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. Can Courtland Sutton keep up this touchdown production, or is he a fantasy football sell-high candidate? Should you be trading for Jonathan Taylor? 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 eight 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
The Kirk Cousins injury is a blow to the Minnesota offense and fantasy managers alike, I won’t deny that. However, once acclimated to his new surroundings, Joshua Dobbs should be able to keep things afloat. For him specifically, he’s going to a better situation with more talent around him, and an offensive scheme that should allow him to be successful.
Things could change a bit, but prior to the trade, Arizona averaged 1.88 pass plays per rush attempt in the red zone, compared to Minnesota’s 2.14 mark. Assuming this Minnesota offense can sustain drives, Dobbs could have more opportunities in the red zone, and his supporting cast of Zach Ertz/Trey McBride, Marquise Brown and Rondale Moore/Michael Wilson has been upgraded to Justin Jefferson (hopefully), Jordan Addison, and T.J. Hockenson.
Gardner Minshew isn’t afraid to let it rip, and he’ll get his touchdowns. However, let’s talk about the shift in play calling in the red zone since JOnathan Taylor returned. Since Taylor returned to action in Week 5, the Colts have 24 red zone rushing attempts compared to 18 pass attempts. He’s got enough playmakers that he can get those long touchdowns, but red zone passing opportunities are key to elevating his fantasy floor. I’m not saying the split is anything to be overly worried about, and it honestly makes sense why Indy is running a bit more in the red zone. Fortunately, Indy’s defense can’t stop anyone, so they are playing in shootouts every week, which should help offset any reduction in red zone volume for Minshew.
Red Zone Rushing
Are you going to get 3.2 fantasy points or 19.5 fantasy points this week with Hill? Well, that’s the question every single week. While his snap share took a bit of a hit with Juwan Johnson back in the mix, he got more than his fair share of opportunities, and he’s a stalwart in this offense. On the rushing side of things, he had a season-high nine carries in last week’s game against Indy, and over the last four weeks, he has 12 red zone carries! Alvin Kamara has 18 over that span! For the 2023 season as a whole, Hill has 32.6 percent of the team’s red zone carries, and a whopping 40 percent inside the 5-yard line! Through eight games in 2023, Hill has one red zone pass attempt, 15 red zone carries, and two red zone targets.
Ah, another Indianapolis Colt! Make that two, and in a bit, you’ll read about a third! Listen, the Colts will continue to ease Taylor in and keep Zack Moss involved, but let’s look at some numbers since Taylor’s return, specifically in terms of red zone carries:
Taylor also has double the number of red zone targets Moss has in half of the games! I don’t know if you can really buy low on a guy like Jonathan Taylor, but if someone is willing to deal Taylor, I’d be texting, calling, emailing, showing up at their door, or all of the above to make an offer.
Red Zone Receiving
I guess this is just a breakdown of the Indianapolis offense this week, huh? Anyways, despite the fact that Indy has gone a bit more run-centric in the red zone, Pittman is still finding a way to get his. He has at least one red zone target in six straight games, and in all but one game this year, and he has eight red zone targets over the team’s last three games! Pittman’s 14 red zone targets on the season trail only Davante Adams, and Pittman has a dominant 43.8 percent target share in the red zone. Josh Downs is the next closest receiver in terms of targets in the red zone, and he’s only at six. Oh, I guess I should mention that Pittman’s 11 receptions in the red zone also lead the league, though he only has one red zone touchdown to date. Positive regression candidate, perhaps?
Sutton leads the Broncos in red zone targets, he is tied for the NFL lead in red zone touchdowns, and he’s one of just 13 players with at least seven receptions inside the 20-yard line this year. He’s found the end zone in all but two games this year, and while the yardage has fluctuated, and he’s averaged just 4.5 targets per game over the last four weeks, the touchdowns have kept him afloat, and his role in the red zone is safe and secure (28.1 percent target share). Hopefully, he can continue to find the end zone at this impressive clip, because his fantasy points for the year are heavily weighted by his touchdowns.