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5 must-read stats: Peterson down, Matt Ryan up

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Happy Week 7!!!

Each week I'll be giving you five stats to think about as you make your fantasy roster selections. I am also going to give you three high ceiling picks at each position (QB, RB, WR, TE) and a kicker and defense that might be available to stream. I am trying to go outside the top few at each position and find some picks that could deliver exceptional value based on their matchup and opportunity (volume, game plan, projected final score). I'm going to try to avoid listing the players who are too obvious.

My goal is to help you think about edging out your opponents with a strong floor and exceptional upside picks. So here are the "rules" for this article:

1. Not super obvious.
2. As exclusive as possible to this article.
3. You give me feedback and we evolve it together. On Twitter @cfrelund is the best for this, unless you are creepy. Then just stick to rules 1 and 2.

Got all that? Let's go!!!

1. 7.13

That was Adrian Peterson's yards per carry average rushing to the left against the Bucs (eight carries). Prior to the Bucs matchup, the Cardinals were 30th in first downs that netted four or more yards. Part of this was due to the return of left tackle DJ Humphries, which was a big upgrade to the Cardinals offensive line, but against the Rams (ahem, Aaron Donald and Michael Brockers) in London, my projections for Peterson are low (under 60 total yards). Just for fun ... Todd Gurley earns the Rams 6.3 first downs per game (4.8 rushing), only Le'Veon Bell earns his team more.

Week 6 of the fantasy season is in the books. Take a look at the top 30 highest scoring players in all of fantasy football right here as you prepare for Week 7!

2. 4

That's how many of Matt Ryan's six interceptions have been deflected or altered. The Falcons and Patriots game projects to be won by the better pass defense... (with a lot of points projected to be scored overall). This season the Falcons play man-to-man defense the second most of any team and the Pats are tracking at third. But the difference in the Bucs game was the switch they made to more zone to simplify the game a bit. So far this season, the Falcons defense has shown two main coverages (think Seattle-like). What does this mean? It means that the Pats defense is making changes and the Falcons haven't (at least not yet). Here's how this nets out for my model: Devonta Freeman (and Tevin Coleman) have the advantage against the Pats run defense (especially linebackers) and Freeman is a top five running back option this week. Tom Brady and Ryan are both included in the top three QB projections. Pats order (PPR): Rob Gronkowski, Brandin Cooks, Chris Hogan, James White. Falcons order (PPR): Julio Jones, Freeman, Coleman, Austin Hooper

3. 73.1 percent

That's Andy Dalton's completion percentage since Bill Lazor became his offensive coordinator. He's also averaged more than 275 yards per game. My model doesn't believe this will be the case against the Steelers defense (fourth-highest pressure rate this season). In that same time period, the Bengals have been able to better balance their play selection (from 62 to 54 percent), but the problem with that is the yards before contact have gotten worse. The Bengals have the lowest yards before contact in the NFL at 1.29 (league average is 2.1) which is really driven by the last three games where they've only given their running backs an average of 0.55 yards before contact. While I think this will be a huge Le'Veon Bell game I pretty much just wanted to talk about some fun running back notes and give context to why Joe Mixon fell to my 25th-ranked running back for the week (PPR). Upside notes: C.J. Anderson is an RB2. Beware overestimating Jerick McKinnon in run game since the Ravens are underrated at stopping the run. Beware overestimating the Saints running backs, too. Yes, the volume is likely to be there but Green Bay's linebackers are better versus the run than it might seem.

4. Things that prolly won't last...

- Josh McCown had a higher passer rating under pressure last week vs New England than when kept clean (92 vs 85). It's worth noting that Cam Wake has a top 5 pressure rate this season.

- Falcons allowing only 1.8 TDs per game is very unlikely to hold this week vs. Pats offense.

- LeSean McCoy zero touchdowns... I have him with over 100 total scrimmage yards and the score this week.


5. If-thens...

IMO, adapting post-injury report is one of the biggest keys to fantasy wins, especially formats where you have access to all the players each week. Here are three for now. I'll tweet out more as they come in:

- If no Davante Parker, yes more volume projected for Landry but the whole offense becomes simpler (more predictable) and it likely shifts my projection for the winner of this game.

- Keep an eye on Seattle's injury report. A lot of their defense has appeared on it. While I don't think that shifts the winner, it does potentially change where the best matchups end up being for the Giants' severely depleted offense (with a new play caller).

- If no Diggs you know the drill (more volume to Thielan and Rudolph, flier on Treadwell) but decrease the total score of this game and adjust your expectations accordingly.

High Ceiling

QB: Tyrod Taylor, Blake Bortles
RB: Andre Ellington, Jonathan Stewart, Chris Thompson
WR: Willie Snead, Pierre Garcon, Rishard Matthews
TE: Martellus Bennett, Hunter Henry, Zach Miller
DEF: Philadelphia, Chargers (risky)

Follow Cynthia on Twitter @cfrelund.

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