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. This week, we’ll take a look at why Tank Dell and Kareem Hunt have seen their fantasy football stock rise over the past few weeks, as well as why T.J. Hockenson has every opportunity to end the year as the overall TE1, finishing ahead of Taylor Swift’s boyfriend (Travis Kelce). 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 the first 10 weeks of the 2023 NFL season 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
Say what you want about Russell Wilson, but he’s been so much better last year. This year, he’s actually a somewhat steady fantasy presence, compared to being a steady presence on waivers in 2022. He has a perfect 15:0 TD/INT ratio in the red zone this season, and his 69.8 percent completion percentage in the red zone is the second-highest mark amongst quarterbacks with at least 35 red zone pass attempts. This is such a massive improvement compared to last year, when he completed just 48.9 percent of his passes in the red zone, and had a 7:1 TD/INT ratio across 15 games. Wilson has surpassed his touchdown total from last year, and his 6.9 TD% would be his highest mark since putting up a 7.2 percent mark back in 2020.
The Packers are in a bit of a sticky spot with Love if I’m being honest. He’s very inconsistent, and since he’s one of the more aggressive quarterbacks in the league, per Next Gen Stats, he’s going to leave folks scratching their heads at times. He’s been intercepted 10 times already this season, and his three red zone interceptions are tied for the most in the league. He’s completed just 46 percent of his passes in the red zone this season, and only Derek Carr (45.2%) and Geno Smith (43.2%) have lower completion percentages than Love amongst quarterbacks with at least 40 red zone pass attempts. Love is a higher-end QB2 in terms of fantasy scoring right now, but it won’t always look the prettiest, that’s for sure.
Red Zone Rushing
Don’t look now, but Hunt has taken over the lion’s share of the red zone work for the Browns. Dating back to Week 6, Hunt has 14 red zone carries and six rushing touchdowns, whereas Jerome Ford has just three red zone carries with no rushing scores. Hunt has scored in the red zone in five straight games, notching at least two red zone carries in each of those contests. The unfortunate, ill-timed injury to Deshaun Watson means that the Browns likely lean on the rushing attack a bit more, so added volume for Hunt, on top of a red zone role, should be quite lucrative for the veteran back. Stock up for Mr. Hunt.
In his first game since tearing his ACL last season, Kyler looked spry. His arm showed a bit of rust, but he carried the ball six times for 33 yards, and found the end zone with his legs. He notched three red zone carries in that game, just one behind James Conner, immediately stepping into a prominent role in fantasy’s most lucrative 20-yard section. For his entire career, he averages 1.36 red zone carries per game, and his legs are a big part of what makes him so exciting for fantasy. The Texans have allowed three rushing scores to quarterbacks this season, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Murray add to that total this weekend.
Red Zone Receiving
Over the last two weeks, C.J. Stroud has targeted Dell six times in the red zone, including five times last week against the Bengals! The rookie receiver has a 40 percent target share in the red zone over the last two weeks! He also has 25 targets over the last two weeks, and his role in the offense is locked and loaded. The rapport with Stroud is there, and we’d love to see Dell be more efficient with his targets (48% catch rate over last two weeks), but there’s no denying the overall volume, and recent workload in the red zone in particular. While Nico Collins is set to return this week, Noah Brown and Robert Woods have missed some practice time, opening the door to increased opportunities for Dell once again.
Hockenson is trending towards a career season, and a more featured role in the red zone is certainly helping. He’s pacing more a career-high in red zone targets, and his seven targets this season inside the 10-yard line are only two away from his previous career high set back in 2020. Furthermore, his four receptions inside the 10-yard line are his highest in a full season since 2020, and we are only 10 games in! Joshua Dobbs, the team’s new quarterback, has peppered Hockenson with targets, and that doesn’t seem to change. Hockenson has a more-than-legitimate chance to finish the year as the overall TE1 in PPR formats, as the volume is sky high, and a more featured role in the red zone could push up his touchdown total, and thus his fantasy output. His current pace puts him at seven touchdowns for the season, which would surpass his previous high of six scores in both 2020 and 2022. In fact, after scoring 15 touchdowns in 47 career games with the Lions, he’s already scored seven times in just 20 games with the Vikings.