Analysis

High-Value Touch Report: Week 2 Red Zone & Goal-To-Go Data

Week 2 High-Value Touch Report

It’s easy to react to Week 1 data and develop reasons for concern or optimism, given our preseason thoughts. As usual, we’ll discuss the high-value touches and opportunities for running backs, receivers, and tight ends. You can find last week’s installment here. Unfortunately, COVID hit me hard, and I couldn’t keep up with all the action over the weekend. Thankfully, Nic has five fantasy takeaways for us to digest

Which players lead high-value touches for rushing and receiving in the red zone? Are some players under or over-performing through two weeks? Let’s also take a deeper look at goal-to-go situations, plus examine the high-value touch and opportunity data on third and fourth down through Week 2. Could these players boom or regress, given their efficiency numbers? 

High-Value Touches – Rushing Red Zone Data

When sorting by all rushers in the red zone through Week 2, we have a mix of running backs and a few quarterbacks. Jalen Hurts and Justin Fields make sense, though Fields and the Bears’ offense have underwhelmed to begin the season. We probably should lump Marcus Mariota into the Hurts and Fields group, given his rushing ability. However, Baker Mayfield stood out as the fourth quarterback amongst the top-15 rushers in the red zone. Per TruMedia, Mayfield has shown mobility with 10.6 rushing yards per game (No. 14) amongst quarterbacks since 2020. 

high-value touches

Mayfield’s teammate Christian McCaffrey tied with five carries in the red zone, although he had zero targets. Expect McCaffrey to garner more high-value touches in the receiving game, since he’s an effective all-around back. Since 2020, McCaffrey has a 2.7% target share (No. 85) in the red zone, though that’s due to injuries over the past few seasons. From 2017 to 2019, McCaffrey led the league with a 22.5% target share in the red zone in front of Alvin Kamara (20.6%) and James White (20.2%).

I highlighted McCaffrey, Kareem Hunt, Jeff Wilson, and Joe Mixon, since they all have fewer than ten rushing yards. With more high-value touches in the red area, they should be more productive in future weeks. James Robinson and Cordarrelle Patterson continue quiet the skeptics, including myself, but you love to see it from a real-life standpoint. 

High-Value Touches – Receiving Red Zone Data

When sorting by the top receivers in red zone targets, Garrett Wilson sits atop the leaderboard after a down Week 1. Hopefully, managers kept stashing Wilson, given his prospect profile, though the Jets’ offense has some concerns. I highlighted the top receivers and pass-catchers with a target rate or targets per route run of 40% or higher.

high-value touches

Wilson joins elite receiver options in Davante Adams, Stefon Diggs, Justin Jefferson, and Jaylen Waddle. Javonte Williams stood out as the only back inside the top-14 in red zone targets. It’s positive to witness Williams garnering high-value opportunities in the red area with a near-elite TPRR.

We’re dealing with a small two-week sample, so Zach Ertz and Tyler Higbee, the top two tight ends in red zone targets, could regress or sustain. Surprisingly or unsurprisingly, their respective quarterbacks have leaned on the tight ends, plus Cooper Kupp and Marquise Brown in the red area. With James Conner battling an ankle injury, Kyler Murray could continue targeting their receivers in the red zone.

Get ready for Brown to boom with the 15th-highest air yards share at 38.2% through two weeks, though a 0.569 receiver air conversion rate (RACR). That ranks Brown 99th amongst receivers and tight ends with five targets, indicating he hasn’t been efficient in turning his air yards into receiving production.

High-Value Rushing & Receiving: Goal-To-Go Situations

The Eagles’ offense clicked on several levels on Monday against the Vikings. Jalen Hurts remains the only quarterback inside the top-12 in carries in goal-to-go situations. It’s interesting to see teammate Miles Sanders there too.

I highlighted a handful of backs with zero rushing touchdowns in goal-to-goal situations. Expect them to fall in the end zone sooner than later, especially if they keep garnering high-value touches. 

The top receivers in high-value opportunities during goal-to-go situations align with the red zone data. Maybe, we’ll focus on one or the other moving forward, though the high-value touches inside the 10-yard line might be more valuable for fantasy.

high-value touches

It’s a small sample that includes some noise, but Damien Harris garnered three targets in goal-to-go situations with two receptions. However, he only ran three routes in these situations. For context, Harris had zero receiving opportunities inside the ten-yard line in 2021. His teammate Rhamondre Stevenson ran zero routes in 2022, with only one in 2021 in goal-to-go situations. We’re still dealing with small samples, but it’s something to monitor, since the offseason buzz hinted at an increased receiving role for Stevenson. 

Third & Fourth Down Opportunities – RB

On third and fourth down, quarterbacks dominate in rushing yards, with Lamar Jackson (92), Jalen Hurts (78), and Trey Lance (40), plus Daniel Jones (26), and Joe Burrow (26) tied for ninth. If we filter by running backs, Austin Ekeler leads all backs with eight carries, then Leonard Fournette and Cordarrelle Patterson tied for second. However, let’s shift our focus to receiving data on third and fourth down for running backs.

Chase Edmonds tied with Javonte Williams for five targets, with David Montgomery, J.D. McKissic, and Rex Burkhead tied with four, rounding out the top five. The highlighted names in the visual above involve the top backs in targets on third and fourth downs. Expect Taylor, McKinnon, Ekeler, and Burkhead’s receiving production to increase, assuming their role sustains. 

Third & Fourth Down Opportunities – WR/TE

Here’s where we have a fun grouping of pass-catchers on third and fourth down. Jakobi Meyers and Amon-Ra St. Brown tied with Ja’Marr Chase with nine targets in these situations. In the table below, I highlighted three receivers with over 100 yards receiving, given their ridiculous yards per route run. 

The most surprising receiver from a production standpoint involves Noah Brown. Expect Brown’s metrics to regress, since there’s likely to be some noise, though maybe Cooper Rush has some chemistry with him with Dak Prescott out. Brown posted 70 of his 96 yards receiving in Week 2 with Rush as the quarterback. On the flip side, Brandin Cooks has a high target rate (targets per route run) yet a measly four yards receiving. Cooks should boom here soon, since Davis Mills looks to him often in these situations. Monitor rookies Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson, since they have popped on multiple lists. 

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