If you missed out on a “stud” defense because you were mining for gold elsewhere, you can still find defenses with upside to finish the season.
Here is a list of teams which can be had on a lot of waiver wires and can either stand on their own or, more conservatively, work together as a Team Defense by Committee (from here on out referred to by TDB).
Three of them you can find on the preceding page as well.
Mix and match as you like.
San Diego Chargers for Week 11 (Dolphins), Week 13 (Bengals), Week 14 (Giants) and Week 16 (Raiders)
The Chargers are the shakiest of the bunch, and a group I like best as part of a TDB.
We talked about the Miami Dolphins already, but to reiterate, expect plenty of sacks and potentially some turnovers.
The Bengals look to be a team spinning out of control with a quarterback who is tossing a ton of interceptions. If that changes, the Chargers lose a bit of luster, but Eli Manning is turning over balls at a record pace and the Raiders are, well, the Raiders, so the rest of the matchups are great
Overall, this defense looks like one which can put up some nice fantasy points to close the year.
New York Jets for Week 11 (Buffalo), Week 13 (Dolphins), Week 14 (Raiders) and Week 16 (Browns)
As I said in the last slide, I like the Jets’ matchup this week quite a bit. Then add in a Dolphins team which will always come to play the Jets, but will struggle to keep the defensive line away from its quarterback, and a Raiders team which as allowed 36 sacks to date, and the Jets are a defense which might stand on its own to close your fantasy season.
The Cleveland game in Week 16 could end up being shakier than it looks now. The Browns allow their quarterbacks to get hit a lot (71 quarterback hits to date) and sacked a bunch (30 so far), but we only have a vague sense of what Jason Campbell can do as quarterback.
So that offense might end up better than we think.
But aside from that question mark, this is a good defense to own, with 27 sacks to its credit this year.
I’m also intrigued by Josh Cribbs as a kick and punt returner. That could add some points in leagues which score for it.
Cleveland Browns for Week 11 (Bengals), Week 12 (Steelers), Week 13 (Jaguars) and Week 16 (Jets)
Aside from the Bengals, which we covered on the previous page, the Browns have a nice matchup against a Steelers offensive line which is getting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger killed.
The Steelers let the Buffalo Bills sack the quarterback four times last week (in a win!). The New England Patriots sacked him five times, as did the Oakland Raiders.
That’s a great defensive matchup.
The Jaguars are the Jaguars and, like most of the juicy matchups, have a poor offensive line which has allowed a ton of sacks (31 to date).
Finally, let’s talk the New York Jets. This one could go either way by the time Week 16 rolls around because it sort of depends on Geno Smith, whose play will in turn be determined in large part by the offensive line.
Neither has been consistent this year. The offensive line allowed just two sacks the week before the bye and, consequently, Smith threw no interceptions. Against Cincinnati in Week 8, the line allowed five sacks, the defense got behind and Smith threw two picks.
If the Jets want to make the playoffs, they need to settle down both the line and Smith. Whether they can on a consistent basis will tell you if the Browns are worth a start in Week 16.
My bet is the Browns will be.
The Browns are potentially a stand-alone fantasy defense, but would be excellent in a TDB.
Arizona Cardinals for Week 11 (Jaguars), Week 14 (Rams) and Week 15 (Titans)
The Arizona Cardinals have put together a solid defensive unit, and have done so a little under the radar.
They’re ranked a middle-of-the-road No. 13 against the pass, but they also have an impressive 12 interceptions and 26 sacks.
The Jaguars are always a good matchup for adding to the totals for both, and with Kellen Clemens at the helm, St. Louis’ yards-against totals will probably be fairly low for the Cardinals defense.
The Titans’ Ryan Fitzpatrick looks about as bad as he did in Buffalo, so the Week 15 matchup is attractive as well.
Pair this with another defense and you should be golden.
Buffalo Bills for Week 11 (Jets), Week 13 (Falcons), Week 14 (Buccaneers), Week 15 (Jaguars) and Week 16 (Dolphins)
It’s hard to say whether I like Buffalo for Week 11 or not. It’s a bit risky because, as I said earlier, which Jets team comes out?
The Jets upset the New Orleans Saints, and that usually means a letdown the next week. On the other hand, coming out of a bye, they could play pretty sharp.
Still, once you decide on this week, there’s little doubt the rest of the way.
Atlanta’s Matt Ryan has tossed a few interceptions here and there and has been sacked enough for me to like the Bills against him.
The Jaguars are, as I have said before, a pretty good start for any defense.
Meanwhile, the Dolphins may not be playing for anything in Week 16, and even if they are, you can bet the offensive line will still be struggling.