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 14 Touches Leaders
For the second week in a row, Doug Martin tied for the redzone touches lead. He turned one of his seven redzone touches into a touchdown, and he’s now emerged as a touchdown-or-bust flex with three straight games reaching the end zone. Christian McCaffrey also tied for the Week 14 redzone touches lead and sits third overall on the year with 50. He’s been a touchdown-scoring machine with 12 in his last seven games. Derrick Henry parlayed his half-dozen redzone touche into a memorable night in which two of his four touchdowns were scored from the redzone. Elijah McGuire was one of the four backs tied for third with six redzone touches, and he turned one of his six into a game-winning touchdown on fourth and goal from the one. Interestingly, Mark Ingram’s six redzone touches last week doubled up Alvin Kamara’s three.
Alvin Kamara (Saints) at Panthers
YTD Redzone Touches – 65 Week 14 Redzone Touches – 3
Kamara was held out of the end zone on his three redzone touches last week, but his 65 redzone touches and 13 redzone touchdowns this year are the second most among running backs, respectively. He’s posted three or more redzone touches in three straight games, and he’s reached or exceeded that total in all but two games this year. The explosive second-year back has faced the Panthers three times in his career if you include the playoff matchup, and despite playing a modest role in the first contest between the two (Week 3 last year), he’s scored a touchdown in all three matchups. In all, he’s scored four touchdowns on only 30 touches against the Panthers. He’s a matchup problem for any club, and the Panthers haven’t been an exception.
Kenneth Dixon (Ravens) vs Buccaneers
YTD Redzone Touches – 2 Week 14 Redzone Touches – 1
Head coach John Harbaugh is singing Dixon’s praises this week. And, frankly, why shouldn’t he be? Gus Edwards totaled 67 yards rushing on 16 carries and failed to turn any of his three redzone touches into a touchdown last week. Ty Montgomery didn’t score on either of his redzone carries and failed to corral a redzone target. Dixon, however, scored on his only redzone touch. It was Dixon’s second touchdown on only his second redzone touch. Furthermore, he ripped off a hearty 59 yards on only eight carries and added one grab for 21 yards. He’s the most well-rounded back of the bunch — which helps for not telegraphing play calling and makes him the greatest weapon in the redzone of Baltimore’s trio of backs — and draws a juicy matchup this week. Tampa Bay’s tied for the second most rushing touchdowns allowed (14) to running backs and tied for the most receiving touchdowns (six) allowed to them, according to Pro-Football-Reference. The 20 rushing and receiving touchdowns combined they’ve coughed up to running backs is tied for the most yielded by any team. Dixon’s not a safe bet given the presence of both Edwards and Montgomery in the backfield mix, but he’s a defensible flex and intriguing extreme bargain play in daily games as Baltimore’s best equipped back to pose rushing and receiving touchdown threats to the Bucs.
Week 14 Targets Leaders
Three receivers tied for the Week 14 lead in redzone targets with four, and one of them is highlighted below. The other two were JuJu Smith-Shuster and Robby Anderson. The former scored a pair of one-yard touchdown receptions and latter reeled in a seven-yard touchdown. Allen Robinson was among eight receivers who tied for the fourth most redzone targets with three. He stands out from the pack because he’s due for some touchdown regression. He’s been targeted 13 times in the redzone this year but caught only four passes and scored two redzone touchdowns. He narrowly missed the cut as my top option below.
DeAndre Hopkins (Texans) at Jets
YTD Redzone Targets – 21 Week 14 Redzone Targets – 4
Nuk’s four redzone targets last week were tied for the most among receivers. He turned one of those into a 7-yard touchdown grab. For the year, he ranks alone in fourth among wideouts with 21 redzone targets. Arguably the game’s surest-handed receiver should give the Jets fits, and Deshaun Watson’s mobility will force the Jets to pick their poison when the Texans are in the redzone. Hopkins snapped a two-game streak out of the end zone with his score last week, but that brief dry spell followed a five-game streak of scoring a touchdown. Look for Nuk to start a new touchdown streak this week and make it back-to-back games in the end zone.
Curtis Samuel (Panthers) vs. Saints
YTD Redzone Targets – 5 Week 14 Redzone Targets – 1
Samuel’s role in the offense has grown in recent weeks, and he’s garnered a target in the redzone in four straight games. He’s been held out of the end zone in back-to-back games, but he scored redzone touchdowns in each of the two games prior to that. The Saints have been stout on defense of late, but Samuel’s versatility should allow him to avoid the sticky coverage of lockdown corner Marshon Lattimore.
Week 14 Targets Leaders
Five tight ends tied for the Week 14 lead with a pair of redzone targets. One of them is highlighted below as my top option to score at the position this week. Cameron Brate’s two redzone targets were his only targets in the game and both went for scores. His rapport in the redzone with Jameis Winston is sensational. Travis Kelce added to his position-high 22 redzone targets this year with two more last week. One of the two redzone targets resulted in a 15-yard touchdown reception. His nine redzone touchdowns this year are second on the position to Eric Ebron’s 10. Rob Gronkowski has been meme’d this week due to his tumble on an attempted tackle on Miami’s game-winning, multi-lateral play. However, he had a big game and turned one of his two redzone targets into a 16-yard touchdown grab. Perhaps Bill Belichick would be better served only using him on offense.
Jared Cook (Raiders) at Bengals
YTD Redzone Targets – 2 Week 14 Redzone Targets – 14
Cook was one of five tight ends to tie for the Week 14 lead in redzone targets at the position with a pair of them. He didn’t score a touchdown on either of the looks, but he was otherwise dynamite torching the Steelers for 116 yards on seven receptions. His inability to reach pay dirt snapped a three-game streak of scoring a touchdown. The Bengals are tied for the third most touchdown receptions (eight) allowed to tight ends this year, and their defense has been mostly helpless against tight ends — and any other position, really.
David Njoku (Browns) at Broncos
YTD Redzone Targets – 4 Week 14 Redzone Targets – 0
Njoku has burned me each of the last two weeks in golden matchups, and last week he didn’t even receive a redzone target. He remains efficient with his redzone work turning four redzone targets on the season into three touchdowns, and he has another solid matchup. The Broncos are tied for the ninth most touchdown receptions (six) allowed to the positions, so I’m once again going to roll the dice on Njoku’s efficiency and a favorable matchup paying dividends in the way of a score.