NFL Red Zone Report: Week 4
Matt Selz breaks down red zone performances and stats from across the NFL to help you find more success in Fantasy Football and in DFS.
As Week 5 kicked off Thursday Night and a few games have been shifted around for some other teams, it’s a good time to look back at who did what inside the 20 last week and how we can use that for this week for seasonal match-ups or hoping for touchdowns in DFS.
Red Zone Passing
Kyler Murray QB ARI - Murray had a season-high seven Red Zone passing attempts on Sunday with three of those going for scores and he also carried it once as well. The Cardinals offense has been hit-and-miss so far this year but this week as a showing of what they can do. This showing is also what’s led the Cardinals to be the fourth-best Red Zone offense in the league so far. With Christian Kirk looking healthy and DeAndre Hopkins in the fold, they have plenty of weapons to keep up that efficiency.
Matthew Stafford QB DET - Stafford had seven passing attempts inside the 20 with three of those being touchdowns. A key reason for the good showing could be that Kenny Golladay has returned and he’s a go to Red Zone target for Stafford to be sure. They are on bye in Week 5 but that might just be what they need to help make sure the better Red Zone offense in Week 4 sticks going forward.
Tom Brady QB TB - Brady was just in this piece last week but then he topped his Week 3 performance with his Week 4 showing with eight passing attempts and seven inside the 10. He also posted five touchdowns, four of them inside the Red Zone. Four different receivers caught a touchdown from Brady including the rookie running back Ke’Shawn Vaughn along with Scott Miller, Cameron Brate , and Mike Evans . It’s pretty clear that as the season moves along the Bucs offense will continue to gel, with Week 5 against the Bears the exclusion given that half of their offense was injured.
Red Zone Rushing
Mike Davis RB CAR - Should we start the conversation about Christian McCaffrey being a system back? Davis has come in and the Panthers’ running game hasn’t missed a beat and last weekend Davis carried the rock five times in the Red Zone, three inside the 10, and had a score. He also caught a Red Zone pass as well. McCaffrey is due back in a week or so but in the meantime, Davis is still an RB1 candidate.
Joe Mixon RB CIN - Mixon finally had a breakout game this season, though we basically knew it was coming because of the match-up. His six Red Zone carries in Week 4 totals the carries from the last two weeks combined and his 25 carries is just seven shy of the last two week’s tally of 32 combined. Does this mean that he’ll keep having weeks like Week 4 going forward? That’s unclear given the start to his year so don’t expect these huge weeks going forward.
Dalvin Cook RB MIN - Cook carried the ball 27 times in Week 4 which is a season-high and a whopping 10 of those came inside the 20 with two becoming touchdowns. It’s clear that the Vikings want to use their running game more than their passing with the way that Kirk Cousins has performed this year and Cook will clearly be the beneficiary of that strategy and if he keeps getting the volume then it should be a bigger touchdown fest for Cook going forward.
Chris Carson RB SEA - Since missing out of the Red Zone in Week 1, he’s carried it 10 times the last three weeks inside of the 20 including five times in Week 4. Four of those were inside the 10 and two of them turned into touchdowns. He’s been a weapon on the ground and in the passing game for the Seahawks all season and especially near the goal line and that’s led them to be the most-efficient Red Zone offense in the league. Carson should be able to punch a few more TDs in in Week 5 as the Vikings have given up an average of a rushing touchdown per game so far.
Antonio Gibson RB WAS - Gibson saw the most rushes he’s had this season and the most Red Zone carries he’s had this season in Week 4. Of the 13 total carries, four of them were inside the 20 with three of those inside the five and he punched it in for a score on one as well. He’s the only Washington running back to have at least one Red Zone carry each week this season and if you count from Week 2 on, Gibson has had eight carries inside the 20 compared to three total combined for the other backs. He looks to be the favorite in that part of the field at this point.
Red Zone Receiving
Christian Kirk WR ARI - Kirk finally showed up for the Cardinals like many fantasy owners have been hoping for since the beginning of the season and he was targeted three times in the Red Zone. He caught two of them and one for a score. Those three targets made up 60-percent of his targets for the game and the two catches made up 66-percent of his grabs as well. Those three targets also make him the second most targeted receiver for the Cardinals in the Red Zone and so if he’s healthy, his size could come into play when teams try and double DeAndre Hopkins so watch for more weeks like Week 4 from Kirk.
Robert Tonyan TE GB - What’s more shocking? That Tonyan leads the Packers in Red Zone targets (four) or that he’s second in the NFL behind only Mike Evans in receiving touchdowns (five)? Both are true. Tonyan has caught five touchdowns this year on 14 total targets and two of those touchdowns came on two targets inside the 20 this past week. Clearly the TD/Tgt rate is going to fall as that rate equals 56 targets over 16 games with 20 touchdowns and that’s not going to happen but right now he’s hot but we’ll see what happens when Davante Adams comes back after the Week 5 bye week.
D.J. Chark WR JAC - In terms of volume of targets it wasn’t the biggest day with just two coming his way, but he did account for 40-percent of Minshew’s attempts in this area of the field and he was efficient with them. He turned both of those targets into touchdowns and it was also the first time since Week 1 that he was targeted in the Red Zone though he did miss Week 3. When he’s healthy he’s clearly the top target for the Jaguars passing attack and that includes in the Red Zone as well.
George Kittle TE SF - Welcome to the Red Zone report Mr. Kittle. It’s interesting that he did it on Week 4 as the 49ers used two different QBs in that game for a combined seven Red Zone passing attempts and of those, Kittle saw three targets catching two of them including one for the only Red Zone passing touchdown of the game. There’s no surprise that Kittle is a big target for the Niners, especially with all of injuries to other offensive weapons but it was still nice to see his best Red Zone day happen even with the chaos at QB.
Red Zone Defense
Minnesota Vikings - While the Vikings haven’t looked good on defense this year so far as they’ve given up a lot of yards and points and coverage hasn’t been good, it’s the opposite story inside the 20. They have allowed just 41.2-percent of opponent trips to the Red Zone to be converted to touchdowns (7-for-17) and that’s the second-best percentage in the league, and best among teams that have played four games to this point. They have a stiff task ahead of them this week facing the Seahawks who have the most-efficient Red Zone offense in the league right now. Four of the seven touchdowns allowed by the Vikings were runs from inside the five so Chris Carson could be in line for another nice day on Sunday.
Denver Broncos - Denver has been losing defensive players nearly every week this season but that hasn’t stopped them from being a top-tier Red Zone unit. They’ve allowed six touchdowns in 13 trips to the Red Zone and three of those came in one game against Tampa Bay with two to Mike Evans specifically. Now the Broncos get the Patriots in Week 5 and New England hasn’t been good inside the opponent’s 20 so far scoring just over 55-percent of the time and they won’t have Cam Newton back yet either which hurts too.
Indianapolis Colts - The Colts defense isn’t in here for the same reason that the Broncos or Vikings are as they haven’t really been that great as a unit inside the 20. In four games they have held their opponents to just eight total trips to their 20-yard line but they’ve allowed five touchdowns for a 62-percent conversion rate. Why is this important this week? They are playing the Browns who are second in the league in terms of Red Zone scoring efficiency at 80-percent through four games as they average 3.8 trips per game and score 3.0 touchdowns inside the 20 on average a game. So while the Colts are statistically the top or a top-three defense on the rest of the field, when the Browns get inside the 20-yard line, expect a good conversion rate once again.