As we head into the fantasy football playoffs, there are some interesting dynamics taking place across the league. It’s great to look at the season as a whole, but the fantasy football league winner label can be guys that have come on late, whether it be via increased usage or increased production. For example, Cam Akers has gone from a nearly useless player requesting a trade to being a potential RB1 in fantasy football’s most important week. From red zone passing, to rushing, to receiving, we’ll take a look at some notable numbers from the season thus far that can help your fantasy football teams down the stretch. Using the red zone report here at Fantasy Alarm, here are the key numbers and notes to know for fantasy football in this week’s red zone analysis.
NFL Red Zone Report
Red Zone Passing
Deshaun Watson, Cleveland Browns
The former Houston quarterback hasn’t exactly been great for Cleveland this season, at least in the red zone. He has yet to put up a QB1 week, with three of his four games seeing him finish as the weekly QB20 or worse. In the red zone specifically, he’s just 7-for-22 passing with two scores, and has just five red zone carries with one score on the ground. Furthermore, inside the 10-yard line, he’s 2-for-10 passing, and has zero rushing attempts. Watson hadn’t played in quite some time, so there was going to be some rust that would need worked off, so 2023 is likely when Cleveland fans should start to expect the Watson we saw during his time in Houston.
Davis Mills, Houston Texans
The Houston offense has been a bit better of late, and we are officially in the “nothing to lose” part of the season where Mills starts looking like a competent QB2 in super flex formats. Houston has put up 19 or more points in three straight games, and over the last two weeks, Mills is 6-for-10 with three touchdowns in the red zone, not to mention one rushing score and nearly a second one. The overall numbers may not look all that great, seeing as he hasn’t eclipsed 200 yards in four weeks, but he does have two rushing scores and three passing. Houston will need to put up 20+ points to beat Jacksonville, and Mills could be a serviceable QB2 with 200 yards passing, two scores, and maybe a couple points in the run game.
Red Zone Rushing
Cam Akers, Los Angeles Rams
To say Akers is the guy in L.A. at this juncture is quite the understatement. He is the only running back for the Rams with a red zone carry in the past five weeks, highlighted by last week’s multi-touchdown effort. Akers has volume and opportunity outside of the 20s, and inside the 20s, he has a monopoly on that market. He has six rushing scores over the past four weeks, all of which have come inside the seven-yard line. He’s the guy and he’s getting all of the work, so he must be started in your fantasy football lineups the rest of the way.
AJ Dillon, Green Bay Packers
Something is up with Aaron Jones, or Green Bay has now decided to just ride Dillon, particularly in the end zone. Dillon has nine red zone carries to Jones’ five over the last two weeks, and overall, Dillon now has at least 11 carries and three targets in not one, not two, but three straight games. With matchups against the Vikings and Lions to end the year, Dillon is poised to end the 2022 season on a high note.
Red Zone Receiving
DeVonta Smith, Philadelphia Eagles
I highly doubt we see Jalen Hurts before season’s end, so those who roster Smith should be excited to see that he received three red zone targets from Gardner Minshew last week, compared to just one for A.J. Brown. Smith has four touchdowns over his last four games, including two scores last week with Minshew at the helm. Regardless of who is under center, Brown is going to draw plenty of attention, and if Minshew continues to look at Smith like this, you have to like his outlook the rest of the way. I don’t expect Philly to run an aerial assault with 40 pass attempts for Minshew again this week or next, but volume and red zone opportunities should be there regardless.
Tyler Higbee, Los Angeles Rams
Is a Baker Mayfield-led offense going to be amongst the league’s most prolific passing attacks? Of course not. However, Higbee is nearly the only man in town for Mayfield, which should lead to reliable volume the rest of the way. Higbee has five red zone targets over the last two weeks, and during this two game run, he’s caught 13 of 18 targets for 121 yards with three touchdowns. All three of his receiving scores this year from Mayfield have come inside the 10-yard line (7, 8, & 9).
Related NFL Links:
- Fantasy Football Running Back Handcuff Grid
- Fantasy Football Weekly Rankings
- 2022 Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Pickups
- 2022 NFL Injury Report
- 2022 Fantasy Football Stock Watch