After each week of the NFL season, we are going to take a look at the numbers from the prior week, and examine the red zone usage for players and teams! Red zone usage is vital to fantasy success, and oftentimes is a great indicator of future touchdown production. What teams throw it a bunch in the red zone? Who is the preferred red zone running back for a team? What wide receiver is getting a ton of red zone work? Regardless of whether it’s for your NFL DFS lineups or your seasonal teams, there’s key information for you in this article. From red zone passing, to rushing, to receiving, we’ll take a look at some notable numbers from Week 1 that can help your fantasy football teams. 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 report.
Red Zone Passing
Week 1 saw three combined carries for Rhamondre Stevenson and Ezekiel Elliott in the red zone, while Mac Jones had three red zone passing touchdowns himself! In the red zone, he completed 60 percent of his passes, and fired three touchdown strikes. Jones was solid in the red zone last year, completing just under 59 percent of his passes with an 8:1 TD/INT ratio, but with an actual offensive coordinator, he just may be in for an excellent season. There will be weeks where Stevenson and Elliott get their work, but we have to be encouraged by our first glimpse of Jones under Bill O’Brien.
There’s a lot of moving parts to consider here, but I won’t bury the lede. If Tagovailoa is going to get this kind of passing volume, overall and inside the 20s, he may go nuclear this year, health willing of course. In Week 1, Miami running backs totaled four carries in the red zone, and just one inside the 10-yard line. Tagovailoa had 10 pass attempts in the red zone, with a whopping eight attempts (4 completions, 2 TDs) inside the 10-yard line! They play fast, they are pass-heavy, and if they stay pass-heavy inside of the red zone, his touchdown floor may be higher than we thought coming into the season. One massive performance in, and I’m sold that he’s a QB1 this year.
Red Zone Rushing
Cam Akers better figure his s^*t out sooner rather than later, because he may have already red zone work. In Week 1, Akers did manage to score on one of his two red zone carries, but Kyren Williams five carries in the red zone, resulting in two scores! Williams only had one more carry than Akers inside the 10, but if you watch that game back, one of the running backs was more dynamic and had a pep in their step, and well, the other back was Akers. This was a great Week 1 for Williams, who at the very least, has seemed to earn a sizable role, which includes a lead on red zone work.
Running quarterbacks in fantasy are cheat codes. That may be a bit of an exaggeration, but a quarterback who puts up fantasy points with his legs finds himself very high in rankings by season’s end, more often than not. In Week 1, Richardson showed off his legs, including his first rushing touchdown of the season, and he handled four red zone carries. To be fair, he can take it to the house from anywhere on the field, but with his large frame, it’s exciting to see the Colts trust him with the ball in his hands around the goal line. With the question marks at running back for Indianapolis, Richardson seems to be a prominent piece of the red zone rushing attack, which is great for his fantasy outlook.
Red Zone Receiving
I understand that the Sunday Night Football game between the Giants and Cowboys may not have provided the best insight into this Dallas offense, especially given how quickly it got out of hand. Of everyone on that team, it was of course Jake Ferguson who led the way with four red zone targets. Sure, it ended up not amounting too much, but is Ferguson going to be that deep league tight end option where you are playing for the touchdown each week? In deeper formats, you could do much worse than Ferguson, especially if he’s going to get this type of action inside the twenties. Pro Football Focus did hit him with two drops, so ideally that gets cleaned up.
Did you have Jakobi Meyers leading the Raiders in red zone targets in Week 1 and commanding 60 percent of the team’s red zone targets on your bingo card? I know I didn’t! In New England, Meyers was a possession receiver who was knocked down due to a dearth of touchdowns (8 TDs between 2021-2022). He already has two this year with Jimmy Garoppolo under center, and with a tried-and-true WR1 on the field with him, he stands to benefit by not being one of the focal points of the defense’s attention. Garoppolo wasn’t great in the red zone in Week 1, but the touchdowns to Meyers obviously helped. Adams is still the guy there, but we should be encouraged by his workload here.