More Week 9:— — — — — — —
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.
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If you're still unsure, just send a note on Twitter (@daverichard) and I'll give it a look, time permitting.
Bills at Jets
|Bills|| ||Jets|| |
|Tyrod Taylor||(7.6)||Josh McCown||(7.0)|
|LeSean McCoy||(9.3)||Matt Forte||(6.55)|
|Jordan Matthews||(4.0)||Bilal Powell||(5.7)|
|Nick O'Leary||(5.5)||Robby Anderson||(7.1)|
|Bills DST||(6.2)||Jermaine Kearse||(5.6)|
| || ||Austin Seferian-Jenkins||(6.4)|
| || ||Jets DST||(4.2)|
McCown has been playing exceptionally well over his past four games, completing 71 percent of his passes for 7.4 yards per attempt with at least two scores in each. That's inspiring since he bombed in his first matchup at Buffalo (187 yards, a rushing score and two interceptions). Their zone style of pass defense is harder to crack than man coverage, but Robby Anderson's been playing red hot and McCown has plenty of underneath targets to help wear Buffalo down.
Colts at Texans
|Colts|| ||Texans|| |
|Jacoby Brissett||(6.4)||Tom Savage||(3.0)|
|Marlon Mack||(6.8)||Lamar Miller||(7.8)|
|Frank Gore||(6.3)||DeAndre Hopkins||(8.15)|
|T.Y. Hilton||(8.3)||Will Fuller||(7.05)|
|Jack Doyle||(7.2)||Texans DST||(8.3)|
|Colts DST||(4.3)|| || |
Good ol' J.D. has at least seven targets and six catches in each of his past three games with double-digit Fantasy point numbers in two of them. The Texans have allowed nine Fantasy points and/or a touchdown to a tight end in each of their last three. It doesn't hurt that Doyle scored on them last year, but it's his regular role as a check-down option for Jacoby Brissett that makes him particularly good looking in Week 9.
Bengals at Jaguars
|Bengals|| ||Jaguars|| |
|Andy Dalton||(3.6)||Blake Bortles||(4.5)|
|Joe Mixon||(6.9)||Leonard Fournette||(9.4)|
|Giovani Bernard||(4.9)||Allen Hurns||(6.1)|
|A.J. Green||(8.1)||Marqise Lee||(5.7)|
|Brandon LaFell||(3.7)||Jaguars DST||(9.4)|
|Tyler Kroft||(5.3)|| || |
|Bengals DST||(4.6)|| || |
If Mixon couldn't get it going at home against the Colts (1.6 yards per carry), what makes you think he'll be a big factor on the road against a rested Jaguars defense that added big man Marcell Dareus to its front?! Mixon's been held to 15 or fewer touches in three straight, coming out with 10-plus Fantasy points once (his only time all season). The Jags haven't allowed much to running backs in three straight, keeping Todd Gurley, Le'Veon Bell and the Colts' twosome to 11 Fantasy points or less. A lock to play fewer snaps when the Bengals are behind on the scoreboard, Mixon's lack of generous upside makes him a good but not great No. 2 running back.
Buccaneers at Saints
|Buccaneers|| ||Saints|| |
|Jameis Winston||(6.8)||Drew Brees||(8.3)|
|Doug Martin||(7.4)||Mark Ingram||(9.1)|
|Mike Evans||(8.8)||Alvin Kamara||(7.7)|
|DeSean Jackson||(6.8)||Michael Thomas||(9.1)|
|Cameron Brate||(6.7)||Ted Ginn||(6.6)|
|Buccaneers DST||(4.0)||Brandon Coleman||(4.7)|
| || ||Saints DST||(7.8)|
This doesn't feel like a great matchup for Jackson. One of the reasons for the Saints turnaround is their improved cornerback play from guys like Marshon Lattimore and Ken Crawley. Mike Evans figures to draw Lattimore in coverage, leaving D-Jax with Crawley. It's the lesser of two evils but questions about the Buccaneers quarterback muddle any expectations for Jackson. And considering he's been above 10 Fantasy points just twice this year and once in his past five, there isn't much room for a big game anyway.
Rams at Giants
|Rams|| ||Giants|| |
|Jared Goff||(6.5)||Eli Manning||(5.3)|
|Todd Gurley||(9.2)||Orleans Darkwa||(5.8)|
|Cooper Kupp||(7.3)||Sterling Shepard||(7.2)|
|Sammy Watkins||(6.2)||Evan Engram||(8.1)|
|Robert Woods||(5.4)||Giants DST||(5.0)|
|Tyler Higbee||(5.7)|| || |
|Rams DST||(6.4)|| || |
The matchup got easier for the Rams when the Giants suspended top cornerback Janoris Jenkins indefinitely. That'll take away the Giants' best cover guy and replace him with a beatable Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. It'll also likely put Ross Cockrell in the slot, and he's even more beatable than DRC. This sets up deliciously for Cooper Kupp, who's been a regular target for Jared Goff. With two scores in his past four (should've been three but he dropped one) and only two targets shy of team leader Robert Woods, he's got some appeal as a red-zone threat.
If you're in need of a tight end, look no further than Higbee. He leads Rams tight ends in targets, catches and yards and dominates in terms of playing time. Not only are the Giants worst in football at covering tight ends, but Rams play-caller Sean McVay is familiar with this defense from his days in D.C. and should scheme up the offense coming off its bye to attack with the tight end.
Falcons at Panthers
|Falcons|| ||Panthers|| |
|Matt Ryan||(6.3)||Cam Newton||(6.7)|
|Devonta Freeman||(8.2)||Christian McCaffrey||(6.5)|
|Tevin Coleman||(6.6)||Jonathan Stewart||(4.2)|
|Julio Jones||(8.5)||Devin Funchess||(7.4)|
|Mohamed Sanu||(5.9)||Ed Dickson||(3.7)|
|Taylor Gabriel||(3.4)||Panthers DST||(6.3)|
|Austin Hooper||(3.9)|| || |
|Falcons DST||(6.0)|| || |
This is a tough spot for the Falcons, playing in their third straight on the road in a place they've had a hard time putting together big games. Ryan is particularly tough to trust -- a pair of fumbles cost him his first 20-point Fantasy game of 2017 last week. He's also been well below 20 Fantasy points in three of his past four at Carolina, and it would have been four for four if not for some creative red-zone play-calling last season. That creativity has lacked so far this year, as has Ryan's pass protection. Put it all together in a matchup against an opponent that has annoyed him for years and it's a tough situation to trust.
There's a belief that the trade of Kelvin Benjamin will help Christian McCaffrey's numbers improve. How? Suddenly he'll start to magically average more than 3.0 yards per carry with Benjamin not on the field? Maybe he'll get more targets, but he hasn't done a whole lot with them either -- only two plays all season have been good for 20-plus yards. Oscillating between eight and 14 touches over his past four games, McCaffrey has devolved into a touchdown-or-bust "running back" who doesn't get the workload necessary to be great for Fantasy. An OK start in PPR leagues, McCaffrey should struggle in standard formats, particularly since the Falcons have allowed one total touchdown to a running back over their past five.
There's a lot of attention on Funchess now that Kelvin Benjamin has been traded away, and there's a lot to like about his matchup. The Falcons have allowed at least one touchdown to a receiver in six straight games, and many of them have gone to No. 1 receivers. Funchess is definitely that now Benjamin went bye-bye to Buffalo. Targets haven't been an issue for Funchess -- he has three red-zone touchdowns on six such attempts this season -- but his catch rate is a problem. On the year he's converting 57 percent of Cam Newton's throws, but in the past three games it's been 39 percent. This isn't on Funchess as much as it is on Newton being inaccurate. Because the Panthers are at home, and because Funchess' targets figure to remain high, Fantasy owners should still start him.
Broncos at Eagles
|Broncos|| ||Eagles|| |
|Brock Osweiler||(4.9)||Carson Wentz||(7.9)|
|C.J. Anderson||(6.1)||LeGarrette Blount||(5.6)|
|Devontae Booker||(5.5)||Jay Ajayi||(4.4)|
|Jamaal Charles||(4.7)||Nelson Agholor||(6.0)|
|Emmanuel Sanders||(6.9)||Alshon Jeffery||(5.5)|
|Demaryius Thomas||(6.7)||Torrey Smith||(3.6)|
|Bennie Fowler||(4.2)||Zach Ertz||(8.9)|
|A.J. Derby||(4.9)||Eagles DST||(9.1)|
|Broncos DST||(6.6)|| || |
It's great when Anderson scores 13 Fantasy points, but that's exactly how much he's totaled over his three games since the bye week! His playing time has dropped, his touches have dropped and he's not even their guy near the goal line. Devontae Booker has had four touches inside the 10 since the bye while Anderson has had one! Not only does that speak to how the Broncos are using Anderson and Booker (and Jamaal Charles), but it also speaks to how inefficient the offense is. Anderson's been a minimal factor on passing downs. It does not help that the Broncos are on the road for the third straight week, and it really does not help that the Eagles, at home for a third straight game, have been getting better against the run. Anderson could be a major liability.
In time, Blount figures to be in a part-time role with Jay Ajayi taking over the Philly run game. That won't happen in Week 9, but it won't matter. The Denver run defense is the real deal, and even though the Broncos are on the road for the third straight week, they're going to limit Blount. With an expectation of roughly 15 carries and a sub-optimal rushing average, Blount is only going to be good for Fantasy if he scores. His best games have come against porous run defenses, and the Broncos haven't allowed a rushing touchdown this season.
Ravens at Titans
|Ravens|| ||Titans|| |
|Joe Flacco||(3.1)||Marcus Mariota||(6.1)|
|Alex Collins||(7.5)||DeMarco Murray||(6.4)|
|Javorius Allen||(3.9)||Derrick Henry||(5.4)|
|Jeremy Maclin||(5.3)||Corey Davis||(5.2)|
|Mike Wallace||(5.15)||Rishard Matthews||(4.9)|
|Benjamin Watson||(4.7)||Delanie Walker||(5.4)|
|Ravens DST||(7.6)||Titans DST||(6.8)|
After seven games it's safe to say that Murray is strictly a touchdown-dependent Fantasy option. He has one game with over 100 yards and six with 87 or fewer. Murray also has just five carries this season good for 10-plus yards. He's also averaging 12.3 carries and 2.4 catches per outing, limiting his opportunities to rack up yardage. This isn't a good formula for a running back heading into a game against a Ravens run defense that has played its best with defensive tackle Brandon Williams plunging into rushing lanes. Derrick Henry has averaged 16.0 carries per game in the Titans' past two and figures to pick up work coming out of the bye. It makes for dire straits for Murray, who has fallen below six Fantasy points in non-PPR leagues in five of seven games.
Cardinals at 49ers
|Cardinals|| ||49ers|| |
|Drew Stanton||(5.8)||C.J. Beathard||(2.1)|
|Adrian Peterson||(8.3)||Carlos Hyde||(7.3)|
|Larry Fitzgerald||(8.0)||Matt Breida||(4.5)|
|John Brown||(6.4)||Marquise Goodwin||(5.0)|
|Jaron Brown||(3.8)||George Kittle||(4.3)|
|Cardinals DST||(9.6)||49ers DST||(3.9)|
The 49ers defense is a mess and Cardinals quarterback Drew Stanton has a history of getting after defenses with long passes. Of his nine scores with the Cardinals, seven have been from outside of the red zone and three have gone to Brown (Larry Fitzgerald is second-best with two). The Niners have allowed eight pass plays of 40-plus yards, tied for third-most in the league, and the 24 pass plays of 20-plus yards ranks eighth-most. If you're stuck at receiver, you can give Brown a shot on the hope he comes down with a big score.
Redskins at Seahawks
|Redskins|| ||Seahawks|| |
|Kirk Cousins||(5.6)||Russell Wilson||(9.4)|
|Chris Thompson||(7.0)||Eddie Lacy||(5.1)|
|Rob Kelley||(4.8)||J.D. McKissic||(4.3)|
|Josh Doctson||(5.1)||Doug Baldwin||(9.0)|
|Terrelle Pryor||(4.85)||Paul Richardson||(7.0)|
|Ryan Grant||(4.5)||Tyler Lockett||(6.3)|
|Vernon Davis||(6.0)||Jimmy Graham||(9.4)|
|Redskins DST||(3.4)||Seahawks DST||(8.5)|
Richardson is Seattle's most prolific outside receiver, and if the Seahawks wanted to line him up on the left side away from cornerback Josh Norman (he almost always plays to the quarterback's right), they could. Despite being Seattle's fourth in targets and receptions, P-Rich is second in yards and first in yards per catch and touchdowns. Tack on Seattle's inability to run the football and we're looking at Richardson continuing to see a decent dose of targets. Best of all, this deep threat receiver has scored four of five touchdowns from 20 yards or closer, including three from inside the 10-yard line, so he doesn't need a long bomb to be useful in Fantasy. In fact, only one of his eight career scores has been from outside of the red zone.
Chiefs at Cowboys
|Chiefs|| ||Cowboys|| |
|Alex Smith||(7.2)||Dak Prescott||(9.3)|
|Kareem Hunt||(8.5)||Ezekiel Elliott||(9.5)|
|Tyreek Hill||(8.7)||Alfred Morris||(4.45)|
|Demarcus Robinson||(4.3)||Dez Bryant||(8.6)|
|Travis Kelce||(9.3)||Jason Witten||(6.1)|
|Chiefs DST||(4.15)||Cowboys DST||(5.8)|
Raiders at Dolphins
|Raiders|| ||Dolphins|| |
|Derek Carr||(7.7)||Jay Cutler||(5.7)|
|Marshawn Lynch||(6.7)||Kenyan Drake||(6.2)|
|Jalen Richard||(4.6)||Damien Williams||(6.0)|
|DeAndre Washington||(4.0)||Jarvis Landry||(8.05)|
|Amari Cooper||(8.9)||DeVante Parker||(6.5)|
|Michael Crabtree||(8.2)||Kenny Stills||(4.6)|
|Jared Cook||(6.2)||Dolphins DST||(4.4)|
|Raiders DST||(4.1)|| || |
Their offense runs through Derek Carr, and the Raiders are going to throw plenty against the Dolphins. One area they're sure to attack is over the middle with Cook. The big guy has had at least five targets in all but one game this season, and is third on the team in red-zone targets. Miami's pass defense will get T.J. McDonald back from suspension to help cover Cook, but he figures to be rusty and isn't sure-handed against the pass either. Cook should have a good shot to score on about four catches.
For six straight games, the Raiders have allowed a running back to find 10-plus Fantasy points. After trading away Jay Ajayi, the Dolphins are assumed to give Kenyan Drake the early-downs work while Williams handles passing situations. Drake figures to be the better Fantasy option not only because of the chance to handle as many as 15 touches, but he has a better career rushing average (4.7 yards) and more 10-plus-yard rushing plays (five) in the past two years than Williams. Drake's a pretty good option if you're a little thin on running backs this week.
Lions at Packers
|Lions|| ||Packers|| |
|Matthew Stafford||(7.1)||Brett Hundley||(4.8)|
|Ameer Abdullah||(5.3)||Aaron Jones||(8.0)|
|Theo Riddick||(4.1)||Ty Montgomery||(5.0)|
|Golden Tate||(7.8)||Jordy Nelson||(7.6)|
|Marvin Jones||(7.5)||Davante Adams||(5.8)|
|T.J. Jones||(4.8)||Randall Cobb||(4.75)|
|Eric Ebron||(4.0)||Martellus Bennett||(4.1)|
|Lions DST||(4.8)||Packers DST||(5.4)|
In line with his typical high-volume approach, Stafford has tallied at least two scores in each of his past five against the Packers and over 340 yards in each of his last two. None of that should change, even against a Green Bay defense that has held three of the past four quarterbacks it's faced to one passing touchdown each. The Lions simply have a hard time running the football, but the Packers have a harder time putting up points without Aaron Rodgers. Expect Stafford to throw it over 35 times and find some nice numbers.