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.
Week 7 Results
New Orleans (at Green Bay) - 1 sack, 1 INT
The Saints were able to dismantle the Packers passing game, but it didn’t result in many turnovers or sacks
A Look Ahead: CHI TB @BUF - In the Superdome, facing a rookie quarterback, it could result in many turnovers and sacks
Minnesota (vs Baltimore) - 5 sacks
The Vikings didn’t get any takeaways, but still held the Ravens down until garbage time.
A Look Ahead: @CLE BYE @WAS - This week was disappointing, but we’ll go back to Minnesota against whoever Hue Jackson decides to start this week at quarterback
Pittsburgh (vs Cincinnati) - 4 sacks, 2 INT
A mild success with the Steelers pressure defense creating the D/ST stats we are looking for in a comfortable win over Cincinnati.
A Look Ahead: @DET BYE @IND - They aren’t a preferred choice on the road in prime time, but you could do worse
Seattle (at New York Giants) - 1 sack, 1 fumble recovery
The Giants were feeble when it came time to move the ball, but not at the expense of ball security of leaving Eli Manning open to taking a lot of hits.
A Look Ahead: HOU WAS @ARI - Is this the week Deshaun Watson meets his match? Maybe. Probably not.
Tennessee (at Cleveland) - 2 sacks, 3 INT
The Titans defense was not the reason that the team needed overtime to beat the Browns. A mild success, led by new stud safety Kevin Byard’s pair of acrobatic interceptions.
A Look Ahead: BYE BAL CIN - We’ll drop the Titans this week, but we could come back to them.
Buffalo (vs Tampa Bay) - 1 sack, 1 INT, 2 fumble recoveries
The Bills D/ST did more than enough to justify starting them, although they did give up a ton of yards and points. The cracks are starting to show.
A Look Ahead: OAK @NYJ NO - Oakland’s offense has found itself. They are traveling east for an early start, but this is still not a preferred matchup
Indianapolis (vs Jacksonville) - 1 sack, 2 fumble recoveries
Hey everyone! It’s good Blake Bortles! Take a good look, we might not see him again for a month.
A Look Ahead: @CIN @HOU PIT - The Colts D/ST has been strangely productive, but we won’t go back to it
Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda
Chicago (vs Carolina) - 5 sacks, 2 INT, 1 fumble recovery, 2 DEF TD
Rookie Eddie Jackson was everywhere you wanted to be, recovering a botched pitch and snagging a deflected ball out of the air for two defensive scores
Los Angeles Chargers (vs Denver) - 5 sacks, 1 INT, 2 fumble recoveries, 1 ST TD, Shutout
Dallas (at San Francisco) - 5 sacks, 3 fumble recoveries
If Dallas can do this, start all of your D/ST’s against CJ Beathard
Los Angeles Rams (vs Arizona - London) - 3 sacks, 2 INTs, shut out
This is what happens when you get Drew Stanton on the field in an NFL regular season game.
Week 8 Candidates
Kansas City (vs Denver)
Denver’s offensive line is an issue, their quarterback play is an issue, their running back usage is an issue. Going to Arrowhead on a Monday night is not usually a good way to solve your issues. Kansas City’s D/ST was drafted in every league, but they could have been dropped after a recent cool stretch.
A Look Ahead: @DAL BYE @NYG - We won’t go back to the Chiefs.
Philadelphia (vs San Francisco)
The defensive line is going to harass CJ Beathard all day in this one. Expect a lot of sacks.
A Look Ahead: DEN BYE @DAL - The Broncos might be breaking in Brock Osweiler. Another reason to add Philly.
New Orleans (vs Chicago)
The Saints defense had three straight great weeks going into last week’s win at Green Bay. They were still playing well, and a return home against Mitchell Trubisky should bring the sacks and turnovers that fuel our fantasy D/ST’s.
A Look Ahead: TB @BUF WAS - Jameis Winston is a box of chocolates, so we may stick with the Saints again.
Minnesota (vs Cleveland - London)
Minnesota’s defense is still one of the best in the league, with playmakers at every level. It should be an easy go of it across the pond against DeCody Hogan.
A Look Ahead: BYE @WAS LAR - We’ll drop the Vikings, but maybe come back to them down the line.
Seattle (vs Houston)
The once universally owned Seattle D/ST is a middling option in fantasy leagues, so it might be out there. Deshaun Watson hasn’t seen anything like Seattle’s defense, so this could be a come back to earth game for him.
A Look Ahead: WAS @ARI ATL - We definitely want Seattle in Week 10 against Drew Gabbert
Cincinnati (vs Indianapolis)
The Bengals can get pressure on the quarterback and their offense should be good enough to allow them to play from ahead. It is actually a good week for rent-a-defenses, but if you have to go deep, the Bengals are there for you.
A Look Ahead: @JAX @TEN @DEN - Remember when we used to target Blake Bortles in this column?
Week 9 Preemptive Pickups
New Orleans (vs Tampa Bay)
Los Angeles Rams (at NY Giants)
Philadelphia (vs Denver)
Houston (vs Indianapolis)
San Francisco (vs Arizona)