Analysis

High-Value Touch Report: Week 4 Red Zone & Goal-To-Go Data

High-Value Touch Report

Welcome back to the weekly installment of the high-value touch report, where we examine red zone, goal-to-go and third and fourth down data, which comes from TruMedia. We do this to help identify the top players garnering the most high-value touches and opportunities. This process helps us find which players might be uber-efficient or potentially due for positive regression. With more and more data, we’re finding trends while seeing players’ stock rise and fall, so let’s dive in. 

High-Value Touches: Red Zone Rushing

In Week 4, Jalen Hurts led all rushers with carries in the red zone. Joe Mixon finished second, with Josh Jacobs and Miles Sanders rounding out the top four. Jacobs and Sanders punched in two scores, which boosted their fantasy finishes in Week 4. Hurts, Mixon and Jacobs sat near the top of the high-value rushing attempts in the red zone from a season-long perspective. 

Before we dive deeper into the season-long high-value carries, let’s touch on J.K. Dobbins, Khalil Herbert and Breece Hall. These three backs totaled five high-value rushes in Week 4, with Hall’s 36 yards rushing in the red zone leading the way. Hall and Dobbins scored one rushing touchdown in the red area, while Herbert came up empty. 

To close out the top 10 in red zone high-value rushes, we have Jamaal Williams, Austin Ekeler and Caleb Huntley. Williams and Ekeler scored two rushing touchdowns, as they posted top-10 finishes in PPR scoring. Unsurprisingly, Williams played in the highest-scoring game (93 total points) of the week between the Lions and Seahawks. Meanwhile, Ekeler and the Chargers poured it on early with a 27-7 lead in the first half.

high-value touch

With D’Andre Swift out, Williams should continue to eat. Last week, he feasted on Seattle’s fourth-worst rush defense, which allows 154 yards rushing per game. On the season, Williams has scored the most rushing touchdowns (5) in the red zone on 15 carries. Kareem Hunt is the only rusher without a touchdown that ranks in the top 10 in red zone high-value carries. Expect Hunt to fall into the endzone as a rusher. However, his teammate Nick Chubb has been a beast overall and in the red area. 

Unfortunately, Jonathan Taylor has been one of the two most inefficient backs in the red zone with 13 carries and 19 rushing yards. Recent reports indicate Taylor avoided a significant ankle injury this week, but he could miss a week or two. James Robinson joins Taylor as another inefficient rusher in the red zone, but it’s positive to see him garner high-value touches. 

High-Value Opportunities: Red Zone Receiving

Mike Evans, Davante Adams, Josh Reynolds and Chase Edmonds tied for first with three high-value opportunities in the red zone in Week 4. Evans scored two touchdowns as he continued being a touchdown monster. Since entering the league in 2014, Evans ranks 14th in yards receiving and second in receiving touchdowns (47) in the red zone. He only trails Davante Adams with 59 receiving touchdowns in the red area since 2014, per TruMedia.   

If you’re desperate like me and started Edmonds, his usage looked concerning in Week 4. Raheem Mostert took on most of the snaps and rushing attempts, so Edmonds got a bit lucky, though he dropped a second touchdown early in Thursday’s game. With Tua Tagovailoa already ruled out for Week 5, there are questions surrounding how the Dolphins will operate. 

Two Colts, Mo Alie-Cox and Michael Pittman, showed up with two red zone targets in Week 4. However, Alie-Cox continued the touchdown efficiency with two scores, yet Pittman scored zero. Also, these targets and touchdowns came in goal-to-go situations in Week 4. 

high-value opportunities

Since it’s a small sample in Week 4 for high-value receiving opportunities, let’s look at the season-long numbers. The visual above shows the raw totals for the receiving high-value opportunities throughout the season. We have many of the same names from last week’s high-value touch report, so let’s sort by the percentage of the team’s targets. 

high-value opportunities

There’s a mix of noise and players to monitor. Equanimeous St. Brown leads the pack with a 50% target share in the red zone. DK Metcalf and Brandin Cooks, high target share is positive. However, context matters with the low volume of routes, plus Cooks has garnered four targets and Metcalf with six. 

The other outlier players include Noah Brown, Damien Harris and Pat Freiermuth, with the latter two running very few routes. Harris and Freiermuth come with the most risk, given their low red zone usage. Brown has been a pleasant surprise with Michael Gallup injured, and we’ll want to monitor Brown’s role with their top pass-catchers healthy. 

High-Value Touches: Goal-To-Go Rushing

Some of the wildest numbers come from the high-value rushes in goal-to-go situations. Williams has been efficient with four touchdowns on 11 carries, with Mixon scoring zero on 11 rushing attempts. Then we have Antonio Gibson with seven carries and -2 yards rushing, yet two rushing scores. 

Taylor, Jacobs and James Conner have been inefficient, with less than 10 rushing yards each and one touchdown. Meanwhile, Harris scored three times on six carries with 20 yards rushing in goal-to-go situations. Conner and Mixon seem like prime buy-low candidates based on the high-value touches. On the flip side, it’s probably a good time to shop Gibson and Harris for running back needy teams. 

High-Value Opportunities: Goal-To-Go Receiving

Let’s highlight a few receivers in this section who have garnered high-value opportunities in goal-to-go situations. Reynolds tied for third with five targets, three of which came in Week 4 against the Seahawks. A reminder in Week 4, the Lions played without Amon-Ra St. Brown and D.J. Chark. Reynolds finished second on the team with a 20.5% target share and third in air yards (79) for a 20.1% air yards share.

Reynolds caught seven of eight targets for 81 receiving yards, translating into an uber-efficient 1.03 Receiver Air Yard Conversion Rate (RACR). For context, from Week 1-3, Reynolds garnered a 14.8% target share and 25.4% air yards share. His 15.1 aDOT (average depth of target) in the first three games dropped to 9.9 in Week 4, allowing him to convert the opportunities. Although Reynolds made the most of his Week 4 opportunity, we’ll note the Seahawks’ pass defense ranks last with 9.02 yards per attempt. 

Harris received zero high-value goal-to-go opportunities in Week 4 but still tied for third with five targets. Meanwhile, Rhamondre Stevenson hasn’t received a single high-value target. However, Stevenson has run 66 routes total versus Harris at 36. 

The final receiver to monitor includes Isaiah McKenzie, who ran 19.5 routes out of the slot per game (No. 19). That’s five more per game than Stefon Diggs,  and 4.5 more than Jamison Crowder at 15.5. Crowder suffered a broken ankle, and McKenzie went into the concussion protocol this week.

Monitor McKenzie’s status since all four high-value opportunities in goal-to-go situations came out of the slot. Also, McKenzie’s touchdown efficiency is through the roof, with three touchdowns on four targets. While we don’t want to rely on touchdown efficiency, McKenzie’s slot role and high-value opportunities keep him viable in deep leagues on a team that averages the fourth-highest pass attempts per game. 

Third & Fourth Down Receiving Opportunities

Even without playing in Week 4, Amon-Ra St. Brown ranks second with 15 targets with Garrett Wilson. Chris Olave also ranks highly in opportunities on third and fourth down. The two other surprises inside the top 12 are Amari Cooper and Noah Brown. Cooper’s overall 25.2% target share ranks 22nd with a 37.5% air yards share (No. 12).

We love the overall opportunity metrics, but you should expect some up-and-down games with Jacoby Brissett at quarterback. The Browns also rank 23rd in pass attempts per game, 25th in yards passing per game and 25th in yards per attempt at 6.5. After two straight games with double-digit targets and more than 100 yards receiving with a touchdown in Week 2 and 3, look for Cooper to get back on track in Week 5. 

In Gallup’s return in Week 4, Brown garnered a 23.1% target share and a 33.5% air yards share. Through four games, Brown ranks 32nd with a 28.5% air yards share and an efficient 0.961 RACR. Cooper Rush has been keeping CeeDee Lamb afloat the last couple of weeks, and Brown might be a volatile WR4, assuming Gallup’s usage increases. Keep an eye on Brown, and don’t cut him yet in deeper formats. 

When sorting by the percentage of team attempts on third and fourth down, Olave moves to the top at 41.2%. Towards the end of the top-12, DeVonta Smith and Richie James raise eyebrows as potential go-to receivers for their quarterbacks. Smith is notable because Jalen Hurts targeted A.J. Brown and Smith on third and fourth down at a high rate.

Unfortunately, I didn’t write up Smith before the season, but I often targeted the cheaper receiver in the Eagles’ offense. It’s positive to see the Eagles have the most efficient passing offense with a 9.1 YPA, yet 30.8 attempts per game (No. 24). 

WATCH MORE: Josh Fewster Discusses One Rookie You Should Start in Week 5

 

 

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