Welcome to the Week 11 edition of Jason Bales’s “Red Zone Targets” article. Each week, he analyzes one leader in red zone rushes or targets that has a certain amount of untapped potential. In identifying these players, fantasy owners can delve further into their own research, bookmarking them for possible trade candidates in season-long fantasy football leagues, or tournament plays in daily fantasy football leagues.
Running Back Red Zone Targets Value:
Alexander Mattison (MIN)
Dalvin Cook is currently second in the league with 35 red zone carries, trailing only Dallas Cowboys’ superstar Ezekiel Elliott (40). Interestingly enough, Alexander Mattison, the Minnesota Vikings’ backup running back, is a top-15 red zone target, as well. He has proven himself to be a valuable asset to the Vikings’ offense. His future is bright, but for the next couple of years, he will trail Cook.
On the season, Mattison earned 22 carries inside the 20-yard line, gaining 95 yards and 1 touchdown. 73.9 percent of his carries are with 7 to 10 yards to a first down or touchdown. It is difficult to effectively score from that deep, and Cook re-enters the game when the Vikings are inside the 5-yard line, carrying the ball over 35 percent of the time with 0 to 3 yards to a first down or touchdown. Mattison’s touchdown upside is limited because he is not a goal line running back, but seeing touches inside the 20-yard line as a backup is always a good sign.
This week, the Vikings get a good matchup against the Denver Broncos. Vegas expects this game to end with a double-digit victory for Minnesota, and if it doesn’t stay close, Mattison could see extended run in the backfield. In season-long fantasy leagues, Mattison is a punt option on a tough bye week at best, but a great stash in multi-year dynasties. In daily fantasy leagues, Mattison is a sneaky, cheap option in tournaments. It is difficult to recommend him with Cook healthy, but the upside is definitely present.
Wide Receiver Red Zone Targets Value:
Jarvis Landry (CLE)
Jarvis Landry is pulling away as the Cleveland Browns’ leading red zone target option. Odell Beckham Jr. is struggling this season, and Landry is stepping up when it counts. Prior to Week 10, the Browns struggled to score inside the 20-yard line, but with the addition of Kareem Hunt, it looks like Baker Mayfield is starting to regain his confidence. Hunt opens up options for Mayfield, as he provides solid pass blocking when needed and a good checkdown out the backfield, as well.
On the season, Landry is fourth in the league in red zone targets with 14. Those 14 targets resulted in 8 receptions for 55 receiving yards and 3 touchdowns. He sees over 80 percent of his targets on first or second down, as the Browns opt to throw toward Beckham on third and fourth down. Landy did have an additional week’s worth of work, as the Browns defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday night. Still, top 5 is impressive for a second-string wide receiver.
As previously mentioned, the Browns already played this week. Next week, Cleveland is home against the Miami Dolphins. The revenge narrative is in play, and Landry is the best receiving option on the Browns’ team right now. Mayfield is developing a relationship with the reception machine, and the best is yet to come. In season-long leagues, Landry is a must start in all formats. In daily fantasy leagues, he is worth consideration against a terrible Miami secondary.
Tight End Red Zone Targets Value:
Kyle Rudolph (MIN)
Last week, Kyle Rudolph made one of the best touchdown catches of the season. Kirk Cousins loves throwing in Rudolph’s direction in the red zone because he is such a reliable pass catcher. On 10 targets, Cousins’ quarterback rating is 120 when targeting his tight end inside the 20-yard line. Rudolph caught 7 of those passes for 48 receiving yards and 4 touchdowns. After last week, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Vikings feature Rudolph in the red zone more frequently.
Cousins basically throws it away, Kyle Rudolph says not so fast! pic.twitter.com/gU0xPQPiXR
— Sam Monson (@PFF_Sam) November 11, 2019
This week, the Minnesota Vikings get a great matchup against the Denver Broncos, as was already mentioned above. Much like Alexander Mattison, Rudolph makes for a good tournament option in daily fantasy leagues. The Broncos are going to allow touchdowns, and Rudolph is worth the risk. In season-long leagues, the 30-year-old is worth consideration in deeper leagues, but not standard 12-man leagues.
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