Red Zone Report Playoffs
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 Playoffs, is to showcase which players have received the most opportunities in the Red Zone. Also, included in this playoff edition, is a look at which teams have run the most (and least) Red Zone plays.
For the remainder of this article, the words “Red Zone” will be replaced with “RZ” for brevity.
Red Zone Rushing Attempts
Right at the top of the Week 13 RZ carry list we find a rookie, as well as an established veteran who is among the most productive fantasy players this season. We start with Cam Akers who received 9 RZ rushing attempts during Week 13. As the season has gone on, the first-year player has witnessed his workload increase. During Week 13, his touches went up considerable in the RZ. So much so that Akers now sits second on the Rams in total RZ opportunities for the season.
Right after Akers, we can find Dalvin Cook with 8 RZ carries during Week 13. Another heavy workload league has put Cook among the NFL leaders in total RZ opportunities (more on that later).
A trio of players hit 7 RZ rushing attempts in Week 13. Some of that was do to luck. Looking specifically at Ty Johnson who received his 7 RZ carries after a teammate was injured. Myles Gaskin meanwhile, returned from an injury absence to play in Week 13. Gaskin did not miss a beat as he immediately regained a workhorse like amount of touches. That includes in the RZ with his 7 RZ rushing attempts. Finally, Cam Newton also saw 7 RZ carries during Week 13.
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Four running backs were primed with 5 RZ rushing attempts each during Week 13. It is funny, because all four of these players are getting more work than initially expected in 2020. They are, Nick Chubb, J.K. Dobbins, David Montgomery, and Adrian Peterson.
There is also a group of players closely behind with 4 RZ carries during Week 13. That list includes Devontae Booker, Kenyan Drake, Ezekiel Elliott, Todd Gurley, Damien Harris, Sony Michel, and Benny Snell. Some of those running backs were pegged as the lead guy on their teams right from the start of the season. Others (for ex. Booker and Snell) are receiving opportunities because of the injury to a starter. Either way, those players certainly got their chances in Week 13.
Carries Insde the 5
This may just look like the list of names from the first section. Essentially it is as the players who saw the most rushing attempts from inside the 5-yard line. In fact there were four players with 4 such carries during Week 13. They are Cam Akers, Ty Johnson, Cam Newton, and Benny Snell. The most notable of that group is arguably Snell. Those inside the 5 rushing attempts represent 100% of his Week 13 RZ carries.
Another five players each saw 3 rushing attempts inside the 5-yard line during Week 13. Once again, all these players have been mentioned in the first section of this article. Either way, here is the list. Dalvin Cook, Kenyan Drake, Ezekiel Elliott, Myles Gaskin, and Adrian Peterson.
During Week 13, Jarvis Landry paced the NFL with 6 RZ targets. He was so much more targeted than anyone else last week. So much so that Landry doubled (or more) the amount of RZ targets that anyone other than Davante Adams received. For Landry, this is a recent trend. He saw 9 RZ targets over the last two weeks, while only receiving 5 during the first 10 games of the season.
For the Browns, the RZ opportunities have been mostly centered around three players. Until Week 12, it was mostly the two primary running backs. However, in recent weeks Landry has gotten more and more involved in that area. In fact, Landry actually led Cleveland in Week 13 RZ opportunities. Outside of Landry and the two backs, only one other players on the Browns has received more than 5 RZ opportunities (and he has been injured for almost half the season now). While Cleveland is a run heavy team (especially in the RZ), Landry will nonetheless get a fair share of chances to score a TD.
After Landry (6) and Adams (4), there was a trio of players with 3 RZ targets in Week 13. Two of them are currently leading their respective teams in RZ targets. However, even among team leaders there is still some separation in total RZ targets. While they both received 3 RZ targets in Week 13, Tyreek Hill’s 18 RZ on the season are more than double the 8 that Jamison Crowder has so far. Meanwhile, DeVante Parker is still a respectable 2nd among Dolphins players for 2020 RZ targets.
As already mentioned, Cam Newton saw 7 RZ carries during Week 13. He continues to dominate the RZ touches not just on his own team but relative to all other quarterbacks as well. On the season Newton has received 32 RZ rushing attempts. Second among signal-callers in 2020 is Taysom Hill with 20 total RZ opportunities. That includes the 4 RZ carries he saw during Week 13.
The other category in which Newton is also leading the NFL is QB rushing attempts from inside the 5-yard line. With 4 more of those in Week 13, Newton’s 2020 total for rushing attempts from inside the 5 is currently at 19. Josh Allen is second in the league with 9 carries inside the 5-yard line, including 1 in Week 13. Sam Darnold and Jared Goff were the only other quarterback to receive a rushing attempt inside the 5 during Week 13.
2020 Season So Far
In spite of a week without any RZ opportunities, Derrick Henry still sits on top of the NFL, His 48 RZ carries, and 49 total RZ opportunities are currently pacing the league for 2020 totals. However, his lead is not that locked in as Dalvin Cook and Todd Gurley both are approaching with 47 RZ opportunities this year.
Like Henry, Ezekiel Elliott is also holding on to the #1 spot of a RZ statistical category. So far in 2020, Elliott has the most opportunity the closest to the end zone, among all players. With 21 RZ rushing attempts from inside the 5-yard line, continues to get the valuable looks.
In terms of RZ targets on the season, we have a new leader. Davante Adams is the first NFL player to surpass 20 RZ targets in 2020. Although he likely won;t be the last. With 21 RZ targets, Adams only sits a couple above a few other players.
Team Red Zone Plays
During the fantasy regular-season, there was one that was leaps and bounds above all others in the numbers of RZ plays run. With 144 RZ plays on the season, the New Orleans Saints are that team. They have also shown great balance with only 53% to 47% in favor of run plays.
Next on the list with 129 and 120 RZ opportunities respectively are the Atlanta Falcons and the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts in particular are interesting. Through 13 weeks of NFL action, they are the only team with an even split of run vs pass plays in the RZ. Dead center in Indy, at 60 each for run and pass plays in the RZ.
Anyone following the Red Zone Report series (or even just reading this version) will know that the New England Patriots like to run the ball in the RZ. Not all of that has been Cam Newton however. After Newton, the next three players on the Patriots with the most RZ opportunities are all running backs. Even knowing that, it may still surprise to see that the Patriots have run the ball 72% of the time in the RZ. That is the largest disparity on either side for any team in the league. The Minnesota Vikings are at a similar 70% run rate in the RZ, it is also interesting to note that both the Patriots and the Vikings are inside the top half of the league in RZ plays run so far this season.
On the flip side, the two teams with the highest passing rate in the RZ, are both in the bottom 4 of total RZ plays run in 2020. With only 65 RZ plays, the Denver Broncos are last in the entire NFL. Both the Broncos and the Houston Texans have passed on 68% of their RZ plays. The Texans are not much better in total RZ plays run with 77.The only teams with less RZ plays than Houston are the Philadelphia Eagles (75), the New York Jets (71),a nd of course the Broncos.
Looking at the top half of the league in terms of 2020 RZ plays, the Chicago Bears are the most pass-heavy in the RZ with 64% passing in that area.
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