Welcome to "Frelund's 15," where each week analytics expert Cynthia Frelund provides you with her 15 must-read stats for the upcoming slate of NFL games. These might not be end all, be all stats for making a start or sit decision for your fantasy team, but they're here to help you understand the matchups and make the most informed lineup decisions possible.
1) 8 percent lower completion percentage, 89 fewer passing yards per game
In 2015, Philip Rivers had a 70 percent completion percentage and averaged 344 passing yards per game with Allen on the field and 62 percent and 255 passing yards per game with him off. Since 2013, when Allen has been on the field the Chargers have had a top-five offense in terms of total yards and yards per play, when he's been off the field ... they have a bottom-five unit. In 2015 Melvin Gordon averaged 11.8 carries for 46.9 yards per game with Allen available compared to 14 carries for 44.7 yards per game when he wasn't.
Fantasy Impact: Be careful assuming that Melvin Gordon will see the biggest "fantasy bump" from Allen's injury. Last year the whole offense became less efficient without Allen and in the second half of their game against the Chiefs last week this trend seemed to continue. I am not saying Gordon will bust, at least not yet, but I am managing my expectations about this whole offense's production and expecting my usage of any player on it to be matchup-based for the rest of the season.
2) 91.6 percent completion percentage and a TD versus 52 percent completion percentage and an INT
Blake Bortles was 11-of-12 on passes to running backs and tight ends (with one touchdown) and only 13-of-25 (with one interception) on passes intended to wide receivers in week 1. The Bolts allowed 21 completions to backs and tight ends last week which paced the NFL.
Fantasy Impact: If Chris Ivory is a no-go, T.J. Yeldon becomes a really strong play. Yes, I am aware of his 39 yards on 21 carries from Week 1 and I saw with my eyes that he got hit at the line of scrimmage seemingly every play (meaning maybe his offensive line isn't helping his fantasy cause). But I am also aware of his four receptions on six targets and the fact that the Chargers allowed Spencer Ware to do almost 200 total yards of damage on merely 36 snaps.
3) 4.83 rushing yards per play allowed in 2015 (31st in the NFL)
Last year Washington's defense allowed the second-most yards per play on the ground, a trend that continued into Week 1 when they allowed 3.4 yards before contact per rush, the third most of any team.
Fantasy Impact:Ezekiel Elliott's 20 carries for 51 yards (2.6 yards per carry) will not be his normal stat line going forward. The touchdown part will be, though, because he will continue to get opportunities after being on the field for 62 percent of the snaps in Week 1.
... with Josh McCown as his quarterback. That's basically a wide receiver's target share. He had 123 targets last season, which was tied for 26th most in the league.
Fantasy Impact: Barnidge catches a touchdown every 10.5 targets McCown sends his way compared to every 20.6 targets with any other quarterback. How many targets will Barnidge see this week? My projection says three receptions and six targets, which is conservative, but also means he's worth playing.
5) Average depth of target: 12 yards (No. 1 on Lions)
Marvin Jones led all Lions in average depth of target last week at 12 yards. Eric Ebron's was 7 yards, with Anquan Boldin and Theo Riddick averaging approximately 2 yards and Tate's averaging about 1.5 yards per target. I know that four receptions on 10 targets for 85 total yards is not a fantasy coup, but that 32-yard play is encouraging.
Fantasy Impact: Do nine targets, seven catches and 103 yards sound good? That was Stefon Diggs' performance against the Titan's defense last week. It's looking good for Jones to have a WR1 stat line this week.
6) 144 rush yards between the tackles
Fantasy Impact: Don't be afraid to roll with Carlos Hyde this week, even though the assumption might be that San Francisco could be playing from behind for a good deal of the game. I wouldn't go out of my way to acquire Hyde this week, but the Niners did not show us any hint of a backfield by committee (Hyde had 23 attempts, Shaun Draughn had seven) and Hyde has pass-catching upside.
7) Seven passes, seven catches, 9.4 yards per attempt (66 yards)
Jimmy Garoppolo was 7-for-7 when targeting Julian Edelman with 9.4 yards per target in Week 1 with a first-down percentage of 43 percent. Six passes and 57 of those yards came when Edelman was lined up in the slot. When targeting anyone else, Garoppolo was 17-of-25 (68 percent) with only 23 percent of those throws resulting in first downs.
Fantasy Impact: Miami's defense (especially the physical front) had a strong showing last week, holding Seattle to only 12 points. Expect to see the Pats' usual quick-strike offense. Regardless of Gronk's availability, Edelman is a safety blanket for Garoppolo and will get his targets.
8) 41.8 points per game
In six career meetings with the Giants, Drew Brees is 5-1, averaging 41.8 points per game with 19 passing touchdowns and only four interceptions. In his last four games against the Giants, Brees has averaged 397.8 passing yards per game with 16 touchdowns and four interceptions.
9) 338.3 passing yards per game
Eli Manning has averaged 338.3 passing yards per game with 12 touchdowns and three interceptions in his past three meetings with the Saints.
Fantasy Impact: See number eight (above), then substitute "Giants" for "Saints." There is a good chance both Eli Manning and Drew Brees end up in the top five for fantasy points scored by quarterbacks this week.
10) 66.7 percent
Aaron Rodgers' completion percentage to wide receivers in Week 1 was 66.7 percent, even with Jordy Nelson limited (his longest reception was 8 yards, his shortest long gain since 2010). That's the best completion percentage Rodgers has posted to wide receivers seen since Week 4 of last season against the 49ers (72.2 percent).
Fantasy Impact: Minnesota's defense is very tough, and I guess this game finishes with an average to below-average amount of total points. I wouldn't go out of my way to add anyone on this offense this week, but if you have Nelson, Rodgers, Randall Cobb, and especially Eddie Lacy you definitely are not sitting them.
11) 10.1 yards per pass
Shaun Hill's average passing distance was 10.1 yards per throw in Week 1. You know how many quarterbacks had a higher average passing distance? Only three. Hill was 10-of-17 for 171 yards on passes thrown 10-plus yards. Teddy Bridgewater never completed 10 10-plus yard passes in a single game and Sam Bradford has done it only once in his career.
Fantasy Impact:Stefon Diggs will become a solid WR2 from a fantasy point of view in the weeks to come. His 27 percent target share in Week 1 (up from 22 percent last year) should stay close to that high level(25 to 27 percent). Once Sam Bradford really takes control, keep an eye on this metric, but it seems like the playbook calls for Diggs.
12) Sacked seven times
Last week against the Jets, Andy Dalton was sacked seven times, a career-high for him. However, Dalton managed to stay upright enough to target A.J. Green 13 times (12 catches, 180 yards). The Steelers, on the other hand, recorded no sacks in Week 1 and were last the NFL in pressure percentage (9.1 percent).
Fantasy Impact: These teams play each other hard, but even so, I have Dalton ranked in the top-10 and Green in the top-five at their positions this week.
13) 5 yards per pass attempt
Trevor Siemian's average pass traveled five yards last week against the Panthers. The Colts defense, as vulnerable as it may be, only allowed 4.5 yards per attempt on throws less than five yards last season, good for the fourth-fewest. However, the Colts allowed the fourth-highest completion percentage in Week 1 (81 percent) when sending four or fewer pass rushers.
Fantasy Impact:C.J. Anderson's volume makes him a very appealing, safe option, but I think we see some longer passes as well making Demaryius Thomas a top-22 WR for the week (if you are looking for a smart risk).
14) 8-for-8 versus the blitz
In his NFL debut, Carson Wentz not only completed 100 percent of his passes when facing the blitz (8-for-8) but was also 5-for-6 for 120 yards and two touchdowns on throws 15-plus yards downfield. I know you're going to say that the Browns defense is porous, but the Bears allowed wide receiver Will Fuller to become the only rookie in Texans history to record a 100-yard receiving day in a season opener. Last year the Eagles quarterbacks completed only 50.9 percent of their passes when facing the blitz, which was third-worst in the NFL.
Fantasy Impact:Jordan Matthews has a shot to really improve his season-long stats this year, and should be a matchup consideration every week. Watch Wentz's stats these next few weeks, but you could take a flier on him this week if you want to take a high-upside risk!
15) 3.4 yards per rush
Jeremy Langford averaged 3.4 yards per rush on 17 carries for 57 yards and a touchdown last week against a very tough Houston defensive front. He was the clear workhorse in the backfield (not a committee in that game), but the low production numbers have me a bit concerned. Last year his 3.6 yards per rush average was only good enough to rank 41st out of 44 qualifying backs.
Fantasy Impact: I am not ready to say the Bears aren't going to employ a running back committee strategy. If this low-yield production continues I would imagine we see Jordan Howard and Ka'Deem Carey given the opportunity to improve the team's ground attack.
BONUS: Something to think about ...
Mike Wallace has 35 total yards against the Browns in his past three meetings with them. He has been with different teams, but he's only had one 100-yard outing in his past eight meetings with the Browns.
Fantasy Impact: OK, so that's more of a trivia point than a predictive stat, but if you're picking receivers against the Browns defense, and you should probably try to do this (they allowed 7.3 passing yards per play last week to the Eagles in Carson Wentz' debut, 12th-worst in the league) I actually think both Mike Wallace and Steve Smith Sr. are worth a look. Smith's nine targets were the team-high last week against the Bills, despite earning only 19 yards on five receptions. Wallace saw six targets and caught three of them including the 66 yarder for his touchdown, but I wouldn't be surprised if Smith found the end zone this week.