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Red Zone Usage - Risers and Fallers for Week 16


The fantasy championship weekend is upon us! There is no second chance, so it's more important than ever to know who has the best chance to reach the end zone. RotoBaller's Premium Red Zone 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. 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.

In this article each week, we'll identify red zone risers and fallers who could see their fantasy value impacted by usage in the most critical area of the field. RotoBaller's Red Zone Sleepers tool is a great way to get an edge on the competition by identifying players with greater scoring opportunities.

Let's take a look at which fantasy football players could be touchdown and scoring risers or fallers in fantasy football for Week 16 of the 2018 NFL season, based on red zone opportunities.

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Red Zone Risers

RUNNING BACK

Joe Mixon (RB, CIN) - 35.1% Red-zone touch %

The Bengals seem to realize now what the majority of other people have known for some time- Mixon is a top talent. The Bengals have used him in the red zone more than any other player this season, touching the ball 39 times and scoring nine touchdowns in the process. In Week 15, the Bengals ran 18 plays in the red zone, and Mixon had 10 touches, scoring two touchdowns. The Bengals are likely to continue looking to Mixon for the rest of the season, with a rash of injuries at receiver, making Mixon a great option for fantasy owners.

Jamaal Williams (RB, GB) - 12.2% Red-zone touch %

Aaron Jones has just been put on IR which means that a backfield that started the season looking like it would be a three-headed monster now has a sole survivor. Green Bay may not be the offensive force that it has been in seasons past, but with a matchup against the New York Jets should give them an opportunity to get back on track. As you may expect from a team with an elite quarterback in Aaron Rodgers as well as an elite receiver Davante Adams, the Packers are very pass-heavy in the red zone (66.3% of their plays in the red zone). Williams is a good option in a good offense and no competition in the backfield, so he should definitely be considered for fantasy lineups.

WIDE RECEIVERS

Mike Williams (WR, LAC) - 12.3% Red-zone touch%

The Los Angeles Chargers have not had the elite talent of running back Melvin Gordon in recent weeks, with his backup Austin Ekeler missing time too. That led to the Chargers looking to running back Justin Jackson who was impressive, but it also led to the Chargers looking to put the ball in the hands of quarterback Philip Rivers to find receivers in the red zone. Williams thrived last week, touching the ball five times of the 12 plays run in the red zone and scoring three touchdowns. The Chargers may have a tough matchup with the Baltimore Ravens this week, but the big-bodied receiver should still have some fantasy value because of scoring upside.

Josh Reynolds (WR, LAR) - 7.4% Red-zone touch%

Reynolds has been more involved in the rotation since receiver Cooper Kupp was injured, and he has embraced the opportunity with both hands. The Rams are very balanced in the split of their running and passing plays, passing on 51.4% of their plays in that area of the field. Reynolds had four touches last week, bringing his season total to 13 touches. That is one less than Robert Woods and three less than Brandin Cooks, who have both played all season. The Rams have a tough matchup against the Arizona Cardinals this week, but Reynolds should still have red zone opportunities with Cooks and Woods being more closely covered by the Cardinals.

TIGHT END

Vance McDonald (TE, PIT) - 6.3% Red-zone touch%

The Steelers have a multitude of options in their offense with running back duo James Conner and Jaylen Samuels, as well as the elite receivers Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster, but McDonald shouldn't be forgotten about. The Steelers pass on 62.7% of their plays in the red zone, which gives a great opportunity to McDonald to be involved. The Saints have not given up too many points to the position so far this season, but McDonald presents a different challenge to a number of the players that they have faced so far this season.

 

Red Zone Fallers

RUNNING BACK

Dion Lewis (RB, TEN) - 23.8% Red-zone touch%

Lewis has taken a huge step back with the emergence of fellow running back Derrick Henry. The Titans have returned to the run in the red zone, rushing 57.7% of the times this season. Last week, the team ran 13 separate plays in the red zone and gave Henry 11 touches which he converted into two touchdowns. Unfortunately for Lewis, with a matchup against the Washington Redskins, it is unlikely that the team is going to move away from what has worked in recent weeks. He can't be played on teams looking to bring home a fantasy title.

WIDE RECEIVER

D.J. Moore (WR, CAR) - 8.0% Red-zone touch%

Moore was a hit in the mid-season, but in recent weeks the Panthers have looked increasingly like they are unsure as to how they are to be an effective offense. Quarterback Cam Newton looks to have lost strength in his shoulder, so his passes aren't stretching the field- meaning fewer trips to the red zone as a whole. Then once the team gets into the red zone, they are leaning on star running back Christian McCaffrey, rushing the ball 54.4% of the time. McCaffrey is used on passing plays too, touching the ball on over 40% of the time in the red zone. All of the arrows are pointing downward as a result, with fewer red zone trips and a huge majority owner of the few touches that the team will have.

TIGHT END

Austin Hooper (TE, ATL) - 11.6% Red-zone touch%

The tight end position is not short of players that are struggling, and the tricky thing is that as soon as a team moves away from one, they seem to return back to them. That being said, Hooper is on an offense that has been looking elsewhere. The Falcons ran 13 plays in the red zone in their last game, and their running back tandem of Tevin Coleman and Ito Smith touched the ball on seven of them. The Falcons also have one of the best receivers in Julio Jones to add to the impressive Calvin Ridley. All of that adds to a lack of opportunities to go around, with Hooper a likely candidate to miss out

 

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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