Volume is going to be an important stat for quarterbacks when it comes to the red zone, as it will be for all positions. Rushing quarterbacks in the red zone are going to be able to give a dual-threat, such as Lamar Jackson. He has been very efficient in the red zone as he threw 24 red zone touchdowns in 2019, but had big rushing numbers as well. He also completed over 60% of his passes, as we usually see quarterbacks complete around 50-55% of their passes in the red zone on average. Looking at Russell Wilson, who led all quarterbacks in red zone touchdowns, only completed 49% of his passes, but he had 89 attempts, which are why volume is so important. However, when he was inside the ten-yard line, he completed 60% of his passes. You usually see completion rates go up when inside the ten compared to inside the 20 which is where we measure quarterbacks.
Matt Ryan has been a productive quarterback over the last decade, and he is also one of the top red zone quarterbacks. He is accurate, and he also has plenty of options to work with. Ryan posted 20 touchdowns inside the red zone, and 14 of them came inside the ten. The Falcons have also been one of the heavier passing teams in the game. Jared Goff and Drew Brees have been accurate red zone passers, although we know Brees is just one of the more accurate passers of all-time. They both had 18 red zone touchdowns.
Top Red Zone Running Backs
Workhorse backs have an edge when it comes to red zone numbers. We have seen those feature backs dominate in red zone production because the workload is high, and they are a major part of the offense. They also have a big success, so why not keep feeding them the ball? Ezekiel Elliott for the Dallas Cowboys has been one of those workhorse backs, and he leads all position players in touches for 2019 and will be up there again in 2020. Elliott also has an advantage where he is a part of the passing game but is a bruiser as well. Christian McCaffrey is the number one fantasy player on the planet outside of a few quarterbacks, but his workload is high, and he produced 11 red zone touchdowns last season.
Nick Chubb is somewhat underrated out there in Cleveland. He established himself as a strong back and is also used often in the red zone because he is on the bigger side as well. Chubb had over 70% of the team's rushing attempts in Cleveland. Dalvin Cook is another one, who has battled injuries early on in his career, but the production has been there. He had double-digit touchdowns last season, as did his rival Aaron Jones of the Green Bay Packers. Derrick Henry of the Tennessee Titans has been a monster in the red zone and gets over 75% of the red zone rushing attempts. Tennessee has been one of the top red zone teams over the last few seasons.
Top Red Zone Wide Receivers
Not only is Michael Thomas one of the top wide receivers in the game, but he is also one of the best red zone wide receivers as well. He has caught over 70% of his targets inside the red zone, and the touchdowns follow him as well. Thomas is also widely used, which is a big treat for fantasy owners as well. When searching through the red zone wide receivers, you will see the target percentage. This is the number of targets they get in comparison to the rest of the team in the red zone. Davante Adams has been a massive target guy for the Green Bay Packers, inside the red zone and out. Adams is a solid route runner and is also a big threat against smaller cornerbacks. Even missing games last season, he still took up a quarter of the Packers targets inside the red zone.
Allen Robinson has endured a lot of rough quarterback play in his career, but he is a big-time red zone threat as he is an athletic and tall wide receiver. Whether it was Jacksonville or Chicago, Robinson has been the red zone threat to take advantage of. Los Angeles has a few stud wide receivers, but Cooper Kupp has developed into the main red zone target for the Rams. Kupp is coming off a season where he had seven red zone touches and also caught over 70% of his targets. Tyler Lockett is another one, who paired up with Russell Wilson as a top threat in the league. Both him and D.K. Metcalf have been used quite a bit in the red zone as the true Seahawks options. Lockett had the highest catch rate with someone over 15 targets in the NFL last season.
Top Red Zone Tight Ends
Travis Kelce has been one of the top red zone threats over the last few seasons as he often soaks up most of the Chiefs targets inside the red zone. However, touchdown production hasn't always been there. Either way, Kelce is looked at often and is a mismatch against opposing defensive players, as most tight ends usually are. Zach Ertz of the Philadelphia Eagles has been used often in the red zone, and also in different positions. Ertz is a go-to tight end inside the opponent's 20, which is impressive as the Eagles like to spread the ball around as well. George Kittle of the San Francisco 49ers is already one of the best overall tight ends, but he is a monster in the red zone and takes up over 20% of the 49ers targets when inside the 20-yard line. Kittle and Kelce are the league's best go-to options here.
While Austin Hooper is now in Cleveland, he has had a serviceable career so far in the red zone. He might not be the first name that comes to mind, but he has had a lot of production and can be relied upon as well. Mark Andrews blew up with the Baltimore Ravens in 2019, as he had seven touchdowns inside the red zone, four of them coming from inside the ten-yard line. Kyle Rudolph has made a living inside the red zone as he gets most of his production there. Minnesota likes to go to bigger targets, and Rudolph has been that for the Vikings. Jack Doyle and Greg Olsen have also been strong red zone targets of late. They may not be the most athletic tight ends, but the production has been there when it matters.
Top Red Zone Defenses
Being a strong red zone defense is going to correlate with being a strong overall defense. The New England Patriots have always been one of the top defenses, and they have done it by holding teams to minimal points inside the red zone. That was the case last season and has been that way over the last decade. The Los Angeles Chargers are one of the top defenses in the league, as they have a strong front seven and also a very good secondary. They make it tough on opposing offenses. Buffalo has built itself a good defense, and they are also not allowing a lot of volume. They rank inside the top five in limiting touchdowns and opposing trips to the red zone. We really see teams that limit trips also limit production, which shouldn't be that much of a surprise. Some other honorable mentions are the Pittsburgh Steelers, Baltimore Ravens and Minnesota Vikings.
Believe it or not, the closer you are to the end zone, the easier it is to score. We want to look at players who are getting red zone touches, as they are getting those opportunities to find the end zone. Despite all the scoring changes in fantasy football over the last few years, touchdowns are still the main driver in fantasy points. Those running backs who are getting red zone touches are going to have a high upside in the touchdown department. We have seen workhorse backs take over that role, but when we look at committees, we want to see how those touches are divided up in the red zone. Looking back, Matt Forte was always a popular name, but his red zone touches were lower because they had Michael Bush to vulture all of those touchdowns away.
The same is going to be said for targets, as you are going to want to find wide receivers and tight ends who get used by teams inside the red zone. These are going to be represented in targets. Quarterbacks are often going to look for specific wideouts and tight ends, and the way we can see that without watching the games is sorting through targets inside the opposing 20. You also want to see how efficient these receivers and tight ends are, as you can see that with catch percentage.
The red zone is when an offense is inside the opposing team’s 20-yard line. The red zone is simply a nickname for this area of the field and it also gives us a name to show stats for when teams enter this area.
Where Does The Red Zone Start?
The red zone starts at the opponent’s 20-yard line. When a defense is in their own 20-yard line, that means they are allowing that offense to enter the red zone. Offenses that find themselves in this area often is a positive sign.
Who Leads The League in Red Zone Touches?
Ezekiel Elliott of the Dallas Cowboys led all players in red zone touches in the 2019-20 season. He had 67 total red zone touches, which averages out to 4.2 per game. He also had 13 red zone touchdowns. This is a combination of receptions and rushing attempts.
Who Leads The League In Red Zone Targets?
Michael Thomas of the New Orleans Saints had the most red zone targets in the 2019-20 season. He had 26 targets and averaged 1.6 per game. He caught 77% of them, which equals out to 20 receptions. Thomas also had eight touchdowns.
What Team Allowed The Most Red Zone Points?
The Carolina Panthers have allowed the most red zone points to opposing teams. They ranked 32nd in red zone touchdowns and also allowed the most red zone attempts. No surprise to see them struggle in this department as they allowed the most volume.
What Position Averages The Most Red Zone Touches?
Running backs average the most red zone touches, as they can be fed on average 3-4 red zone touches per game. Sorting through touches, running backs dominate with rushing attempts as well as some targets. Wide receivers and tight ends are next.
Who Leads The League in Red Zone Touchdowns?
Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks led all positions in touchdowns, as he had 25 red zone touchdowns. 15 of those 25 came from within the ten yard line. He also only turned the ball over once. Wilson also so the most passing attempts.