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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.
**Buffalo, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, New Orleans, and Dallas have great matchups but are assumed to be rostered**
Week 9 Results
Pittsburgh (vs Tennessee) - 4 sacks, 1 INT
The Steelers defense did enough to get the win, and they weren’t a fantasy dud, but Will Levis was better than expected.
A Look Ahead: GB @CLE @CIN - Yes, we will leave the Steelers in against Jordan Love.
New Orleans (vs Chicago) - 2 sacks, 2 fumble recoveries, 3 INT
Tyson Bagent is just the kind of backup quarterback we love for fantasy - bold enough to keep the offense viable but also to keep opposing defenses strong plays.
A Look Ahead: @MIN BYE @ATL - Joshua Dobbs is a great story, but playing the Saints D/ST against him is still a good idea.
Cleveland (vs Arizona) - 7 sacks, 1 fumble recovery, 2 INT, 0 pts allowed
The Browns defense is good. Clayton Tune is not.
A Look Ahead: @BAL PIT @DEN - If you have to play the Browns D/ST this week against Lamar Jackson to have them for the rest of the season, do it.
Green Bay (vs LA Rams) - 1 sack, 1 fumble recovery, 1 INT, 3 pts allowed
A Look Ahead: @PIT LAC @DET - We won’t go back to the Packers until Week 14 against the Giants
NY Giants (at Las Vegas) - Nada. Zilch. Bupkis.
We had the wrong side of this one, as Daniel Jones went down with an ACL tear.
A Look Ahead: @DAL @WAS NE - That’ll be all for the Giants D/ST this season.
LA Chargers (at NY Jets) - 8 sacks, 3 fumble recoveries, 1 ST TD, 6 pts allowed
NY Jets (vs LA Chargers) - 5 sacks
The Jets defense was good, but they were playing from behind, and the Chargers offense was able to be conservative and safe with the ball. The Chargers defense got after Zach Wilson, and rookie Derius Davis returned a punt for a score to account for enough points to beat the Jets on his own.
LAC A Look Ahead: DET @GB BAL - We might not use the Chargers again this season.
NYJ A Look Ahead: @LV @BUF MIA - We’ll stick with the Jets this week against Aidan O’Connell.
Atlanta (vs Minnesota) - 1 safety, 4 sacks, 2 fumble recoveries
The Falcons defense knocked Jaren Hall out of the game and then immediately overwhelmed Joshua Dobbs for a safety before he got his bearings and led a stirring comeback win. It was a hit for fantasy but not as good as it could have been.
A Look Ahead: @ARI BYE NO - Kyler Murray is back, so the Falcons D/ST is back to the waiver wire.
Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda
Indianapolis (at Carolina) - 4 sacks, 3 INT, 2 DEF TD
Kenny Moore scored twice on two Bryce Young pick sixes while the quarterback the Panthers passed on for Young broke the rookie passing record.
Las Vegas (vs NY Giants) - 8 sacks, 2 INT, 6 pts against
If we had known Tommy DeVito was going to play most of this game, we would have recommended the Raiders.
Kansas City (vs Miami - Germany) - 3 sacks, 1 fumble recovery, 1 DEF TD
Coaches hate it, but we love it when defensive players lateral after a turnover. This time, it turned into a touchdown for Bryan Cook.
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