate pressure that forces mistakes, they are playing at home, and they know Andy Dalton - never a good sign for his prospects.
A Look Ahead: @DET BYE @IND - We will return to them later in the second half of the year.
Seattle (at New York Giants)
The Seahawks might be on waivers after their bye. They are on the road, but the Giants are vulnerable without Odell Beckham.
A Look Ahead: HOU WAS @ARI - Even against Deshaun Watson, the Seahawks D/ST is always worth a look
Tennessee (at Cleveland)
The Titans have been one of the most underwhelming D/ST’s of the year, but they have Adoree' Jackson’s return skills and the lack of quarterback skills for Cleveland going for them this week.
A Look Ahead: BYE BAL CIN - We’ll move on after this great matchup
Buffalo (vs Tampa Bay)
A Look Ahead: OAK @NYJ NO - If they come through for us, maybe we will look at the Bills again in a Raiders travel east for an early start game
Indianapolis (vs Jacksonville)
If all of the above options are gone, we always have Blake Bortles on the road and a Colts D/ST that has produced some reasonable points four of the last five weeks.
A Look Ahead: @CIN @HOU PIT - No Blake Bortles in the next three weeks
Week 8 Preemptive Pickups
Minnesota (at Cleveland)
New Orleans (vs Chicago)
Philadelphia (vs San Francisco)
Seattle (vs Houston)
Kansas City (vs Denver)