The Lineup Cheat Sheet combines Fantasy analysis and game-flow predictions with a confidence scale to give you a definitive answer on who to start in your leagues.
The higher the number next to a player’s name, the more confident you should be to start him. If a player isn’t listed, don’t start him.
To find a specific player, use your search function — CTRL-F on PCs and Command-F on Macs. If neither of those are options, or if you’re on a mobile device, you can scroll by game.
If you’re still unsure, just send a note on Twitter (@daverichard) and I’ll give it a look, time permitting.
Texans at Bengals
|Deshaun Watson||(4.0)||Andy Dalton||(4.8)|
|Lamar Miller||(6.9)||Jeremy Hill||(6.0)|
|DeAndre Hopkins||(6.6)||Giovani Bernard||(5.6)|
|Jaelen Strong||(3.3)||Joe Mixon||(4.7)|
|Texans DST||(8.4)||A.J. Green||(8.9)|
Houston has played Cincy each of the last three seasons and scored 13 or fewer points each time. Deshaun Watson makes sense as a mobile passer behind a bad offensive line but his first start on a short week against an aggressive Bengals front could make for some tough times. Watson had the sense to force-feed Hopkins last week but turned 11 targets into six completions and just 48 yards, with a short touchdown. Hopkins has one touchdown and less than 60 yards in three career games against the Bengals and has been below 60 yards in 12 of his last 17 overall.
Cardinals at Colts
|Carson Palmer||(6.8)||Jacoby Brissett||(3.1)|
|Kerwynn Williams||(6.7)||Frank Gore||(5.3)|
|Larry Fitzgerald||(8.0)||Marlon Mack||(4.1)|
|John Brown||(6.8)||T.Y. Hilton||(5.0)|
|J.J. Nelson||(2.2)||Donte Moncrief||(3.7)|
|Cardinals DST||(9.3)||Jack Doyle||(5.1)|
If Williams had matchups like this every week then he would have been our favorite waiver rusher. But David Johnson’s replacement will take on a weak Colts run defense that allowed 113 total yards and two touchdowns to the Rams last week. Arizona’s offensive line is stronger than L.A.’s and Williams should see pretty much every carry for the Birds. Expect him to average closer to 4.0 yards per carry with a solid shot to score.
Bills at Panthers
|Tyrod Taylor||(5.4)||Cam Newton||(7.4)|
|LeSean McCoy||(8.6)||Christian McCaffrey||(7.9)|
|Mike Tolbert||(3.7)||Jonathan Stewart||(5.7)|
|Zay Jones||(4.9)||Kelvin Benjamin||(7.4)|
|Jordan Matthews||(4.7)||Greg Olsen||(7.9)|
|Charles Clay||(7.1)||Panthers DST||(7.5)|
If you streamed Clay last week, keep him around for this week. It’s pretty clear Tyrod Taylor is most comfortable with him, firing a team-high nine targets last week. It’s also a safe bet that Taylor will have plenty of intel on the Panthers defense since Bills coach Sean McDermott coordinated them the past six seasons. Specifically, Clay’s matchups against the likes of Thomas Davis and Kurt Coleman could be appealing — combined they allowed 10 of 13 receptions last week. Clay has a shot to score for the second game in a row.
Bears at Buccaneers
|Mike Glennon||(3.8)||Jameis Winston||(7.0)|
|Jordan Howard||(7.8)||Jacquizz Rodgers||(7.1)|
|Tarik Cohen||(6.4)||Mike Evans||(9.4)|
|Kendall Wright||(5.3)||DeSean Jackson||(7.5)|
|Deonte Thompson||(2.1)||Cameron Brate||(6.7)|
|Zach Miller||(4.5)||Buccaneers DST||(5.3)|
Forget about Austin Hooper’s two big grabs last week — those plays came on major defensive breakdowns that figure to get corrected. Instead, check out Brate’s matchups against Bears safety Quintin Demps and backup inside linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski. The ‘backer is a liability in pass coverage and the safety gives up nearly half-a-foot and 30 pounds. Brate’s going to get some red-zone targets for sure.
Rodgers figures to be Tampa Bay’s main running back for the next three weeks and this is the easiest matchup he’ll face. Chicago was tough against the run last week, holding Atlanta’s backs to 53 yards on 20 carries, but it also allowed a touchdown and will play without starting inside linebacker Jerrell Freeman. Rodgers’ heavy workload should push him to double digits in Fantasy points.
Browns at Ravens
|DeShone Kizer||(4.2)||Joe Flacco||(5.6)|
|Isaiah Crowell||(6.6)||Terrance West||(8.4)|
|Duke Johnson||(3.5)||Javorius Allen||(6.1)|
|Corey Coleman||(7.2)||Jeremy Maclin||(7.3)|
|Kenny Britt||(3.9)||Mike Wallace||(4.6)|
|Browns DST||(3.7)||Ravens DST||(9.2)|
Maclin’s catch-and-run for a touchdown last week could be viewed as a fluke, but his matchup this Sunday should be anything but. The Ravens won’t fear any of the Browns cornerback, but Joe Flacco should like the matchup between Maclin and slot corner Briean Boddy-Calhoun to his liking. Calhoun allowed five catches for 77 yards and two touchdowns in a game against Baltimore last year according to Pro Football Focus. Maclin already landed nearly one-fourth of Flacco’s targets last week and should be in line for more.
Vikings at Steelers
|Sam Bradford||(6.3)||Ben Roethlisberger||(7.8)|
|Dalvin Cook||(7.0)||Le’Veon Bell||(9.5)|
|Stefon Diggs||(7.9)||Antonio Brown||(9.2)|
|Adam Thielen||(7.1)||Martavis Bryant||(8.4)|
|Kyle Rudolph||(7.7)||Jesse James||(4.3)|
|Vikings DST||(7.0)||Steelers DST||(8.0)|
Thielen has over 100 yards in three of his last five games — and fewer than 10 yards in his other two. Don’t expect him to be this feast-or-famine anymore after his coming-out party against the Saints last week. Pro Football Focus says Joe Haden allowed 109 yards in coverage to the Browns in Week 1, so whether it’s Stefon Diggs or Thielen, expect Sam Bradford to target that side of the field. Both receivers have potential for 10-plus Fantasy points.
Patriots at Saints
|Tom Brady||(9.3)||Drew Brees||(8.2)|
|Mike Gillislee||(7.6)||Mark Ingram||(6.8)|
|James White||(5.4)||Alvin Kamara||(5.0)|
|Rex Burkhead||(4.6)||Adrian Peterson||(4.0)|
|Brandin Cooks||(9.3)||Michael Thomas||(8.2)|
|Chris Hogan||(6.1)||Ted Ginn||(5.4)|
|Rob Gronkowski||(9.0)||Coby Fleener||(6.5)|
|Patriots DST||(6.3)||Saints DST||(2.3)|
Hogan had just five targets last week and did diddly squat with them. This matchup should be different. The Saints secondary just made Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen look like Randy Moss and Cris Carter — there’s no doubt Tom Brady is going to focus on his receivers given their sweet matchup. It gets even better if Danny Amendola isn’t able to play.
Sneaky PPR Sleeper
These teams don’t play each other very often, but two consistencies in Drew Brees’ touchdowns against Belichick’s Patriots involve throwing to the running backs and taking shots down the field. New England’s front seven wasn’t overly impressive against the Chiefs and Alvin Kamara has speed and hands to take advantage of them. Mark Ingram should end up being just fine for Fantasy purposes, but Kamara could be a difference-maker in his home debut.
Eagles at Chiefs
|Carson Wentz||(6.9)||Alex Smith||(6.4)|
|LeGarrette Blount||(6.5)||Kareem Hunt||(8.5)|
|Darren Sproles||(4.2)||Tyreek Hill||(8.8)|
|Wendell Smallwood||(3.8)||Chris Conley||(2.5)|
|Alshon Jeffery||(7.8)||Travis Kelce||(8.3)|
|Nelson Agholor||(4.0)||Chiefs DST||(6.1)|
As a Fantasy option, Blount is about as appealing as meatloaf. But this meatloaf can score touchdowns and the Chiefs allowed three short-yardage scores to running backs in Week 1. Kansas City won’t give up a slew of yardage to Blount but figure the big guy gets a couple of chances to burrow for a score.
Titans at Jaguars
|Marcus Mariota||(7.1)||Blake Bortles||(4.6)|
|DeMarco Murray||(8.3)||Leonard Fournette||(9.2)|
|Corey Davis||(6.3)||Marqise Lee||(4.8)|
|Rishard Matthews||(5.5)||Allen Hurns||(2.4)|
|Eric Decker||(4.5)||Jaguars DST||(6.7)|
The Titans have connected for multiple passing scores in each of their last three against the Jaguars. Delanie Walker is a pretty safe bet for one and Davis might be the best option for the other. Jacksonville’s secondary certainly held down the Houston pass game last week but that wound up being a one-man show — plus the unit drew a bunch of penalties. Davis led the Titans in targets last week with 10 and should make his biggest impact against cornerback A.J. Bouye. He’s worth trusting as a No. 3 receiver.
Just a hunch: The Jaguars will throw a bit more this week than last. If that’s the case then Lee should see favorable matchups all over the field. Playing mostly as an outside receiver, Lee will see a bunch of rookie corner Adoree Jackson and veteran Brice McCain. Figure the Jaguars to take a couple of shots at McCain with Lee downfield. Even if you don’t start him, stash him. You might be glad you did after this game.
Dolphins at Chargers
|Jay Cutler||(5.2)||Philip Rivers||(8.4)|
|Jay Ajayi||(8.1)||Melvin Gordon||(9.4)|
|DeVante Parker||(6.5)||Keenan Allen||(8.6)|
|Jarvis Landry||(5.9)||Tyrell Williams||(7.7)|
|Kenny Stills||(4.2)||Travis Benjamin||(3.2)|
|Julius Thomas||(5.5)||Hunter Henry||(6.9)|
|Dolphins DST||(4.2)||Antonio Gates||(5.7)|
Williams led all Chargers’ skill players in playing time last week, missing only four snaps. He’s their No. 2 receiver and figures to get some deep targets from Philip Rivers against an underwhelming Dolphins secondary. Rivers has scorched the Dolphins for three touchdowns in each of the past two seasons and hit up Williams for 125 yards and a score in 2016. It would be surprising to see him do that well, but 70 yards and a touchdown shouldn’t be too far out of reach.
Jets at Raiders
|Josh McCown||(3.6)||Derek Carr||(9.1)|
|Bilal Powell||(5.8)||Marshawn Lynch||(9.6)|
|Matt Forte||(3.6)||Amari Cooper||(9.1)|
|Robby Anderson||(4.3)||Michael Crabtree||(8.5)|
|Jermaine Kearse||(4.1)||Seth Roberts||(2.0)|
|ArDarius Stewart||(2.3)||Jared Cook||(6.3)|
|Austin Seferian-Jenkins||(6.1)||Raiders DST||(8.1)|
For the first time ever in this column, we’re highlighting a kicker. Not just a kicker, but a rookie kicker. But not just any kicker — a kicker on a Raiders squad with a dominant offense versus a limp Jets defense. After hitting four last week, Tavecchio should come up with at least three field goals and three extra points against Gang Green. Not bad for a guy you can grab off waivers.
Cowboys at Broncos
|Dak Prescott||(6.0)||Trevor Siemian||(4.4)|
|Ezekiel Elliott||(9.7)||C.J. Anderson||(7.7)|
|Dez Bryant||(6.9)||Jamaal Charles||(3.4)|
|Cole Beasley||(3.6)||Demaryius Thomas||(8.3)|
|Terrance Williams||(2.9)||Emmanuel Sanders||(5.6)|
|Jason Witten||(5.9)||Broncos DST||(7.4)|
You already know the reputation of the Broncos pass defense. True, they allowed three touchdowns last week, but two came off offensive turnovers. They also held Philip Rivers to a weak 5.8 yards per pass attempt. Dak and Dez are bound for big days soon, but their early-season schedule was a deterrent we told you about during the summer. It doesn’t help that Prescott got sacked once every 13 pass attempts on the road in 2016.
Sanders nearly had a touchdown in Week 1 while lining up all over the field. This is the kind of matchup where the Broncos will try to get Sanders involved on crossing and slant routes against slower linebackers (the Giants tried the same thing last week). It means he won’t have many deep ball chances since the offensive line is still a work in progress for Denver. Volume is an issue for Sanders — he has one game in his last six with more than three catches — so don’t expect huge numbers.
49ers at Seahawks
|Brian Hoyer||(3.0)||Russell Wilson||(8.9)|
|Carlos Hyde||(4.9)||Thomas Rawls||(6.65)|
|Pierre Garcon||(5.1)||Chris Carson||(4.05)|
|Marquise Goodwin||(2.7)||Eddie Lacy||(3.9)|
|49ers DST||(2.6)||Doug Baldwin||(9.0)|
Take away Ty Montgomery’s touchdown after a Seattle turnover last week and he had 90 total yards. Hyde would be lucky to land that — he had 103 rush yards last year at Seattle thanks to a heaping dose of garbage-time touches by then-coach Chip Kelly. Current Niners coach Kyle Shanahan illustrated last week that he won’t do the same, giving Hyde one carry in the fourth quarter of a blowout loss. If you start him, you need to get real lucky.
Richardson is one of my favorite stash candidates. Last week he led all Seattle receivers in targets with seven, grabbing four passes for 59 yards. Of the seven targets, three were deep, including two in the fourth quarter. I’m not convinced the 49ers pass defense is that great, and it wouldn’t be a total shock to see the Seahawks need Russell Wilson to throw to victory.
Redskins at Rams
|Kirk Cousins||(7.6)||Jared Goff||(5.0)|
|Rob Kelley||(4.8)||Todd Gurley||(9.1)|
|Chris Thompson||(4.4)||Cooper Kupp||(6.4)|
|Terrelle Pryor||(8.7)||Sammy Watkins||(6.0)|
|Jamison Crowder||(6.7)||Rams DST||(7.6)|
I’m not ready to anoint the Rams pass defense as legendary because they held Scott Tolzien to 128 passing yards in Week 1. Los Angeles’ secondary is questionable on talent after left corner Trumaine Johnson. Given the linebackers for the Rams, I’d expect a big dose of Jordan Reed over the middle and down the hashes. Besides, it’s not like Washington will be able to run much against a Rams run defense that will get tackle Aaron Donald back.
Packers at Falcons
|Aaron Rodgers||(9.6)||Matt Ryan||(9.5)|
|Ty Montgomery||(8.2)||Devonta Freeman||(9.0)|
|Jordy Nelson||(9.5)||Tevin Coleman||(5.1)|
|Davante Adams||(8.1)||Julio Jones||(9.7)|
|Randall Cobb||(7.0)||Mohamed Sanu||(3.8)|
|Martellus Bennett||(7.3)||Taylor Gabriel||(3.5)|
|Packers DST||(4.9)||Austin Hooper||(4.7)|
Aaron Rodgers has lit up the Falcons pass defense for at least three touchdowns in two matchups since Dan Quinn took over in Atlanta. Plus, Quinn’s scheme is very similar to the Seahawks’ scheme Rodgers just faced, but without as much elite talent. It should open Cobb for another big dose of work like he had last week, when he led the Packers in targets, catches and yards. He’s a safer start than Dez Bryant, believe it or not.
Lions at Giants
|Matthew Stafford||(6.5)||Eli Manning||(5.8)|
|Theo Riddick||(5.5)||Shane Vereen||(4.5)|
|Ameer Abdullah||(5.2)||Paul Perkins||(4.3)|
|Golden Tate||(7.6)||Odell Beckham||(9.6)|
|Kenny Golladay||(5.7)||Brandon Marshall||(6.2)|
|Marvin Jones||(3.1)||Sterling Shepard||(5.2)|
|Eric Ebron||(4.9)||Evan Engram||(5.3)|
|Lions DST||(5.9)||Giants DST||(7.7)|
For as bad of a game Carson Palmer had last week against the Lions, he was only sacked once and hit four times over 48 pass attempts. Eli Manning should fare better than Palmer did if he can stay upright, and the coverage Brandon Marshall gets should be much lighter since Odell Beckham will be back on the field. A lot of folks will be scared to start Marshall after his one-catch outing last week. Don’t be — this should be a fairly high-scoring game with lots of opportunities for Marshall to shine.