Hangin' in the Red Zone

by: John Holler

Editor's Note: Below you will find a portion of the 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 2020 Pre-Season Draft Guide.

In the era of analytics, one stat that doesn’t get nearly the credit it deserves is who fantasy perform in the Red Zone. It’s a telling stat because, with all the changes that have been made over the years to increase scoring with yardage and PPR bonuses, the bread of butter of fantasy football remains scoring touchdowns – many of which come when the field is reduced to the Red Zone.

For the purposes of our study, the Red Zone when it comes to passing and receiving is from the 20-yard line in. Any time a quarterback drops to pass inside the 20-yard line, you can realistically expect that a pass could be heading into the end zone. When it comes to rushing, however, the typical Red Zone doesn’t apply. A handoff from the 15-yard line can’t realistically be expected to break for a touchdown. Therefore, the Red Zone as it pertains to running the ball starts at the 5-yard line – every time a running back gets the ball from the 5-yard line in, there is a realistic expectation that a touchdown can be scored.

Below are the Red Zone numbers from 2020 and the last three years. Much can be learned from these numbers – ranging from who shines in the Red Zone and who doesn’t produce with any sense of consistency. As you start to rank players, let this serve as a guide to help shape your opinions because, while it may not get the attention it deserves, performance in the Red Zone is critical.

QUARTERBACK

PASSING 2020 (minimum 60 attempts)

PLAYER AT-CM-Y-TD-INT

Tom Brady 95-56-363-28-0

Matt Ryan 91-48-310-20-1

Deshaun Watson 91-53-333-18-0

Josh Allen 88-55-357-25-0

Russell Wilson 85-55-371-29-3

Derek Carr 85-45-269-15-1

Aaron Rodgers 84-61-353-35-0

Patrick Mahomes 81-48-299-26-2

Philip Rivers 80-49-350-17-1

Ben Roethlisberger 79-45-367-20-2

Justin Herbert 79-44-311-20-1

Ryan Tannehill 72-47-368-26-2

Baker Mayfield 72-46-296-21-0

Kyler Murray 69-46-279-19-2

Matthew Stafford 69-38-292-18-3

Kirk Cousins 69-41-339-27-0

Drew Brees 68-43-370-21-1

Daniel Jones 63-34-167-7-3

Lamar Jackson 62-42-280-20-0

WHAT THE NUMBERS TELL US

  • The Red Zone is why Rodgers won the MVP
  • Brady was unafraid to chuck the ball around the field
  • Cousins was extremely effective and productive in the Red Zone
  • Wilson left too many opportunities on the field with picks
  • Carr got very little production for the number of passes thrown
  • Tannehill did much of his damage in the RZ despite having Derrick Henry
  • Jones was epically bad in the Red Zone
  • Lamar Jackson – Needs to throw more RZ passes

PASSING LAST THREE YEARS (Minimum 140 attempts)

PLAYER AT-CM-Y-TD-INT

Tom Brady 281-161-1095-62-3

Matt Ryan 256-141-1024-64-4

Aaron Rodgers 243-144-969-69-3

Patrick Mahomes 241-144-1000-72-4

Russell Wilson 240-137-1051-78-6

Philip Rivers 235-138-977-54-6

Jared Goff 232-146-957-56-3

Deshaun Watson 231-129-946-55-3

Derek Carr 224-130-817-45-5

Drew Brees 220-152-1049-62-2

Baker Mayfield 206-116-760-57-4

Kirk Cousins 193-120-838-63-1

Carson Wentz 186-108-742-51-4

Matthew Stafford 183-97-688-43-7

Mitchell Trubisky 178-101-652-45-7

Ben Roethlisberger 175-97-707-41-6

Andy Dalton 174-99-634-37-7

Josh Allen 168-93-604-42-1

Dak Prescott 154-82-595-32-3

Lamar Jackson 149-92-651-50-0

Kyler Murray 144-88-549-32-4

Ryan Fitzpatrick 141-72-547-36-5

WHAT THE NUMBERS TELL US

  • Wilson is a touchdown God and nobody is close
  • Nobody puts the ball in the air as often by Brady and the separation is pretty big
  • Carr has always been impotent for throwing TDs in the Red Zone
  • Nobody is more consistent and effective for the passes he throws as Cousins
  • Stafford doesn’t complete enough passes and throws too many picks
  • How is Trubisky on this list – much less with more TDs than a lot of guys
  • Allen has been safe with the ball and is improving
  • Jackson throws far too few passes given he’s never thrown an interception
  • Fitxzmagic shows up on the list again

RUSHING TOUCHDOWNS 2020 (minimum 3 attempts)

PLAYER A-Y-TD

Cam Newton 21-33-9

Josh Allen 11-12-6

Taysom Hill 9-12-6

Justin Herbert 8-11-5

Kyler Murray 8-9-5

Deshaun Watson 7-7-2

Joe Burrow 6-(-1)-2

Ryan Tannehill 5-17-4

Jared Goff 5-5-4

Derek Carr 5-5-3

Dwayne Haskins 5-0-1

Tua Tagovailoa 4-7-3

Dak Prescott 4-2-3

Teddy Bridgewater 4-4-2

Tom Brady 3-4-3

Jacoby Brissett 3-4-3

Carson Wentz 3-3-3

Lamar Jackson 3-10-2

Drew Lock 3-7-2

Russell Wilson 3-6-2

Baker Mayfield 3-3-1

Ryan Fitzpatrick 3-0-1

Ben Roethlisberger 3-(-1)-0

WHAT THE NUMBERS TELL US

  • Newton is still dominant as a rusher in close
  • Allen did a lot of damage with his legs
  • Hill is always dangerous as a Red Zone weapon
  • Herbert was just as productive as Murray in the RZ
  • Burrow isn’t a true threat
  • Haskins sucks as rushing too
  • Prescott’s numbers are impressive given how few games he played
  • Brady, Brissett and Wentz scored every time they ran

RUSHING LAST 3 YEARS (minimum 7 attempts)

PLAYER A-Y-TD

Cam Newton 26-48-12

Deshaun Watson 22-35-10

Josh Allen 20-23-15

Dak Prescott 17-15-8

Lamar Jackson 16-11-7

Taysom Hill 13-12-7

Tom Brady 12-20-8

Jared Goff 12-10-7

Kyler Murray 11-4-5

Derek Carr 10-12-6

Carson Wentz 10-9-4

Ryan Fitzpatrick 9-9-4

Patrick Mahomes 9-17-3

Baker Mayfield 9-1-2

Jacoby Brissett 8-18-7

Justin Herbert 8-11-5

Russell Wilson 8-12-3

Marcus Mariota 8-5-2

Ryan Tannehill 7-21-6

Drew Brees 7-8-6

Aaron Rodgers 7-7-4

WHAT THE NUMBERS TELL US

  • Nobody runs more often in close than Newton
  • Allen has become the pre-eminent runner in close over the last two season
  • Prescott doesn’t score often enough
  • Jackson is surprisingly unproductive as a Red Zone runner
  • Brady doesn’t run a lot, but when he does, he scores
  • Murray needs to be a lot more productive
  • Mahomes isn’t nearly as good in close as his speed would indicate
  • Mayfield isn’t a RZ threat
  • Brissett scores when he runs

RUNNING BACK

As mentioned atop this release, if you like to read the entire Red Zone feature, please click HERE to order our 2021 Pre-Season Draft Guide.

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