Sigmund Bloom provides insight into a different approach of managing your fantasy team’s defense.
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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. Now, let’s see what are the best options for rental defenses during Week 9.
Week 9 Rent-a-Defense Candidates
**If the Packers aren’t owned, they are the #1 D/ST play this week with Arizona coming to Lambeau**
1. Seattle (vs. Minnesota)
At one time considered an elite defense, the Seahawks have had three straight middling fantasy weeks, so there’s a chance you can scoop them up for this great home matchup against Christian Ponder and the Vikings. Ponder has been loose with the ball as of late, and the Seahawks have one of the best home field advantages in the league. The Vikings have allowed 18 sacks+takeaways in the last three games, with no less than five allowed in any of them
Coming up: NYJ, BYE, @MIA – Getting to use Seattle at home again for the matchup vs. the Jets next week is another reason that they are the #1 rent-a-defense this week.
2. New Orleans (vs. Philadelphia)
Judging by the Eagles effort last week, they want Andy Reid to get fired, and they want Michael Vick to get benched. Whether it’s Vick (who actually committed no turnovers last week) or rookie Nick Foles, you have to like the chances of the Superdome crowd helping the Saints limp defense get some sacks and takeaways in this game. The Saints had totals of six and seven defensive big plays in their last two home contests, and the conditions are there for another big game this week.
Coming up: ATL, @OAK, SF – Away from home against the Falcons? No thanks.
3. Washington (vs. Carolina)
The Panthers have only kept their sacks+turnovers number under four once this year. The Redskins have defensive touchdowns in each of their last three home games. If the Redskins offense can actually catch the ball for Robert Griffin III, they should stake the defense to a lead and give them a chance to get a score for the fourth straight home contest.
Coming up: BYE, PHI, @DAL – Just a one-week play.
4. Cleveland (vs. Baltimore)
The Ravens have allowed total sack+takeaway numbers of five and six in their last two road contests, and the Browns had four sacks and an interception against the Ravens in Baltimore earlier this year. They should be up for this one coming off of a sloppy win vs. San Diego
Coming up: BYE, @DAL, PIT – We’ll let the Browns go, but make a note that they play the Chiefs at home in week 14.
5. San Diego (vs. Kansas City)
Will Kansas City hold a lead for any plays from scrimmage this year? The play-from-behind Chiefs are the second worst team in the league at limiting sacks+turnovers, with an average of six allowed on the road, and no less than four in any of their three road games. The Chargers defense has been toothless, but this is a chance for them to do what almost every team does against the Chiefs – get better.
Coming up: @TB, @DEN, BAL – One and done.
It’s time to take a look ahead to the fantasy playoffs. Even if you don’t need the Seattle Seahawks this week, stash them away for weeks 14-16 if you can afford the roster. The laughable offensive line of the Cardinals comes to town in week 14, then a trip to a possible blizzard and sometimes generous Ryan Fitzpatrick’s house in Buffalo in week 15, and finally back home for a matchup against the 49ers in week 16.
If the Seahawks aren’t available, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a nice trio of the Eagles at home, the Saints in New Orleans, and the Rams at home in the fantasy playoffs. The Washington Redskins get the Ravens at home, the Browns in Cleveland in what could be a bad weather game, and one of the best week 16 matchups, the Eagles at home. We’ll be revisiting this question as more good matchups on offense emerge. Quarterback injuries have been minimal this season, but they usually create good D/ST matchups as the year goes on.
For a short term pickup, look to the once-feared Pittsburgh Steelers, who have Kansas City and Baltimore coming to town in weeks 10 and 11, and then go to Cleveland in week 12.