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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 4 Results
Tennessee (at New York Jets) - 1 sack, 1 INT
Turns out that not having AJ Brown and Julio Jones can put a cramp in a team’s plans. The Titans defense might be unusable for fantasy
A Look Ahead: @JAX BUF KC - The Jaguars are in disarray right now, so we may consider the Titans against our better judgment
New Orleans (vs New York Giants) - 1 INT
Daniel Jones grew up before our very eyes on Sunday. The Saints are the most bipolar team in the league on both sides of the ball.
A Look Ahead: @WAS BYE @SEA - We won’t be coming back to the Saints for a while.
Tampa Bay (at New England) - 4 sacks, 1 fumble recovery, 1 INT
It was a successful night for Mac Jones and he’s not the reason the Patriots lost. The Bucs were still able to put up one of the best D/ST scores of Week 4.
A Look Ahead: MIA @PHI CHI - We will stick with the Bucs for the foreseeable future if you were lucky enough to pick them up after they were dropped.
Cincinnati (vs Jacksonville) - 1 sack
The Bengals almost got blown out in the first half as Trevor Lawrence’s multi-interception game streak to begin his career came to an end.
A Look Ahead: GB @DET @BAL - We may come back to the Bengals in Week 6
Green Bay (vs Pittsburgh) - 2 sacks, 1 fumble recovery, 1 INT
Roethlisberger didn’t have too many gaffes, but he still looked like an over the hill quarterback. This wasn’t a bad D/ST result in a poor week for D/ST scoring.
A Look Ahead: @CIN @CHI WAS - We might play the Packers this week in a so-so matchup to have them against the Bears next week.
Dallas (vs Carolina) - 5 sacks, 2 INT
Trevon Diggs is a D/ST in and of himself. The Cowboys are a set it and forget it D/ST right now.
A Look Ahead: NYG @NE BYE - Leave them in until they let you down
Chicago (vs Detroit) - 4 sacks, 2 fumble recoveries
The Bears defense came alive in the red zone early and made the lead hold up
A Look Ahead: @LV GB @TB - We won’t come back to the Bears for a while.
Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda
The Bills were the only great D/ST play in Week 4 and we saw that one coming a mile away
Week 5 Candidates
New England (vs Houston)
We will give Bill Belichick the benefit of the doubt against Davis Mills
A Look Ahead: DAL NYJ @LAC - It might be worth holding (or even playing) the Patriots next week to have them for the second matchup with Zach Wilson, who they picked off four times and sacked four times in Week 2.
Los Angeles Chargers (vs Cleveland)
Brandon Staley has this defense peaking and Baker Mayfield is coming off of one of his worst games as a pro.
A Look Ahead: @BAL BYE NE - The Chargers D/ST could be a set it and forget it play
Dallas (vs New York Giants)
A Look Ahead: @NE BYE @MIN - It could be a long afternoon for Mac
Tampa Bay (vs Miami)
The Bucs were a good play in Week 4 despite a decimated secondary and they should be again this week against Jacoby Brissett, that is as long as Brian Flores doesn’t frustrate Tom Brady and make this a nip and tuck affair.
A Look Ahead: @PHI CHI @NO - If Tampa was hastily dropped after Week 3, they could have staying power
Minnesota (vs Detroit)
The Vikings defense wasn’t the problem last week against Cleveland. The Lions have been a good opponent to target twice, and their defense just lost another key piece in Romeo Okwara, so Jared Goff is likely to be playing from behind.
A Look Ahead: @CAR BYE DAL - The Lions are a short breather in a challenging schedule to open the season
Pittsburgh (vs Denver)
A Look Ahead: SEA BYE @CLE - And that’s a wrap for Pittsburgh in October
Week 6 Preemptive Pickups
Indianapolis (vs Houston)
Dallas (at New England)