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Fantasy Football: Red Zone Analytics and Takes

KANSAS CITY, MO – JANUARY 23: Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (87) reaches for the game winning reception over Buffalo Bills outside linebacker Matt Milano (58) during the AFC Divisional Round playoff game on January 23rd, 2022 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by William Purnell/Icon Sportswire)

There are so many red zone statistics. To make our fantasy football teams productive, we need to analyze all the information and pull out what we need.

According to Sharp Football Analysis, “74.1% of all offensive touchdowns scored over the past decade have come from inside the red zone…73.4% of red zone touches come from inside the 10-yard line.

Rushing attempts from the 19-yard line have had a 3% touchdown rate over the past ten seasons. Carries from 10-19-yards out have combined for a 5.2% touchdown rate. Touchdown success on the ground does not hit 10% until the 8-yard line.

The red zone has accounted for 66.3% of all league-wide passing touchdowns. The passing touchdown rate per play is over the 10% threshold from 11-19 yards, before going over 20% at the 10-yard line where it was 22.4%”.

So, what do we do? We get the relevant statistics from last year and see if we can gather the takes that will make us fantasy relevant this year.

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Fantasy Football: Red Zone Analytics and Takes

2021 Team Red Zone Scoring Attempts/Game

TEAM NAME 2021 RED ZONE SCORING ATTEMPTS 2021 RED ZONE SCORING ATTEMPTS @ HOME 2021 RED ZONE SCORING ATTEMPTS AWAYS
Buffalo Bills 4.5 4.7 4.3
Los Angeles Chargers 4.4 4.7 4.1
Los Angeles Rams 4.2 3.8 4.6
Kansas City Chiefs 4.1 4.3 3.9
Green Bay Packers 4.1 4.4 3.7
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 4.0 4.3 3.7
Indianapolis Colts 3.8 3.2 4.4
Dallas Cowboys 3.7 3.6 3.8
Arizona Cardinals 3.7 3.1 4.1
Las Vegas Raiders 3.6 3.7 3.6
New England Patriots 3.6 4.0 3.2
Tennessee Titans 3.6 3.3 3.9
Philadelphia Eagles 3.4 4.1 2.9
New Orleans Saints 3.3 2.7 3.7
Baltimore Ravens 3.3 3.7 2.9
Atlanta Falcons 3.2 2.4 3.7
Cincinnati Bengals 3.1 3.8 2.5
Denver Broncos 3.1 3.2 3.0
Minnesota Vikings 3.1 2.9 3.3
New York Jets 3.0 3.6 2.4
San Francisco Niners 3.0 3.3 2.8
Pittsburgh Steelers 2.9 2.6 3.3
Washington 2.9 2.9 3.0
Cleveland Browns 2.9 2.8 3.1
Miami Dolphins 2.9 3.3 2.4
Chicago Bears 2.8 3.3 2.4
Seattle Seahawks 2.8 3.6 2.1
Carolina Panthers 2.8 2.6 2.9
Detroit Lions 2.6 2.6 2.7
Jacksonville Jaguars 2.3 3.0 1.7
New York Giants 2.2 2.4 2.1
Houston Texans 2.2 2.4 1.9

2021 Teams First

First, the attempts in red zone scoring. There are teams (you noticed) that were pretty good with red zone attempts at home but sucked when playing away.

Better Home Than Away

The Eagles attempted 4.1 red zone attempts at home but only 2.9 attempts away. The Bengals attempted 3.8 red zone attempts home and 2.5 away. The Jaguars and Texans (no surprise here) were astonishingly worse in red zone attempts. The Jaguars averaged 3.0 red zone attempts at home and 1.7 away. The Texans averaged 2.4 home and 1.9 away.


Better Away Than Home

And then there were the teams who excelled in red zone attempts when away from home.

The Colts (now under a new quarterback) averaged 3.2 red zone attempts when home and 4.4 when away. The Saints averaged 2.7 attempts at home and 3.7 when away, while the Falcons averaged 2.4 red zone attempts at home and 3.7 when away. And the Steelers (also under a new quarterback) averaged 2.6 red zone attempts when home and 3.3 red zone attempts when away.

Is there a correlation between team attempts and team red zone scoring percentage?

Did you notice that the teams that had better red zone attempt away have new quarterbacks? Curious.

The Bills were first in red zone attempts and first in red zone scoring percentage, scoring 66.28%. The Buccaneers were fourth in red zone attempts (4.0) but were second in team scoring percentage, 65.79%.

Here are the top 13 teams in 2021 in red zone scoring percentage

TEAM NAMES SCORING % HOME SCORING % AWAY SCORING %
Buffalo Bills 66.28% 65.96% 66.67%
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 65.79% 67.44% 63.64%
Seattle Seahawks 64.58% 58.62% 73.68%
San Francisco Niners 64.41% 73.08% 57.58%
Los Angeles Chargers 64.00% 61.90% 66.67%
Dallas Cowboys 63.64% 84.38% 44.12%
New England Patriots 63.08% 75.00% 48.28%
Philadelphia Eagles 62.90% 57.58% 68.97%
Tennessee Titans 62.50% 63.64% 61.29%
Minnesota Vikings 62.26% 56.52% 66.67%
Kansas City Chiefs 62.60% 60.78% 64.52%
Cleveland Browns 62.00% 60.00% 64.00%
Miami Dolphins 61.22% 66.67% 52.63%

TIGHT ENDS

It is interesting that the top-10 tight end fantasy tight ends did not necessarily dominate in red zone targets. It was close but not domination.

NAME 2021 FANTASY FINISH 2021 RED ZONE TARGETS 2021 RED ZONE RECEPTIONS
Mark Andrews, Baltimore TE1 22 14
Travis Kelce, Kansas City TE2 15 12
Dalton Schultz, Dallas TE3 12 11
George Kittle, Niners TE4 9 8
Rob Gronkowski TE5 12 6
Dawson Knox, Buffalo TE6 19 12
Hunter Henry, New England TE7 18 9
Dallas Goedert, Philadelphia TE8 6  
Kyle Pitts, Atlanta TE9 15  
Zach Ertz, Arizona TE10 20 8

 

So, Pat Freiermuth, Tyler Higbee, and Cameron Brate all had 20 red zone targets. Freiermuth finished as TE12, Higbee TE14 and Brate TE28. Freiermuth had seven touchdowns while the Steelers as a team scored on 54.72% of their red zone plays.

Higbee finished the season with five touchdowns. He had a 90.9% target rate, and the Rams were 16th in the red zone scoring percentage (59,09%). And then there was Brate. The Buccaneers were second in red zone scoring percentage (65.79%), but Brate only finished with four touchdowns.

Fantasy points in tight ends are hard to come by, but if your tight end is playing one of these teams, you may have a chance. Last year, these teams allowed the most average fantasy points per game to the tight end position.

Los Angeles Chargers allowed 5

Philadelphia Eagles allowed 1

Las Vegas Raiders allowed 8

Baltimore Ravens allowed 6

New York Jets allowed 9.4


WEEK 1

Chargers play Darren Waller, TE18 last season

Eagles play TJ Hockenson (TE16 last season,  Hockenson had ten red zone targets, seven receptions, and four touchdowns last season. Tied for 9th in red zone targets)

Raiders play Gerald Everett (TE21 last season,  Everett played in Seattle last season. He had seven red zone targets)

Ravens play CJ Uzomah (TE17, last season Uzomah played in Cincinnati last season. He had six red zone targets)

Jets play Mark Andrews

RUNNING BACKS

It is a little different for the running backs. The correlation is more apparent.

NAME 2021 FANTASY FINISH 2021 RED ZONE RUSHING ATTEMPTS 2021 RED ZONE TARGETS
Jonathan Taylor, Indianapolis RB1 89 (2nd) 4
Austin Ekeler, LAC RB2 48 (1st) 16
Joe Mixon, Cincinnati RB3 42 (T3rdth) 7
Najee Harris, Pittsburgh RB4 38 8
James Conner, Arizona RB5 42(T3rd) 2
Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas RB6 37 (5th) 17
Nick Chubb RB7 39 1
Damien Harris RB8 46 (6th) 2
Alvin Kamara RB9 41 (11th) 14
Antonio Gibson RB10 43 6
Leonard Fournette RB11 41 (10th) 18

 

There is a clearer correlation between the number of rushing opportunities a running back gets inside the 20-yard line and their fantasy productivity.

Eight teams last season gave up an average of 20 or more fantasy points to the running back position.

New York Jets 26.3

Detroit Lions 3

Seattle Seahawks 22.3

Los Angeles Chargers 22.2

Houston Texans 22.2

Las Vegas Raider 21.7

Pittsburgh Steelers 21.1

New York Giants 5


Week 1 Matchups

Running Backs

New York Jets v JK Dobbins (Tore ACL in 2021 preseason game did not play 2021 season)

Detroit Lions v Miles Sanders (RB43 Sanders played 12g last season with 137 rushing attempts, 34 targets, and 0 touchdowns)

Seattle Seahawks v Javonte Williams (RB18 Williams had 37 red zone touches and seven touchdowns)

Los Angeles Chargers v Josh Jacobs (RB16 last season, Jacobs had 38 red zone touches and six targets)

Houston Texans v Jonathan Taylor

Las Vegas Raiders v Austin Ekeler

Pittsburgh Steelers v Joe Mixon

New York Giants v Derrick Henry (RB14, Henry in 8 games last season had 34 red zone rushing attempts and two targets)


WIDE RECEIVERS

As you would expect, the wide receiver position has an almost direct correlation between targets, red zone targets, and fantasy football standings.

2021 Wide Receiver Final Fantasy Standings (PPR League)

Cooper Kupp WR1: 38 red zone targets, 27 receptions, 13 touchdowns

Davante Adams WR2: 28 red zone targets, 18 receptions, ten touchdowns

Deebo Samuel WR3: nine red zone targets, four receptions, two touchdowns (30% of Samuel’s fantasy points were from his rushing exploits)

Justin Jefferson WR4: 22 red zone targets, 11 receptions, seven touchdowns

Ja’Marr Chase WR5: 12 red zone targets, ten receptions

Tyreek Hill WR6: 23 red zone targets, 16 receptions, seven touchdowns

Stefon Diggs WR7: 34 red zone targets, 19 receptions, ten touchdowns (Diggs was second in red zone targets but seventh in overall fantasy)

Diontae Johnson WR8: 23 red zone targets, 13 receptions

Mike Evans WR9: 20 red zone targets, 14 receptions, ten touchdowns

Hunter Renfrow WR10: 25 red zone targets, 18 receptions, nine touchdowns

Keenan Allen WR11: 25 red zone targets, 17 receptions, six touchdowns


Week 1 Matchups

Kupp v Buffalo Bills                                      32nd —25.1 fppg

Adams v Los Angeles Chargers                  30th —17.8 fppg

Samuel v Chicago Bears                              7th—    23.7fppg

Jefferson v Green Bay Packers                   11th — 23.1fppg

Chase v Pittsburgh Steelers                       21st—  21.5 fppg

Hill v New England Patriots                        29th—18.4 fppg

Diggs v Los Angeles Rams                           13th—23.0 fppg

Johnson v Cincinnati Bengals                     20th—21.9 fppg

Evans v Dallas Cowboys                               9th—  23.5 fppg

Renfrow v Los Angeles Chargers                30th—17.9 fppg

Allen v Las Vegas Raiders                           28th—18.6 fppg

Remember, there is a difference in fantasy production depending on your league scoring. In standard scoring leagues: Mike Williams is WR9, DK Metcalf WR10, and Tyler Lockett WR11 last season. Adams dropped from WR2 to WR5, and Johnson drops out of the top 10 to WR12.

The opportunities in the red zone targets and just how many times the player is targeted matter.

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