Red Zone Report Week 9
As fantasy football managers continue to try and score big points, they often find the highest upside in players who score touchdowns. The best area of the field to get into the end zone is as close as possible to the goal-line. That is why Red Zone carries and targets are so important. The purpose of this Red Zone Report Week 9, is to showcase which players have received the most opportunities in the Red Zone.
For the remainder of this article, the words “Red Zone” will be replaced with “RZ” for brevity.
Red Zone Rushing
A pair of players paced the NFL in RZ carries during Week 8. One, Josh Jacobs, was an expected source for this type of workload. However, I was shocked to discover that the rookie DeeJay Dallas matched Jacobs RZ rushes in Week 8. In fact, Dallas saw more RZ targets than Jacobs, therefore, is the RZ opportunity king of Week 8 with a total of 11.
After Dallas and Jacobs, Dalvin Cook slotted in next for RZ carries with 7. Meanwhile, a trio of players each received 6 RZ rushing attempts. Included in that group is a duo of running backs in the form of Todd Gurley, and Zack Moss, as well as quarterback Lamar Jackson.
Nobody saw 5 RZ carries in Week 8. However, Derrick Henry, JaMycal Hasty, and David Montgomery each had 4 RZ rushing attempts. Outside of Dallas and Hasty, it is the usual suspects at the top of the league RZ carries. Both the Seahawks and especially the 49ers are run-heavy in the RZ. So there is a certain amount of security knowing that both rookies should maintain their RZ workload as long as they remain the starters on their teams.
Carries Inside the 5
While it is important to highlight rushing attempts from inside the 5-yard line, this section can get repetitive. Four running backs all received 3 carries from inside the 5. Dalvin Cook, DeeJay Dallas, Josh Jacobs, and Zack Moss have all been mentioned already, but that is a likely scenario considering those players all had at least 6 total RZ rushing attempts during Week 8. Enough of those were bound to be inside the 5-yard line.
Four more running back received 2 carries inside the 5. Again, several have already been mentioned such as Todd Gurley, JaMycal Hasty, and David Montgomery. However, a new name to appear is Samaje Perine. While he split RZ rushing attempts with Giovani Bernard, Perine saw both of the Bengals carries from inside the 5-yard line. In addition to the backs, there were two quarterbacks with a pair of goal-line looks; Josh Allen and Cam Newton.
Red Zone Targets
No one players truly separated from the pack in terms of RZ targets. Davante Adams led the league during Week 8 with 4 RZ targets. Right behind him were seven players with 3 RZ targets apiece. The members of that group include Kendrick Bourne, DeeJay Dallas, Evan Engram, Julio Jones, Marvin Jones, Jarvis Landry, and JuJu Smith-Schuster. It is incredible to see a rookie running back on a list with so many talented receivers. That demonstrates the fact that the Seahawks have been passing the football a lot in general, but also in the RZ. Of further note is the fact that Evan Engram is the only tight end in the NFL who leads his team in total RZ opportunities.
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With 6 RZ rushing attempts, Lamar Jackson not only led all quarterbacks in Week 8 but tripled the amount of any other signal-caller. It is interesting to note that none of Jackson’s RZ carries have come inside the 5-yard line. That includes both the 6 in his most recent game and the 6 other RZ carries from the rest of 2020. On the contrary, Josh Allen and Cam Newton have received a large number of RZ rushing attempts much closer to the goal-line. For Allen, 7 of his 9 RZ carries have come inside the 5. For Newton, it’s 8 of 15. Even Joe Burrow, whose lone Week 8 RZ rushing attempt came outside the 5, has a mark of 5 of 7 for the close-quarter carries.
The main takeaway is that while Jackson runs the football a lot, he is not gaining much value from the RZ. Yes, he runs a lot in the RZ, but he also runs that much in every area of the field. Those attempts are part of his weekly floor but he does not gain the high probability touchdown upside.
One last interesting quarterback remark. During Week 8, Russell Wilson had his first RZ carry of the season. It also came inside the 5-yard line, showing that Wilson knows when to pick his spots.
2020 Season So Far
Todd Gurley has extended his season-long lead for total RZ opportunities. And he has done so without a single RZ target. Simply, 39 RZ rushing attempts, with 10 of them coming inside the 5-yard line. Gurley also has the advantage of playing in more games than most other players since he has not yet had his bye week. But with somewhat of a safe margin he may be able to afford the week off and still maintain a lead. He will need to continue to get RZ opportunities in order to salvage a fantasy floor without passing game work.
After Gurley, the trio of Derrick Henry, Kareem Hunt, and Josh Jacobs have 32 total RZ opportunities each on the year. The only other player with a least 30 on the season is Myles Gaskin. Unfortunately, Gaskin is on the injured reserve and will fall behind in this category. It was still quite the run from a player that likely went undrafted in most 2020 fantasy football formats.
A couple of last-minute leaders. Ezekiel Elliott still maintains a stranglehold on most carries inside the 5-yard line with 15 such attempts. Only Henry and Gurley have double-digit rushing attempts inside the 5. And finally, the 2020 leader in RZ target through eight weeks is Calvin Ridley. With a chance that he missed Week 9, perhaps there will be a new leader next week.
Thank you for reading Red Zone Report Week 9. Be sure to check out Full Press Coverage for more great NFL content.