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RED ZONE: Target Analysis

Tracking weekly targets has become an important tool in the arsenal of successful fantasy football players. Targets go beyond the basic box score and tell us who is actually being given the most actual opportunities to make a difference.

Of course, not all targets are created equally. It’s the red zone targets that mean the most in fantasy football. The players who are being given the most opportunities to score valuable touchdowns are the true difference-makers.

Let’s continue our look at weekly red zone targets for Week 9 and what it means for Week 10 and moving forward into the fantasy playoffs.

Rank Name Team Pos. Completions Targets Comp % TD
1 Demaryius Thomas DEN WR 3 3 100 1
2 Marqise Lee JAX WR 2 3 66.67 1
3 Christian McCaffrey CAR RB 2 3 66.67 0
4 DeAndre Hopkins HOU WR 1 3 33.33 0
5 Cole Beasley DAL WR 2 2 100 2
6 Travis Kelce KC TE 2 2 100 1
7 Eric Decker TEN WR 2 2 100 1
8 Javorius Allen BAL RB 2 2 100 1
9 Terrelle Pryor WAS WR 1 2 50 0
10 Chris Ivory JAX RB 1 2 50 0

If you remember Brock Osweiler‘s first stint in Denver it should come as no surprise that Demaryius Thomas finally ended his touchdown-less streak that was nearing a full calendar year. Thomas hauled in all three of his red zone looks, including a 1-yard touchdown. Osweiler is slated to get at least one more start, so that puts Thomas in a good position to get into the end zone again in Week 10 against New England’s league-worst secondary.

Marqise Lee scored his first touchdown of the 2017 season due in large part to Blake Bortles throwing a season-high number of passes. This was almost certainly due to Leonard Fournette‘s one-game suspension. With Fournette back in the fold for Week 10, don’t count on Lee getting too many goal-line looks.

Christian McCaffrey had his best game as a runner in Week 9 while also remaining heavily-involved in the passing game. For the season, McCaffrey leads all running backs in both red zone targets (10) and red zone receptions (8.)

While the loss of Deshaun Watson will ultimately hurt DeAndre Hopkins‘s upside, his second start with Tom Savage under center still resulted in Hopkins being the focal point of Houston’s offense, including in the end-zone, where “Nuk” hauled in his league-leading eighth touchdown. That said, Hopkins caught only six of the 16 targets he received in Week 9, so the transition to Savage is likely to be a rough one.

The Cowboys had a surprising outcome, with both Cole Beasley and Terrance Williams coming up big in Week 9 at the expense of Jason Witten, who commanded just one target. Beasley has not exceeded 33 receiving yards in any game this season and has gone without a touchdown in six of eight games. Despite the pair of Week 9 scores, Beasley remains a volatile boom-or-bust play.

TE Travis Kelce scored his fifth touchdown from 2-yards out and has been picking up the slack for Kareem Hunt, who has now gone six-straight games without a touchdown. Kelce has hit pay dirt in three consecutive contests and enters the bye as the No. 1 fantasy tight end.

Don’t read too much into Eric Decker‘s first Titans’ touchdown. Decker has had little involvement in the week-to-week Tennessee gameplan and won’t see enough targets to be considered a weekly play.

Javorius Allen has done an excellent job filling in as Baltimore’s change-of-pace runner but with Danny Woodhead (hamstring) eligible to return when the Ravens return from their Week 10 bye, Allen’s role could be about to take a big hit.

Terrelle Pryor jumped up to 35 snaps after playing just 19 in Week 8 but that was mainly due to Jamison Crowder missing the game with a hamstring ailment. Jay Gruden has indicated the Redskins will be favoring Josh Doctson over Pryor, so don’t expect Pryor to be a weekly candidate to have a presence in the red zone.

Like Marqise Lee, Chris Ivory only saw an increased role in the red zone due to Leonard Fournette‘s suspension. With Fournette due to return, Ivory is nothing more than a change-of-pace, handcuff option behind the dynamic rookie.

About Jody Smith

2012 Most Accurate Fantasy Football Expert at FantasyPros and FSTA award. 27-year fantasy football veteran. Covers the Houston Texans. Member of the PFWA (Pro Football Writer's of America) and FSWA. Podcast host. NFL projections guy.