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.
**Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles Rams should be played over rent-a-defenses but are assumed to be rostered**
Week 15 Results
Baltimore (vs Tampa Bay) - 1 sack, 1 INT
Jameis Winston and the Bucs offensive game plan is a lot less explosive and a lot less turnover prone now. This led to a D/ST dud despite the Ravens controlling the game for the most part. We’ll have to question Jameis Winston as a target for Week 16 now.
A Look Ahead: @LAC - Nope.
Seattle (at San Francisco) - 3 sacks, 1 fumble recovery
Nick Mullens does not look like a guy who most people weren’t even aware of to begin the season. He was night and day compared to a start against the Seahawks two weeks ago that had some wondering if he was going to get benched.
A Look Ahead: KC - No thanks.
Jacksonville (vs Washington) - 3 sacks, 1 ST TD
A Look Ahead: @MIA - not a preferred choice on the road and coming off of two so-so fantasy weeks
New Orleans (at Carolina) - 4 sacks, 1 INT, 1 fumble recovery
As the Saints offense has been on the decline, their defense has been on the rise
A Look Ahead: PIT - The Superdome + Road Ben = Championship Week Potential
Detroit (at Buffalo) - 1 sack
This ended up being a conservative game no few big mistakes by Josh Allen. We can’t assume starting a D/ST against the Bills is a good idea.
A Look Ahead: MIN - Pass.
Buffalo (vs Detroit) - Nada. Zilch. Zip.
Matthew Stafford was safe with the ball and the Lions didn’t give the Bills any chances to build momentum in this stalemate.
A Look Ahead: @NE - Uh uh
Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda
Atlanta (vs Arizona) - 7 sacks, 2 INT, 1 fumble recovery, 1 INT
Here’s to everyone who held onto the Rams for their Week 16 matchup with Arizona. Just hope that Josh Rosen doesn’t get benched.
Tennessee (at New York Giants) - 3 sacks, 1 INT, 1 fumble recovery, 0 pts allowed
Indianapolis (vs Dallas) - 3 sacks, 1 INT, 1 fumble recovery, 0 pts allowed
The little defense that could was strong at the goal line and didn’t give the Cowboys anything for free. They had an identical stat line to their rival Titans, and in an eerie twist, they’ll get the Titans Week 15 opponent and venue in Week 16, which we will try to take advantage of this week.
Miami (at Minnesota) - 2 sacks, 1 INT, 1 DEF TD
The Dolphins were never really in this game and didn’t have Xavien Howard, but that didn’t stop them from getting a pick six.
Washington (at Jacksonville) - 6 sacks, 1 INT, 1 fumble recovery
Blake Bortles got benched for this?
Week 16 Candidates
**Chicago, Houston, and the Los Angeles Rams should be played over rent-a-defenses but are assumed to be rostered**
Tennessee (vs Washington)
Jacksonville didn’t come through against Josh Johnson, but the Titans defense is coming on with multiple sacks in four straight weeks and under 300 net yards allowed in three straight. Derrick Henry should ensure a favorable game script in this one.
Indianapolis (at New York Giants)
The Colts were one of the best defenses in Week 15 and the Giants were one of the worst offenses even though they played at home. This one seems elementary.
New England (vs Buffalo)
A lot of people held the Patriots just for this matchup. The Patriots D/ST hasn’t been terrible at generating stats in the meantime and Josh Allen has settled down, but putting him on the road against Bill Belichick is a recipe for an embarrassing lesson.
Miami (vs Jacksonville)
This Dolphins team tends to make things happen at home, and Cody Kessler isn’t making anything happen but bad offensive performances. With the Dolphins still alive in the playoff hunt, this is another layup.
Minnesota (at Detroit)
The Vikings had ten sacks against Matthew Stafford earlier this year. Nuff said.
New Orleans (vs Pittsburgh)
The Steelers are still playing for their lives, but Road Ben can be generous in the giveaway column and the Superdome has caused more than one team to unravel this year.
Cleveland (vs Cincinnati)
Yes the Browns are still alive and now Jeff Driskel will be without his top two receivers. Cleveland could win this one in a laugher.
Week 17 Preemptive Pickups
**Chicago, Los Angeles Rams, and Houston are all assumed to be rostered**
Seattle (vs Arizona)
Kansas City (vs Oakland)
Pittsburgh (vs Cincinnati)
New Orleans (vs Carolina)