Analysis

High-Value Touch Report: Week 14 Fantasy Football Rushing & Receiving Data

Welcome back to the Week 14 installment of the high-value touch report. Hopefully, you made it to the playoffs and survived some injuries. As we head into the playoffs, let’s 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. 

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 14 high-value touch report.

High-Value Touches: Red Zone Rushing

In Week 14, Ezekiel Elliott led all rushers with eight carries in the red zone, with six coming in goal-to-go situations and one touchdown. Tony Pollard had half of the carries (4) with one score. Surprisingly, the Cowboys needed to score ten unanswered points in the fourth quarter to avoid an upset against the Texans. Elliott bested Pollard in rush share (48.4% to 32.3%), with an identical 12.8% target share. Both Cowboys backs will continue sharing the workload, and Elliott’s volume isn’t going away. Elliott benefited from touchdown efficiency since Week 6, with -1.6 FPOE/G (Weeks 1-5) and 4.2 FPOE/G (Weeks 6-13).

high-value touch

The Panthers upset the Seahawks in Seattle, with D’Onta Foreman (5) and Chuba Hubbard (3) garnering eight total carries in the red zone. They combined for 35 rushing attempts and 148 yards rushing. Over the last two games with Sam Darnold at quarterback, the Panthers had a positive game script throughout the contest and felt comfortable relying on the run game. With over 37 and 39 minutes of possession against the Broncos and Seahawks, it’s unknown how the offense will operate when trailing. There might be a positive script in Week 15 against the Steelers, so value Foreman and Hubbard as touchdown-dependent RB2 options. Hubbard has the edge in PPR with the receiving opportunities.

One final note on high-value touches in the red zone, Jamaal Williams ended his four-game touchdown scoring streak. Williams had zero red zone carries, with D’Andre Swift at two and Justin Jackson with one in Week 14. Unfortunately, Swift didn’t smash against the Vikings. However, his red zone carries climbed during Weeks 10-14 with 14 (No. 7) versus Williams at 17 (No. 1). I still believe in Swift down the stretch, though he had a down performance in Week 14. Jalen Hurts had one in Week 14 and took the season-long lead in high-value touches in the red zone.

High-Value Opportunities: Red Zone Receiving

Jerry Jeudy crushed in Week 14 with eight catches on nine targets for 73 yards receiving and three scores. Jeudy turned all three red zone opportunities into touchdowns, two of which came in goal-to-go situations. While we can’t expect the Jeudy to score at that level, the Broncos seemed due for touchdown regression. Before Week 14, the Broncos had four touchdowns in four games, with four against the Chiefs. Although Russell Wilson struggled throughout the game and season, Jeudy’s target quality probably goes down with Brett Rypien if Wilson misses time due to the concussion. 

high-value touch

While the score might not indicate it, the Chargers controlled the time of possession with over 39 and a half minutes. They ran 78 plays for 432 total yards versus the Dolphins, who had 49 plays and 219 yards. Surprisingly, the Chargers didn’t score more touchdowns. Keenan Allen (4), Gerald Everett (3), and Austin Ekeler (3) combined for 11 high-value opportunities, yet zero receiving scores. 

Like the Jets last week, when three receivers popped up on the high-value touches leaderboards, we can’t expect that to happen consistently. On a positive note, Mike Williams returned and caught all four targets for 116 yards receiving plus a score. The offense might need Allen’s volume and Williams’ big-play ability. 

Unfortunately, Kyler Murray suffered a knee injury early in the game against the Patriots, so the team relied on Colt McCoy. Marquise Brown had three targets in the red zone, with a two-yard reception. The Cardinals stayed in the game leading 13-10 at halftime, then the wheels fell off, and the Patriots scored 17 unanswered. Before DeAndre Hopkins returned from his suspension in Weeks 1-6, Brown totaled four red zone opportunities (No. 51). Since Week 7, Hopkins has six targets (No. 25). On the season, the Cardinals rank 26th in red zone efficiency at 53.5% per TruMedia. It’s difficult to expect improved efficiency without Murray at quarterback. 

High-Value Touches: Goal-To-Go Rushing

Ekeler might be the closest player to Christian McCaffrey, who dominates the receiving game with high-value touches on the ground. He had three goal-to-go rushes and three targets in these situations. On the season, Ekeler ranks second in high-value opportunities (13) and first with high-value receptions with a 100% catch rate. The Cowboys continue feeding Elliott high-value touches near the end zone or in short-yardage situations.

Saquon Barkley had some question marks heading into Week 14 with a neck injury and only played 20 snaps. Barkley earned three high-value touches with a trio of goal-to-go carries out of his nine total in Week 14. Daniel Jones scored a one-yard touchdown as the other Giants player to record a goal-to-go rushing attempt. Gary Brightwell and Matt Breida shared carries (21.7% to 13%) and targets (9.4% to 12.5%). If Barkley missed a week, expect an ugly mix of Brightwell and Brieda.  

High-Value Opportunities: Goal-To-Go Receiving

Travis Kelce has dominated the red zone and goal-to-go opportunities for the Chiefs. However, Patrick Mahomes targeted JuJu Smith-Schuster twice with one touchdown and Kelce with one target and zero receptions in Week 14. Smith-Schuster led the Chiefs with a 26.2% target share, yet Jerick McKinnon led in yards receiving. 

McKinnon caught a ridiculous touchdown pass from Mahomes and finished with seven catches on nine targets for 112 yards receiving and two scores. It’s the second time in McKinnon’s career that he surpassed 100 yards receiving, with 114 in 2017. Smith-Schuster and McKinnon scored two of Mahomes’ three touchdowns in goal-to-go situations. Monitor McKinnon’s receiving usage and production since he’s been sneaky solid with 8.8 yards after the catch per reception (No. 6) and 5.3 receiving EP/G (No. 19) before Week 14. 

Let’s briefly touch on Nick Westbrook-Ikhine, who had two targets and one two-yard reception with a touchdown in goal-to-go situations in Week 14. Without Treylon Burks, Westbrook-Ikhine led the team with a 21.1% target share (No. 29) but only reeled in three for 23 yards receiving. Austin Hooper led the team in yards receiving, and that indicated an ugly receiving game for the Titans. 

Derrick Henry ranked 24th in high-value touches heading into Week 14. Meanwhile, Robert Woods and Westbrook-Ikhine tied for the team lead in high-value opportunities with three targets on the season. Don’t chase any of the Titans’ pass-catchers with confidence outside of Burks, and hopefully, he recovers soon from the concussion. 

Third & Fourth Down Receiving Opportunities

The game of the week between the Buccaneers and the 49ers led to the 49ers’ blowout of the week. Mike Evans led all receivers in Week 14 with seven targets on third and fourth down. Chris Godwin and Evans tied for a 16.4% target share, but it turned into an ugly contest. Interestingly, Tampa Bay ran 74 plays, 15 more than San Francisco, and only trailed by five minutes in time of possession. The Buccaneers relied on volume but lacked much efficiency. Outside of Godwin and Rachaad White, we might want to be cautious with this offense. 

A mixture of Mike White and Joe Flacco targeted Garrett Wilson five times on third and fourth down, out of seven total targets in Week 14. Wilson moved into a tie for ninth in high-value opportunities on third and fourth down, tied with CeeDee Lamb. Meanwhile, Elijah Moore led the team with ten targets, and inclement weather impacted all players. Corey Davis left the game early with a head injury, so we could see Moore’s usage increase if Davis misses time. Moore ran 30 routes out of the slot, tied for fifth, with a respectable 20% targets per route run in Week 14. In the debut dynasty stock report, I discussed Moore as a potential buy-low option. It might be news or noise, but I’d lean towards Moore, possibly garnering more opportunities. 

WATCH: Ripken’s Week 14 Reactions

 

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