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 13 to see which players excelled in the red zone and which ones struggled.
Tom Brady, New England Patriots – Brady enters fantasy playoffs as the top red zone quarterback. He ranks second in attempts (67) and tied for first in touchdowns (20). Brady is completing 58 percent of his passes in the red zone. Out of his 26 touchdowns passes this season, 20 have come in the red zone and 13 from inside the 10-yard line. Brady has 40 red zone touchdowns and just one interception in the last two seasons and he missed four games. Rob Gronkowski is out this week because of a suspension but Brady produces consistently in the red zone regardless of personnel.
Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers – Newton has just eight touchdown passes in the red zone through 13 games. He’s still a factor as a runner with five red zone rushing touchdowns but his passing numbers are disappointing. The Panthers have been without tight end Greg Olsen for most of the year and traded Kelvin Benjamin. Outside of Devin Funchess, the Carolina doesn’t have much at receiver that scares defenses. Even so, Newton’s 44 percent completion percentage in the red zone is one of the worst in the NFL. He ranks ahead of only quarterbacks like Brock Osweiler, Kevin Hogan, C.J. Beathard, Nathan Peterson and DeShone Kizer.
Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints – How good has Kamara been this season. He’s tied for the third most red zone touchdowns with five. It’s even more impressive when you consider that Kamara only has 19 red zone carries overall and just three inside the 5-yard line. Kamara’s big-play ability has translated to production in the red zone with four of his five score coming from beyond the 5-yard line. He also has three touchdown receptions in the red zone. Mark Ingram is tied for first with eight red zone touchdowns but Kamara is still seeing 33 percent of the Saints carries, compared to 43 percent for Ingram. Kamara’s combination of receptions, big-play ability and red zone production will help some owners win fantasy titles this year.
Alex Collins, Baltimore Ravens – Collins is another running back who has been a revelation for owners in the red zone. He has four red zone touchdowns on just 13 carries. Collins has been one of the NFL’s most efficient backs from inside the 10-yard line where he’s scored all four of his touchdowns on only six carries. The Ravens running game was going nowhere until Collins took over. He should continue to reward owners during fantasy playoffs.
Kareem Hunt, Kansas City Chiefs – We discussed Hunt before but it’s amazing how far he’s fallen. Hunt hasn’t scored a touchdown since Week 3. He has just two red zone touchdowns on the season, despite getting close to 70 percent of the Chiefs red zone rushing attempts. To put in perspective how disappointing Hunt has been, he has half as many red zone touchdowns as Mike Gillislee and he hasn’t been active in four weeks.
A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals – Green isn’t targeted in the red zone a lot for some reason. It’s even more surprising because Green is productive when he is targeted. Green has just 14 red zone targets but he’s produced six touchdowns. Four of those scores have come inside the 10-yard line. Green has made the most of his limited red zone opportunities. His six scores rank tied for the most among receivers. It’s just too bad Green doesn’t see more red zone targets.
Josh Doctson, Washington Redskins – Doctson is probably a year away from consistently making a fantasy impact, although his red zone production is encouraging. Doctson has scored four red zone touchdowns on only 10 targets. He still isn’t seeing a lot of overall targets yet but Doctson has five touchdowns on the season. Doctson’s red zone presence makes him a WR4 during playoffs and a receiver to be excited about in 2018.
Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons – We’re still waiting. Jones was supposed to be a bigger factor in the red zone this season. Instead, he only has three receptions and one red zone touchdown on 12 targets. It’s hard to comprehend why Jones isn’t targeted more in the red zone. It’s been two straight years where the Falcons haven’t used Jones much in the red zone. Last season Atlanta’s offense was so productive it wasn’t a big deal. However, not using one of the physically gifted receivers near the goal line this year makes little sense.
Cameron Brate, Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Brate had fallen off the fantasy map with Ryan Fitzpatrick at quarterback. Then Jameis Winston returned and Brate scored two touchdowns. He now has five red zone touchdowns on 13 targets. Tight end can be a dicey position during fantasy playoffs, especially with Gronkowski out this week. Brate should once again be an asset to owners.
Delanie Walker, Tennessee Titans – Marcus Mariota has been really poor in the red zone this year and that’s hurt Walker’s production. He’s been targeted eight times in the red zone with only one touchdown. Mariota only has four red zone touchdown on the year. Walker still racks up enough receptions and yards to be one of the better fantasy tight ends. However, the Titans struggles in the red zone has hurt his overall fantasy value.