2017 NFL Fantasy Football Red Zone Report: Week 16
Matthew Selz reviews the red zone data from NFL Week 16 in an effort to help you make the right fantasy football lineup decisions for standard and PPR leagues.
For most Week 16 marks the end of the fantasy football season with titles secure and presents unwrapped from under the tree, it’s time to look at who were the studs of the week and who can help for those in Week 17 title games or DFS regular season finales.
Larry Fitzgerald- In what could be his final home game in Arizona, as his future is in the air, Fitz showed up with his first four-target game since the end of September. He caught two of them including one for a touchdown against the Giants. He is clearly the top target on his team and is seventh overall in the league at target percentage at 28.4% of his team’s tries inside the 20. If this is his final season in Arizona or the NFL in general, he’s certainly going out on a high note.
James O’Shaughnessy- The outcome in the Jags-Niners game may have been surprising for the score and the winner, but the fact that the top red zone target in the game was O’Shaughnessy is possibly even more shocking. He had four balls thrown his way and caught three of them including a score. His season total is up to six now, meaning Sunday accounted for two-thirds of his targets on the year. Another week like Week 16 would be highly unlikely going forward, but you never know with players getting rested in the season finale.
Josh Doctson- Doctson retook the team lead for the Redskins’ red zone targets with his four-target game on Sunday. That however is the only good news to report from his efforts. He didn’t catch a single target and in fact has only caught five of his 16 looks inside the 20 on the season (four for touchdowns). Jamison Crowder, number two on the team, saw one ball thrown his way and he scored on that. If this kind of unreliability continues, it’s hard to see him being counted on much more going forward.
Rob Gronkowski- It was a Gronk show for the second week in a row with a second-straight three-target game. This Sunday was easy to see coming with his history against the Bills and how bad the Bills had been this season against the tight end. Gronkowski caught two of the targets and had a score, giving him a 50% catch-rate this year with another half of those producing scores. Next week the Jets come calling, a team that gave up 83 yards and two scores to the position the last time they played the Patriots.
Greg Olsen- After missing much of the season with injury, Olsen hasn’t made much of an impact in this category, until this week that is. The Panthers’ tight end saw three targets in Week 16 against the Bucs, bringing his total to four on the year. He did manage to snag one of the targets for a five-yard reception. The main news from this game was to see Olsen getting looks near the end zone again as Carolina faces a big game in Week 17 against Atlanta who have been solid against the tight end this year but have given up three touchdowns to the position in the last six games.
Dion Lewis- It’s unusual to have two different players from the same team in this article, but Lewis and Gronk are exceptions. Lewis went a perfect two-for-two on Sunday and scored a touchdown on a 12-yard grab. That’s not all though, he’s a perfect six-for-six on the year, making him the only Pats target with 100% catch-rate with two or more targets on the year. With Lewis drawing a matchup against the Jets’ 27th-ranked defense against pass-catching backs in Week 17, a similar performance should be expected.
DeAndre Hopkins- Hopkins had two catches on two targets, one of which went for a touchdown in Monday’s unsurprising blowout loss to Pittsburgh. Despite the changes at quarterback for the Texans this year, including in Monday’s game. The two catches and targets against the Steelers were his first from T.J. Yates this year and bring his season total to 19, which makes him the only Texan in double-digits in red zone targets. Hopkins’ 30.6% overall target rate (inside the 20) is fifth-best in the league and his 32.3% target rate from inside the 10 is 10th-best in the league at this point.
Trent Taylor- The 49ers have been a different team since the insertion of Jimmy Garoppolo as the starting quarterback a couple of weeks ago. The biggest benefactor of that move has been Taylor with four targets in the last two games, three of which came on Sunday. He caught two of those, one of a touchdown, and has caught five of his seven on the season thus far. Kyle Juszczyk should also be mentioned here given he went three-for-three (targets-catches) on Sunday, though failing to score. On the year Juszczyk if a perfect five-for-five in his looks inside the 20.
Ones to Watch
Giovanni Bernard- Gio has been an afterthought for much of the year so far as the Cincy backfield has mainly been Joe Mixon’s property, but Sunday saw Bernard get his first red zone targets since the end of October. With Mixon still being held back with an injury issue, Gio has stepped up, to a degree, and has reshown his pass-catching ability. He caught all three of his targets, though failing to score, and could be a threat against a Baltimore defense that has issues against pass-catching running backs.
Travis Kelce- Kelce has been a stud tight end pretty much all season, and was expected to be, however the month of December has been a boon for him in red zone targets with eight looks already in the month. He has 20 on the season but so far has doubled his previous monthly high in targets and still has a game left. He has a matchup against the Denver defense looming in Week 17, but get posted a 7-133-1 stat line the last time they played but only saw one red zone target. This week should be no different (though expect more work in the red zone).