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? Should you be buying low on Houston Texans running back Dameon Pierce or selling high on Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins

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 five 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
Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings

The good news is that Minnesota has remained pass-heavy in the red zone, with 31 pass attempts compared to just 13 rushing attempts. However, the bad news is that Cousins leads the NFL in red zone interceptions with three, and is now without Justin Jefferson for at least four weeks. T.J. Hockenson is still there, but K.J. Osborn and Jordan Addison in particular will need to step up. However, I expect Minnesota to stay pass-heavy in the red zone, as efficiency is not a word that should be used to describe Alexander Mattison or Cam Akers. It will be interesting over the next couple of weeks to see how Minnesota adjusts to life without Jefferson.

Joshua Dobbs, Arizona Cardinals

Not only does Dobbs have a 5:0 TD/INT ratio in the red zone this year, but did you know that Dobbs has the highest completion percentage (73.68%) amongst all quarterbacks with at least 10 red zone passing attempts this season? He’s been quite serviceable for the Arizona Cardinals and fantasy managers this season, and that trend should continue. The game script will be in his favor more often than not, and with the injury to James Conner, could the team rely on Dobbs more in the red zone, compared to the links of undrafted rookie Emari DeMercado, Tony Jones, and Keaontay Ingram? I think it’s possible! In 2QB leagues, I’d be looking at Dobbs as a low-risk high-ish reward play.

Red Zone Rushing

Dameon Pierce, Houston Texans

Let’s get this out of the way. If you didn’t know, yes, I’m a Texans fan, but there are reasons to buy low on Pierce that extend way beyond me being a homer. Devin Singletary has hardly been involved, and Pierce is a workhorse, bell cow back. The volume is there, and he’s the clear lead back in the red zone for Houston. He’s missed some lanes this year, and the Houston run blocking has been lackluster thus far, but after this week’s matchup and the team’s bye, he has a soft schedule leading up to the fantasy football playoffs. We’d like to see him be more effective on the ground, and that will come, but trust the volume, especially in the red zone, and believe in better days ahead for the young back.

Breece Hall, New York Jets

At face value, you’ll see that Dalvin Cook’s seven red zone carries surpass Hall’s six through the first five weeks of the season. However, it’s fool’s gold, and it’s wheels up for Hall moving forward! The training wheels are off, Cook is washed, and it’s Hall’s backfield. Five of Cook’s seven red zone carries on the year came alllllllllll the way back in Week 1, meaning that over the last four weeks, Cook has just two red zone carries. Meanwhile, Hall just had five red zone carries last week, and six overall across the past two games. Hall is this team’s top running back, the training wheels are off, and he’s getting the majority of the work moving forward. Cook is not a threat to Hall’s workload.

D’Onta Foreman, Chicago Bears

The Khalil Herbert injury has opened the door for those that roster Roschon Johnson to believe that they are going to get the bell cow usage they believe he deserves. I don’t expect him to become the bell cow back for this team and hog all the work. The team has D’Onta Foreman, and he’s a very real threat to handle more red zone work than Johnson. Last year, Foreman handled 32 red zone carries for the Carolina Panthers, turning five into touchdowns, including three within the five-yard line. 

Also, Chicago boasts one of the game’s best running quarterbacks, so you know he will get his work in the red zone. Johnson should see an expanded role in the passing game, no doubt about that. However, Foreman should see more red zone carries than Johnson, making Foreman an intriguing waiver wire add while Herbert is out.

Red Zone Receiving

Zay Jones, Jacksonville Jaguars

Just as we all expected, Jones is leading the Jaguars in red zone targets through the first five weeks of the season. Two of his three receptions (7 targets) have resulted in touchdowns in the end zone, and he’s holding a very solid 50 percent target share in the red zone, and 60 percent target share inside the 10-yard line. Calvin Ridley isn’t far behind with six targets, but the big thing to note is that Christian Kirk has just one red zone target, meaning that when Jacksonville throws the ball in the end zone, it’s a two-man show. I’m not saying to rush out and acquire Jones at all costs, but he has a defined role on this team that likely isn’t changing anytime soon (health willing).

K.J. Osborn, Minnesota Vikings

As mentioned with Kirk Cousins earlier, Minnesota has been pass-happy in the red zone and that trend likely continues, given that their duo of running backs are rather inefficient players. However, Osborn is tied for the team lead in red zone targets with seven, and the injury to Justin Jefferson is going to open up some additional targets, even if Jefferson hadn’t been Cousins’ top red zone target prior to his hamstring injury. 

Currently, Alexander Mattison also has seven targets, and I believe that will fade with time, and while Jordan Addison figures to see an increased role outside the 20s, I wouldn’t bet against the savvy veteran nature of Osborn to be a top target for Osborn inside the twenties. With the injury to Jefferson, there’s likely no buying low on Osborn, but if he’s still on your waiver wire for some reason, he’s worth a speculative add.