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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 2014 Pre-Season Draft Guide.

  When it comes to fantasy football scouting, one of the most important factors that largely gets overlooked is who is the man once a team gets into the red zone? There are few factors that are more important. Who do a QB target more than the others? When he throws the ball, does the guy catch it? If a team is inside the 5-yard line, do they run or pass?

  The answers to all of those questions are available if read properly. Some guys have it. Some guys don’t. It’s just the way it is. Maurice Jones-Drew will never be a red zone rushing threat. Eric Decker is a stud inside the 20. The Ravens win despite Joe Flacco, not because of him.

  There are dozens of player evaluations that can be enhanced or destroyed by their ability of lack of ability in the red zone. If you know how to read the exhaustive numbers printout you have before you, questions will be answered and alternate questions may be asked.

  For the unfamiliar, the list below deals with the raw numbers from the red zone. For the purpose of explanation, when it comes to passing, the red zone is the standardized definition of the red zone – from the opponent 20-yard line and in. When a quarterback drops to pass in the red zone, there can be a reasonable expectation that said pass will be thrown for a touchdown. That’s why quarterbacks make the big money. However, when it comes to running the ball, you have to go ESPN on it and change it to your own definition (like that lame QBR ranking force-fed on fans who got used to base system that 158.3 is perfect).

  For runners, whether running backs or quarterbacks, the red zone is defined as the 5-yard line and in. When you hand the ball off inside the 5-yard line, there is a reasonable expectation that, if executed properly, should spring for a touchdown. A handoff for the 15-yard line can’t carry that kind of success rate or expectation of getting points.

  As you finalize your pre-draft preparation keep in mind that most touchdowns are scored in the red zone, so these numbers are, if nothing else, a blueprint as to who steps up and the red zone and who steps off.






2013 (40 or more Red Zone passes)



Peyton Manning 116-83-581-40-0

Ben Roethlisberger 103-55-366-20-0

Matt Ryan 93-53-357-19-2

Philip Rivers 92-60-384-22-1

Drew Brees 89-56-328-22-1

Matthew Stafford 85-42-380-23-1

Tom Brady 84-43-353-20-3

Joe Flacco 79-37-199-17-2

Alex Smith 79-48-328-16-2

Andrew Luck 78-40-305-16-2

Chad Henne 75-33-257-11-2

Carson Palmer 71-39-309-15-4

Andy Dalton 70-43-329-23-3

Tony Romo 69-40-278-22-1

Ryan Tannehuill 66-41-260-18-1

Cam Newton 59-31-261-18-3

Eli Manning 58-27-182-8-3

Colin Kaepernick 56-31-287-17-3

Robert Griffin III 56-29-205-12-2

Jay Cutler 53-29-212-16-2

Russell Wilson 52-27-215-18-1

Aaron Rodgers 52-33-217-12-1

Mike Glennon 50-24-142-13-1

Geno Smith 48-21-155-8-2

Matt Schaub 46-22-126-9-1

Ryan Fitzpatrick 41-24-177-8-0

Nick Foles 40-26-197-16-0


Last Three Years (100 or more passes)



Drew Brees 294-189-1,295-86-4

Matt Ryan 277-156-1,059-63-5

Tom Brady 274-156-1,236-73-7

Matthew Stafford 274-133-1,083-67-8

Ben Roethlisberger 235-123-818-53-4

Philip Rivers 228-139-931-54-5

Eli Manning 216-103-744-41-8

Aaron Rodgers 215-136-957-68-2

Tony Romo 214-119-830-55-3

Andy Dalton 211-121-893-58-3

Peyton Manning 204-135-909-68-2

Joe Flacco 196-86-628-41-5

Ryan Fitzpatrick 183-103-741-45-5

Cam Newton 182-81-654-39-8

Carson Palmer 171-93-659-35-8

Josh Freeman 161-87-649-36-5

Alex Smith 159-87-587-32-4

Andrew Luck 151-77-574-31-4

Matt Schaub 145-73-452-31-5

Jay Cutler 138-71-522-35-2

Chad Henne 136-61-443-22-6

Sam Bradford 135-62-437-30-4

Christian Ponder 132-81-538-30-4

Mark Sanchez 130-64-547-31-7

Michael Vick 130-61-411-23-6

Ryan Tannehill 113-65-444-26-2

Russell Wilson 111-62-476-36-1




•  Peyton Manning is the man and his RZ numbers prove why he was MVP.

•  Who knew Big Ben threw so often in the red zone in 2013?

•  Philip Rivers is more effective in the red zone than outside it.

•  Carson Palmer wasted too many red zone opportunities last year.

•  Tony Romo has been effective in the red zone, but was limited in 2013.

•  Few QBs stink in the red zone more than Eli Manning.

•  Nick Foles was a dart thrower in the red zone last year.

•  Drew Brees is consistently deadly in the red zone.

•  Cam Newton needs a lot of improvement in the red zone.

•  Joe Flacco is pitiful in the red zone and too many passes don’t get caught.

•  Russell Wilson may be the NFL’s best red zone passer.




2013 (two rushes or more)



Nick Foles 7-5-3

Andy Dalton 4-6-1

Alex Smith 4-2-1

Ryan Fitzpatrick 4-6-2

Philip Rivers 3-2-0

Peyton Manning 3-(-4)-1

Michael Vick 3-(-1)-2

Cam Newton 3-9-3

Chad Henne 2-1-0

Ryan Tannehill 2-1-1

Sam Bradford 2-(-2)-0

Matthew Stafford 2-2-2

Thaddeus Lewis 2-5-1

Russell Wilson 2-(-1)-0

Aaron Rodgers 2-5-0

Case Keenum 2-5-1


Last Three Years (Five or more attempts)



Cam Newton 31-53-18

Ryan Fitzpatrick 13-2-3

Tom Brady 11-9-7

Michael Vick 10-(-1)-3

Andy Dalton 9-16-4

Mark Sanchez 8-15-6

Joe Flacco 8-(-7)-5

Matthew Stafford 8-11-6

Tim Tebow 7-0-2

Nick Foles 7-5-3

Aaron Rodgers 6-3-0

Robert Griffin III 6-14-3

Josh Freeman 6-(-1)-3

Andrew Luck 6-19-5

Ryan Tannehill 5-6-3

Tony Romo 5-2-2

Philip Rivers 5-5-1

Colin Kaepernick 5-(-4)-1

Alex Smith 5-3-2




•  Quarterbacks don’t run like they used to in close.

•  Is Cam Newton no longer a goal line threat based on 2013 numbers?

•  Tom Brady doesn’t run often, but when he does, he scores almost every time.

•  Michael Vick is a rushing threat, but not near the goal line.

•  Matthew Stafford is a beast near the goal line.

•  Andrew Luck is dangerous in close.

•  Aaron Rodgers is a rushing threat, but doesn’t do it in close.





As mentioned atop this release, if you like to read the entire article, please click HERE to order our 2014 Pre-Season Draft Guide.

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