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Red Zone Usage Risers and Fallers - Week 14


We are at a crucial point in the season. Either your league is in playoff season, or it's just about to begin. Now is the week to get your team in shape before that final push! On a personal note, some of the fallers may have caused me some fantasy pain this season, see if you can work out which ones (although I won't be biased against them, at least not too much!)

As fantasy owners, we know that not all touches are equal. A touch in the red zone has an increased chance of scoring a touchdown, so those touches are important to target. To identify the players to target in trades, RotoBaller's Premium Red Zone Sleepers tool can give you a sense of who is being utilized more in the all-important area of the field to provide more scoring potential. A preview of the tool and the top players in red-zone touches is shown below.

Just like targets are the lifeblood of a receiver's value in PPR leagues, red-zone touches are the most relevant factor to consider for standard leagues. Each week, I will identify some risers and fallers based on their red-zone touches, and what that means for your team.

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Red Zone Risers

RUNNING BACKS

Chris Carson (RB, SEA) - 31.3% Red-zone touch%

Seattle is firing on offense, and the running game is a big part of that success. The Seahawks have long been a team that has sought to establish the run before unleashing their receivers in space downfield. Then they tend to return to the run in the red zone (although not all the time)

However, at this point in the season, it certainly looks as though that is how the team is running their offense with Carson touching the ball 40 times in the red zone and scoring seven touchdowns. Carson certainly is in a shared backfield but his continued involvement in the red zone can't be overlooked.

Rashaad Penny (RB, SEA) - 7.8% Red-zone touch%

I looked for another running back to include, ultimately deciding to return to Seattle for the other part of the backfield in Rashaad Penny. The Seattle Seahawks running back has broken out at the end of the season, and ultimately could be that piece that gets you over the line to the championship!

Penny has been heavily involved in the offense over the past few weeks, touching the ball six times for two scores from 16 red zone plays. Penny may well be the smaller part of the committee, but if he is on your roster he has great scoring ability.

WIDE RECEIVERS

Sterling Shepard (WR, NYG) - 11.2% Red-zone touch%

The New York Giants aren't a great team. But even the worst team will get red-zone opportunities. Shepard has struggled all season to stay healthy but still ranks third on the team in red-zone touches with 11.

Shepard is the lead receiver for the Giants, and with his involvement in the offense between the 20s combined with his red-zone involvement (if the Giants get there) mean that he is worth consideration in deep leagues.

Dede Westbrook (WR, JAX) - 8.6% Red-zone touch%

There has been another change under center for the Jacksonville Jaguars - the return of MINSHEW MANIA! That means that Westbrook is going to be building on the relationship he developed in the early part of the season with the rookie.

To put his involvement in the red zone into perspective, the Jaguars ran 12 red-zone plays in Week 13 and Westbrook had three touches, only bettered by running back Leonard Fournette. Yes, the breakout receiver this season has been D.J. Chark, but don't overlook Westbrook in this final stretch of games.

TIGHT END

Jack Doyle (TE, IND) - 8.3% Red-zone touch%

The Indianapolis Colts offense isn't the high-octane offense it likely would be under Andrew Luck, but Jacoby Brissett is doing a fine job in his absence. The team has a great offensive line and has run 121 plays in the red zone ranking them fifth in the league.

Doyle is currently fourth on the roster in red-zone touches, behind Marlon Mack, Nyheim Hines, and Eric Ebron. Currently, Mack and Ebron are on the sidelines and Jonathan Williams has been sharing touches with Hines. At a position that is so dependent on touchdown scoring, adding Doyle to your lineup is a great option.

 

Red Zone Fallers

RUNNING BACK

Tevin Coleman (RB, SF) - 27.4% Red-zone touch%

Coleman was a riser earlier in the season, but things have changed since then in the Bay. The team has still been successful on offense, but they have been able to strike from further out in recent weeks with a combination of Deebo Samuel, Emmanuel Sanders, and (unfortunately for Coleman owners) Raheem Mostert on the ground.

While Coleman has been effective in the red zone and leads the team in touches and touchdowns, his role is being squeezed by the effectiveness of other players in the offense. If the offense continues to have the same level of success from further out then Coleman should be a bench consideration for fantasy owners.

WIDE RECEIVER

Sammy Watkins (WR, KC) - 5.6% Red-zone touch%

Watkins broke out in Week 1 with a week-winning performance, but since then has struggled for consistency on the field. Currently, Watkins has only touched the ball six times this season in the red zone. To put that into perspective, that is equal with Tyreek Hill who has missed multiple weeks this season and Mecole Hardman, who is further down the depth chart.

Kansas City's offense has taken an (expected) step backward this offseason, and the inability of Watkins to get involved is a by-product of that. If you have other options for your lineup, use them.

TIGHT END

Jimmy Graham (TE, GB) - 9.5% Red-zone touch%

Graham has touched the ball 11 times in the red-zone this season, and his 9.5% of red zone touches ranks him ninth at the position. He is the second receiver in touches on his team behind Davante Adams- who is Graham's biggest obstacle.

Adams missed several weeks with a toe injury and Graham was able to get more touches than he typically would in the offense. With Adams back in the lineup, he was able to command five of the last 15 opportunities in the red zone.

With the running back duo of Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams able to run the ball effectively and be receiving options themselves, there simply aren't opportunities to make Graham an effective red-zone weapon.

 

Red Zone Sleepers

RotoBaller's Premium tools offer more detailed insight into player values and help you identify which players to target on the waiver wire and/or trade market. Start with a free one-week trial, including NFL Optimizer and DFS Premium and get an advantage on the competition!

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