Fantasy Football Week 5: Joe Mixon, Matthew Stafford recommended starters, but Ben Roethlisberger looks risky in Lineup Cheat Sheet

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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.

Chargers at Giants

Chargers
Giants
Philip Rivers (6.5) Eli Manning (7.6)
Melvin Gordon (8.4) Wayne Gallman (6.05)
Keenan Allen (8.5) Shane Vereen (3.7)
Tyrell Williams (4.8) Odell Beckham (8.9)
Hunter Henry (5.6) Sterling Shepard (5.2)
Antonio Gates (5.2) Brandon Marshall (4.25)
Chargers DST (5.6) Evan Engram (5.0)


Giants DST (8.2)

Sneaky Sleeper

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Wayne Gallman NYG • RB • 22
2017 stats
ATT11
YDS42
TD0
TAR2
REC2
REC YDS8
REC TD0

Last week, Gallman notched the most rush attempts by any Giants rusher this season (11) and ran 20 routes, second-most of any Giants running back this season. Not bad for his first NFL game. Yes, his offensive line is yucky, but the Chargers have missed 49 tackles on the year (18 last week!) and don't have a single linebacker with a positive run defense grade on Pro Football Focus. No wonder why opposing rushers are averaging 5.4 yards per carry and 9.3 yards per catch against the Bolts. So long as Paul Perkins and Orleans Darkwa don't interfere, expect Gallman to have a decent workload and a great chance to score.

Bills at Bengals

Bills
Bengals
Tyrod Taylor (4.9) Andy Dalton (4.7)
LeSean McCoy (8.2) Joe Mixon (6.4)
Zay Jones (3.3) Giovani Bernard (4.9)
Charles Clay (7.5) A.J. Green (8.8)
Bills DST (7.8) Tyler Kroft (3.4)


Bengals DST (8.4)

Start Him

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Joe Mixon CIN • RB • 28
2017 stats
ATT52
YDS136
TD0
TAR11
REC11
REC YDS78
REC TD0

Mixon got 17 carries last week, but 12 came in the second half of a blowout win when the Browns defense stacked the box knowing the run was coming. That kind of predictability leads to 1.7 rushing averages. The Bills' run defense has been bad lately while their pass defense has been awesome. Maybe this feels a little bit like banging your head into the wall, but it's a good week for the Bengals to rev up Mixon's running downs role.

Jets at Browns

Jets
Browns
Josh McCown (5.9) DeShone Kizer (3.8)
Bilal Powell (8.0) Duke Johnson (5.9)
Elijah McGuire (5.3) Isaiah Crowell (5.5)
Robby Anderson (5.5) Ricardo Louis (4.65)
Jermaine Kearse (4.2) Rashard Higgins (4.3)
Austin Seferian-Jenkins (5.4) David Njoku (2.5)
Jets DST (8.6) Browns DST (4.6)

Sneaky Sleeper

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Duke Johnson CLE • RB • 29
2017 stats
ATT10
YDS57
TD2
TAR28
REC20
REC YDS207
REC TD0

Johnson's had back-to-back games with double-digit Fantasy points for the first time in his career thanks to two straight games with a touchdown (also a first). But before you write him off as a score-or-bust runner, take note that his touches have trended up through the last three weeks (7, 8, 13) and last week he played 16 more snaps than Isaiah Crowell. The slot experiment is over -- after playing 51 snaps as a receiver in Week 1, Johnson has played 11 snaps total in his last 123 as a receiver. Plus the Jets have allowed 8.9 yards per catch to running backs on the year, letting the position score at least once in three of four games. It's dicey in non-PPR but Johnson seems to be on a roll, and the matchup is good.

Jaguars at Steelers

Jaguars
Steelers
Blake Bortles (5.4) Ben Roethlisberger (6.8)
Leonard Fournette (8.9) Le'Veon Bell (9.8)
Chris Ivory (2.8) Antonio Brown (9.1)
Allen Hurns (7.05) Martavis Bryant (6.5)
Marcedes Lewis (3.3) JuJu Smith-Schuster (4.5)
Jaguars DST (5.4) Jesse James (2.2)


Steelers DST (9.2)

Risky Starters

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Ben Roethlisberger PIT • QB • 7
2017 stats
CMP%6,210.0
YDS957
TD6
INT2
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Martavis Bryant OAK • WR • 12
2017 stats
TAR23
REC10
YDS183
TD1

Big Ben hasn't looked right. His completion percentage is lower than it's been in four years, he's completed just three passes of over 25 yards and he's on pace for 24 touchdowns. This despite playing with a solid receiving corps and strong offensive line. The Jaguars come into Week 5 with the No. 1 ranked defense against Fantasy quarterbacks, but it's also their third straight game on the road.

I'd expect a cautious, conservative approach from the Steelers with a big dose of Le'Veon Bell and Antonio Brown, particularly after Brown spouted off about not getting enough looks from Roethlisberger last week. JuJu Smith-Schuster also did well in his full-time debut in the slot. All of that hurts Bryant's outlook and makes him a boom-or-bust Fantasy play. As for Roethlisberger, he'll need his teammates to make big plays for him -- a possibility but not a guarantee. He doesn't offer much upside.

Titans at Dolphins

Titans
Dolphins
Matt Cassel (2.2) Jay Cutler (6.0)
DeMarco Murray (6.1) Jay Ajayi (8.3)
Derrick Henry (3.6) DeVante Parker (8.2)
Rishard Matthews (6.2) Jarvis Landry (7.7)
Eric Decker (2.6) Kenny Stills (4.0)
Delanie Walker (5.8) Julius Thomas (2.3)
Jonnu Smith (2.7) Dolphins DST (4.4)
Titans DST (6.0)

Risky Starter

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DeMarco Murray TEN • RB • 29
2017 stats
ATT42
YDS215
TD1
TAR8
REC6
REC YDS28
REC TD0

Despite back-to-back road losses, the Dolphins held the Jets and Saints running backs to 3.2 yards over 53 carries. They're back home and desperate for a win. One way they'll go for that is by stacking the box and daring Titans backup quarterback Matt Cassel to throw on them. That would hurt Murray's outlook, but not as much as seeing him split playing time with Derrick Henry like they did last week. Murray's hamstring should be back to normal, but this is a tough spot to expect him to play like the second-round pick we drafted him to be.

49ers at Colts

49ers
Colts
Brian Hoyer (2.0) Jacoby Brissett (6.1)
Carlos Hyde (8.1) Frank Gore (7.2)
Pierre Garcon (7.6) T.Y. Hilton (8.7)
Trent Taylor (2.4) Donte Moncrief (5.1)
George Kittle (2.1) Colts DST (4.8)
49ers DST (5.8)

Start Him

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Pierre Garcon SF • WR • 15
2017 stats
TAR33
REC20
YDS285
TD0

Last week was understandably bad for Garcon as he matched up frequently with cornerback Patrick Peterson. This week he'll see a lot of Vontae Davis and Rashaan Melvin, neither of whom have been great. Davis allowed over 100 yards in his 2017 debut last week and Melvin gave up touchdowns in his past two games. With the Colts giving up 191.5 yards per game to receivers, I'd expect a bounce-back game from Garcon.

Start Him

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Frank Gore MIA • RB • 21
2017 stats
ATT61
YDS191
TD2
TAR7
REC5
REC YDS44
REC TD0

Gore has come through with 10-plus Fantasy points in two of his last three. His old team has yielded at least nine Fantasy points to a running back in every game they've played. Gore should see plenty of opportunities to pick up yardage on the Niners, and maybe even continue to make an impact in the passing game after he caught three passes last week. He's fine as a No. 2 Fantasy running back.   

Cardinals at Eagles

Cardinals
Eagles
Carson Palmer (7.8) Carson Wentz (6.6)
Andre Ellington (5.6) LeGarrette Blount (7.1)
Chris Johnson (2.7) Wendell Smallwood (6.3)
Larry Fitzgerald (7.0) Alshon Jeffery (5.9)
Jaron Brown (6.8) Nelson Agholor (3.75)
John Brown (4.7) Torrey Smith (2.9)
J.J. Nelson (2.5) Zach Ertz (8.0)
Cardinals DST (5.0) Eagles DST (8.8)

Start Them

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LeGarrette Blount DET • RB • 29
2017 stats
ATT42
YDS249
TD1
TAR3
REC3
REC YDS21
REC TD1

This is a tired Arizona defense. The Cardinals play their third game of the season at 1 ET, and they're coming off a long overtime game -- four members of the secondary played at least 90 snaps. With Blount and Smallwood averaging 25 carries per game in their past two, it looks like the Eagles have unearthed a semblance of a run game. It'll come in handy when they put the game away against Arizona. Blount's more likely to score, but Corey Clement could step up in the passing game if Smallwood sits out. 

PPR start

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Andre Ellington HOU • RB • 38
2017 stats
ATT12
YDS51
TD0
TAR30
REC19
REC YDS192
REC TD0

Bruce Arians talked up Chris Johnson as getting into game shape and noted he had two long runs called back. Don't buy into this. The Cardinals figure to throw it a lot and Ellington is the guy for the Redbirds on third down. Over 148 snaps this season, Ellington has run a route 126 times and has 30 targets. Do the math and it means he gets a target on one of every four plays. That's a really good thing. He's a lock to get 10-plus Fantasy points in PPR.

Panthers at Lions

Panthers
Lions
Cam Newton (7.9) Matthew Stafford (7.5)
Christian McCaffrey (7.0) Ameer Abdullah (6.5)
Jonathan Stewart (5.4) Theo Riddick (3.5)
Devin Funchess (6.9) Golden Tate (8.4)
Kelvin Benjamin (6.7) Marvin Jones (6.6)
Ed Dickson (4.2) T.J. Jones (3.4)
Panthers DST (6.2) Eric Ebron (4.0)


Lions DST (7.2)

Start Him

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Matthew Stafford DET • QB • 9
2017 stats
CMP%6,380.0
YDS887
TD7
INT1

This might be a high-scoring game that benefits both quarterbacks, but Stafford has the better matchup. The Panthers secondary has been a mess to begin with and will be without safety Kurt Coleman for a month. It opens the door for Stafford to match the 24-plus Fantasy points that Drew Brees and Tom Brady had against Carolina over the last two weeks. It only helps that the Panthers have a top-10 run defense, likely forcing Stafford into lots of attempts.

Seahawks at Rams

Seahawks
Rams
Russell Wilson (8.05) Jared Goff (6.4)
Thomas Rawls (6.0) Todd Gurley (9.3)
Eddie Lacy (5.2) Sammy Watkins (6.1)
Doug Baldwin (7.4) Cooper Kupp (5.95)
Paul Richardson (5.3) Robert Woods (4.6)
J.D. McKissic (4.0) Rams DST (7.0)
Tyler Lockett (3.9)

Jimmy Graham (7.0)

Luke Willson (3.2)

Seahawks DST (9.3)

Sit Him

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Sammy Watkins KC • WR • 14
2017 stats
TAR16
REC14
YDS211
TD2

This isn't as easy as saying Watkins faces Seattle and they'll just wipe him away. Cornerbacks like Shaquill Griffin and Justin Coleman are the kinds of players the Rams will try to match Watkins up with. They'll still dedicate safety coverage over the top, making it a tough option for Jared Goff to throw to. Additionally, Watkins' lack of usage outside of the 49ers game makes him a risky choice regardless of opponent. Don't be shocked if Cooper Kupp ends up having a decent game given his expected single coverage on shorter routes.

Ravens at Raiders

Ravens
Raiders
Joe Flacco (3.6) EJ Manuel (5.8)
Alex Collins (5.8) Marshawn Lynch (7.1)
Javorius Allen (5.1) Michael Crabtree (7.1)
Terrance West (2.65) Amari Cooper (5.6)
Jeremy Maclin (5.7) Seth Roberts (3.8)
Mike Wallace (4.4) Jared Cook (4.8)
Benjamin Watson (4.95) Raiders DST (7.4)
Ravens DST (5.2)

Risky starter

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Alex Collins BAL • RB • 34
2017 stats
ATT25
YDS206
TD0
TAR2
REC0
REC YDS0
REC TD0

Judging by the lack of dwindling carries for Terrance West (10) and Javorius Allen (10) over the past two weeks, expect Collins (18) to continue working the running downs for the Ravens. He's got a good, not great, matchup as the Raiders have allowed 4.2 yards per rush and no rushing scores to running backs this year. He also has more career fumbles (four) than touchdowns (one). Maybe he gets 12-plus touches, but one fumble could wreck his day. He also won't play much on passing downs. If you can get away from him, do so.

Packers at Cowboys

Packers
Cowboys
Aaron Rodgers (9.3) Dak Prescott (9.0)
Aaron Jones (6.7) Ezekiel Elliott (9.4)
Jamaal Williams (3.8) Dez Bryant (8.3)
Jordy Nelson (9.2) Terrance Williams (3.0)
Randall Cobb (7.8) Cole Beasley (2.3)
Geronimo Allison (5.4) Brice Butler (2.1)
Martellus Bennett (4.6) Jason Witten (2.6)
Packers DST (4.0) Cowboys DST (4.2)

Sit Them

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Martellus Bennett NE • TE • 88
2017 stats
TAR28
REC17
YDS141
TD0
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Jason Witten DAL • TE • 82
2017 stats
TAR28
REC19
YDS168
TD2

For the fourth week in a row, Bennett had an end-zone target and couldn't catch it. Fifth time's the charm? Nah, the Cowboys haven't given up more than seven Fantasy points in standard scoring this season. Bennett's OK in PPR leagues but not worth the risk in non-PPR unless all other choices are bleak. Speaking of bleak, Witten has contributed two catches over six targets in his past two games. The Packers are among the best in the league at slowing down tight ends. Dak Prescott should target elsewhere.

Chiefs at Texans

Chiefs
Texans
Alex Smith (7.1) Deshaun Watson (7.7)
Kareem Hunt (9.0) Lamar Miller (7.5)
Tyreek Hill (8.0) D'Onta Foreman (2.6)
Travis Kelce (8.2) DeAndre Hopkins (8.1)
Chiefs DST (6.4) Will Fuller (6.0)


Ryan Griffin (3.0)


Texans DST (6.6)

Start Him

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Deshaun Watson HOU • QB • 4
2017 stats
CMP%6,490.0
YDS811
TD7
INT4
ATT19
RUSH YDS148
RUSH TD2

It's Watson's rushing skills that not only make him appealing for Fantasy but also make him a problem for the Chiefs. Kansas City has done well against rushing quarterbacks, but guys like Andrew Luck, Cam Newton, Jameis Winston and more recently Carson Wentz and Kirk Cousins padded their stats with running to help them achieve statistical success. Watson will do the same, but he should also continue to play smart and not turn the ball over too much. The Chiefs have four interceptions and 11 sacks on the year but are ranked 25th against the pass.

Vikings at Bears

Vikings
Bears
Case Keenum (3.1) Mitchell Trubisky (3.2)
Latavius Murray (6.8) Jordan Howard (7.7)
Jerick McKinnon (3.9) Tarik Cohen (5.55)
Stefon Diggs (8.6) Kendall Wright (4.1)
Adam Thielen (7.3) Zach Miller (3.8)
Michael Floyd (2.7) Bears DST (3.8)
Kyle Rudolph (4.4)

Vikings DST (9.4)

Start Him

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Latavius Murray MIN • RB • 25
2017 stats
ATT14
YDS38
TD0
TAR2
REC2
REC YDS8
REC TD0

We're not expecting Murray to bust out for 5.0 yards per rush, but we are expecting him to handle the ball 15-plus times against a Bears defense that's allowed a rushing score to a tailback in every game this year. That includes the minuscule and inexperienced Aaron Jones last week. Through four weeks, the Vikings running backs combined for 24.8 rush attempts per game. Bank on most of those falling in Murray's lap.

Patriots at Buccaneers

Patriots
Buccaneers
Tom Brady (8.1) Jameis Winston (8.2)
Mike Gillislee (7.3) Jacquizz Rodgers (5.0)
James White (5.35) Doug Martin (5.7)
Dion Lewis (2.9) Mike Evans (9.0)
Chris Hogan (7.9) DeSean Jackson (7.5)
Brandin Cooks (7.2) Cameron Brate (7.1)
Danny Amendola (6.3) O.J. Howard (2.8)
Dwayne Allen (3.75) Buccaneers DST (3.4)
Patriots DST (3.6)

Start Him

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DeSean Jackson TB • WR • 11
2017 stats
TAR20
REC9
YDS143
TD1

Bill Belichick has previously contained Jackson in two prior meetings, but he doesn't have the defensive bandwidth to do it again in Week 5. In what should be a shoot-out, expect Jackson to draw single coverage and Jameis Winston to target him on deep passes. Winston's already targeted him nine times on deep passes through three games.

PPR Start

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James White NE • RB • 28
2017 stats
ATT18
YDS73
TD0
TAR26
REC22
REC YDS173
REC TD0

Bank on the Patriots taking advantage of two backup linebackers starting for the Buccaneers -- Kendall Beckwith and Adarius Glanton. Beckwith has particularly been impressive but one-on-one matchups with their running backs and tight ends against these guys figure to be in the cards. White has had eight-plus catches in two of his last three and should be in line for more targets.

Senior Fantasy Writer

Dave Richard has spent nearly his entire career covering the National Football League. Beginning with NFL.com at the boom of the Internet, Richard was that site's first Fantasy Football writer before transitioning... Full Bio

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