Running Back Red Zone Targets Value:
Christian McCaffrey (CAR)
Surprise! Christian McCaffrey is tied for first in the league in red zone rush attempts with 17. Those 17 carries resulted in 46 rushing yards and 4 touchdowns. Ezekiel Elliott has been slightly more effective, as he is tied for first with 17 red zone rushes, but gained 48 rushing yards and 4 touchdowns on those carries. However, the Carolina Panthers’ star is seeing more red zone rushes per red zone opportunity at 85.0% of all red zone rushes compared to Elliott at 77.3%. That is the second highest in the league behind Le’Veon Bell, who currently has all 2 of the New York Jets’ red zone rushes. As an added bonus, McCaffrey also has 3 red zone targets for 2 receptions and 1 touchdown, as he is frequently involved in the Panthers’ passing attack.
It is difficult to imagine, but CMC is actually undervalued by a vast majority of season-long and daily fantasy owners. Owned at 30.21% in DraftKings’ NFL 150K Red Zone (Single-Entry) league, McCaffrey still has upside value in tournaments. This week, the Panthers are traveling to London to square off against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. With Cam Newton still dealing with an injury, Kyle Allen will continue to start at QB. As long as Allen is at the helm, McCaffrey will see an abundance of carries and targets. He is the top RB option in both season-long and daily fantasy leagues.
Wide Receiver Red Zone Targets Value:
Cooper Kupp (LAR)
The Los Angeles Rams are one of the most pass-heavy teams in the league, passing on two-thirds of their offensive plays. This opens up plenty of opportunities for WRs and TEs, especially in the red zone. Week 5, Cooper Kupp came in second in red zone targets with 3. On the season, he is also second in red zone targets with 7. On those 7 red zone targets, he has 5 receptions and 3 touchdowns. His main competition, Brandin Cooks has not seen a red zone target since Week 2, currently at 2 total for 1 reception and 1 touchdown. Both Kupp and Cooks have similar air yards, but the ball is thrown toward Kupp far more frequently, as his aDOT is under 8 compared to Cooks at over 14.
Week 6, the Rams get a tough matchup against the surging San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers are best known for their incredible defensive line, which has thwarted most attempts at establishing the rushing attack, as well as putting a lot of pressure on QBs to throw the ball quickly. Cooks needs time to develop his routes downfield, but Kupp is the perfect target for Jared Goff this weekend. The rushing attack is likely to fail, and throwing the ball downfield will be challenging without additional pass protection, so Sean McVay should turn to his ‘quick hit’ WR, Kupp. He is a top option in both season-long and daily fantasy leagues this week.
Tight End Red Zone Targets Value:
Gerald Everett (LAR)
Speaking of the Los Angeles Rams’ passing attack, Gerald Everett is getting more involved in the offense. Despite not recording a single red zone target last week, Everett has 5 red zone targets on the season for 5 receptions and 1 touchdown. His upside is higher than his production level, as most catches inside the 20-yard line have the potential to end in touchdowns. As Everett establishes himself as a trustworthy target for Jared Goff, he should start seeing more red zone production. The time to buy Everett is now.
Again, the San Francisco 49ers are a tough defensive team, and their defense smothers the rushing attack and forces quick passes. Everett has a similar aDOT to Cooper Kupp, and he should be targeted more frequently this week, as the Rams attempt to thwart the 49ers’ pass rush. When the Rams enter the red zone, both Kupp and Everett will be the focal points of Sean McVay’s playcalling. Cooks rarely sees red zone targets, as his touchdown potential comes from deeper, big-play opportunities. In season-long leagues, stream Everett this week, as he continues to develop into a top-tier TE. In daily fantasy leagues, Everett is worth consideration in tournaments for his upside, especially considering the 49ers’ defense will scare away fantasy owners that recently watched the Cleveland Browns’ Monday night fiasco.
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