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.
Saints at Falcons
|Drew Brees||(7.3)||Matt Ryan||(7.2)|
|Alvin Kamara||(9.2)||Devonta Freeman||(8.2)|
|Mark Ingram||(8.3)||Tevin Coleman||(6.5)|
|Michael Thomas||(8.8)||Julio Jones||(8.6)|
|Ted Ginn||(5.5)||Mohamed Sanu||(5.2)|
New Orleans’ pass defense will be stronger if cornerback Marshon Lattimore returns, but its run defense has declined and should still be an issue. In the Saints’ past three games they’ve allowed two rushing scores, two receiving scores, 4.4 yards per carry and 10.2 yards per catch to running backs. No surprise, four rushers have hit 10-plus Fantasy points on the Saints in those three games. The short week should give the Falcons an even bigger edge on the ground. Freeman looked good in his return but had the same amount of touches as before his concussion. Coleman should have some decent opportunities and a shot at returning close to 10 Fantasy points.
Colts at Bills
|Jacoby Brissett||(3.6)||Nathan Peterman||(1.9)|
|Frank Gore||(6.9)||LeSean McCoy||(8.0)|
|T.Y. Hilton||(7.7)||Zay Jones||(4.5)|
|Donte Moncrief||(2.4)||Deonte Thompson||(4.3)|
|Jack Doyle||(4.8)||Charles Clay||(4.3)|
In the six games since the Bills traded away Marcell Dareus, they’ve allowed 5.2 yards per carry, 6.8 yards per catch and 12 rushing touchdowns to running backs. Eight different rushers racked up at least 10 Fantasy points. And just this week, quality run stopper Shaq Lawson was placed on injured reserve. I know trusting Frank Gore has its drawbacks, but he regularly gets a lot of work and has managed to put up decent numbers in favorable matchups. They don’t get much more favorable than this.
The Bills defense continues to lose pieces — top cornerback Tre’Davious White isn’t expected to play after the forearm delivered illegally from Rob Gronkowski last week and pass rusher Shaq Lawson was placed on injured reserve. That would mean Hilton would line up against the likes of E.J. Gaines, Leonard Johnson and Lafayette Pitts. Even with Jacoby Brissett as his quarterback, I’d take those matchups all day long. He is worth trying as a No. 2 receiver and is a great option in DFS.
Cowboys at Giants
|Dak Prescott||(7.5)||Eli Manning||(5.7)|
|Alfred Morris||(7.5)||Orleans Darkwa||(5.4)|
|Rod Smith||(3.8)||Sterling Shepard||(7.6)|
|Dez Bryant||(8.4)||Evan Engram||(7.8)|
There are two huge narratives at play here. One: Dak Prescott is “back” after throwing two touchdowns behind top-notch pass protection last week against the Redskins. Two: The Giants are “back” after firing Ben McAdoo and making defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo the interim head coach. Spagnuolo has been a master at limiting rushing quarterbacks — Prescott has yet to throw multiple scores or total any more than 18 Fantasy points in three meetings against the Giants. But Spags had a healthy defense for those games and Prescott had Ezekiel Elliott. Those two factors swing the matchup for Prescott, who figures to continue leading the offensive charge without a dominant run game. Tack on the extremely favorable matchup for tight end Jason Witten, and Prescott is worth trusting as a top-12 quarterback once again.
The Cowboys figure to roll out a trio of young cornerbacks on Sunday, likely putting Xavier Woods in the slot against Shepard. The rookie typically plays safety but is forced to move to the slot after the back injury to Orlando Scandrick. It should be a winnable matchup for Shepard, particularly with Eli Manning back under center. They’ve always clicked, and they should continue to considering that the Cowboys have allowed multiple touchdowns to receivers and at least eight Fantasy points to at least two receivers in each of their past three games.
Lions at Buccaneers
|Jake Rudock||(2.5)||Jameis Winston||(7.0)|
|Theo Riddick||(5.0)||Peyton Barber||(7.1)|
|Tion Green||(4.5)||Mike Evans||(8.5)|
|Marvin Jones||(6.7)||DeSean Jackson||(6.0)|
|Golden Tate||(5.9)||Cameron Brate||(7.0)|
Barber is a pretty decent-sized back with some good cutting ability, but make no mistake, he’s not explosive. I bet the Lions think they can slow him down, but the Lions haven’t been able to slow down anybody. In their past seven games they’ve averaged 4.6 yards per rush and 7.5 yards per grab allowed to running backs. But most importantly, they’ve allowed 10 rushing touchdowns, five from five yards or closer and all from inside the red zone. Barber seems like a safe bet to score and pick up at least 50 yards on the ground.
Raiders at Chiefs
|Derek Carr||(6.7)||Alex Smith||(8.3)|
|Marshawn Lynch||(7.4)||Kareem Hunt||(6.6)|
|Jalen Richard||(3.9)||Tyreek Hill||(8.7)|
|Michael Crabtree||(7.4)||Albert Wilson||(3.3)|
|Cordarrelle Patterson||(5.7)||Travis Kelce||(9.1)|
Oh, so now we’re supposed to believe that Smith’s bad games before last week just didn’t happen? Yes, yes we are. Smith found his mojo in Week 12 and should keep it going in a simple home matchup against a Raiders defense he diced up earlier this year. Half of the past six quarterbacks to play Oakland didn’t just score 20-plus Fantasy points, they scored 30, including Smith back in Week 7. Two of the three that didn’t hit 20 amassed 18 or 19 Fantasy points, and the only one to fall under 18 points was Geno Smith. Kansas City has seemingly forgotten about running the ball, dialing up 36.3 pass attempts per game versus 16.3 runs over its last three. Expect that trend to continue.
For five straight weeks, Hunt has delivered seven Fantasy points or fewer in non-PPR (10 or fewer in PPR). This has happened because the Chiefs’ offensive line has become woefully inept and the coaching staff simply isn’t giving Hunt the kind of chances it did earlier in the year (11 carries or fewer in three of his last four). Worse yet, the guy’s been given three red-zone carries in his past four games. Three!! Now, Oakland’s run defense isn’t so great, but it took Hunt over 20 touches to amass over 100 total yards back in Week 7 against this defense. Will he get that much this time?
49ers at Texans
|Jimmy Garoppolo||(6.5)||Tom Savage||(2.1)|
|Carlos Hyde||(7.6)||Lamar Miller||(8.4)|
|Matt Breida||(3.6)||Andre Ellington||(4.4)|
|Marquise Goodwin||(7.1)||DeAndre Hopkins||(9.1)|
|Trent Taylor||(4.7)||Stephen Anderson||(6.2)|
Houston has allowed nine deep pass plays of 20-plus yards over its past five games, six for touchdowns. That doesn’t include the five short pass plays that went for 20-plus yards, nor does it include a 22-yard pass on a fake punt. Goodwin has eight deep receptions of 20-plus yards credited to him this year, representing almost a quarter of his total catches. And last week he caught all eight of his team-high targets from Jimmy Garoppolo for 99 yards, all without having to run too deep. The belief is that Goodwin will continue to see a bunch of targets from Garoppolo, but the hope is that some of them will be long balls that Goodwin can turn into big Fantasy points.
Plain and simple, the Texans have run out of pass catchers. Will Fuller, Bruce Ellington, Braxton Miller, C.J. Fiedorowicz … that’s the list. They all were either inactive or hurt last week, forcing the 6-foot-2, 230-pound Anderson into a prominent role. He played a season-high 71 snaps but took looks in the slot on 60 percent of them, a sign that he’s not a typical tight end. He also notched career-highs in targets (12), catches (five) and yards (79) with a score. Now he’ll get to do it all over again versus a 49ers pass defense that has struggled with tight ends (and tight ends who play receiver) from Week 6 on. Anderson is a dynamite choice in DFS and a very good streaming option in Week 14 … and Week 15.
Packers at Browns
|Brett Hundley||(4.9)||DeShone Kizer||(4.3)|
|Jamaal Williams||(7.7)||Isaiah Crowell||(5.3)|
|Aaron Jones||(5.2)||Duke Johnson||(4.7)|
|Davante Adams||(8.2)||Josh Gordon||(8.3)|
|Randall Cobb||(4.2)||Corey Coleman||(5.0)|
|Jordy Nelson||(2.7)||David Njoku||(4.7)|
There isn’t a Packers defender who can contain Gordon. In fact, the only guy who can hold Gordon back is his quarterback, DeShone Kizer. He was off target on several throws to Gordon last week but might have just needed a game to really get into a rhythm with his receiver. No doubt he’s looking for Gordon after throwing 11 targets his way last week, tied for the most any Browns receiver has had in a game this year. Before Week 12, the Packers had allowed a receiver to score at least once in five straight games.
Bears at Bengals
|Mitchell Trubisky||(1.7)||Andy Dalton||(8.1)|
|Jordan Howard||(6.3)||Giovani Bernard||(7.0)|
|Tarik Cohen||(4.6)||A.J. Green||(9.9)|
|Dontrelle Inman||(4.0)||Brandon LaFell||(4.1)|
Howard will come into Week 14 without his best offensive lineman and into a tough matchup against the Bengals. In five games without right guard Kyle Long, Howard has been below 4.0 yards per carry four times, scored once and came up with 10-plus Fantasy points twice (never more than 12). He’s been held to five Fantasy points or fewer three times including a donut in Week 2. A larger concern is Howard’s lack of carries — 15 or less in each of his last four with three catches in that span. Since the Bears’ bye, Howard’s playing time has declined (never more than 31 snaps) while Tarik Cohen and Benny Cunningham take a little more of a share of the offense. Meanwhile, the Bengals have allowed five rushing scores to backs on the season and in the last month have held the Jaguars, Titans, Broncos and Steelers to under 4.2 yards per carry. And since the Bears moved to Mitchell Trubisky at quarterback, Howard has just three games with more than six Fantasy points (all double digits). Whether Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict plays or not, lower those expectations for Howard.
Vikings at Panthers
|Case Keenum||(6.1)||Cam Newton||(5.9)|
|Jerick McKinnon||(5.6)||Christian McCaffrey||(6.4)|
|Latavius Murray||(5.1)||Jonathan Stewart||(4.3)|
|Adam Thielen||(8.9)||Devin Funchess||(6.6)|
This is just a brutal matchup for Newton, particularly with his top receiver and tight end banged up with no other real help to support his stats outside of his running backs. But the larger concern is that he’s never been able to topple this defense, posting under 16 Fantasy points in each of two meetings against Mike Zimmer’s squad. He has more interceptions (four) than total touchdowns (two) and is even held in check as a runner when he plays them (under 50 yards each time). With so many interesting quarterbacks available to help you win, Newton’s not worth taking the chance on.
Redskins at Chargers
|Kirk Cousins||(5.5)||Philip Rivers||(9.0)|
|Samaje Perine||(7.3)||Melvin Gordon||(9.0)|
|Byron Marshall||(4.1)||Austin Ekeler||(4.8)|
|Jamison Crowder||(7.2)||Keenan Allen||(9.2)|
|Josh Doctson||(5.4)||Tyrell Williams||(3.5)|
|Ryan Grant||(4.9)||Travis Benjamin||(3.0)|
|Vernon Davis||(4.1)||Hunter Henry||(7.1)|
Yup, last week was a disaster for Crowder after letting a red-zone pass hit off his hands and into the mitts of a defender before fumbling on a punt return. But he still managed five receptions and maintained a nice receiving average. He also figures to see the lightest coverage of any Redskins receiver lining up against Chargers slot cornerback Desmond King, who has yet to allow a touchdown but has conceded a 77.5 percent catch rate when thrown on (per Pro Football Focus), nearly 30 percentage points higher than his teammates. Washington figures to play from behind and Kirk Cousins will need to lean on Crowder as a short-area target since his O-line might not be able to protect him for more than a few seconds. Crowder should remain involved and have a shot to give good production as a No. 2 receiver.
Jets at Broncos
|Josh McCown||(6.2)||Trevor Siemian||(2.3)|
|Matt Forte||(6.8)||C.J. Anderson||(5.7)|
|Bilal Powell||(6.1)||Devontae Booker||(4.2)|
|Robby Anderson||(7.8)||Emmanuel Sanders||(5.8)|
|Jermaine Kearse||(6.3)||Demaryius Thomas||(5.6)|
|Austin Seferian-Jenkins||(6.1)||Bennie Fowler||(2.6)|
Bilal Powell saw more snaps and touches last week, but the hunch is that a scoreless series near the goal line last week might give that job to Forte moving forward. Powell and Forte have already been splitting playing time over their past four games together, though Forte had an edge in receptions and plays on passing downs. This Denver run defense is a disaster — the usually pass-heavy Dolphins just ran all over them last week. That coupled with the Broncos’ inept offense should pave the way for the Jets to have an effective ground game. The hunch is that Forte is the better option, especially in PPR, but both are in play as good options this week.
Titans at Cardinals
|Marcus Mariota||(4.1)||Blaine Gabbert||(4.5)|
|Derrick Henry||(6.2)||Kerwynn Williams||(5.8)|
|DeMarco Murray||(5.5)||Larry Fitzgerald||(8.1)|
|Corey Davis||(3.4)||J.J. Nelson||(3.1)|
|Delanie Walker||(7.7)||Ricky Seals-Jones||(5.9)|
Williams is coming off of a very nice game, but it was against one of the league’s worst run defenses. By comparison, the Titans run defense has held opposing running backs to 3.1 yards per carry with two scores over their last six games. Even with a decent workload, Williams will have to score in order to help Fantasy owners — no running back has hit double-digits against the Titans without scoring. Williams has one score this year and four rushing touchdowns in four seasons.
Eagles at Rams
|Carson Wentz||(7.1)||Jared Goff||(7.7)|
|LeGarrette Blount||(6.0)||Todd Gurley||(9.1)|
|Jay Ajayi||(4.9)||Sammy Watkins||(6.1)|
|Alshon Jeffery||(8.0)||Cooper Kupp||(5.1)|
|Nelson Agholor||(5.3)||Josh Reynolds||(2.9)|
It looked like Blount got benched last week after not getting even a single snap from the mid-third quarter on, but his lack of playing time could have been because the Eagles were down by two scores, a scenario they’ve rarely been in this season. Offensive coordinator Frank Reich reiterated again this week that the team will continue to use a committee approach at running back because “it’s been working pretty well” for them. However, Blount is their primary guy near the goal line. Ajayi has all of one snap inside the five-yard line since he joined the Eagles in Week 9; Blount has five in that span (passing downs back Corey Clement has three). The key here is the matchup — Los Angeles has yielded 5.5 yards per carry to running backs with four touchdowns in its last three games. Those stats might single-handedly give the Eagles the motivation to go run-heavy on Sunday, which would certainly help Blount. Until Ajayi truly overtakes him as the lead guy, Blount is still the preferred rusher to use for Fantasy.
Seahawks at Jaguars
|Russell Wilson||(7.9)||Blake Bortles||(5.6)|
|Mike Davis||(5.9)||Leonard Fournette||(8.1)|
|J.D. McKissic||(4.0)||Marqise Lee||(7.0)|
|Doug Baldwin||(7.9)||Dede Westbrook||(3.9)|
|Tyler Lockett||(3.6)||Keelan Cole||(3.7)|
I must be out of my mind to like a Jaguars receiver playing against the Seahawks defense, but here I am going with it. In the three games since coming back to the Seahawks lineup, cornerback Byron Maxwell has allowed a 75 percent completion percentage for 192 yards and two touchdowns (according to Pro Football Focus). Despite this, he’s in no danger of being benched, so the Jaguars could opt to target him in the passing game against the quicker Lee. The wideout has nine-plus targets in four of his last five, scoring in three of those games. The Seahawks have given up a score to a receiver in each of their last three without Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor.
Ravens at Steelers
|Joe Flacco||(4.0)||Ben Roethlisberger||(8.7)|
|Alex Collins||(7.2)||Le’Veon Bell||(9.3)|
|Danny Woodhead||(3.7)||Antonio Brown||(9.3)|
|Mike Wallace||(6.9)||Martavis Bryant||(6.8)|
|Jeremy Maclin||(4.6)||Jesse James||(3.9)|
The Ravens will have their hands full defending the Steelers pass game without shut-down cornerback Jimmy Smith on the field. Baltimore is expected to play rookie Marlon Humphrey in Smith’s place, improving the matchup significantly for the Steelers. Bryant has always seemed to play better at home, which he did back in Week 12 when he scored his second touchdown of the season in a game JuJu Smith-Schuster missed. Smith-Schuster won’t play again this Sunday and Bryant is a cinch to see a lot of single coverage given the role he has opposite Antonio Brown. With six targets in each of his last two, he’s worth trotting out as a Flex or No. 3 receiver.
Patriots at Dolphins
|Tom Brady||(9.2)||Jay Cutler||(4.7)|
|Dion Lewis||(7.9)||Kenyan Drake||(6.7)|
|Rex Burkhead||(7.8)||Jarvis Landry||(7.5)|
|Brandin Cooks||(9.0)||Kenny Stills||(6.2)|
|Danny Amendola||(4.8)||DeVante Parker||(3.8)|
In three games since Adam Gase took over Miami’s offense, Dolphins running backs have averaged 3.4 yards per carry and 6.7 yards per catch against the Patriots with one rushing score, one receiving score total and a fumble lost in each game. Suffice to say, that’s not good! Drake looked like Gale Sayers last week, but he did it against a depleted Broncos defense. The Patriots already hold opposing running backs to under 20 carries a week because they dominate the scoreboard, and the same scenario should end up getting played out here. They’ve also given up one rushing touchdown to the position over their last seven. Drake’s worth starting but he’s got some downside.