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Hangin' in the Red Zone

by: John Holler

 

Editor's Note: Below you will find Red Zone statistics for QBs and Fantasy Analysis of those Statistics.  If you'd like to read the sections covering RBs, WRs, and TEs, please click HERE to order our 2016 Pre-Season Draft Guide.

Of all the variables that go into selecting players, one aspect that can get overlooked because it isn’t always evident is how a player is used in the red zone. With a greater emphasis placed on points per reception and yardage, red zone snipers are often overlooked, but can be just as critical to winning or losing games than a guy who catches five passes for 60 yards, but doesn’t score a touchdown, which, at the end of the day, is still what typically wins and loses weeks for fantasy owners.
What follows is the list of league leaders at quarterback, running back, wide receiver and tight end and how they are used in the red zone.

IMPORTANT NOTE: For our purposes, there are two definitions of the red zone. For passing numbers, the red zone is the distance we’ve come to know as the red zone – inside the opponent’s 20-yard line. When a quarterback drops to pass inside the 20-yard line, there is a reasonable expectation that the pass may result in a touchdown. However, when it comes to the quarterback and running back rushing totals, those are counted from the 5-yard line and in. It can’t reasonably be expected that a handoff from the 15-yard line (or even the 7-yard line) is going to result in a touchdown. So, for the purposes of our analysis, the rushing red zone is the 5-yard line and in.
The numbers can tell you a lot when looked at comparatively. Did you know that Adrian Peterson isn’t the beast you think he should be in the rushing red zone? Did you know Blake Bortles was more productive in the red zone than Aaron Rodgers? Did you know Rob Gronkowski wasn’t the most dangerous tight end in the red zone? Read this and you may learn quite a bit that can help you in your player evaluation and rankings because the numbers don’t lie.
Receivers are ranked by the number of times they were targeted, keeping in mind that if a quarterback is pressured and throws a pass away, the closest receiver is given “credit” as the target. But, more times than not, the target numbers mean legitimate chances to catch passes in close with the potential of putting a touchdown on the board.


QUARTERBACKS

RED ZONE PASSING

2015 (Minimum 30 pass attempts)


Cm-At-Yd-TD-Int
1 Blake Bortles 51 94 365 27 2
2 Aaron Rodgers 47 94 271 20 4
3 Eli Manning 51 90 351 21 5
4 Tom Brady 55 87 412 28 3
5 Kirk Cousins 51 84 351 22 0
6 Carson Palmer 44 82 364 25 2
7 Jameis Winston 35 80 305 17 1
8 Drew Brees 51 78 330 20 2
9 Ryan Fitzpatrick 42 77 339 24 1
10 Matt Ryan 46 77 337 17 4
11 Philip Rivers 46 76 385 23 2
12 Matthew Stafford 52 76 359 27 0
13 Jay Cutler 36 76 249 12 2
14 Ryan Tannehill 36 75 254 15 3
15 Cam Newton 45 73 361 25 0
16 Alex Smith 39 65 229 14 1
17 Ben Roethlisberger 37 65 239 15 0
18 Andy Dalton 34 61 298 19 3
19 Russell Wilson 33 60 297 17 2
20 Derek Carr 26 55 217 17 2
21 Sam Bradford 27 52 184 10 3
22 Joe Flacco 31 52 228 10 2
23 Brian Hoyer 26 50 207 14 0
24 Teddy Bridgewater 20 48 140 9 1
25 Marcus Mariota 29 45 242 16 0
26 Josh McCown 23 42 134 9 0
27 Colin Kaepernick 17 38 94 3 0
28 Brock Osweiler 20 38 154 7 1
29 Andrew Luck 24 37 159 11 1
30 Matt Hasselbeck 17 37 115 9 2
31 Johnny Manziel 15 36 99 4 1
32 Tyrod Taylor 18 34 110 7 1
33 Peyton Manning 20 34 112 6 2
34 Nick Foles 11 33 92 4 2
35 Blaine Gabbert 21 30 169 8 0

LAST THREE YEARS (Minimum 60 pass attempts)

Cm-At-Yd-TD-Int
1 Ben Roethlisberger 148 267 976 55 3
2 Peyton Manning 174 259 1163 71 3
3 Drew Brees 163 253 1026 67 6
4 Eli Manning 129 252 852 53 12
5 Aaron Rodgers 136 251 832 56 6
6 Tom Brady 142 250 1058 73 8
7 Matthew Stafford 138 242 1043 66 4
8 Philip Rivers 148 241 1007 66 6
9 Matt Ryan 140 238 914 55 7
10 Ryan Tannehill 133 235 878 57 7
11 Joe Flacco 109 216 735 46 6
12 Jay Cutler 105 208 763 50 7
13 Alex Smith 126 206 884 47 3
14 Andrew Luck 113 201 699 50 4
15 Andy Dalton 105 186 854 54 7
16 Carson Palmer 101 185 803 47 7
17 Cam Newton 95 173 780 53 3
18 Russell Wilson 90 170 764 50 4
19 Ryan Fitzpatrick 89 157 664 43 2
20 Tony Romo 86 146 643 45 4
21 Colin Kaepernick 73 140 546 31 3
22 Blake Bortles 66 135 465 33 4
23 Kirk Cousins 71 119 504 31 0
24 Nick Foles 54 112 414 25 4
25 Derek Carr 58 108 402 35 3
26 Brian Hoyer 55 105 376 26 2
27 Josh McCown 53 105 364 25 3
28 Geno Smith 52 103 380 19 3
29 Sam Bradford 45 91 300 23 3
30 Robert Griffin III 43 86 287 14 4
31 Jameis Winston 35 80 305 17 1
32 Chad Henne 35 79 263 11 3
33 Mike Glennon 35 75 235 21 2
34 Teddy Bridgewater 39 74 302 18 2
35 Matt Cassel 24 63 175 11 3

WHAT THE NUMBERS TELL US
 Blake Bortles was the bomb last year in the red zone.
 Tom Brady is the man when in close.
 Kirk Cousins has never thrown a red zone interception.
 Eli Manning throws way to many interceptions in scoring territory.
 All but five of Matthew Stafford’s 2015 touchdowns were in the red zone.
 Jameis Winston doesn’t complete nearly enough red zone passes.
 Drew Brees is deadly accurate in the red zone.
 Jay Cutler sucks in the red zone.
 Cam Newton is becoming a complete quarterback – bordering on elite.
 Big Ben doesn’t throw enough red zone TDs as he should with the number of attempts.
 Philip Rivers quietly gets the job done in close.
 While not great, Ryan Tannehill gets his share of red zone TDs.
 Russell Wilson needs to throw more (except in Super Bowls)


RED ZONE RUSHING

2015 (Minimum 3 rushes)

Att-Yd-TD
1 Cam Newton 11 23 8
2 Jameis Winston 7 20 5
3 Joe Flacco 3 3 3
4 Matthew Stafford 3 3 1
5 Tom Brady 3 3 3
6 Blake Bortles 3 3 2
7 Kirk Cousins 3 6 3
8 Andy Dalton 3 3 2

LAST THREE YEARS (Minimum 3 rushes)

Att-Yd-TD
1 Cam Newton 19 44 14
2 Andy Dalton 11 16 6
3 Joe Flacco 10 4 6
4 Nick Foles 8 6 4
5 Ryan Fitzpatrick 8 13 4
6 Jameis Winston 7 20 5
7 Matthew Stafford 7 11 5
8 Tom Brady 6 7 3
9 Russell Wilson 6 4 2
10 Aaron Rodgers 5 7 1
11 Geno Smith 5 2 2
12 Alex Smith 5 5 2
13 Michael Vick 4 -1 2
14 Philip Rivers 4 0 0
15 Ryan Tannehill 4 3 3
16 Drew Brees 4 4 3
17 EJ Manuel 4 2 3
18 Kirk Cousins 3 6 3
19 Colin Kaepernick 3 6 1
21 Josh McCown 3 9 2
22 Teddy Bridgewater 3 5 1
24 Blake Bortles 3 3 2

WHAT THE NUMBERS TELL US
 Cam Newton stands alone among rushing quarterbacks.
 Jameis Winston may not be that far behind Newton in close.
 Tom Brady doesn’t run often, but when he does, he scores.
 Marcus Mariota has foot speed, but not inside the 5-yard line.
 Andy Dalton and Joe Flacco steal too many TDs from their running backs.
 Russell Wilson was shockingly low on this list
 Aaron Rodgers doesn’t score rushing TDs like he used to.


RUNNING BACK

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As mentioned atop this release, if you like to read the entire article, please click HERE to order our 2016 Pre-Season Draft Guide.



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