Welcome back to the Week 12 installment of the high-value touch report. I examine the rushing and receiving data in the red zone, goal-to-go and third/fourth down situations. Fantasy football is humbling, and sometimes the most logical and data-focused analysis doesn’t pan out. Or the one-game sample turns into a trend we might have missed, like the Jets turning to Mike White at quarterback.
With more and more data each week, there are more trends and outliers. We also observe trends that shift for a team within a season. Sometimes, we find certain players over or underperforming for various reasons with potential buys and sells based on the high-value touches and underlying metrics. The goal is to use the data and see where it leads us instead of using data to fit the narrative. That said, let’s dive into the Week 12 high-value touch report.
High-Value Touches: Season-Long Red Zone Rushing
In Week 12, Chiefs rookie RB Isiah Pacheco had the most rushing attempts (12) in the red zone with Dalvin Cook’s seven ranking second. Since Clyde Edwards-Helaire was placed on injured reserve, the Chiefs’ backfield condensed to Pacheco taking 22 carries (59%) and Ronald Jones (10.3%). Although Jerick McKinnon hadn’t logged a carry, he garnered six targets. Their backfield did expand a bit on Monday with the signing of former Broncos RB Melvin Gordon.
In my recent dynasty stock article, I mentioned Pacheco’s skills, profile and how to value him. I noted he needs to dominate on the ground with rushing comparables like Gus Edwards, Brian Robinson and Khalil Herbert since they lack receiving opportunities. If Pacheco’s high-value touches remain high in the Kansas City offense, we’ll look past it since a high-powered offense can mask the concerns.
Welcome back, Edwards, who missed a couple of weeks with a hamstring injury. Edwards tied for third with six high-value touches in the red zone and scored once. He remains a touchdown-dependent option similar to D’Onta Foreman. Heading into Week 12, the Broncos ranked 20th in PPR/G and 13th in rushing yards per game (98). The Panthers dominated time of possession. holding the ball for more than 37 minutes. They relied on Foreman and Chuba Hubbard, who combined for 40 rushing attempts. Foreman rushed 24 times for 113 yards and had six high-value touches in the red zone. Carolina has a bottom five strength of schedule for running backs, so tread with caution using Foreman.
High-Value Opportunities: Season-Long Red Zone Receiving
Unsurprisingly, Travis Kelce (5), DK Metcalf (4) and Austin Ekeler (4) rounded out the top three in high-value opportunities in the red zone in Week 12. They rank in the top five in red zone receiving opportunities as Kelce leads the pack at 26. Although Kelce’s efficiency wasn’t through the roof, with two receptions for nine receiving yards, he still produced well overall.
Let’s discuss a few intriguing names on the Week 12 high-value opportunities leaderboard. Kalif Raymond, Josh Oliver, Jamal Agnew and D’Andre Swift tied with three red zone targets in Week 12. After looking at the Thanksgiving game data, I liked Swift’s usage, though it didn’t translate into fantasy production. There’s probably noise here since Oliver leads the grouping with eight season-long red zone targets with Swift close behind at seven. Oliver earned a career-high six targets in Week 12 and has 12 total this season.
Raymond ran the second-most routes behind Amon-Ra St. Brown against the Bills. DJ Chark also matched Raymond with 32 routes and Chark at 31. Raymond or Chark could have deep-league relevance, though Jameson Williams might make his NFL debut soon. We keep talking about Jamaal Williams in the high-value touch report with his goal-to-go usage. That means touchdown regression could favor Detroit’s pass-catchers. Among the top 25 running backs in high-value touches, Williams is the only player with fewer than 10 receptions. Every other player on the high-value touch leaderboard has at least 20 receptions.
High-Value Touches: Goal-To-Go Rushing
Pacheco rushed seven times in goal-to-go situations with one rushing touchdown in Week 12, and the high-value touch monster in Williams finished in second with four. We’ll want to monitor Pacheco’s high-value touch usage since McKinnon ranked 28th heading into Week 12 and Edwards-Helaire ranked 47th.
The Chiefs might continue using Pacheco as their closer since they played with a lead throughout the game versus the Rams. In Week 12, Pacheco logged the most carries (16) in the third and fourth quarters, in front of Foreman (15) and several others with 13.
In the juiciest matchup of the week, Jeff Wilson disappointed managers with 13 carries, 39 rushing yards and one touchdown. Wilson logged three high-value touches in goal-to-go situations with one score. He also caught one of three targets for 13 receiving yards. However, Tua Tagovailoa tossed a four-yard touchdown to tight end Durham Smythe, which could’ve meant another touchdown for Wilson against the Texans. On the season, Wilson moved to 11th, tying him with six other rushers in high-value touches in these situations.
On Sunday night, Kenneth Gainwell logged three high-value touches and scored one rushing touchdown in goal-to-go situations. Jalen Hurts (17-157) and Miles Sanders (21-143-2) dominated on the ground against Green Bay. However, keep stashing and keeping an eye on Gainwell. Hurts ranks second (18) and Sanders at (13) in high-value rushing attempts in goal-to-go moments, and Gainwell should factor in if Sanders misses time. Unfortunately, Gainwell lacks any consistent standalone value with a season-high eight carries in Week 12.
High-Value Opportunities: Goal-To-Go Receiving
There are a few players worth mentioning in goal-to-go high-value opportunities in Week 12 including McKinnon (3), Jauan Jennings (3), Kendall Hinton (2) and Garrett Wilson (2). While we’re dealing with small samples, seeing Pacheco lead on the ground and McKinnon in receiving aligns with our expectations.
Jennings garnered seven targets against the Saints. In Week 12, Jennings had six receptions for 49 receiving yards and one touchdown. It’s his most-productive game since Week 1, and he ran the fifth most routes on the 49ers in Week 12. However, he boasted the highest targets per route run at 30.4%, meaning Jimmy Garoppolo looked his way when on the field.
Before and after Cooper Kupp suffered his injury, the Rams’ offense frustrated fantasy managers. Allen Robinson tied for second in high-value opportunities in goal-to-go situations, but Rams coach Sean McVay said this week he suffered a season-ending injury.
Wilson has nine of his 12 red zone targets in goal-to-go instances. He had two in Week 12 and scored one of his two touchdowns. Wilson finished with five receptions on eight targets for 95 receiving yards with White at quarterback against the Bears. Even Elijah Moore splashed as he caught both of his targets for 64 receiving yards and one touchdown. A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned Moore in my dynasty stock article as a buy-low candidate before we knew of the quarterback change.
Before Monday night, White had the highest passer rating (149.3), highest yards per attempt (11.3) and second-highest completion rate (78.6%). White also excelled at getting the ball out quickly as he averaged 2.46 seconds per throw against the Bears. Per TruMedia, White ranked third in completion rate (81%) and first in YPA (9.86) among quarterbacks with zero to three seconds in time to throw. Wilson should be a must-start option in most formats with Moore as a priority pickup if available.
Third & Fourth Down Receiving Opportunities
The Browns duo of Amari Cooper (7) and David Njoku (4) led Week 12 in high-value opportunities on third and fourth down, though the Browns-Buccaneers game went into overtime. Njoku made a highlight reel catch after being quiet most of the game. He had just five receptions and 29 receiving yards on seven targets. On Monday night, Michael Pittman had four of his seven targets on third/fourth down. Pittman jumped to fourth, tying him with St. Brown at 32 targets in these situations.
Jennings tied for second with four receiving opportunities on third and fourth down in Week 12. Put Jennings on the watch list, or look for him in dynasty formats since he garnered a high TPRR and in crucial situations.
The season-long data in high-value opportunities on third and fourth downs includes consistent and high-end options. DJ Moore stood out with 28 targets (tied for eighth) on third and fourth down. In Week 12, Moore only had one target in these situations. However, Moore efficiently produced against the Broncos with four receptions on six targets for 103 receiving yards and one touchdown. Moore hasn’t reached 100 receiving yards since Week 8 and totaled 77 during the past three games. I’m heavily invested in Moore, and he screamed buy-low candidate in my latest dynasty stock article.
- Wilson’s stock rises after some boom/bust games with the inconsistent quarterback play. Treat him as a must-start receiver in most formats. Add Moore if he’s available, but we’ll need another data point to have confidence in starting him.
- Since Najee Harris left with an injury, speculate on Benny Snell and Anthony McFarland if Jaylen Warren isn’t available. Snell averaged 2.67 yards before contact and 2.89 yards after contact in Week 12. Harris and Snell scored a rushing touchdown in goal-to-go situations against the Colts.
- Add Keaontay Ingram with James Conner rushing for more than 100 yards for the first time since Week 6 in 2020.
- Stash Gainwell since Hurts and Sanders keep eating up the high-value rushing attempts.
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