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2023 NFL Week 13 High-Value Touch Report: Rushing and Receiving Data

Christian Watson runs away from a Chiefs defender
Dec 3, 2023; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Green Bay Packers wide receiver Christian Watson (9) rushes with the football in front of Kansas City Chiefs safety Mike Edwards (21) during the fourth quarter at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

As we close out the regular fantasy football season, we appreciate you sticking around and digesting the weekly high-value touch report. This week’s data nugget will include the offensive leaders in goal-to-go (GTG) drives and red zone opportunities.

Below, the table is sorted by GTG drives — the Miami Dolphins, Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys, Kansas City Chiefs, Seattle Seahawks and Detroit Lions are the top six teams.

Chart in order of GTG drives — from top: MIA, PHI, DAL, KC, SEA, DET, BAL, SG, BUF, HOU, CIN

Since Week 8, the Cowboys, Cincinnati Bengals, Houston Texans and Lions have 12 or more GTG drives, and seven teams have 11.

Finally, let’s also look at the player-level GTG touch leaders, including the breakdown of rushes, targets and touchdown percentages. 

Chart sorted by GTG rushes — from top: McCaffrey, Pollard, Mixon, Mostert, Jacsob, Ekeler, Swift, Williams, Moss, Pacheco, Mattison, White, Murray, Barkley, Harris, Taysom Hill

We included the touchdown percentage to provide an idea of whether the player’s scoring rate could regress. Tony Pollard and Austin Ekeler seem due for a game or two with a pair of touchdowns in the coming weeks to hopefully help win crucial fantasy matchups.

Below, we’ll examine red zone GTG touches and opportunities. The context for these touches is important, so we’ll consider the potential game script that led to the usage. This information helps identify which players might be on the verge of scoring more touchdowns and fantasy points — and which players aren’t.

Given the small sample size, we sometimes find that players don’t regress quickly or that the data becomes more noisy than meaningful. The information will be broken down by red zone and GTG rushing and receiving data to find usage patterns and expected fantasy points.

Red Zone Rushing

With Jonathan Taylor's thumb injury late in the week, Zack Moss tied two other running backs for the Week 13 lead in red zone carries. Moss, James Conner and Kyren Williams each had eight red zone rush attempts. We'll cover Moss in the GTG section since seven of his eight red zone carries game near the goal line.

Conner scored two red zone touchdowns, one of which came in a GTG situation. Williams returned to his elite workload again in Week 13 against the Cleveland Browns.

Five running backs had a rush share of 60 percent or higher and a double-digit target share in Week 13: Williams, Isiah Pacheco, Rachaad White, Joe Mixon and Christian McCaffrey, seen in the visual below.

Scatter plot showing Week 13 rush and target shares with McCaffrey, Mixon, White, Pacheco and Williams (L-R) along the far side of the throughline

Pacheco carried the Chiefs' offense against the Green Bay Packers, who have the 10th-worst rush defense by success rate. He had six red zone rush attempts, half of which came in GTG situations, including his rushing touchdown.

Kansas City has been leaning on Pacheco in recent weeks, which makes sense because he's one of the team's most reliable offensive players outside of Travis Kelce. 

Scatter plot showing Isiah Pacheco's red zone rush attempts and touchdowns with TDs on the y axis and Rush on the x axis — Week 8 is on the far left, while Weeks 13 and 3 are on the far right

Pacheco has 15 red zone rushing attempts in the past three games after 21 in his previous nine contests. Above, we see the increased role for Pacheco in the red zone in recent weeks. Bump up Pacheco as an RB1 given the workload and high-value touches.

We'll close out this section with a few other notable running backs, including Chuba Hubbard, Pollard, Alvin Kamara, Najee Harris and Zach Charbonnet, who each finished with five red zone attempts.

Harris is the only other running back besides Moss with five or more red zone rush attempts and zero scores. We continue to be wrong on Kamara. He had two more rushing touchdowns in Week 13 and a healthy target share (27.6 percent). His 27 red zone rush attempts tied him for 12th after he missed a few weeks. 

Red Zone Receiving

CeeDee Lamb and the Cowboys put on a show Thursday night in a high-scoring contest against the Seahawks. Lamb led all receivers with six red zone targets, catching two receptions and scoring once.

Since the Cowboys' Week 7 bye, Lamb is first in PPR/G, tied for first in target share (33.8 percent), first in yards per route run and sixth in air yards share (42.4 percent). He continues to put himself into the week-winning category, a tier down from Tyreek Hill. 

On the other side of the field, DK Metcalf reeled in all three red zone targets for two touchdowns. Metcalf's two red zone touchdowns and targets came in GTG situations, as he exploded (finally).

Two weeks ago, we mentioned Metcalf as a "buy" candidate, because he was earning many red zone opportunities despite not converting them. Metcalf's 17 red zone targets tied him for fifth with Hill, yet the Seahawks wide receiver produced inefficiently before Week 13.

Christian Watson fell into a similar bucket to Metcalf but with less overall volume. Since Week 8, Watson has had an 18 percent target share, compared with Metcalf's elite 27.2 percent share.

However, Watson went from inefficient to über efficient in his rookie season. From Weeks 4-11, Watson had eight red zone targets with only two receptions, though he scored on both catches. 

Scatter plot showing Christian Watson's red zone targets and touchdowns, with targets on the y axis and receiving TDs on the x axis. Weeks 9, 7 and 5 are at the bottom of the graph, while Week 13 is at the top

However, in the past two weeks, Watson has the third-most red zone targets (five), reeling in four receptions for three touchdowns. His performance on Thanksgiving might have been the beginning of a few week-winning performances.

That occurred again in Week 13 before he left the game with an injury. Hopefully, Watson doesn't miss time because he had two of his highest target shares (23.3 percent and 25.7 percent) and best fantasy performances (20.6 PPR and 15.4 PPR). 

Goal-to-Go Rushing

Though Moss didn't score, he dominated the ground game in a high-scoring affair against the Tennessee Titans. That's evident in Moss's third-highest rush share (82.6 percent), which was behind Charbonnet's (86.4 percent) and Williams' (84 percent).

The Titans' rush defense played well — Moss only averaged 1.8 yards after contact per attempt, compared with 3.02 on the season. 

Don't panic about Moss as a high-end RB2 until Taylor returns. Touchdowns sway matchups, and we can expect Moss to land in the end zone more often with his volume. 

Like Moss, Charbonnet's workload became heavy with Seattle's starting running back, Kenneth Walker III, out with an oblique injury. In Week 13, Charbonnet had another elite workload — a season-high 86.4 percent rush share — yet his lowest target share since Week 9 (5.3 percent). That came after three consecutive target shares in the double digits at 14 percent for Charbonnet, as seen below. 

Scatter plot showing Zach Charbonnet's rush and target shares by week (targets along the y axis, rush along the x axis) with Weeks 7, 6 and 2 on the left side of the graph and Week 13 along the right

He ran tough against a Dallas defense that has dominated in recent weeks. He had 2.68 YAC/Att and struggled to find yards before contact at 0.47 YBC/Att. Charbonnet left late in Thursday's game with a bruised knee, concerning fantasy managers because he fell into an elite workload with Walker injured.

Like is the case with Moss, we'll happily take Charbonnet's volume, especially in a potentially high-scoring offense like Seattle's. 

Walker might not return, meaning the Seahawks could be without their top two running backs. That could lead to more volume for their receivers, especially Jaxon Smith-Njigba, who had a season-high 11 targets in Week 13.

The Cincinnati Bengals’ Backfield

On Monday, Mixon and the Bengals beat the Jacksonville Jaguars in overtime. Before Week 13, Mixon struggled to score touchdowns (he had four) — but then scored two against the Jaguars. He converted two of his four GTG carries for touchdowns. Unsurprisingly, five of his rushing touchdowns have come on his 18 total GTG opportunities.

The Bengals have been looking for a backup running back since Samaje Perine moved on to Denver. Trayveon Williams has the second-most running back carries behind Mixon. Meanwhile, rookie Chase Brown (who had been battling a hamstring injury) returned from injured reserve and flashed Monday for a 29 percent rush share (nine carries) and 61 rushing yards. 

Mixon still dominates the primary role. He had a 61.3 percent rush share and 18.9 percent target share in Week 13, compared with a season-long rush share of 71.7 percent and a target share of 11 percent.

However, Brown created yards before (4.11) and after contact (2.67) against Jacksonville, giving Cincinnati some needed juice. Brown is an über productive prospect, so stash him in deeper leagues. His production-based comparisons are Doug Martin and Rashaad Penny. 

Goal-to-Go Receiving

Seven pass catchers had two GTG targets in Week 13. All of them scored a touchdown except for Alec Pierce. The rest of the players are Michael Pittman Jr., Metcalf, DeAndre Hopkins, Nico Collins, DeVonta Smith and Trey McBride.

Pittman, Collins, Smith, Metcalf and McBride had boom games, while Hopkins posted a solid outing. 

Chart showing tight ends in order of team target percentage: Hockenson, McBride, Freiermuth, Kittle, Njoku, Kmet, Engram, LaPorta, Kincaid, Kelce, Andrews, Goedert, Pitts

The visual above shows the tight end leaders in target share since Week 8. McBride finally broke out in Week 8, leading to three boom performances as the TE8 or better in the past five games. Since Week 8, McBride ranks second in target share (29 percent), sixth in yards per route run (2.38) and third in air yards share. He possesses receiver skills at tight end, and we love to see it. 

Unfortunately, the Texans lost Tank Dell to a leg injury, leading to C.J. Stoud heavily targeting Collins for a week-high 46.2 percent target share. Only three receivers had a target share north of 40 percent in Week 13: Collins, Mike Evans and Lamb.

Collins joins a group of 20 receivers with at least a 25 percent target share in seven or more games, which indicates he is a target earner, and 25 percent should be his floor moving forward. 

>> READ: Tank Dell's Dynasty Value Post Injury