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 some recent performances in the red zone for rookie quarterbacks Will Levis and C.J. Stroud, as well as evaluating the rest of the season outlook for Mike Evans and Michael Pittman 

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 11 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

Will Levis, Tennessee Titans

Levis’ first game was great. Since then, we can’t say the same thing. In the three games since his debut, he’s completed just 56.8 percent of his passes with a 2:2 TD/INT ratio and a 74.8 quarterback rating. As you can likely expect, as the field and space condense in the red zone, Levis has struggled, going 3-for-10 with two touchdowns and one interception. A 30 percent completion percentage in the red zone is not going to get it done, but Levis is a rookie, and there’s time to grow. He needs help from his playmakers, but he’s not free of blame either. Levis is a mid-to-low QB2 moving forward at fantasy, and should likely only be rostered in 2QB setups.

C.J. Stroud, Houston Texans

I know we recently talked about Stroud here, but I want to do it again. He threw two interceptions in the red zone last week against Arizona, and while one wasn’t his fault, it’s still two picks on his ledger. Furthermore, he’s now just 5-for-14 over the last two weeks in the red zone, which isn’t ideal. The passing volume is good, and Houston is throwing it plenty in the red zone, but Stroud has to be smarter the closer he leads Houston to the end zone.

It seems like they will continue to let him rip it, but another bad performance in the red zone may push Houston to be a bit more run-focused inside the 20s, especially as bruiser Dameon Pierce gets back in the mix. Don’t get me wrong, Stroud is still a QB1 moving forward, but we should monitor his performance(s) in the red zone moving forward.

Red Zone Rushing

Jahmyr Gibbs, Detroit Lions

It’s finally happened. Gibbs has taken over the lead RB role in this offense. David Montgomery will continue to get his work, but Gibbs is getting more opportunities and more snaps. However, interestingly enough, guess who also has more red zone carries over the last two weeks? It’s Gibbs, and that is massive for his fantasy value moving forward. This is such a fantasy-friendly offense for the running back position, and the first round pick is finally getting the usage he deserves. Fantasy owners can cash in now, and honestly, he’s a guy I may even buy high on, as outside of a matchup against the Saints in Week 13, his schedule is very favorable down the stretch.

Javonte Williams, Denver Broncos

The workload has been there, for the most part, for Williams, and a shoutout to Russell Wilson for giving the running back position what feels like a 72 percent target share this season. Over the last four weeks, it is Javonte Williams who leads all running backs in red zone rushing attempts, and he’s the only running back with at least 20 opportunities (carries + targets) in the red zone during that span. 

However, he has no touchdowns on the ground, instead finding paydirt through the air a couple of times. He’s the red zone back for Denver, and there are enough opportunities for him to be a trusted asset in this offense. After a tough matchup this weekend with Cleveland and a game against Detroit on December 17, he has a favorable schedule the rest of the way, with matchups against Houston, Los Angeles (twice) and New England.

Red Zone Receiving

Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Mike Evans has a healthy 21.7 percent target share in the red zone, which is good. Every red zone reception he has this year has gone for six points, which is good. However, context matters. Evans has caught just two of his 10 red zone targets this year, for a total of two yards and two touchdowns! His target share in the red zone is higher than his reception percentage! Of players with at least 10 red zone targets, Evans’ two receiving yards is the fewest amongst those players, with Calvin Ridley being the next closest at 15 yards! WOW! Hopefully, his efficiency in the red zone can improve moving forward, because the volume overall has been steady.

Michael Pittman, Indianapolis Colts

Remember how I said above that context matters? That narrative plays here as well. Pittman has been highly efficient in the red zone, catching 13 of his 16 targets, but he has found the end zone just once. Hopefully, positive regression in the touchdown department is coming his way, especially with the steady amount of targets he’s been getting on a weekly basis. However, here’s where things get really interesting. It seems as if Pittman is a target hog between the 11-20-yard line because once the Colts get inside the 10, it seems like “Michael Pittman who?”

In the red zone, Pittman has a 45.7 percent target share, which is exceptional, but just a 13.3 percent target share inside the 10-yard line. Now, the volume is still very good overall, and touchdown regression should come for Pittman, but it’s really interesting to see his usage as the team gets closer to the goal line.