The Redzone Report takes a weekly look at redzone usage and matchups to identify top options and sleepers for touchdowns in the given week of NFL action. This is a touchdown-centric piece, and the yardage outlook for the highlighted players isn’t a consideration.
Week 9 Touches Leaders
There was a two-back tie atop the leaderboard for redzone touches last week. Chrisitan McCaffrey and James White both touched the ball seven times in the redzone. CMC delivered as my top option at running back with two redzone touches. In one especially encouraging sequence, he carried the ball for four yards from Tampa Bay’s seven, then carried the ball for two yards from Tampa Bay’s three, and punctuated the scoring drive with a third carry from inside the 10-yard line that resulted in a one-yard touchdown run. White scored two rushing touchdowns in the redzone on his seven redzone touches. Alvin Kamara was alone in sixth with five redzone touches, and all three of his touchdowns against the visiting Rams came from the redzone. Teammate Mark Ingram received only two redzone touches, for comparison’s sake. Jordan Howard was my value/sleeper option at running back last week, and he scored a pair of touchdowns on his three redzone touches. Howard has three or more redzone touches in all four games since Chicago’s Week 5 bye, and he’s touched the ball at least once in the redzone every game and multiple times in all but one game.
Alvin Kamara (Saints) at Bengals
YTD Redzone Touches – 48 Week 9 Redzone Touches – 5
This was an exceptionally easy choice. Kamara’s 48 redzone touches this year are second only to Todd Gurley’s 57. He’s tied to a juicy implied over/under total of nearly 30 points across all of the Vegas sports books this week at Cincinnait, as you can see here. The Bengals are tied for just the 15th most rushing touchdowns allowed to running backs with six, per Pro-Football-Reference, but they’ve also yielded the fourth most receiving touchdowns to backs this year with four. Kamara has multi-touchdown upside, but it’s his pass-catching chops that I think will be most helpful in getting him in the end zone this weekend.
Dion Lewis (Titans) vs. Patriots
YTD Redzone Touches – 16 Week 9 Redzone Touches – 6
This pick wasn’t the slam-dunk selection that Kamara was as the top option, and it’s not a “revenge narrative” pick despite the fact Lewis is facing his former employer. Tennessee‘s better back received six redzone touches to Derrick Henry’s one (which resulted in a one-yard rushing touchdown) in Week 9, and the former hauled in a receiving touchdown on one of those touches. His receiving prowess is why I believe he’ll reach pay dirt against the Patriots this week. New England’s allowed only two rushing touchdowns on the year to running backs, but they’ve ceded three receiving touchdowns to them. When the Titans get in the redzone, I fully expect offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur to attack the Pats through the air with his shifty, diminutive back.
Week 9 Targets Leaders
Antonio Brown was alone atop the Week 9 redzone targets leaderboard at wide receiver with three. He scored a touchdown on one of those targets and is riding a six-game touchdown streak while leading the NFL in with nine touchdown receptions and ranking just tied for eighth in redzone targets with 13. Only three of AB84’s nine touchdowns this year have been scored in the redzone. A whopping 11 receivers tied for second last week with two redzone targets. Adam Thielen was among the 11 receivers tied for second and hauled in a two-yard touchdown to extend his streak to six straight with a touchdown while watching his 100-yard receiving streak go by the wayside. Thielen’s 15 redzone targets this year are tied for the third most among receivers. Another Adam was among the 11 receivers who tallied two redzone targets last week. Adam Humphries of the Buccaneers was targeted twice in the redzone and turned on into a touchdown. He added a 30-yard touchdown reception as well. He’s often the forgotten man in Tampa Bay’s collection of talented pass-catchers, but last week was nifty showing. Davante Adams was targeted two more times in the redzone, bringing his season total to the second most among wideouts with 17. He turned one into a touchdown.
Julian Edelman (Patriots) at Titans
YTD Redzone Targets – 10 Week 9 Redzone Targets – 2
Edelman opened the year serving a four-game suspension for PEDs, but he’s been targeted at least once in the redzone in all five games he’s played. His average of two redzone targets per game is the third most among receivers, and he’s caught six of 10 targets scoring touchdowns twice. This week, he draws a Tennessee defense that’s permitted 11 touchdowns to receivers, a total that’s tied for the sixth most.
Anthony Miller (Bears) vs. Lions
YTD Redzone Targets – 6 Week 9 Redzone Targets – 1
Chicago’s rookie slot wideout has been targeted in the redzone in three straight games and in five of seven games played this year. He’s caught three of his six redzone targets this year and scored a couple of touchdowns. He also has a third touchdown that came just out of the redzone on a 29-yard reception. Detroit’s yielded 10 receiving scores to wideouts, and Miller should avoid stud corner Darius Slay’s sticky coverage from the slot, enhancing his odds of reaching pay dirt.
Week 9 Targets Leaders
OJ Howard was my top option at tight end last week, and he led the way with three redzone targets — two of which he turned into touchdowns. Jimmy Graham, Mark Andrews and Travis Kelce were the only other tight ends to garner multiple redzone targets. Kelce’s two redzone targets last week pushed his season total to 14, tied for second at tight end behind Eric Ebron’s 15. I was right to guess one of Baltimore’s rookie tight ends would get looks in the redzone against the Steelers, but I picked the wrong one touting Hayden Hurst as a value/sleeper option. As it turns out, Andrews didn’t score a touchdown, either. However, he did get a pair of looks in the redzone. One week after scoring two redzone touchdowns on three redzone targets in Week 8, Jordan Thomas was at it again turning his only redzone target — which was actually his only target overall — into a touchdown in Week 9. Add him to the touchdown-or-bust mix for tight end streamers or those punting the position in daily games. Jeff Heuerman was targeted once in the redzone for the Broncos, and he’s been targeted in the redzone in seven games this season.
Jimmy Graham (Packers) vs. Dolphins
YTD Redzone Targets – 8 Week 9 Redzone Targets – 2
Graham’s eight redzone targets this year are tied for the eighth most among tight ends. He’s caught half of his redzone targets, and half of those receptions have resulted in touchdowns. The Packers host the Dolphins this week, and their defense is tied for the fourth most receiving touchdowns allowed to tight ends with five.
Michael Roberts (Lions) at Bears
YTD Redzone Targets – 5 Week 9 Redzone Targets – 1
Roberts has been targeted in the redzone in three straight games. He’s hauled in three touchdown grabs on his five redzone targets this year, and Chicago’s defense is tied for the fourth most touchdowns coughed up to tight ends this season with five.