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 9 Results
Buffalo (vs Washington) - 4 sacks
Adrian Peterson ran his heart out and the Bills held Washington to field goals, but without takeaways, it didn’t amount to much.
A Look Ahead: @CLE @MIA DEN - We’re sticking with the Bills despite the poor result
Cleveland (at Denver) - 3 sacks, 1 fumble recovery
A Look Ahead: BUF PIT MIA - Maybe in Week 12 when Miami comes to town, but Miami is gaining respectability every week
Seattle (vs Tampa Bay) - 2 sacks, 1 fumble recovery
Jameis Winston was outstanding in this one… the Seattle defense was not.
A Look Ahead: @SF BYE @PHI - We may turn back to Seattle in Week 16 when they host Arizona
New York Jets (at Miami) - 1 safety, 4 sacks
Not bad, but not as good as the Dolphins side of this matchup, which is disturbing if you’re a Jets fan
A Look Ahead: NYG @WAS OAK - We won’t use the Jets again this year.
Carolina (vs Tennessee) - 4 sacks, 1 fumble recovery, 2 INT
For Week 9, a hit in D/ST scoring. The Panthers defense is a top five option to date
A Look Ahead: @GB ATL @NO - At Lambeau is imposing but it might be worth it to just ride the Panthers going forward
Baltimore (vs New England) - 2 sacks, 1 fumble recovery, 1 INT, 1 DEF TD
A Look Ahead: @CIN HOU @LAR - Keep playing the Ravens until they let us down
Indianapolis (at Pittsburgh) - 1 safety, 1 sack, 1 fumble recovery, 1 INT
The Colts checked a lot of boxes on the shopping list but it wasn’t a dominant performance and not as good as the Steelers side. It was still a top 8 result on the week
A Look Ahead: MIA JAX @HOU - You grabbed and played the Colts for this week’s matchup
Philadelphia (vs Chicago) - 3 sacks, 1 fumble recovery
Mitchell Trubisky wasn’t good, but he didn’t have any major errors that led to turnovers
A Look Ahead: BYE NE SEA - One and done
Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda
Pittsburgh (vs Indianapolis) - 5 sacks, 2 fumble recoveries, 1 INT, 1 DEF TD
The Steelers have risen to the top three in many D/ST scoring systems and should be an everyweek play going forward
Dallas (at New York Giants) - 5 sacks, 2 fumble recoveries, 1 INT, 1 DEF TD
Houston (vs Jacksonville - London) - 4 sacks, 2 fumble recoveries, 2 INT, 3 pts allowed
Gardner Minshew turned back into a pumpkin after Halloween
Week 10 Candidates
Baltimore (at Cincinnati)
A Look Ahead: HOU @LAR SF - Weeks 15 and 16 bring the Jets and Cleveland, so we’re aren’t done with the Ravens after this week and they might be worth stashing away as a second D/ST through this stretch
New Orleans (vs Atlanta)
Back home in the Superdome against the hated Dirty Birds who are teetering on the brink of oblivion. Sign me up.
A Look Ahead: @TB CAR @ATL - We’ll keep rolling with the Saints after this week
Los Angeles Rams (at Pittsburgh)
Pittsburgh (vs Los Angeles Rams)
Both sides of this matchup are attractive. The Rams have been coming on as a D/ST and we are still reckoning with exactly how good they can be with Jalen Ramsey, plus Clay Matthews is back this week. The Steelers have established themselves as a top five D/ST with playmakers at every level.
A Look Ahead LAR: CHI BAL @ARI - If this D/ST is hot coming out of Week 10, we will stick with them
A Look Ahead PIT: @CLE @CIN CLE - No reason to go away from Pittsburgh here
Carolina (at Green Bay)
The Panthers have been a solid top five D/ST all season. This is an unfavorable matchup and setting, but the season-long scoring by Carolina’s defense and the upcoming schedule justify playing them, especially in leagues where a lot of teams carry two defenses.
A Look Ahead: ATL @NO WAS - A chance to face a reeling Matt Ryan in Carolina helps make the case for playing the Panthers this week
Buffalo (at Cleveland)
The Bills D/ST has been quieting down in fantasy circles, but Baker Mayfield’s tailspin and some typical November Lake Erie weather could make this one promising
A Look Ahead: @MIA DEN @DAL - Is Miami still a D/ST target? Denver might be too, so these help enhance the value of Buffalo this week
Indianapolis (vs Miami)
So once again, is Miami a target for our rent-a-defense? Ryan Fitzpatrick is playing well, but for how long? The Colts have been solid at every level and are at least worth a look on thin waiver wires
A Look Ahead: JAX @HOU TEN - Here comes the AFC South and there goes the Colts D/ST back to the waiver wire
Dallas (vs Minnesota)
The Cowboys are hot right now and Kirk Cousins is lukewarm. If they build a lead, Cousins could oblige with some questionable throws.
A Look Ahead: @DET @NE BUF - We won’t use the Cowboys D/ST again for at least a few weeks, but wow that matchup with the Patriots could be fun
Week 11 Preemptive Pickups
Minnesota (vs Denver)
New Orleans (at Tampa Bay)
Carolina (vs Atlanta)
Buffalo (at Miami)
Los Angeles Rams (vs Chicago)
Oakland (vs Cincinnati)
Pittsburgh (at Cleveland)