Redzone Report Week 11

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.

Running Backs

Week 10 Touches Leaders
The top redzone touches honors for Week 10 didn’t play until the Monday Night Football game, but more on him to come. Behind him, there was a five-back tie for second with six, and 40% of the backs tied for second with six redzone touches played for the Titans. Dion Lewis failed to score a touchdown, but Derrick Henry punched in two redzone touchdowns. Lewis has only two redzone touchdowns on 22 redzone touches this year to four on 21 redzone touches for Henry, so it’s possible the diminutive back will begin having some of his work siphoned by his plodding counterpart. Alvin Kamara was one of the other backs with six redzone touches, and he was joined in the group of five tied for second by Tevin Coleman and Leonard Fournette. The latter was a tough cut for my top option below after scoring five touchdowns in two impressive showings against the Steelers last year. However, despite his two touchdowns last week, he wasn’t an efficient runner (2.21 yards per carry). Furthermore, I still harbor some lingering concerns about Fournette’s ability to stay healthy since we’ve seen him re-aggravate his hamstring injury once this season, and he’s yet to have his annual ankle troubles. The other back I want to draw your attention to on last week’s leaderboard is David Johnson. His five redzone touches were tied with two others for the seventh most last week. New offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich has wisely cranked up the usage of his offense’s top players, and that led to heavy usage for his do-it-all back in the redzone last week. Johnson parlayed his five redzone touches into a receiving and a rushing touchdown in the redzone.

Top Option
Saquon Barkley (Giants) vs Buccaneers
YTD Redzone Touches – 36 Week 10 Redzone Touches – 7

Barkley was the leader in redzone touches in Week 10 with seven. The electric rookie back failed to score on any of his seven touches in the redzone, and it’s hard to have much faith in an Eli Manning-led offense hanging points, but Tampa Bay’s defense is a mess. The Bucs are tied for the second most rushing touchdowns (11) allowed to running backs this year, according to Pro-Football-Reference. They’re also tied for the third most receiving touchdowns (three) allowed to running backs this year. Barkley’s top-flight skills as a runner and receiver give him two paths to scoring against a defense that simply can’t keep backs out of the end zone.

Alex Collins (Ravens) vs Bengals
YTD Redzone Touches – 20 Week 10 Redzone Touches – 0 (Bye)

Speaking of teams that can’t keep running backs out of the end zone, Cincinnati’s eight rushing touchdowns allowed to backs are tied for the ninth most, and the five they’ve yielded through the air are tied for the second most. Collins has taken a commanding lead of redzone touches in Baltimore’s backfield. Additionally, if Joe Flacco (questionable) is forced to miss this week’s game, the running threat presented by either Robert Griffin III or Lamar Jackson would create read-option nightmares in the redzone for the Bengals. Yes, there’s some Cam Newton-like QB keeper potential for either quarterback vulturing running scores from Collins, but as Christian McCaffrey has demonstrated of late, the running threat of a mobile quarterback can lead to rushing scores for the back, too.

Wide Receivers

Week 10 Targets Leaders
Three receivers tied for the most redzone targets last week with four. Davante Adams was among the trio, and he leads the position this year with 21 redzone targets. Dede Westrbrook was the surprising name among the three, and the third wideout is included below as my top option below to reach pay dirt in Week 11. Brandon LaFell’s three redzone targets in Week 10 are yet another indictment of Jon Gruden’s ineptitude coaching, but at least the Raiders are only on the hook with that dinosaur for nine more years. Julio Jones and Zay Jones both also had three redzone targets as part of a three-receiver tie for the fourth most redzone targets in Week 10. After snapping his touchdown-less streak in Week 9, Julio made it back-to-back games with a score securing one of those three targets for a one-yard touchdown reception. Zay Jones had a career day in the boat racing of the Jets, and his line included an eight-yard touchdown reception on one of his three redzone targets. Only three other receivers were targeted multiple time in the redzone last week, one of whom is included below as my value/sleeper pick.

Top Option
Michael Thomas (Saints) vs. Eagles
YTD Redzone Targets – 19 Week 10 Redzone Targets – 4

Thomas was one of the receivers tied atop last week’s leaderboard with four redzone targets, and he hauled in a pair of touchdowns on them. For the season, his 19 redzone targets are the third most among wideouts and his six redzone touchdowns are the second most at the position. Add in that Drew Brees has home/road splits that greatly favor playing at home and this week’s contest against the Eagles is in New Orleans, and I love Thomas’ odds of scoring another touchdown this weekend.

Corey Davis (Titans) at Colts
YTD Redzone Targets – 13 Week 10 Redzone Targets – 2

Davis actually scored a touchdown last week, but it was just outside the redzone on a 23-yard reception against the Patriots. He hasn’t been highly efficient this year in the redzone, but volume should swing the pendulum in his favor for positive touchdown-scoring regression. His 13 redzone targets this year are tied for the 10th most among receivers.

Tight Ends

Week 10 Targets Leaders
Austin Hooper led tight ends last week with four redzone targets. He doubled up the only other tight end with multiple target, Benjamin Watson with two. Hooper scored a touchdown on one of his redzone targets. Watson flubbed a gimme touchdown on one of his targets on a pass from gadget quarterback Taysom Hill.

Top Option
Zach Ertz (Eagles) at Saints
YTD Redzone Targets – 17 Week 10 Redzone Targets – 0

The Saints have only allowed on touchdown reception to a tight end this year, but I’m not going to overreact to that number. That would be silly. Ertz leads tight ends with 17 redzone targets thsi season. He’s caught 10 of those balls, and five have gone for score. The Saints have played much better defense as a whole of late, but if Philadelphia’s talented offense is able to iron out the kinks, there should be ample scoring opportunities for Ertz.

Vance McDonald (Steelers) at Jaguars
YTD Redzone Targets – 3 Week 10 Redzone Targets -1

Maybe recency bias is helping fuel this pick, but why would the Steelers look to reinvent the wheel after watching the Colts’ tight ends smack the Jaguars around for three receiving touchdowns and one rushing score last week? Also, McDonald wrecked the Jaguars in the postseason last year hauling in 10 of 16 targets for 112 yards. No, he didn’t score a touchdown against them in that playoff game, but Jacksonville had no answer for him.

Josh Shepardson, fantasy sports pundit who's written and/or podcasted for a wide variety of websites that include The Hardball Times, Baseball Prospectus, RotoGraphs, Daily Fantasy Cafe and FantasyPros -- among other places. He's an avid Twitter user who typically tweets about sports but has occasionally been known to tweet about music, craft beer, and other non-sports things.

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