With the trade deadline in many fantasy football leagues being in the rearview mirror, we may not exactly be able to talk about sell high and buy low trade targets, but we can still examine the numbers for the latest usage and red zone trends across the NFL landscape. Kyler Murray’s red zone splits with and without DeAndre Hopkins are quite intriguing, and Dallas’ number one red zone target over the last couple of weeks isn’t star receiver CeeDee Lamb. Also, a receiver in Buffalo not named Stefon Diggs has seen his red zone usage increase in recent weeks, and just might be out there on your waiver wire in deeper formats. 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 the rest of the way. Using the red zone report here at Fantasy Alarm, here are the key numbers and notes in this week’s red zone analysis.
NFL Red Zone Report
Red Zone Passing
Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins
Of quarterbacks with at least 40 red zone passing attempts this season, here’s the list of quarterbacks who have completed at least 64 percent of their passes: Tua Tagovailoa. End of list. If you drop the threshold to 60 percent, Joe Burrow, Aaron Rodgers, and Jimmy Garoppolo enter the mix. Tagovailoa is having an exceptional season, and the combination of his elite receivers and offensive guru head coach, it isn’t much of a surprise. The Miami running backs have only totaled nine red zone carries over the last two weeks, and while Tagovailoa already set a new career high in passing touchdowns, his increased usage in the red zone could help him make a push for 30 passing scores on the year.
Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals
Well, what a difference a red zone alpha can make for a team, and a player for that matter. I love Marquise Brown, but DeAndre Hopkins is a different animal inside the red zone. Take a look at Murray’s red zone passing numbers with and without Hopkins this season:
Courtesy of pro-football-reference.com
Not every pass is going to Hopkins obviously, but his presence opens things up on the football field, and especially in the red zone, he draws a ton of attention, and rightfully so. A healthy Kyler Murray with weapons like Hopkins and Brown should be nearly unstoppable in the red zone. Let’s see if he keeps up this recent red zone success.
Red Zone Rushing
Nick Chubb, Cleveland Browns
Nick Chubb’s usage is going to remain elite, I’m not saying that it won’t. However, new quarterback Deshaun Watson isn’t afraid to take matters into his own hands, especially in the red zone. Looking back at his time in Houston, outside of his rookie season, he was a legitimate threat in the end zone, particularly with his legs when utilized:
RZ Rushing Att.
RZ Rush TDs
Courtesy of pro-football-reference.com
It can go either way really, in that Chubb has to worry about Kareem Hunt and Deshaun Watson stealing work in the red zone, or the added threat of Watson’s legs could open things even more for Chubb. Personally, it’s a bit of give-and-take between the two, but Chubb is a rock-solid RB1 that should enjoy Watson being under center, as Cleveland figures to be leading more frequently down the stretch.
Isiah Pacheco, Kansas City Chiefs
Of course, just as we all expected, Pacheco led all running backs in red zone carries in Week 12. His 12 carries last week were the most in the NFL that week, and prior to that number last week, the most red zone carries handled by a Kansas City running back in a week was three, also by Pacheco in Weeks 1 and 4. He’s a hard, violent runner, and while he may lack a bit of patience and savvy, he has a solidified role on this team, especially while Clyde Edwards-Helaire is on the injured reserve. In games where Kansas City is leading, he’s going to be used heavily, but if they trail, expect minimal work from him.
Red Zone Receiving
Isaiah McKenzie, Buffalo Bills
I’m not saying it’s everything, but I’m definitely not saying it’s nothing either. Of the Buffalo pass catchers, look at the breakdown of targets from Weeks 10-12 for this Buffalo offense:
Red Zone Targets
Sure, Buffalo’s “Big 3” receivers are all fairly close, but McKenzie has worked his way into a valuable role on this team, and Josh Allen is giving him opportunities. Gabriel Davis has been so boom-or-bust this year, and while McKenzie may only play around 65 percent of the snaps each game, he’s getting a healthy amount of targets, and a couple red zone looks each game. He should be rostered in any league with more than 10-12 teams, or those that utilize multiple flex spots. This is a valuable offense to be invested in.
Dalton Schultz, Dallas Cowboys
Do you know who leads the Cowboys in red zone targets over the last three weeks? It’s not CeeDee Lamb (4), but it’s our boy Dalton Schultz with eight! If you look back over his last five games, he’s averaging 4.8 receptions on 5.8 targets for 46 yards per game, and over 17 games, that comes out to 82 receptions for 99 yards for 782 yards and 10 touchdowns! Schultz isn’t the most electrifying player in the game, or even at his position, but his role is rock solid on this team, and he looks healthy, seeing as his 84 percent snapshare in Week 12 was his highest mark since Week 4 (90%). I expect him to be a valuable contributor down the stretch, particularly inside the 20s.
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