Don't have an account?
Join the Best Live Fantasy Chat Community!

Lost password? [X]

Receive free daily analysis:

NFL    NBA    MLB

Already have an account? Log in here.

[X]

Forgot Password


[X]

Red Zone Usage Risers and Fallers - Week 15


We are at a crucial point in the season. Hopefully, your team is still alive, but there is always an opportunity to get your team in shape before that final push!

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.

Editor's Note: Get any rest-of-season NFL Premium Pass for 50% off. Our exclusive DFS Tools, Lineup Optimizer and Premium DFS Research through the Super Bowl. Sign Up Now!

 

Red Zone Risers

RUNNING BACKS

Joe Mixon (RB, CIN) - 33.3% Red-zone touch%

Someone needs to tell Cincinnati that their season is over. It seems as though in recent weeks the team has (finally) been able to get moving on offense, with a massive 16 red-zone plays in their last game. Mixon has finally repaid the faith that fantasy owners showed him in the draft, touching the ball a massive seven times out of those 16 plays and scoring a touchdown. In the middle of the season, it almost got to a point where owners were considering dropping Mixon! If you are still alive, put him in your lineup with confidence.

Devonta Freeman (RB, ATL) - 18.5% Red-zone touch%

Freeman personifies the struggle that Atlanta has faced this season. A lot of opportunities in games, but a disappointing amount of production. However, Freeman has immediately picked up his workload from before his injury. That provides fantasy owners with some hope, especially as the only (effective) running back with Brian Hill not being overly productive when he has been given the lead back job. Freeman touched the ball four times out of the team's last nine red-zone plays, scoring a touchdown. That heavy usage should start to pay dividends for Freeman's value towards the end of the season.

Patrick Laird (RB, MIA) - 11.2% Red-zone touch%

The darling waiver wire pickup of recent weeks deserves inclusion in this article. The Miami Dolphins have looked a lot better on offense in recent weeks, and after the team rotated through several running backs it seems Laird is the lead back. Miami might be in the middle of a rebuild, but with Ryan Fitzpatrick leading the offense they are able to score points. The Dolphins had 18 plays in the red zone last week, and Laird was able to get five touches. While he was unable to convert them into a touchdown, based on his usage that should change sooner rather than later.

WIDE RECEIVERS

Christian Kirk (WR, ARI) - 9.6% Red-zone touch%

Kirk has become one of the few reliable options on the Cardinals offense. I mentioned in my offensive line article this week that the team doesn't have a strong unit, meaning that Kirk has been looked at often as the release for rookie quarterback Kyler Murray. Kirk looks like the perfect starting option for fantasy owners at the moment, with a reliable target share and red-zone usage. The Cardinals have opted to pass on 54.4% of their red-zone attempts this season and with Kirk the leading the team in receptions he is a fantastic option.

Diontae Johnson (WR, PIT) - 6.9% Red-zone touch%

Someone has to touch the ball in Pittsburgh! The team has recently welcomed back James Conner back to practice but JuJu Smith-Schuster suffered a setback on Thursday and won't play. Both have struggled on this offense this season. The normally potent Steelers offense has only run 101 plays in the red zone, ranking 26th in the league. With a number of players injured and Vance McDonald struggling to get consistent looks, Johnson could be a worthwhile pickup in deeper leagues.

TIGHT END

Mike Gesicki (TE, MIA) - 7.1% Red-zone touch%

A second Dolphin? As a riser? Yep! That is really more of an indication of how sketchy the tight end position is outside of the elite options. Gesicki had a two-game stretch where he was able to get involved in the offense, before struggling against the New York Jets last week. However, he still had five targets in that game, three of which were in the red zone. If you are desperate for a tight end in the playoffs, grabbing one that gets red-zone looks seems a great way to go.

 

Red Zone Fallers

RUNNING BACK

Carlos Hyde (RB, SF) - 27.3% Red-zone touch%

Hyde has been an effective (unspectacular) running back this season leading the Houston Texans offense on the ground. However, the team has been struggling on defense and Hyde needs to score to be productive. His role has shrunk of late, particularly in the red-zone. Hyde has been overlooked in recent weeks, only getting a single touch from the team's nine red-zone plays last week (in fact of the last 14 red-zone plays, Hyde has touched the ball twice). With Hyde's goal-line work getting squeezed, his touchdown upside needs to be reduced accordingly.

WIDE RECEIVER

Emmanuel Sanders (WR, SF) - 10.0% Red-zone touch%

Sanders' trade to San Fransisco has certainly boosted his fantasy value, but his use in the offense is different than his time in Denver. The 49ers are reliant on their running backs in their offense, rushing on 52.3% of their red-zone plays this season. The team also has elite tight end George Kittle and rookie Deebo Samuel as receiving options. While Sanders is a great talent, and likely to excel next season, until he develops better chemistry with Jimmy Garoppolo he is likely to be overlooked in the red zone.

TIGHT END

Hunter Henry (TE, LAC) - 8.1% Red-zone touch%

Henry returned from injury with a bang, but since then Henry and the Los Angeles Chargers have stalled on offense. Melvin Gordon returned to the team after holding out during the offseason, immediately becoming the team's primary red-zone weapon. Gordon now leads the team in touches near the goal line. With the availability of Austin Ekeler and receiving duo Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, there simply isn't a reliable target share for their tight end.

 

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!

More Risers and Fallers




More Recent Articles

 

Biggest Surprises of 2019: Running Back

The 2019 NFL season was an interesting year for the running back position. Christian McCaffrey was the overall RB1, but some of the other top players fell below expectations. That led to some interesting final results when the final season standings came around. And while some of those -- Dalvin Cook as the RB3, Leonard... Read More


Quarterback VOS (Values Over Starter): 2019 Season In Context

The 2019 fantasy football season is over. That is not something we like to say considering the empty path we have ahead of us until we reach draft season again in eight months. The good thing about it, though, is that we have plenty of time to analyze what happened during the past few weeks... Read More


2019 RotoBaller NFL Challenge - And The @Fleaflicker Winner Is...

What a season, RotoBallers. Fantasy football is always a fun, interesting, and long season - filled with injuries, breakout players, and different strategies. It takes stamina and endurance to win the marathon, and we're here today to recognize those who pulled it off. With 343 teams - across two divisions - competing to be crowned champ... Read More


Introducing the 2020 Rookie Tight End Class

Out of all the skill positions, tight end is the one where rookies have the most issue making an immediate impact. But there's still always some value at every position in every NFL Draft, and the 2020 one is no exception, even if people are very down on this year's crop of tight ends. Let's... Read More


Can a New Coach Fix Baker Mayfield in 2020?

Another season has passed and another disappointment by Browns fans has been realized. Baker Mayfield got the head coach he wanted in Freddie Kitchens in 2019. In 2020, hopefully he's got the one he needs in Kevin Stefanski. Last season, under Kitchens, Mayfield had a coach he could control and manipulate. He did just that... Read More


Wide Receiver VOS (Values Over Starter): 2019 Season In Context

The one (and only) good thing about fantasy football season ending is that we have plenty of time to analyze what happened during the past few months and put performances into context to prepare for next season. As football is an ever-evolving game, though, it makes sense to assess how good players were in fantasy... Read More


The King's Keeper Corner: NFL Postseason Impacts on Player Outlooks

With a break in the postseason NFL action, it is time to reflect on what we have seen in the playoffs so far and how certain performances will affect fantasy football outlooks in keeper and dynasty formats. How players respond and what they deliver at the most intense and critical times of the season can... Read More


Introducing Value Over Starter Football Metrics

When it comes to fantasy sports, we're always looking for the highest possible Return On Investment or ROI. This concept is easy to understand: in both Daily Fantasy and re-draft/fantasy leagues, ROI would come down to how many points a player returns relative to his salary, or the price you paid (given his ADP on... Read More


Biggest Breakouts of 2019: Quarterback

2019 was a very interesting season of fantasy football, to say the least. It's safe to say no one was banking on the season that we saw from Lamar Jackson but he wasn't the only one to stand out. At the quarterback position, we saw some really exciting players start to shine and some older... Read More


Goodbye Runners, Hello Pass-Catching RBs: 2019 Season Trends

As the 2019 summer kept going we all had two things in our minds with regard to September's fantasy drafts and both of them were related to running backs: Where in the world are Ezekiel Elliott and Melvin Gordon and when will they be back? It made sense back then (and it still does now,... Read More


Where Does 2019 Rank Historically Among ADP Movers?

I have worked on a season-review series of articles in which I have analyzed the biggest winners and losers in terms of ADP entering draft season compared to the end of the year final results. It was plenty of fun looking back at the gambles most of us took which ultimately paid off, but also... Read More


Biggest Busts of 2019: Tight End

2019 was not the record-breaking season for tight ends 2018 was. San Francisco’s George Kittle (most receiving yards for a TE in a season) and Philadelphia’s Zach Ertz (most receptions for a TE in a season) did not break the records they set last season, although both were fine for fantasy players. Kansas City’s Travis... Read More


Rushing Quarterbacks Are Becoming Necessary

The 2019 fantasy season is over. We are all thinking about what to do come 2020 draft day. So let me ask you something. What if I offer you the chance of drafting a quarterback who is a lock to finish the season with 270 fantasy points? Would you take him and make him your... Read More


Biggest Breakouts Of 2019: Wide Receivers

As we enter the initial phase of offseason activities you have recently completed a painstaking process of creating and managing rosters, with the goal of winning fantasy championships in 2019. Now, many of you have already shifted your focus toward planning your drafts in Best Ball and redraft leagues, while others are contemplating how you... Read More


Tight End ADP Winners and Losers: 2019 Season Review

I've always believed that it is easier to lose a fantasy championship than to win it on draft day. It makes sense, as sure-fire players are expected to reward their owners with a lower risk-factor than the other way around and thus they're always drafter earlier. If they put up a season-long dud, though, you'll... Read More