A Look at Red-Zone Opportunities from Week Four

Just how important are opportunities in football? Everyone wants to select that one sleeper that comes out of absolutely nowhere and put up the monstrous performance that single-handedly wins them a GPP. That thought process is great in theory, but putting the plan into action is a lot harder than it seems. There are currently 1,696 total players in the NFL to choose from. Let’s just say for argument’s sake only seven skill players per team have the opportunity to blow up for a monstrous performance in a given week, withering the pool down to 224 players. With multi-entry limiting rules on place in FantasyDraft, there is no way to put in every combination of players to try and find the perfect formula. Instead, look to the potential opportunities presented to the player as a gauge of sleeper potential.

The quarterback (QB) position is the only position where opportunities do not directly correlate to fantasy points. Efficient QBs such as Aaron Rodgers may only need 20 passes to shred a defense and produce 300 yards and four touchdowns (TDs). Other positions can produce in limited opportunities, but even one catch for 80 yards and a TD is only 15 fantasy points. By comparison, DeAndre Hopkins (who did not score last week) produced 27.70 fantasy points. One long TD is obviously helpful, but not enough for a player with limited chances to touch the ball. The place to look is not only the pure target/carry volume but the looks they received in the red zone (RZ). If a team continuously relies upon a player inside the 20-yard line, eventually that player will score.

Raw target numbers can be found on websites such as RotoWire or ProFootballFocus, but this article is designed to take a look specifically at the RZ opportunities. In week number four, 15 rushing TDs were scored prior to Monday Night Football. Of those 15, only two were scored by players who received only one RZ carry. Hell, it took Falcons backup Terron Ward five attempts (ATTs) to make it into the end zone. With opportunity comes production, and this list shows all those who were given the chance to potentially score inside the 20 this past week:

Rank Name Position Rushes Touchdowns
1  Terron Ward RB 5 1
2  Jeremy Hill RB 4 3
3  Mark Ingram RB 4 1
4  Frank Gore RB 4 0
5  Chris Johnson RB 4 0
6  Matt Forte RB 3 0
7  Todd Gurley RB 3 0
8  Matt Jones RB 3 0
9  Cameron Artis-Payne RB 3 0
10  T.J. Yeldon RB 3 0
11  Chris Polk RB 2 1
12  Justin Forsett RB 2 0
13  C.J. Anderson RB 2 0
14  Giovani Bernard RB 2 1
15  Eddie Lacy RB 2 0
16  Cam Newton QB 2 0
17  Alfred Morris RB 2 0
18  Chris Ivory RB 2 1
19  Devonta Freeman RB 2 2
20  Ronnie Hillman RB 2 0
21  Mike Tolbert FB 2 0
22  Zach Zenner FB 2 0
23  LeVeon Bell RB 2 1
24  Rashad Jennings RB 2 0
25  Karlos Williams RB 2 0
26  Doug Martin RB 2 1
27  Joseph Randle RB 2 1
28  John Kuhn FB 1 1
29  Charles Sims RB 1 0
30  Michael Campanaro WR 1 1
31  Latavius Murray RB 1 0
32  Tyrod Taylor QB 1 0
33  DeMarco Murray RB 1 0
34  Duke Johnson RB 1 0
35  David Johnson RB 1 0
36  Shaun Draughn RB 1 0
37  Alfred Blue RB 1 0
38  Javorius Allen RB 1 0
39  Melvin Gordon RB 1 0
40  James Starks RB 1 0
41  Jonathan Stewart RB 1 0
42  Charcandrick West RB 1 0
43  Carlos Hyde RB 1 0

 

Names that stand out are Jeremy Hill (who scored a hat trick worth of TDs), Devonta Freeman’s 2-2 conversion rate and both Chris Johnson and Todd Gurley’s ATTs. Considering each of Johnson/Gurley received at least three carries in close, an optimistic look should be taken at their outlook in the upcoming weeks. The player who scored the most fantasy points in this grouping was Doug Martin, as he received a full workload and punched in one of his two RZ carries. As you can see, multiple chances led to TDs for 10 of 27 backs. The 16 others who only received one opportunity a piece only scored two total.

How did wide receivers fare?

Rank Name Pos. Completions Targets Touchdowns Completion Percentage
1  DeAndre Hopkins WR 2 7 1 28.57
2  Jarvis Landry WR 3 5 1 60
3  Terrance Williams WR 1 5 1 20
4  Vincent Jackson WR 3 3 1 100
5  Pierre Garcon WR 3 3 1 100
6  Jamison Crowder WR 0 3 0 0
7  Greg Jennings WR 0 3 0 0
8  Randall Cobb WR 0 3 0 0
9  Eric Decker WR 2 2 1 100
10  Tavon Austin WR 2 2 2 100
11  Cecil Shorts WR 2 2 2 100
12  Le’Veon Bell RB 2 2 0 100
13  Coby Fleener TE 2 2 1 100
14  Martellus Bennett TE 2 2 1 100
15  Eddie Royal WR 2 2 1 100
16  Zach Ertz TE 1 2 1 50
17  Mike Wallace WR 1 2 1 50
18  Gary Barnidge TE 1 2 1 50
19  Demaryius Thomas WR 1 2 0 50
20  Ted Ginn WR 1 2 2 50
21  Mohamed Sanu WR 1 2 0 50
22  Allen Hurns WR 1 2 1 50
23  Emmanuel Sanders WR 1 2 0 50
24  Jared Cook TE 1 2 0 50
25  Dwayne Harris WR 1 2 0 50
26  Percy Harvin WR 1 2 0 50
27  Owen Daniels TE 1 2 1 50
28  Greg Olsen TE 1 2 0 50
29  Charcandrick West RB 0 2 0 0
30  Jordan Reed TE 0 2 0 0
31  T.Y. Hilton WR 0 2 0 0
32  Jordan Cameron TE 0 2 0 0
33  Brandon Marshall WR 0 2 0 0
34  Stefon Diggs WR 0 2 0 0

 

20 TDs were scored on 84 RZ targets by the top 34 receivers (all received at least two RZ targets). The 71 other receivers to see one RZ target scored just 15 TD combined. Okay, so 34 players scored 20 TDs versus 71 that scored 15 total. It’s easy to see the more opportunities the players received, the more likely they were to convert. It’s a simple concept, but I think it holds more weight once you actually see it.

Why even make this argument/write this article on a concept that seems so simple? Well, determining which players from this week four list will be awarded a similar amount of RZ opportunities in the following week could help identify not only tournament options, but potential cash targets as well. If a player is likely to score, then obviously he’ll carry a very high-projected fantasy-point floor. Mull over this list and see if you can identify that under-the-radar sleeper that others overlooked and maybe, just maybe, that player ends up winning you the $250,000 Run & Gun in week five.

BONUS: Names that stick out to me from the target list as potential diamonds in the rough moving forward: Pierre Garcon, Cecil Shorts, Zach Ertz, Ted Ginn and Percy Harvin

Ricky Sanders

Ricky Sanders

Ricky Sanders is a fantasy sports expert with over 15 years of playing experience. After starting several freelance fantasy sports blogs, Ricky moved up in the fantasy industry when he joined Going9 Baseball. He wrote fantasy baseball content and had a weekly radio spot on the site’s SiriusXM Satellite Radio show. Shortly thereafter, in early 2013, Ricky joined RotoExperts as a three-sport fantasy contributor, eventually becoming one of the site’s lead basketball writers. While writing for RotoExperts, Ricky was introduced to daily fantasy sports and immediately fell in love. With help from some of his mentors, some of the best DFS players in the world, he honed his skills and became the daily fantasy expert he is today. When RotoExperts created a daily-focused website called DailyRoto.com, Ricky was brought on as one of the main contributors. He still makes frequent appearances on the RotoExperts SiriusXM Radio show and on the FNTSY Sports Television Network, talking daily fantasy sports. He also continues to write for a few DFS content sites: RotoCurve and The Fantasy Fix. Ricky is a proud and active member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. He has agreed to be a writer and representative for the FantasyDraft brand and serves as an ambassador to the site. He has no more access to the site than the typical user. Don’t hesitate to contact Ricky with questions on Twitter @RSandersDFS.

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