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Jason’s NFL Red Zone Targets (Week 2)

Running Back:

Damien Williams (KC)

The Kansas City Chiefs’ running back situation has been a hot topic of debate since the signing of LeSean McCoy, and it is going to take a couple of weeks for everything to shake out and settle down. Week one, Damien Williams received 66.2% of the offensive snaps compared to 29.4% for McCoy. He struggled, gaining only 26 yards on 13 carries, while McCoy gained 81 yards on only 10 carries. Most importantly, however, Williams was targeted seven times in the red zone, which was the most in the entire NFL for week one. He had three targets in the passing game and four rush attempts, one of which went for a touchdown. McCoy was targeted once in the red zone. As McCoy gets acclimated to Andy Reid’s offensive scheme, he should start to see more touches, but for the time being, it looks like Williams is the lead back in Kansas City. He gets a good matchup this week against the Oakland Raiders, and it would be unwise to avoid him based on a poor performance week one. In the beginning of the season, volume is everything, and Williams is getting plenty of volume. 

 

Wide Receiver: 

Larry Fitzgerald (ARI)

Larry Fitzgerald is an ageless wonder. Against the Detroit Lions, he was targeted 13 times, catching 8 passes for over 100 yards and a touchdown. In the red zone, he was targeted twice, catching one pass for four yards and a touchdown. Both of Fitzgerald’s red zone targets came within five yards of the end zone, suggesting that the Arizona Cardinals are going to feature him in close-range scenarios. The Cardinals’ star wideout was on the field for over 95% of the offensive snaps, and it looks like he is going to greatly benefit from the uptempo offense that Kliff Kingsbury runs. Kyler Murray seems to have bonded with Fitzgerald’s veteran presence, and outside of the red zone, he should continue to have touchdown opportunities, as the Cardinals are finally throwing the ball downfield to him. Last week, he averaged over 11 air yards per target, and he ran over 50 routes from the slot. It is going to be difficult for defenses the adjust to Fitzgerald 2.0, and if week one is any indication, the 36-year-old could have one of his best seasons to date in 2019. 

 

Tight End:

Delanie Walker (TEN)

Delanie Walker had an interesting first week of the season, scoring two touchdowns on two red zone targets. Most impressively, he only played 29 offensive snaps the entire game, or 47.5% of all offensive snaps. He played over 20% of those snaps from the slot, and he was targeted 6 times in the game. With only 6 targets, he caught 5 passes for 55 yards. Marcus Mariota had a QB rating of 144.4 when targeting Walker, and his target share was 50% in the red zone. Walker is not going to continue to catch a touchdown on every red zone target, but the fact that he is receiving a bulk of the Titans’ red zone targets is encouraging. The athletic TE has plenty of upside, and week one, he showed very impressive route running. This week, the Indianapolis Colts are going to struggle to keep him out of the end zone, assuming the Titans continue to force the ball in his direction whenever possible. 

Follow Jason Bales (@BalesTJason)

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