Red zone production is a big factor in determining fantasy success. Every Wednesday throughout the season we’ll examine red zone statistics at each position and what it means going forward. We look back at Week 12 to see which players excelled in the red zone and which ones struggled.
Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers – Roethlisberger has heated up over his last two games throwing eight touchdowns and it’s showing up in the red zone. Even with Le’Veon Bell ranking first in red zone carries, Big Ben has still put up strong numbers. Roethlisberger ranks third in both red zone attempts (63) and touchdowns (14). He also ranks third with 12 touchdowns inside the 10-yard line. The Steelers offense is hitting on all cylinders right now, so Roethlisberger should remain a Top 10 quarterback for fantasy playoffs.
Jacoby Brissett, Indianapolis Colts – Brissett has played pretty well filling in for Andrew Luck this year, especially given the fact that he was traded to the Colts just before the start of the season. One area where Brissett needs to improve in though is red zone production. Brissett only has three red zone touchdown passes to go with one interception. He does have three rushing touchdowns as well. His 27 percent red zone completion percentage ranks second to last in the NFL ahead of only Tom Savage. Brissett has a big arm and he’s shown flashes of his potential but he’s hurt fantasy owners with poor play in the red zone.
Tevin Coleman, Atlanta Falcons – Coleman has delivered for fantasy owners since taking over for the injured Devonta Freeman. He’s scored four red zone touchdowns in his last three games. Freeman and Coleman each have five red zone touchdowns on the season. Coleman actually has one more red zone rushing attempt than Freeman (20 to 19). The two have been particularly productive inside the 5-yard line where they’ve combined for seven scores on 13 carries. Coleman should still see red zone carries even if Freeman returns, making him a starting option during fantasy playoffs.
Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals – Mixon has really come on in his last three games where he’s recorded 52 carries, 190 yards and two touchdowns. Not surprisingly, Mixon’s red production has improved with his increased workload. Mixon now ranks ninth in the NFL with 22 red zone attempts. He’s scored four touchdowns. The one area where Mixon could be a little better is from inside the 5-yard line. He has six carries inside the five with one touchdown but the Bengals poor offensive line is a big reason why. Mixon is now the uncontested feature back in Cincinnati. He’ll remain a big factor in the red zone for the rest of the season.
Isaiah Crowell, Cleveland Browns – The Browns don’t get into the red zone often but Crowell has seen a respectable 20 carries. That’s 44 percent of Cleveland’s red zone attempts. However, he’s only scored one red zone touchdown on the year. One problem is Browns quarterback DeShone Kizer. Kizer ranks tied for fourth in the NFL with five red zone rushing touchdowns. Still, Crowell hasn’t taken advantage of his opportunities. He has 12 carries from inside the 10-yard line and just the one score. It’s tough to start Crowell when he’s not scoring near the goal line.
Leonard Fournette, Jacksonville Jaguars – At one point, Fournette was among the league leaders in red zone attempts. That’s no longer the case. Fournette only has 18 red zone rushing attempts. His backup, Chris Ivory, has 16 attempts. Fournette has been money from inside the 5-yard line where he’s scored four touchdowns on seven carries. The issue for Fournette owners is he’s been slowed by injuries and hasn’t scored in his last three games. Fournette will still see goal-line carries but his health is a big concern over the next four games.
Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams – Kupp has been up and down for fantasy owners this year but one area where he’s excelling in is the red zone. Kupp ranks tied for third with 17 red zone targets. He’s scored three touchdowns. Kupp has missed a couple other opportunities with drops in the red zone or his numbers would be even better. Robert Woods is injured and Sammy Watkins has never been a big red zone threat. Kupp will continue to eat inside the red zone for the NFL’s highest-scoring offense.
Alshon Jeffery, Philadelphia Eagles – Jeffery got off to a slow start this season but he’s now scored five touchdowns in his last four games. He’s also been a much bigger factor in the red zone. Jeffery had scored one red zone touchdown in his first seven games. He’s up to five touchdowns on just 10 targets. The Eagles offense is diverse, especially near the goal line, where they don’t do just one thing or focus on one player. Jeffery has become one of Carson Wentz’s go-to receiver though along with tight end Zach Ertz. Expect Jeffery’s recent upswing to continue with games coming up against the Seahawks, Rams, Giants, Raiders and Cowboys.
Robby Anderson, New York Jets – Anderson has been of the biggest fantasy surprises of 2017. He’s scored six touchdowns in his last five games and seven overall this season. Anderson has made a living with big plays. He’s been virtually non-existent in the red zone. Anderson has only been targeted four times with one touchdown. Despite being the Jets top receiver, Anderson is seeing just 12.9 percent of New York’s red zone targets. Anderson is like DeSean Jackson in many ways. Jackson has never been a big red zone threat either. Fantasy owners can’t complain about his production this season but Anderson’s lack of red zone targets is something to monitor next season if he’s not scoring on as many big plays.
Jared Cook, Oakland Raiders – We’ve talked before in this article how Cook has been bad in the red zone during his career. This season, Cook has been targeted nine times in the red zone. He has one reception and no touchdowns. While those numbers are uninspiring, things could be looking up for Cook. Amari Cooper is injured and Michael Crabtree will miss the next two games because of a suspension. Cook should see more red zone targets with the Raiders down their top two receivers. This week Cook gets a Giants defense that’s allowing the most fantasy points to tight ends and has given up 10 touchdowns to the position in 11 games.
Jack Doyle, Indianapolis Colts – We already discussed Brissett’s lack of production in the red zone. Those struggles have really hurt Doyle. The Colts tight end has been a reception monster this season with 59 catches. That production hasn’t translated into the red zone though. Doyle has been targeted five times in the red zone. He has three receptions. The only silver lining is Doyle has turned two of those receptions into a touchdown. However, Doyle’s lack of volume in the red zone has hurt his overall fantasy value. If Doyle is more productive in the red zone next season, he has a chance to be a top fantasy tight end.