2015 Fantasy Football – Red Zone Report

By Chet Gresham – @ChetGresham
Follow @walterfootball for updates.

In this article I’ll take a look-see at every position and their usage in the red zone. I’ll start with total team usage in the red zone and then move on to individual positions.

Team Total team stats in the red zone are a good way to tell just how efficient and prolific teams have been so far this year. There are of course weird exceptions, like the 49ers who made numerous red zone plays against Pittsburgh in garbage time, but were so inefficient near the goal line that they had multiple fourth downs as they tried to come from behind. But as a whole we can see which offenses are moving the ball near the goal line, which is where we want our fantasy players living.

TmComAttPaTDIntRuRuTDTotPlay% Run% PassTotTDs%TDRuTD %PaTD%

  • The futility prize goes to the St. Louis Rams, who have run just eight plays inside the red zone. This of course is not an oddity with Jeff Fisher teams. The hope is that Todd Gurley will begin helping them sustain more drives. Really, they can't do much worse.

  • The most futile offense once inside the red zone so far has been the Dolphins. They've run 30 plays inside the red zone and have scored just three touchdowns, for a 10% success rate. So they are getting into the red zone, but can't do much once there. Hopefully that will get better and we can look at Dolphins' fantasy players with some optimism going forward.

  • Your top teams in the red zone so far have been Arizona, Cincinnati and New England. That of course is no surprise with how well they've been playing this season. Arizona has been the most efficient, with 11 touchdowns on 30 total plays. Compare that to the Dolphins who have the same number of plays.

  • Minnesota has the biggest percentage of rushing plays compared to passing plays with 78.1 percent to 21.9 percent. That's pretty evident with Adrian Peterson being back, but also is a slight indictment on how well Teddy Bridgewater has played this season, which really isn't all that well. Even with Peterson back, they should be able to throw with more success.

  • The opposite of that are the Detroit Lions who have passed 85.7 percent of the time to running just 14.3 percent. This has been a problem for the Lions so far this season. Like the Vikings, this could make some sense because Calvin Johnson is their best red zone threat, but of Matthew Stafford's 18 red zone attempts, five have gone toward Johnson for one touchdown.

    Wide Receiver Below here are the top targeted wide receivers inside the red zone so far this season. There aren't a ton of names you'll be surprised to see, but let's take a look.

    Wide Receiver    
    1Julio Jones85225.0%
    2DeAndre Hopkins75342.9%
    2A.J. Green73228.6%
    2Julian Edelman75114.3%
    2Jarvis Landry7400.0%
    3Randall Cobb65466.7%
    3Brandon Marshall65350.0%
    3Vincent Jackson61116.7%
    3Steve Smith62116.7%
    4Larry Fitzgerald54480.0%
    4Anquan Boldin52120.0%
    4Jeremy Maclin53120.0%
    4Jordan Matthews54120.0%
    4Calvin Johnson52120.0%
    4Marvin Jones52120.0%
    5Steve Johnson43250.0%
    5Seth Roberts43250.0%
    5Kendall Wright42125.0%
    5T.Y. Hilton4200.0%
    5Michael Crabtree4000.0%
    5DeVante Parker4000.0%
    5Jermaine Kearse4300.0%
    5Cecil Shorts4200.0%
    5Mohamed Sanu4200.0%

  • Julio Jones is of course the leader in red zone targets, as he's the leader in every positive wide receiver statistic there is. His touchdown percentage is lower than some at 25 percent, but is also completely understandable as the Falcons need to get him the ball somehow and sometimes that's at the line of scrimmage. Getting him the ball in any way is the Falcons best offensive game plan and they are sticking to it so far.

  • PPR studs, Jarvis Landry and Julian Edelman have taken over as their team's No. 1 receivers and also their top wide receiver red zone targets. Landry has yet to find the end zone, but four receptions on seven targets as a good start and he should cross the goal line sooner than later. Edelman, is much the same with one touchdown reception from inside the red zone, but five receptions on seven targets. Both are getting the opportunities we want.

  • DeVante Parker should be the Dolphins best red zone target at some point, but he's still not quite there yet. His four targets are a sign that they want to use him in that way, which is good.

  • Randall Cobb was a big red zone target last season, but he trailed off in the second half of the season and the bigger Jordy Nelson always seemed like the better target, so many believed Cobb's touchdowns would decrease this year. And they might have, but the season ending injury to Nelson has put Cobb right back up into the main touchdown target. And with Aaron Rodgers throwing the ball, any red zone target is a good target.

    Tight End Unless you have Rob Gronkowski, you need your tight ends to get as many red zone targets as possible. Of course you want Gronk to get his as well, but that guy can put up big yardage games and score from about anywhere, unlike most tight ends.

    Tight End    
    1Rob Gronkowski74457.1%
    1Greg Olsen75228.6%
    1Heath Miller75114.3%
    2Tyler Eifert63350.0%
    3Scott Chandler53120.0%
    3Jimmy Graham52120.0%
    3Larry Donnell52120.0%
    4Jason Witten43250.0%
    4Kyle Rudolph41125.0%
    4Travis Kelce41125.0%
    4Jordan Cameron4100.0%
    5Anthony Fasano32133.3%
    5Gavin Escobar32133.3%
    5Jordan Reed31133.3%
    5Crockett Gillmore31133.3%
    5Clay Harbor32133.3%

  • Heath Miller is tied for the lead with seven red zone targets, but much of that came with Le'Veon Bell and of course Martavis Bryant out. Now with those two back and Michael Vick at the helm, you have to severely lower your expectations for Miller going forward.

  • Greg Olsen is also tied for the lead with seven targets and this comes after his weird Week 1 game in which he saw just three overall targets. Last week was his target bonanza though, as he saw five inside the red zone and caught two for touchdowns. He is easily the safest non-Gronk fantasy tight end in the league.

  • Over the last two weeks we've seen Marvin Jones getting more work for the Bengals, which has hurt Tyler Eifert's upside a little, but the good news is that Eifert has seen two red zone targets in each game this year. He remains high on my fantasy tight end list.

  • Amazingly Gronk's sidekick, Scott Chandler, has five red zone targets. Of course he has a total of eight targets on the season, so is the most touchdown dependent fantasy tight end in the league. If you are in a two-tight end touchdown only league, you should grab him up!

  • Jimmy Graham has 18 targets on the season, which ties him with Jermaine Kearse and is two behind Doug Baldwin. I'm no rocket scientist, but Graham should lead the team in targets. Thankfully he does lead the team in red zone targets with five, while Kearse has four to Baldwin's one. Let's go ahead and give Kearse's four to Graham and we might be onto something.

    Running Back For running backs, beloe you'll see a chart for the top targeted backs and the top rushing attempts backs inside the red zone.

    Running BackTargets    Running BackRushing Att.  Running BackRushing Att.
    RkPlayerTarRecRecTD RkPlayerRshRuTD RkPlayerRshRuTD
    1Matt Forte530 1Adrian Peterson171 10Alfred Blue61
    1Jamaal Charles551 2Devonta Freeman154 10Alfred Morris60
    2Theo Riddick430 3DeAngelo Williams133 10LeSean McCoy60
    3DeMarco Murray321 4Jeremy Hill122 11Joseph Randle52
    3Marshawn Lynch320 5LeGarrette Blount113 11Eddie Lacy51
    3Mike Tolbert320 5Chris Ivory112 11Andre Williams51
    3Devonta Freeman330 5Giovani Bernard110 11Rashad Jennings51
    3Mike Davis320 6Chris Johnson102 11Matt Forte51
    3Chris Thompson321 6Latavius Murray102 11Justin Forsett50
    3Bishop Sankey311 7Mark Ingram92 11Mike Tolbert50
    4LeVeon Bell210 7Dion Lewis92 11Mike Davis50
    4Damien Williams221 8Jamaal Charles83 11Doug Martin50
    4Marcel Reece222 8T.J. Yeldon80 11Josh Robinson50
    4Ameer Abdullah221 9Danny Woodhead72 12Bishop Sankey41
    4Jonathan Grimes220 9Frank Gore72 12Ronnie Hillman41
    4Danny Woodhead210 9Carlos Hyde72 12Anthony Dixon41
    4Lorenzo Taliaferro220 9Isaiah Crowell71 12Antonio Andrews41
    4Bilal Powell200 9Jonathan Stewart70 12Ryan Mathews41
    4Mark Ingram220 10DeMarco Murray61 12Darren McFadden41
    4Bruce Miller210 10Matt Jones61 12Lamar Miller40
               12C.J. Anderson40

  • Matt Forte leads all running backs in red zone targets with five, which is pretty good considering the Bears didn't run one play inside the Seahawks' red zone last week. He remains one of the most versatile fantasy backs in the league.

  • Adrian Peterson has a whopping seventeen rushing attempts inside the red zone, but only one touchdown. That will change of course as Peterson has looked better each week.

  • Devonta Freeman had an insane 10 rushing attempts inside the red zone last week on his way to three rushing touchdowns. It will be difficult for him to see that many looks again, but just the fact they used him that much in this game is eye-opening enough to feel like it might happen again in some way.

  • It sure seems like a long time since Jeremy Hill scored two touchdowns in Week 1, but it happened and he's still seeing red zone work, with four red zone carries last week. He should turn things around enough to be worthwhile, but Gio Bernard isn't going to fall to the wayside.

  • Joseph Randle has five red zone carries and Darren McFadden has four. And now Christine Michael is set to be active this week. Randle's big game in Week 3 might not be the start of something, or it might, but it might not.

  • If Ben Roethlisberger was quarterbacking right now I'd feel great about DeAngelo Williams' numbers in relation to Le'Veon Bell. Together they have 18 looks inside the red zone, which if Bell had played in Week 1 and 2, would have gone to Bell. It goes to show you how potent this offense was to start the season, but unfortunately Michael Vick won't be moving the team down the field with the same ease. For more recommendations, check out WalterFootball.com's Fantasy Football Rankings.

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