Welcome back to the Week 11 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.
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 11 high-value touch report.
High-Value Touches: Season-Long Red Zone Rushing
In Week 11, Devin Singletary led the league with eight carries in the red zone for four first downs and one score. That led to Singletary jumping to 23 total red zone rush attempts on the season. Against the Browns, Singletary totaled 18 carries (60%), James Cook had 11 (37%), and Nyheim Hines had one. We’ll want a piece of the Bills’ backfield down the stretch, so add Cook where available.
Jonathan Taylor and Jalen Hurts tied with six carries, then Marcus Mariota (5), Ezekiel Elliott (4) and Antonio Gibson (4) rounded out the top six. Sneakily, Gibson ranks 13th with 22 red zone rush attempts and has the fourth-most high-value touches heading into Week 11.
Hurts and Miles Sanders have combined for 60 carries in the red zone this season, with 13 total touchdowns. Although Dameon Pierce has 26 red zone carries (No. 6), he finished with 10 carries, eight rushing yards, two catches and nine receiving yards against the Commanders. The Texans’ offense struggled with 148 total yards, and Davis Mills rushed three times with Pierce at one in the red zone.
Heading into Week 11, the Commanders allowed the 27th-most fantasy points to the running back position. Treat the Commanders as a challenging matchup. Since Week 6, they rank fourth in defensive total rushing EPA/G and ninth in overall defensive EPA/G.
High-Value Opportunities: Season-Long Red Zone Receiving
In an exciting Sunday night football game, Travis Kelce earned four targets with two receptions, 21 receiving yards and two touchdowns in the red zone. Meanwhile, Josh Palmer finished with a massive day (10-8-106-2) and a 34.5% target share (No. 4), with Mike Williams re-injuring his ankle.
Against the Titans, rookie WR Christian Watson caught two out of three targets for 22 receiving yards and two touchdowns. One of Watson’s touchdowns came in a goal-to-go situation, giving him five scores during the past two games. Watson joined five other receivers with at least two touchdowns in two or more games, including Davante Adams, Brandon Aiyuk, Christian Kirk, Jaylen Waddle and Ja’Marr Chase.
Unsurprisingly, Kelce remained a red zone stud with several Chiefs receivers out with an injury. Kelce has 10 total receiving touchdowns in the red zone with Kirk (7) and Amari Cooper (6) rounding out the top three. In Week 11, Austin Ekeler received two targets and tied with rookie Isaiah Spiller. Although Ekeler had zero high-value opportunities in the red zone in Week 11, he has 13 targets (No. 10) on the season. The next closest running back in targets in the red zone is Joe Mixon at nine (No. 26). Pick up Samaje Perine and Spiller since Ekeler (No. 1) and Mixon (No. 2) have the most high-value touches before Week 11.
On Monday night, the 49ers smashed the Cardinals, as Jimmy Garoppolo threw four touchdowns with two each to George Kittle and Aiyuk. Two of Aiyuk’s four targets came in the red zone in Week 11, and he scored twice with 20 receiving yards. Aiyuk has 11 targets in the red zone with eight receptions and five touchdowns on the season. Meanwhile, Deebo Samuel has five receptions on 10 targets with only one receiving score. After being the most efficient receiver in 2021 with 6.1 FPOE/G, Samuel’s efficiency has tanked to -2.5 FPOE/G (No. 219). Although the 49ers have tons of offensive weapons, expect Samuel’s efficiency to improve with the ninth-best EP/G heading into Week 11.
High-Value Touches: Goal-To-Go Rushing
Jamaal Williams rushed three times in goal-to-go situations and scored each time in Week 11. Elliott remained the only other running back to score multiple rushing touchdowns in Week 11. Williams extended his season lead with 23 high-value touches in goal-to-go situations and has scored a rushing touchdown on every 2.3 carries. Thankfully, D’Andre Swift scored one touchdown on a goal-to-go carry with two high-value rush attempts. Swift’s usage isn’t great for fantasy managers, and it concerns us each week. The high touchdown rate should regress for Williams, but it might not happen until 2023.
Unfortunately, Mixon suffered a concussion, so Perine became the Bengals’ star for Week 11. Perine caught all four targets for 52 receiving yards and three touchdowns against the Steelers. Early in the game, the Bengals leaned on the running backs in the receiving game, with Mixon hauling in all three targets for 42 receiving yards. That’s notable because Mixon had the fourth-highest target share (21.9%) in Weeks 8-9 before their bye week. Perine should garner a heavy workload if Mixon misses time, especially in the passing game. It’s the time of year to start rostering high-end backup running backs in offenses that feed their backs high-value touches.
With J.D. McKissic out with a neck injury, Gibson’s stock rises since he possesses the receiving skills. Gibson ranked fourth with 12 carries in goal-to-go situations through Week 11 with three rushing touchdowns. In Weeks 9-11 without McKissic, Gibson has a 12.2% target share (No. 12) with Brian Robinson at 2.7% (No. 64). Robinson edged Gibson in rush share (45.4% to 36.1%) during the past three weeks, but Gibson has 11 to Robinson’s four high-value touches. It might be too late, but acquire Gibson where you can, and he’ll probably be better than Swift, which hurts to say out loud.
High-Value Opportunities: Goal-To-Go Receiving
Kelce (10), Ekeler (9), Mecole Hardman (5) and Kirk (5) round out the top four in high-value touches via goal-to-go receptions. Kelce is a massive touchdown outlier with eight in goal-to-go situations. However, he already tied his career-high with 11 total touchdowns, and he’s a record-setting talent. Since 2018, Kelce has four seasons with 10 or more touchdowns with 42 total, per TruMediaSports. The Chiefs’ offense runs through Kelce, but rookies Skyy Moore and Isiah Pacheco headlined Week 11.
Although it’s been ugly, Drake London has four receptions (No. 5), which is tied with Allen Robinson. London has relied on touchdowns during the past three games with a measly nine receptions and 63 receiving yards (No. 78). After averaging 27 pass attempts and 334 air yards per game during the past three weeks, the Falcons’ passing offense looked like it was trending up. Unfortunately, Mariota totaled 20 pass attempts, with another underwhelming game from their pass catchers this past week. Another frustrating game from a fantasy perspective if you roster London and Kyle Pitts, who suffered a torn MCL, which further adds to the pain.
Third & Fourth Down Receiving Opportunities
In Week 11, Kelce, Adams and Allen Lazard ranked second with five high-value opportunities on third and fourth down. On Monday night, DeAndre Hopkins supplanted them with six targets, and Greg Dortch garnered five with the negative game script. Unfortunately, Rondale Moore suffered a groin injury early in the game and did not return.
Dortch slotted in for nine receptions on 10 targets (22.7%) and 103 receiving yards. He is a cheap fill-in for Moore in deep leagues with multiple flex spots.
From Weeks 9-11, Lazard leads the Packers with a 26% target share (No. 16) while Watson has a 16.7% (No. 49) target share. Aaron Rodgers favors Lazard in these scenarios, however, Watson has five touchdowns and Lazard has one touchdown during the last three games.
Before diving into the season-long high-value opportunities on third and fourth down, let’s touch on Demarcus Robinson. He had three targets in these situations and caught all nine of his total targets for a team-leading 128 receiving yards. With Mark Andrews returning, Lamar Jackson heavily targeted Robinson, which resulted in the second-highest receiving yardage total of Robinson’s career. It’s hard to rely on any Ravens receivers with their inconsistency.
Adams tied Chris Olave with 32 high-value opportunities on third and fourth down with Olave garnering two in Week 11. Cooper continues to be one of the more underrated receivers garnering high-value opportunities in the red zone and on third/fourth down.
Since Hopkins returned from suspension in Week 7, he has the fifth-most targets in these situations and the second-highest overall target share (31.9%). Look for Hopkins to creep up the high-value touches and opportunities leaderboards with that elite volume.
- Add Dortch with Moore’s injury. The Cardinals will get him the ball with Moore out.
- Take Perine, Spiller and any backup running back behind the leaders in high-value touches. Several others include Matt Breida, Zamir White or Ameer Abdullah and Cook.
- Hold Lazard and Palmer with Lazard earning 14 targets and Palmer at 13 on third/fourth down from Weeks 6-11.
- Don’t sell low, but downgrade Swift since Justin Jackson has grabbed a decent workload, making him a deep-league pickup.
- Add Robinson in deep formats. It seems like he and Jackson are on the same page.
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