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.
**New England, Washington, Tampa Bay, and the Rams have great matchups but are assumed to be rostered**
Week 1 Results
Denver (at New York Giants) - 2 sacks, 1 fumble recovery
It was generally a miserable day for the Giants offense, but it didn’t result in many sacks or takeaways for the Broncos. Bradley Chubb was out, so maybe better days are coming.
A Look Ahead: @JAX NYJ BAL - The Texans picked off Trevor Lawrence three times, and the Panthers sacked Zach Wilson six times, so the Broncos are still looking like a good play for the next two weeks.
Carolina (vs. NY Jets) - 6 sacks, 1 INT
Zach Wilson was running for his life for a lot of this one and Mekhi Becton is out for at least a month, so we will still want to target the Jets this week against the Patriots. Is the Panthers' pass rush that good? We will find out against the Saints this week.
A Look Ahead: NO @HOU @DAL - It’s understandable to play Carolina this week so you can have them for next week’s matchup with the Texans if roster spots are a premium.
Green Bay (vs New Orleans) **in Jacksonville** - Nada. Bupkis. Zilch.
Well, we had the wrong side of the right game here. The Saints blitzkrieged the Packers as the team that has been away from home for a few weeks was the one that showed up while the Packers wilted in the heat.
A Look Ahead: DET @SF PIT - Part of the reason we liked the Packers this week was to get the Lions as a D/ST opponent in Week 2. The 49ers had a pick-six against Jared Goff last week, and the Packers could still pay off for us this week under the lights at home on Monday night.
LA Chargers (at Washington) - 1 sack, 1 fumble recovery
A Look Ahead: DAL @KC LV - One and done with Dak up next
Minnesota (at Cincinnati) - 5 sacks
The Vikings got to Joe Burrow but didn’t force any turnovers in a game the Bengals led for a lot of the second half.
A Look Ahead: @ARI SEA CLE - No one wants to face Kyler Murray right now
Atlanta (vs Philadelphia) - 1 sack
Jalen Hurts was not only up to the challenge, but the Falcons appeared to be one of the worst teams in the league on both sides of the ball (again).
A Look Ahead: @TB @NYG WAS - We won’t return to the Falcons until we feel like we missed out when we didn’t consider them.
Jacksonville (at Houston) - 1 sack
Houston (vs. Jacksonville) - 1 sack, 3 INT
Targeting the rookie quarterback in his first NFL regular-season start was better than targeting the quarterback who generally plays it safe (and threw two successful 50/50 balls to Brandin Cooks).
Jacksonville A Look Ahead: DEN ARI @CIN - Uh uh
Houston A Look Ahead: @CLE CAR @BUF - No thanks
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