5 must-read stats: Ty Montgomery's fantasy upside

Happy Week 2!!

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. I should also note that these projections will be more solid in a few weeks after we've seen some actual football that counts. So, the "rules" for this article:

  1. Not super obvious.
    1. As exclusive as possible to this article.
    2. You give me feedback and we evolve it together. 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. Zero

I could have also gone with 0% or 0-10. That was how often the Rams' defense allowed the Colts' offense to convert on third down. This number is unsustainably low, even for a team that is about to get Aaron Donald back. Think of 40 percent as a threshold of third down conversions that relates to wins. If an offense can convert 40 percent of their third downs they are more likely to win and if the defense can hold their opponents under 40 percent, then they have the advantage. I think other people have done a great job of navigating how to deal with the Colts and their opponents, so my main point here is more to not overestimate Week 1 results (or any single week). Instead, use it as directional clues. For the Rams, their defense is still great, but while their offense is improved it's very unlikely to score 46 points per game. The NFL average is usually between 22-23 points per game and last year the Rams ranked 32nd in points per game with 14.

Other things that are unsustainable high or low:

  • Sam Bradford had a 154.7 passer rating when targeting Stefon Diggs in Week 1, and an 84.4% completion percentage overall. My interpretation: the Saints defense is a target and the Vikings offense is balanced, so look for favorable matchups.
  • Joe Flacco only posted 17 pass attempts in Week 1. Last year he passed 30 or more times in every game. Baltimore was No. 1 in pass play percentage in the NFL in 2016. The Ravens are not abandoning the pass, even if they do go run-heavy again this week against the Browns. Both Ravens backs have nice projections for Week 2, with West's slightly higher than Allen's. Remember Flacco and Maclin had about a week of practice together before the Bengals game and Woodhead got hurt.
  • Kareem Hunt averaged 8.7 yards per carry. Last year's rushing leader averaged 5.7 yards per carry.
  • Jaguars defense recorded 10 sacks.
  • Tom Brady had a career low 44.4 percent completion rate in Week 1.

2. 64.7 percent

That was Jameis Winston's completion percentage between the numbers last season. That's low - near the bottom of the league. Think of 70 percent as the threshold in that part of the field. Those passes are usually to tight ends and slot receivers on higher-percentage routes. Winston's weakness is something the Bucs seem to have addressed in the offseason by drafting O.J. Howard and even by changing how opposing defenses must defend them by signing the most consistent deep threat in the league, DeSean Jackson. The Bears are without their standout linebacker Jerrell Freeman, which changes the defensive unit between the numbers. I have the Bucs winning big this weekend so make sure Cameron Brate is in your lineup, along with the usual suspects on that team, and of course Jacquizz Rodgers. Also, stream their defense if you need one.

3. Five

That's how many offenses took five of fewer Week 1 snaps in the red zone - Atlanta, Green Bay, Philadelphia, New York Giants and New York Jets. In other words, the trends I like to track like red zone tendencies (pass vs run, etc), are pretty much the same for these teams as they are for Miami and Tampa Bay, at this point. I really care about Green Bay and Atlanta the most here. To me, this data must be collected each year and not over weighted from the past year. Case in point ...Amari Cooper scored his first red zone touchdown since 2015 last week against the Titans. His work inside the 20-yard line could be on the upswing. Red zone tendencies are especially interesting on teams with backfield committees. Here's how I play some of those committee members this week: Ty Montgomery has a nice projection with tons of upside and a high touchdown probability. For New England, Gillislee and White are playable in all formats, with the latter being less exciting in non-PPR. Tarik Cohen and Jordan Howard both should be in your lineup, with Howard still having slightly higher upside.

4. New England at New Orleans and Green Bay at Atlanta

Those are the games where I believe there will be the most offensive production. Adjust your search for value to focus on those games if you are looking for which players have the most opportunity. I have New England 31-24 and Atlanta 28-27. Also, I have Kansas City winning by a touchdown with Eagles' cornerback Ronald Darby not playing, and I have the Bills scoring more points than Panthers fans would like to see. Adjust your expectations based on game script accordingly.

5. Trivia

There are way more than five stats in the article this week, so here's something to stump your friends with (thanks to our research department): Tom Brady and Drew Brees have combined to throw for how many total MILES combined?

Hint: it's 2.78 marathons

High Ceiling

QB: Derek Carr, Philip Rivers, Carson Palmer 
RB: Rob Kelley, Theo Riddick, Alvin Kamara 
WR: Mike Wallace, Marqise Lee, Corey Davis, Martavis Bryant 
TE: Charles Clay, Evan Engram, Julius Thomas 
K: Phil Dawson 
DEF: Buccaneers, Raiders

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