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.
Assumed to be rostered: Buffalo, Philadelphia, New England
Week 8 Results
Philadelphia (vs Pittsburgh) - 6 sacks, 1 fumble recovery, 1 INT
The Eagles D/ST performed as expected. You can leave them in your lineup for the rest of the season if someone was foolish enough to drop them.
A Look Ahead: @HOU WAS @IND - Watch the Philadelphia/Houston baseball game Thursday instead
Buffalo (vs Green Bay) - 2 sacks, 1 INT
Josh Allen made more mistakes than Aaron Rodgers, but the Bills still comfortably won this game. You can leave Buffalo in your lineup the rest of the season if someone was foolish enough to drop them.
A Look Ahead: @NYJ MIN CLE - Oh no Zach Wilson
Dallas (vs Chicago) - 4 sacks, 1 fumble recovery, 1 DEF TD
A Look Ahead: BYE @GB @MIN - The Cowboys D/ST has been good enough to justify holding them through the bye.
New England (at New York Jets) - 2 sacks, 3 INT
New York Jets (vs New England) - 6 sacks, 1 INT
As expected, this game devolved into a rock fight that highlighted defense over quarterback play. Wilson’s interceptions were largely unforced errors and Mac Jones wasn’t able to finish drives or take advantage of great field position.
NE A Look Ahead: IND BYE NYJ - Sam Ehlinger didn’t look bad, but we know the history of Belichick vs. young QBs
NYJ A Look Ahead: BUF BYE @NE - We could come back to the Jets after their bye
Tennessee (at Houston) - 3 sacks, 1 INT
With Malik Willis at quarterback, the Titans weren’t able to force the Texans into a frantic come-from-behind game script, but the result was still acceptable.
A Look Ahead: @KC DEN @GB - So long for now Titans D/ST
Seattle (vs New York Giants) - 5 sacks, 2 fumble recoveries
Two Richie James punt miscues made the Seahawks D/ST day.
A Look Ahead: @ARI @TB BYE - The Seahawks D/ST was a huge success vs Arizona the first time around, but DeAndre Hopkins wasn’t active…
Los Angeles Rams (vs San Francisco) - 3 sacks
The Rams defense was on their heels all day as the 49ers embraced Christian McCaffrey’s multifaceted talents. The 49ers defense wasn’t any better for fantasy, so this ended up being a game to avoid.
A Look Ahead: @TB ARI @NO - The Rams are a bottom tier D/ST
Arizona (at Minnesota) - 3 sacks, 1 fumble recovery
No D/ST touchdowns, but still an acceptable result.
A Look Ahead: SEA @LAR SF - You could do worse than playing the Arizona D/ST this week.
Miami (at Detroit) - 1 sack
As I advised last week, if Amon-Ra St. Brown and D’Andre Swift returned, the Lions offensive prowess would too, and they did, and it did. The Dolphins D/ST was the worst play of the week.
A Look Ahead: @CHI CLE BYE - Justin Fields isn’t a tomato can anymore. Pass.
Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda
New Orleans (vs Las Vegas) - 4 sacks, 1 INT, 0 pts allowed
Remember the west coast teams playing early games narrative? It can still work.
Cleveland (vs Cincinnati) - 5 sacks, 1 fumble recovery, 1 INT
Turns out Ja’Marr Chase was the key to the Bengals offense
Minnesota (vs Arizona) - 4 sacks, 1 fumble recovery, 2 INT
Kyler Murray’s wide-open style of play will help everyone’s fantasy production, including D/STs.
Week 9 Candidates
Kansas City (vs Tennessee)
A Look Ahead: JAX @LAC LAR - The Chiefs could be an every-week start from here on out
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