Redzone Report Week 17

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 16 Touches Leaders

RB Touches 3

It feels like a distant memory when Christian McCaffrey’s redzone usage was concerning. He was kept out of the end zone last week, but he led running backs with nine redzone touches. His 60 redzone touches on the season are the third most. Matt Breida exited last week’s game early with an ankle injury, and Jeff Wilson relieved him and finished third in redzone touches with six. He was unable to turn any of those touches into a touchdown. Derrick Henry continued his late-season dominance and was one of four backs (Doug Martin, Jamaal Williams and Saquon Barkley were the others) to tie for the fourth most redzone touches with five. Henry turned one of those touches into a one-yard touchdown rush. Six backs tied for eighth with four redzone touches last week, and one stands out as a clear shocker. Todd Gurley was expected to play last week, but the Rams pulled an about face and declared him inactive. With Gurley out, C.J. Anderson balled out. Included in his successful afternoon was a four-yard touchdown rush on one of his four redzone touches.

 

Top Option

Chris Carson (Seahawks) vs Cardinals

YTD Redzone Touches – 43 Week 16 Redzone Touches – 8

Carson was unmentioned above, but he finished second last week with eight redzone touches. The punishing rusher scored a pair of touchdowns from the redzone on his hefty redzone workload. His 43 redzone touches on the year are the seventh most, and he’s facing a Cardinals squad that’s allowed the most rushing touchdowns (18) to running backs this year, per Pro-Football-Reference. The Seahawks have clinched a playoff berth, but their seed isn’t set in stone as they could finish in the fifth seed or sixth seed depending on the outcome of their game and Minnesota’s. They could conceivably rest starters, but head coach Pete Carroll’s already unequivocally stated he’s not resting starters against the Cardinals. I love Carson’s odds of reaching pay dirt at least once.

Value/Sleeper

Brian Hill (Falcons) at Buccaneers

YTD Redzone Touches – 2 Week 16 Redzone Touches – 2

Hill burst onto the scene out of nowhere last week. Tevin Coleman was dinged up, and Hill erupted for 115 yards on eight carries but was held out of the end zone. He did receive two redzone touches, and he’s deserving of touches whether Coleman plays or not. Coleman’s a free agent at season’s end, so the Falcons would be wise to take a look at their second-year back who balled out last week. Hill was a highly productive college back at Wyoming, and he scored 35 touchdowns in 37 games, per Sports-Reference. He scored 22 of those touchdowns in 14 games at a junior, his final college season. He’ll have a golden opportunity to score his first touchdown in the NFL against a Buccaneers team that’s allowed the third most rushing touchdowns (15) to running backs and the most total touchdowns (21) to running backs this year.

 

Wide Receivers

Week 16 Targets LeadersWR Targets 3

A familiar face led the position in redzone targets last week, but there’s more on him below. Michael Thomas and a pair of Packers, Davante Adams and Maquez Valdes-Scantling, tied for the second most redzone targets with three each. MVS was kept out of the end zone, but both Thomas and Adams scored a touchdown each. Coincidentally, each of those respective touchdowns was a game winner. A whopping 13 more receivers tallied more than one redzone look last week. One of those 13 receivers was superstar Julio Jones, who turned one of his two redzone looks into a one-yard touchdown reception. He’s officially shaken off his weird allergy to the end zone. Jones has scored four touchdowns in his last three games, and three of those have been scored from the redzone. The lone outlier in that three-game stretch was just one-yard outside of the redzone and a 21-yard touchdown grab.

 

Top Option

Antonio Brown (Steelers) vs. Bengals

YTD Redzone Targets – 24 Week 16 Redzone Targets – 4

Brown was a monster in New Orleans last week, and he scored a pair of redzone touchdowns on his Week 16-high four redzone targets. The Steelers need some help to reach the postseason, but they’re alive and will certainly be playing for the win. There’s no danger of Brown sitting. His 24 redzone targets this year are tied for the fourth most among receivers.

 

Value/Sleeper

Robby Anderson (Jets) at Patriots

YTD Redzone Targets – 8 Week 16 Redzone Targets – 2

Anderson’s not a sleeper, but he’s under priced in daily games and qualifies as a value. He’s been on a heater, and it’s coincided with Sam Darnold taking a massive step forward since returning from injury. Anderson’s received at least one redzone target in three straight. That streak started with Darnold’s return in Week 14, and Anderson’s tallied seven of his eight redzone targets this year in that three-game stretch. Anderson’s scored a touchdown in each of those three games, and two of the three scores have come from the endzone with the outlier being a 33-yard touchdown snag last week against the Packers. The Patriots are an unimposing matchup and are tied for the 12th most receiving touchdowns (17) allowed to receivers this year.

 

Tight Ends

Week 16 Targets Leaders

TE Targets 3

Zach Ertz and Kyle Rudolph tied for the Week 16 lead in redzone targets among tight ends with three. Both had huge games. Ertz and Rudolph both scored a pair of touchdowns, though, each only score one of their touchdowns from the redzone. Only four other tight ends were targeted more than once in the redzone last week. Two of those tight ends are featured below, and the other two are George Kittle and Vance McDonald. Both Kittle and McDonald actually have strong cases for inclusion as the featured players below, though, neither scored a touchdown on their redzone targets last week.

 

Top Option

Travis Kelce (Chiefs) vs. Raiders

YTD Redzone Targets – 25 Week 16 Redzone Targets – 2

Kelce was one of the four tight ends tied for third in redzone targets last week with a pair of them. The Seahawks kept him out of the end zone, but he’ll have much easier sledding this week against the Raiders. Oakland’s nine touchdowns allowed to tight ends this year are tied for the third most. Kelce clobbered the Raiders when the two teams met in Week 13, and he scored two redzone touchdowns in his slaughtering of them. He’s been a popular redzone target this year for Patrick Mahomes, and Kelce’s 25 redzone looks this year are the second most at tight end behind Ertz’s 26.

 

Value/Sleeper

Chris Herndon IV (Jets) at Patriots

YTD Redzone Targets – 7 Week 16 Redzone Targets – 2

The Jets appear to have struck gold in the fourth round of this year’s NFL Draft. Herndon’s having a strong rookie season, and his seven redzone targets are tied for the 21st most at the position. That rank isn’t overly impressive, but three of his redzone targets have come in the last two weeks. He’s hauled in six of his seven redzone targets this year, and three have gone for scores. One of his three redzone touchdowns on the season came last week against the Packers. He, like the aforementioned Anderson, has benefited from Darnold’s late-season growth. He’ll end the season in a soft matchup against the Patriots. New England’s tied for the fifth most receiving touchdowns (eight) allowed to tight ends.

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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