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5 must-read stats: DeAndre Hopkins ready to explode

Happy Week 4!!!

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, gameplan, 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. It should also be noted that these projections will be more solid in a few weeks after we've seem some actual football that counts. So the "rules" for this article are:

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

Got all that? Let's go!!!

1. 15 percent

DeAndre Hopkins catch rate has gone up 15 percent since Watson has been his quarterback (51.7 percent in 2016 versus 66.7 percent in weeks 2 and 3 combined). Deshaun Watson has 124 total rushing yards (most among NFL quarterbacks) and his ability on the ground is impactful both due to designed rushes and also giving his receivers more time to let their play develop. Especially with Duane Brown still holding out, this could be a key to avoiding the impact from Titans pass rusher Brian Orakpo. Also ... running back Lamar Miller's snaps have decreased and he hasn't seen the end zone yet, while rookie D'Onta Foreman's snaps have increased and he's been the ball carrier for 75 percent of the Texans red zone rushes, giving him sleeper upside.

Note: I think both DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry have great opportunities here. Watch the injury report and beat writers carefully but I have Murray with the higher median and floor but Henry with the higher ceiling based on his ability to break tackles and rush (especially to offense's left/defense's right -- Texans are No. 1 with -1.1 yards per carry allowed -- in limiting YPC on rushes to offense's right).

2. 15

That how many penalties the Seahawks defense has committed so far this season ... most in the league. The Seahawks have allowed two 100-plus rushers, this only happened three times all last season. Last week they allowed more than 400 total yards and 30 points, which happened zero times in 2016. I am not projecting a Seattle loss, but I am saying that Indianapolis could score more points that you might think ... or than some might think, but not us -- obviously. T.Y. Hilton has the most targets in the red zone of any receiver so far this season (and 50 percent of the Colts' red zone targets) and Brissett is not the problem for the Colts. Indy's defense has allowed the second-most points per game and second-most big plays (rushes of 10-plus yards and receptions of 20-plus yards) with 26 so far. Bottom line, I think there is more offense on both sides in a closer-than-expected game. Ahem. Chris Carson.

3. No. 2

The Vikings are second-best in BOTH third-down conversion percentage on offense and limiting third-down conversions on defense. Both. Other things to know as you think about DET-MIN: Dalvin Cook is also among the top 10 in red zone touches... Lions significantly improved at defending slot receivers and are currently tracking at 44.1 percent catch rate allowed (lowest in NFL)... Lions are +6 in turnover differential, best in the NFL. Here's what I think: Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielan, Kyle Rudolph are all starts in standard scoring but be mindful of limited upside... Dalvin Cook has the best overall rating for all formats. Tate is my favorite Lion and if Kenny Golladay is out, Marvin Jones becomes a better sleeper.

4. Things that won't last...

�� 0 percent -- The Raiders had a 0 percent third down conversion rate against Washington last week (52.4 percent was good for third-best in Weeks 1 and 2)
�� 8.3 percent -- The Dolphins had a 8.3 percent third down conversion rate against the Jets. This one isn't likely to rebound as much as the Raiders will, but this is also too low
�� 66.7 percent -- The Rams third down conversion rate against the 49ers led the League. 49ers have allowed three over 100 yard rushers so far this year (in three games)
�� 400-plus yards -- New England's defense has allowed more than 400 yards in all three games so far. Unlikely to be the case this week against the Panthers (especially if there's no Kelvin Benjamin in addition to Greg Olsen)
�� 0 -- Washington has given up zero rushes of 15-plus yards and only one rush of 12+ (face Kareem Hunt and Chiefs this week)
�� Questioning Dez Bryant -- I love his projection 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. Again, no Sam Bradford here this week:

�� Watch the Rams receivers ... Robert Woods could be a nice upside pick depending on who else is (isn't) available
�� If Rex Burkhead doesn't play, upgrade James White
�� Watch Washington's RBs, if Kelley or Perine are out upgrade the other one

High Ceiling

QB:Tyrod Taylor, Deshaun Watson
RB:Joe Mixon, Wendell Smallwood, Jacquizz Rodgers, Ameer Abdullah
WR:Tyrell Williams, Marqise Lee, Cooper Kupp
TE:Martellus Bennett, Jack Doyle, Jared Cook
DEF: Tampa Bay, Tennessee

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