The 2017 season is already at the one-quarter mark and it’s been quite an unpredictable season so far, to say the least. As difficult as it has been to try to handicap each week, the tried-and-true formula of red zone targets to positive fantasy results has mostly held up.
Knowing what players are consistently getting those all-important red zone looks remains a vital tool in the arsenal of savvy fantasy football players.
Let’s take a look at those vital red zone targets from Week 4 and what they might mean this week and for the remainder of the 2017 season.
Alvin Kamara has looked like New Orleans’ best back and turned a season-high 15 touches into 96 yards and a score. For the season, Kamara is now the RB18 in points per reception leagues. More than just another Reggie Bush or Darren Sproles change-of-pace runner, Kamara also leads New Orleans with a nifty 5.5 yards per carry. If he can continue to receive double-digit touches each week, Kamara should contend with RB2 numbers this season.
Davante Adams corralled 3-of-4 red zone looks this week for a pair of touchdowns before taking a brutal hit and exiting the game with a concussion. Overall, Adams ranks third in the NFL in red zone catches (five) and targets (eight).
Chris Hogan continues to excel in and around the end zone, with or without Rob Gronkowski in the lineup. Hogan’s nine red zone looks and three scores are second in the NFL and he’s very quietly entered the Top 10 for wide receiver scoring this season.
Don’t read too much into the big game Devin Funchess had against New England’s pathetic secondary. Funchess is one of the most game-script driven players in football and has a tendency to disappear in games where Carolina isn’t racking up points, which happens often.
Taylor Gabriel played a bigger red zone role this week than normal, but that was because Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu got injured. Gabriel didn’t haul in any of his three targets and for the season has made just one grab on five red zone targets.
C.J. Anderson only has two touchdowns, but ranks 10th in the NFL with six red zone targets (he’s caught all six) and sixth in the NFL with 13 red zone rushes. It should only be a matter of time before Anderson starts getting more touchdowns.
Jordan Matthews hauled in his first two red zone looks this season and nearly scored on both plays, as he was tackled at the 1-yard line in the fourth quarter after scoring from 9 yards out. Unfortunately, Matthews also hurt his thumb in that fourth quarter and is expected to miss at least a month.
Cooper Kupp caught his second red zone touchdown this season for the surprisingly-effective Los Angeles Rams offense. Kupp is tied with Todd Gurley for the club lead with five red zone targets this season, but will face a much more challenging schedule over the next month, including Week 5 against Seattle.
Jordy Nelson leads the NFL with six receptions and four red zone touchdowns. Nelson’s four touchdowns have all come from the shotgun formation and all inside the 10-yard line if you’d like to try to look smart and make a prediction in Week 5 against Dallas.
Arizona has been unable to run the ball without David Johnson in the lineup, leading to Larry Fitzgerald leading the entire NFL with 10 red zone targets and six receptions. Andre Ellington has also helped pick up the slack, with 14 grabs and 22 targets over Arizona’s past two games.
In the three games that he’s played, Danny Amendola has done a very good Julian Edelman impression, racking up 15 catches and the occasional look in the endzone. As long as New England is forced to win shootout type of games, Amendola has weekly WR3/flex upside in points per reception leagues.
After a fantastic start, Jason Witten has only commanded six targets in Weeks 3-4, and totaled two receptions for 12 yards. With a matchup against Green Bay’s No. 2-ranked fantasy tight end defense on deck for Week 5, it looks like another week to fade Witten.
Cameron Brate has been an efficient red zone scorer, converting both of his catches into touchdowns. Brate’s only incompletion came from 2 yards out and he’s scored a touchdown in eight of Tampa Bay’s previous 12 games. Nine of 12 if you include this week’s Thursday Night tilt with New England.
Allen Hurns has the same number of red zone targets (7) and catches (6) as Jordy Nelson. Of course, Hurns only has two touchdowns versus the four than Nelson has grabbed, but Hurns has been tackled inside the opponent’s 5-yard line on two occasions. Hurns should remain a sneaky bet to play a big red zone role in Allen Robinson’s absence.
Don’t read too much into any of Atlanta’s red zone numbers from Week 4. Both Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu left that game early, leading to expanded roles for Justin Hardy, Austin Hooper and Taylor Gabriel. Following the Week 5 bye, things should return to normal for Atlanta.