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.
Numbers are based on non-PPR scoring but are typically applicable to PPR formats.
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 search by game.
If you're still unsure, just send a note on Twitter (@daverichard) using #CBSFLCS and I'll give it a look, time permitting.
49ers at Panthers
When Ron Rivera first met Chip Kelly in 2014, his defense was overwhelmed and the Panthers got demolished. A year later, the Panthers hosted Kelly's squad and demolished them. The familiarity with the scheme should have helped the Rams in Week 1 but didn't. The Panthers, coming off a tough loss, figure to be just as up to speed as the Rams were -- but better equipped. The Niners are in a tough spot flying across the country after winning on Monday night.
|Blaine Gabbert||(2.5)||Cam Newton||(9.2)|
|Carlos Hyde||(5.9)||Jonathan Stewart||(7.1)|
|Vance McDonald||(4.9)||Kelvin Benjamin||(8.0)|
|49ers DST||(2.9)||Greg Olsen||(7.3)|
The Hyde hype is strong after spiking the Rams for two scores, but there's just not enough track record to buy into Hyde as a solid starting option this week. In 11 career road games, Hyde has four rushing touchdowns and one game with more than 61 total yards (97 total at the Giants last October). Meanwhile the Panthers allowed just four rushing touchdowns and four 100-total-yard games to running backs in 2015, including the playoffs (10 games). It's an uphill battle for the touchdown-dependent Hyde, who is better off as a No. 3 Fantasy running back this week than a No. 1 or No. 2.
Cowboys at Redskins
The loser will be 0-2 in the NFC East, a tough way to start a season. After watching the Steelers find success through the air on Monday night against Washington, and Dez Bryant getting just five targets, expect the Cowboys to lean more on their star receiver. Bryant has a touchdown in three of his past four against Washington. Dallas also has a steady track record of running on Washington -- its lead back in each of its last six games had at least 10 Fantasy points (non-PPR) against the Skins. On the flip side, expect Kirk Cousins to have a little more time to throw and try to take aim at the deep middle of the Cowboys defense. It might be risky to call him a safe starter, but his pass catchers have a shot to do well after the Giants punched up three passing touchdowns.
|Dak Prescott||(2.9)||Kirk Cousins||(5.8)|
|Ezekiel Elliott||(8.5)||Matt Jones||(4.2)|
|Dez Bryant||(8.1)||Chris Thompson||(3.3)|
|Jason Witten||(5.1)||DeSean Jackson||(7.4)|
|Cowboys DST||(4.3)||Pierre Garcon||(3.7)|
For the second week in a row I'll highlight Jackson as a worthy No. 2 Fantasy receiver. After getting just over 100 yards last week, D-Jax takes on a Cowboys defense he has bombed for at least 13 Fantasy points (non-PPR) in each of his last three games where he actually played. The combination of a weak Cowboys pass rush, a good offensive line and a multitude of weapons will give Kirk Cousins chances at connecting with his best threat. Jackson is a better option than Jordy Nelson and Sammy Watkins.
Bengals at Steelers
It's tough to envision the Bengals finding a way to beat the Steelers in their 2016 home debut. Pittsburgh has won five of its past six, and 10 of its past 13 going back to 2010. But the Bengals have recently found ways to contain Ben Roethlisberger (15 Fantasy points or less in all three games last year against the Bengals) and the entire Steelers offense, holding them to 20.3 points per game over their three 2015 matchups. The Bengals allowed 340 total yards last week but just 189 through the air against the Jets. It would make sense for the Steelers to try and grind it out with DeAngelo Williams hitting the edges and making plays off the pass as Matt Forte did last week.
|Andy Dalton||(4.5)||Ben Roethlisberger||(7.4)|
|Jeremy Hill||(5.2)||DeAngelo Williams||(8.2)|
|Giovani Bernard||(4.8)||Antonio Brown||(9.1)|
|A.J. Green||(9.2)||Eli Rogers||(4.3)|
|Bengals DST||(4.9)||Jesse James||(5.5)|
One of the Steelers' secrets to beating the Bengals is containing their run game. Hill has one touchdown and one 100-yard game in five tries against Pittsburgh, and Bernard hasn't scored on the Steelers since 2013 and has never had more than 67 total yards against them in his career. In Week 1 we caught a glimpse of how willing the Bengals are to give up on the run when Hill and Gio combined for 14 carries and two catches. Naturally, Hill could always punch one in from the goal line to help his stat line, but aside from that it's difficult to expect either of these guys to do damage against a very good Steelers run defense. Both are no better than No. 3 options -- Justin Forsett has more appeal against a bad Browns run defense.
Saints at Giants
You remember their 2015 meeting, right? Drew Brees had seven touchdowns and Eli Manning had six! There was practically no defense! It was a true Fantasy Football bonanza, but that was then. The Giants' defense appears to have improved thanks to guys like defensive lineman Damon Harrison and cornerback Janoris Jenkins. They'll make life tougher on Brees, but it would be stunning for him to turn in a sub-par game. As for Manning, he should be a slam dunk for at least three touchdowns at home against a Saints defense that was not only a mess last week but lost its best cover corner to injury. Expect all of the Giants' receivers to break some big plays.
|Drew Brees||(8.5)||Eli Manning||(9.1)|
|Mark Ingram||(7.2)||Rashad Jennings||(6.5)|
|Brandin Cooks||(8.3)||Shane Vereen||(3.7)|
|Willie Snead||(6.9)||Odell Beckham||(10.0)|
|Michael Thomas||(4.1)||Sterling Shepard||(6.4)|
|Coby Fleener||(6.9)||Victor Cruz||(4.7)|
|Saints DST||(2.5)||Giants DST||(3.9)|
Everyone who drafted Coby Fleener started him, which means there was a disappointed person in every Fantasy league. On a day where Brees threw for 423 yards, Fleener had six. Pathetic! But the Giants are likely to play a similar brand of defense this week as they did last week, focusing on the receivers. Between that and the pass rush bearing down on Brees, it would make a ton of sense for the Saints to order a big dose of Fleener, whose size will be a factor. The Giants allowed nine touchdowns to tight ends last year -- including one to ex-Saints tight end Benjamin Watson. After Witten found room against them last week, give Fleener another shot this week. He's just outside my top five among tight ends in Week 2.
Dolphins at Patriots
Unbelievably, the Dolphins have to pick up the pieces after a tough loss at Seattle and play their division nemesis at Foxboro. Miami hasn't won there since 2008. As an offensive playcaller, Dolphins coach Adam Gase has faced off against Bill Belichick's defense three times in the past three years, winning once. He had Peyton Manning as his quarterback for those games, of course, yet still only had success running the ball one time. It should mean Ryan Tannehill will have to put together another gritty performance to have a chance at surprising the Patriots.
|Ryan Tannehill||(3.9)||Jimmy Garoppolo||(4.1)|
|Arian Foster||(5.7)||LeGarrette Blount||(6.6)|
|Jarvis Landry||(5.1)||James White||(4.5)|
|Kenny Stills||(3.4)||Julian Edelman||(7.3)|
|Dolphins DST||(4.1)||Chris Hogan||(3.9)|
Perhaps the most encouraging part of the Patriots' performance last week was their lack of hesitation to change their offense for Jimmy Garoppolo. That should mean excellent things for Edelman, who has a touchdown in three of his last four against the Dolphins with at least six catches for 80-plus yards in each of those four games. Edelman was a blitz beater last week for Garoppolo and he should be the same in Week 2. He should start ahead of T.Y. Hilton, Michael Floyd and Jeremy Maclin.
Chiefs at Texans
First in Week 1, then in the playoffs, the Chiefs came to Houston and knocked the Texans around. You can't help but think coach Bill O'Brien will drill into his players' heads that this is a major statement game against an AFC playoff contender (and a thorn in O'Brien's side). Before the Chiefs pulled off a miraculous overtime victory last week, they gave up 27 points to the Chargers, including three touchdowns to their running backs. The Texans will probably do more of what they did last week -- lean on Lamar Miller and take shots downfield. Protecting Brock Osweiler against a Chiefs pass rush that had just one sack last week will be the key. Also note: The Chiefs offensive line will play without both starting guards. That could impact the run game.
|Alex Smith||(5.7)||Brock Osweiler||(5.1)|
|Spencer Ware||(7.25)||Lamar Miller||(8.9)|
|Charcandrick West||(3.9)||DeAndre Hopkins||(8.4)|
|Jeremy Maclin||(6.6)||Will Fuller||(5.9)|
|Travis Kelce||(7.5)||Texans DST||(7.5)|
In those two Chiefs wins last season, Maclin totaled 81 yards with no touchdowns. He wasn't really needed in the playoff win -- that was a blowout -- but in the Week 1 matchup he watched Travis Kelce dominate with a pair of touchdowns. This time around, don't expect a blowout. In fact, don't be surprised if the Chiefs are chasing points like they were last week when Maclin scored and posted 63 yards. He could come close to those stats in Week 2.
Titans at Lions
The score looked bad, but the Titans defense only allowed 11 of the 25 points the team collectively gave up. Tennessee held Adrian Peterson to 1.6 measly yards per carry! But the Titans also couldn't sack Shaun Hill, a big red flag. Bank on the Lions pulling off their no-huddle approach to perfection and Matthew Stafford having a huge game. It doesn't mean Ameer Abdullah will be as successful, though. He dominated snaps only because Theo Riddick had to leave for a concussion test during the second quarter. More of a split should be expected this week.
|Marcus Mariota||(4.9)||Matthew Stafford||(8.1)|
|DeMarco Murray||(7.3)||Ameer Abdullah||(6.0)|
|Derrick Henry||(5.0)||Theo Riddick||(5.5)|
|Tajae Sharpe||(5.0)||Marvin Jones||(6.8)|
|Delanie Walker||(7.7)||Golden Tate||(5.2)|
|Titans DST||(3.1)||Eric Ebron||(6.3)|
Dwayne Allen and Jack Doyle made the Lions linebackers and safeties look silly last week. Expect the Titans to take advantage with Walker. Coach Mike Mularkey already spent time this week lamenting Walker's lack of work in Week 1. This is a good time to get back on track as the Titans figure to trail and will have to throw. Detroit's defensive personnel won't change this soon, making for some good opportunities for Walker.
Ravens at Browns
The Browns' defense was so bad last week that rookie Carson Wentz, after playing just 39 preseason snaps, carved them up for over 275 yards and two touchdowns. It would be a stunner for Joe Flacco to not play as well, even with a surprisingly bad track record against the Browns (only two games with multiple passing scores over his past seven). The clincher is the Ravens run game, which averaged 3.3 yards per carry among its running backs. Theoretically, Justin Forsett & Co. should pound the ball against the Browns and find some success, but chances are they'll be inconsistent, putting the ball in Flacco's hands to make plays.
|Joe Flacco||(5.9)||Josh McCown||(3.3)|
|Justin Forsett||(5.6)||Isaiah Crowell||(4.7)|
|Terrance West||(4.9)||Duke Johnson||(4.4)|
|Mike Wallace||(4.4)||Corey Coleman||(3.2)|
|Steve Smith||(3.6)||Gary Barnidge||(6.7)|
|Kamar Aiken||(3.3)||Browns DST||(2.3)|
It took one week for Robert Griffin III to make Fantasy owners regret drafting and/or starting Barnidge and Johnson. But Griffin is sidelined with a shoulder injury, giving the quarterback job right back into the hands of the guy who made Barnidge and Johnson quality options last season -- Josh McCown. With McCown, Barnidge scored six of his nine touchdowns and 86.1 yards per game in 2015. Johnson also thrived, averaging 5.4 receptions and 50.6 yards per game. Barnidge had at least 91 yards per game against the Ravens last season (one touchdown) and Johnson had at least 50 total yards per game. Obviously Barnidge should be counted on but Dukie could come through for 10 points or so in a PPR format.
Seahawks at Rams
Todd Gurley wasn't the problem last week -- but his offensive line and the Rams' overall play calling were. I know the knee-jerk reaction is to panic and figure Gurley is a lost cause, but Jeff Fisher -- as old-school as he might be -- isn't going to take a loss like the one he had in Week 1 lightly. Bank on the Rams regrouping against a familiar foe. They actually beat the Seahawks twice in 2015 -- one time without Gurley and once with him. He had 83 yards and a touchdown on the ground.
|Russell Wilson||(6.9)||Case Keenum||(2.3)|
|Thomas Rawls||(5.8)||Todd Gurley||(7.5)|
|Christine Michael||(4.3)||Tavon Austin||(4.0)|
|Doug Baldwin||(8.5)||Rams DST||(6.5)|
Wilson's last four games against the Rams have been wildly inconsistent. His Fantasy point totals: 24, 17, 7 and 40. But take away the numbers he had rushing in those games and the numbers get a little more grim: 21, 14, 7 and 24. Wilson's dealing with an ankle injury that turned him into a pocket passer in the fourth quarter of last week's game. You better believe the Rams' mammoth defensive line will test Wilson's mobility, along with the Seahawks' offensive line strength. You didn't draft Wilson to bench him, but passers like Blake Bortles and Philip Rivers have a rosier outlook.
Buccaneers at Cardinals
The most fascinating matchup to watch this week should be Mike Evans against Patrick Peterson. The Cardinals would be nuts to not put their best corner on Evans all game long. Last season, according to Pro Football Focus, Peterson allowed just three touchdowns while never more than 60 yards receiving in a game. This isn't enough to put Evans out of Fantasy lineups, especially since there's no guarantee of Peterson sticking to Evans, but expectations should be reeled in.
|Jameis Winston||(7.2)||Carson Palmer||(8.2)|
|Doug Martin||(6.9)||David Johnson||(9.5)|
|Charles Sims||(5.4)||Chris Johnson||(3.5)|
|Mike Evans||(7.8)||Larry Fitzgerald||(7.7)|
|Vincent Jackson||(3.8)||Michael Floyd||(6.7)|
|Buccaneers DST||(3.7)||John Brown||(4.2)|
We entered the season expecting the Cardinals to have one of the best defenses in the league. Then Jimmy Garoppolo managed to play effectively against them, picking on cornerbacks not named Peterson. Winston will have a shot at improving on Garoppolo's numbers, if only because the Cardinals pass rush could have a hard time getting to Winston and the secondary doesn't have enough talent to cover all of the Bucs' threats. The Buccaneers have a bunch of weapons beyond Evans, including three serviceable tight ends, two pass-catching running backs and savvy veteran Vincent Jackson (who was noticeably absent last week). While all of them aren't reliable Fantasy options, they should produce enough to help push Winston to more than respectable numbers. Half of Winston's road games included multiple touchdowns last year and he's already off to a good start on the road this year.
Jaguars at Chargers
This game might come down to which team has the ball last. Jacksonville's defensive debut was debunked by Aaron Rodgers last week as he turned broken plays into big scores to push the Packers to a win. The Chargers can pull off similar feats because of all the weapons they have, including Philip Rivers firing into their still-suspect secondary. The real challenge might come down to how well the Jaguars can run the ball. San Diego's run defense has looked awful since the preseason and the Chiefs' running backs made it pay last week. T.J. Yeldon has never been a dominant player but could end up producing good numbers provided he gets the opportunities.
|Blake Bortles||(6.8)||Philip Rivers||(8.05)|
|T.J. Yeldon||(6.4)||Melvin Gordon||(6.3)|
|Allen Robinson||(8.6)||Danny Woodhead||(6.1)|
|Allen Hurns||(4.8)||Travis Benjamin||(5.3)|
|Julius Thomas||(7.1)||Tyrell Williams||(4.5)|
|Jaguars DST||(3.5)||Antonio Gates||(6.5)|
Last week at halftime, the Chargers built a 21-3 lead on the road thanks in large part to Gordon's 39 yards on eight carries with two short-yardage scores. He even came out in the second half with 12 yards on his first three carries. But from there he had just 6 yards on three carries and the Chargers' lead fell apart. There's an idea that the Chargers got away from Gordon in the second half as a reaction to losing Keenan Allen to injury. After all, Danny Woodhead offers more in terms of flexibility as a receiver. So what happens now -- will the Chargers turn back to Gordon, or will their lack of confidence in their pass catchers put Woodhead on the field more? The Jaguars held the Packers to 3.8 yards per carry last week. The touchdown-dependent Gordon makes for a risky Fantasy option.
Falcons at Raiders
Expect a shootout. The Falcons posted 24 points and 374 total yards last week but allowed 31 points 371 total yards. Not to be outdone, the Raiders scored 35 points and racked up 486 yards but yielded 34 points and 507 total yards. So where exactly is the defense? The Raiders have the edge there in their front seven, getting after Matt Ryan and the Falcons run game. It's going to mean Ryan utilizing quick targets and short-area passing behind an improved offensive line if he wants to keep the Falcons in this one.
|Matt Ryan||(6.7)||Derek Carr||(8.0)|
|Devonta Freeman||(6.2)||Latavius Murray||(7.4)|
|Tevin Coleman||(5.3)||DeAndre Washington||(3.6)|
|Julio Jones||(8.7)||Amari Cooper||(9.0)|
|Mohamed Sanu||(5.4)||Michael Crabtree||(5.8)|
|Jacob Tamme||(3.9)||Clive Walford||(5.9)|
|Falcons DST||(3.3)||Raiders DST||(5.9)|
Freeman started more series than Coleman last week, but who knows if that will continue. Coleman looked better and shocked everyone (including the Bucs) with his receiving skills. We're probably looking at a rotation where they'll take turns by series, replacing each other after big plays or four or five plays in a row. If Freeman has an edge it's that he has proven his pass protection skills and did seem to have more snaps in the red zone than Coleman. Before you decide to start Freeman (as a low-end No. 2 Fantasy running back), try to acquire Coleman just in case a changing of the guard is coming.
Colts at Broncos
The pressure will be on Andrew Luck to play well against this solid Broncos defense, but he's done it before. He's thrown two touchdowns and at least 250 yards in each of three games over the last two seasons against Denver and has thrown at least two touchdowns in every single game he's played against a Wade Phillips-coached defense. Where Luck succeeds is using non-studs to score points. For instance, in those last three against Denver, his tight ends caught three scores (Dwayne Allen had two, Jack Doyle had one), Hakeem Nicks caught two and Ahmad Bradshaw caught one. Not a single wide receiver other than Nicks caught one and none had 100 yards receiving. Expect Luck to be resourceful, but his receiving threats could deliver major duds.
|Andrew Luck||(7.6)||Trevor Siemian||(2.7)|
|Frank Gore||(4.6)||C.J. Anderson||(9.4)|
|T.Y. Hilton||(6.0)||Devontae Booker||(4.0)|
|Donte Moncrief||(5.5)||Emmanuel Sanders||(5.6)|
|Phillip Dorsett||(4.9)||Demaryius Thomas||(5.45)|
|Dwayne Allen||(6.1)||Virgil Green||(4.5)|
|Colts DST||(2.7)||Broncos DST||(7.9)|
Thomas is banged up with a hip injury, but he's expected to play. Sanders is fine. It's a great matchup for both receivers to rack up yards after the catch, but it's the one who is healthy who should be trusted. That's Sanders. The Colts defense doesn't have much of a pass rush and is really lacking in the secondary. One play from each of these guys could make their week, but Thomas' health makes him a risk. Both are worth using as No. 3 options.
Packers at Vikings
Mike Zimmer has found ways to frustrate Aaron Rodgers through the years. In four games against the Vikings since Zimmer took over, Rodgers' Fantasy point totals have steadily declined from 24 to 23 to 20 to 16 points in their most recent matchup. Not having cornerback Xavier Rhodes will hurt Minnesota, but it's expected that Zimmer will use a ferocious pass rush and a strong secondary to hold Rodgers in check in the Vikings' new stadium debut.
|Aaron Rodgers||(7.7)||Sam Bradford||(3.1)|
|Eddie Lacy||(6.7)||Adrian Peterson||(8.3)|
|Jordy Nelson||(7.0)||Stefon Diggs||(6.1)|
|Randall Cobb||(5.7)||Kyle Rudolph||(5.3)|
|Jared Cook||(4.1)||Vikings DST||(6.3)|
If it wasn't bad enough that Cobb struggled in Week 1, conjuring up his disappointing 2015, then his matchup at Minnesota won't inspire you to start him. He's proven to be wholly touchdown-dependent in games against Minnesota, scoring in two of the four games since Mike Zimmer took over. Additionally, Cobb hasn't delivered 10 Fantasy points in a non-PPR or 15 points in a PPR even when he's scored against them. That's because he's averaged 3.87 catches and 38.3 yards per game in those four. If Jordy Nelson isn't stretching the Vikings defense, then Cobb's not getting open very easily. He's a risky start based on his history.
Eagles at Bears
Not that the Bears defense is anything to write home about, but they will be a step up in terms of talent and coaching from what Carson Wentz saw last week from the Browns. Chicago had two sacks and eight quarterback hits last week, which isn't so bad. They'll need to throw the book at Wentz -- if he has time to scan for targets he'll beat the Bears secondary, which was lucky to get away with allowing just 231 passing yards in Week 1.
|Carson Wentz||(4.7)||Jay Cutler||(3.5)|
|Ryan Mathews||(7.0)||Jeremy Langford||(6.8)|
|Darren Sproles||(4.1)||Alshon Jeffery||(8.2)|
|Jordan Matthews||(7.6)||Kevin White||(3.5)|
|Brent Celek||(3.7)||Zach Miller||(3.5)|
|Eagles DST||(6.7)||Bears DST||(4.5)|
It's encouraging for Langford's outlook that Browns running backs averaged 5.6 yards per carry against the Eagles last week. It's not as encouraging that Langford himself got just 3.7 yards per rush last week, but the 17 carries and two receptions confirm what we believed in the preseason -- he's the Bears' lead guy. The same amount of touches in Week 2 could mean closer to 90 yards, hopefully with a touchdown in there. He's in the middle of the No. 2 running back pack, ahead of the Chargers guys, the Lions guys and the Falcons guys.
Jets at Bills
Rex Ryan owned the Jets in two meetings last year, beating them 22-17 both times. But the Bills are a depleted bunch, particularly on defense, and it cost them last week. The Jets should take to the ground to wear out Buffalo's front seven and own the time of possession. That would also mask Ryan Fitzpatrick's 1-5 lifetime record on Thursdays and his terrible play against the Bills last season (under 45 percent of passes completed over two games with under 200 yards, two touchdowns and two or more interceptions in each game). The Bills, given Sammy Watkins' health and playing on a short week, could do the same and lean on LeSean McCoy.
|Ryan Fitzpatrick||(3.7)||Tyrod Taylor||(4.3)|
|Matt Forte||(8.0)||LeSean McCoy||(7.9)|
|Bilal Powell||(3.8)||Sammy Watkins||(6.2)|
|Brandon Marshall||(7.5)||Charles Clay||(4.7)|
|Eric Decker||(6.5)||Bills DST||(5.3)|
Obviously, if Watkins is out then you'll sit him. But assuming he plays, the reasons for pessimism don't start with Watkins' foot. Watkins looked like himself in the late stages of the Bills' game last week. He was cutting, accelerating and bursting off the snap without issue. Maybe -- maybe! -- his straight-line speed wasn't as fierce as it normally is, but otherwise he looked fine. So why worry? The Bills offensive line lost key left tackle Cordy Glenn and will have its hands full with the Jets' strong defensive line. That will impact Tyrod Taylor. Additionally, Watkins' track record against the Jets has been feast or famine -- one game with 130-plus yards, one with less than 40 yards -- each of his first two seasons. He has never scored or even tabbed 50 yards in two career Thursday night games. Try to sit him.