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, including Calvin Ridley’s recent resurgence, as well as why Kyren Williams is a league-winner in fantasy football.
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 12 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
Justin Herbert has a league-leading 37 pass attempts inside the 10-yard line, which is awesome! He’s getting those pass attempts with an increased chance of finding the end zone, which is great for fantasy purposes. However, it’s a bit of fool’s gold of late. Over the last three weeks, Herbert is 10-for-11 inside the 10-yard line, resulting in three TDs. However, inside the 10-yard line, Austin Ekeler has nine rushing attempts, so the team is a near 50/50 split! Is this a bad thing? Not necessarily, but the ground game is involved rather often. Again, the volume is still there for Herbert, but in recent weeks, they haven’t been overly pass-heavy as they draw closer to the goal line. Herbert is still completely fine for fantasy, but just calling this out as noteworthy.
Thompson-Robinson has only completed 53 percent of his passes this season, but in the red zone, the numbers are alarming. In the red zone this year, he’s 2-for-14 with as many touchdowns (1) as interceptions (1). Inside the 10-yard line, he’s 1-for-7, and he’s 2-for-12 over his last two starts. YIKES! He has plenty of weapons at his disposal, but don’t be surprised if Cleveland opts to go run-heavy in the red zone if game script allows. Over the last two weeks, DTR has those 12 red zone pass attempts, while Jerome Ford and Kareem Hunt have combined for seven red zone rushing attempts. I wouldn’t be surprised if the team favors the run a bit more in the red zone, especially with DTR under center upon his return from his concussion.
Red Zone Rushing
In his first game back from injury, he assumed RB1 duties, and it wasn’t particularly close. Sure, Royce Freeman handled double-digit carries, but Williams saw 16 carries and six targets. Freeman received three red zone carries against the Cardinals, but Williams handled four carries, including two inside the 10-yard line, and three targets! This game got out of hand, so Freeman was involved a bit, but as Williams gets further removed from his injury, his sky-high usage will increase, and Freeman will be relegated to a minimal role. It’s wheels up for Williams moving forward.
No Jonathan Taylor means that Moss is going to be the bell cow back once again in Indy. He’s seen his role slightly diminish in recent weeks as Taylor has emerged more and more, but with Taylor out of the picture, Moss will go back to dominating this backfield, and we’ve seen with ample volume, he can be very, very productive for fantasy. He has four red zone rushing scores in the red zone this season, and in the four games he played at least 80 percent of the snaps this season, he saw 18 carries in each of those games. Hopefully, you kept Moss on your roster because he’s going to be the lead back in Indy for the next couple of weeks, and he’ll also handle the majority of the red zone rushing attempts as well.
Red Zone Receiving
Take a look at the number of targets in the red zone over the last three weeks for the three primary Green Bay receivers:
*Data from Pro Football Reference over the last three weeks
Reed is getting a lot of hype, but could Watson be an impactful player down the stretch for fantasy managers? It would be a nice turnaround for him, seeing as he’s been largely unusable for most of the season. He’s averaging six targets per game over the last three weeks, but at the very least, he’s getting those important red zone looks from Jordan Love. Reed is getting more and more involved, but Watson is a potential sleeper receiver moving forward, especially if he continues to find the end zone.
Ridley is back, baby! He’s put forth back-to-back big games in fantasy, and has at least 80 receiving yards in three of his last four games. He’s even scored three touchdowns over the past two weeks, and it could have been four if he were able to catch a long pass from Trevor Lawrence last week against Houston. Over the last four weeks, he has a 55.6 percent target share in the red zone, and he has one more target than fellow receivers Zay Jones and Christian Kirk do combined. Ridley has five red zone targets over the last four weeks, and he had just six red zone targets through the first seven weeks of the season! The usage has increased, and the production has followed suit.