Red Zone Carries + Targets: Week 11 Preview

Erik Smith previews week 11's red zone usage, including positive projections for Tevin Coleman and Saquon Barkley.

(Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire)

Week 11 features six teams on their bye week (BUF, CLE, MIA, NE, NYJ, SF). This article will skip players on those teams, as well as players in the Thursday night game (GB, SEA). My week 11 leaders in red zone carries+targets are listed below. Projected carries+targets should be given more weight than projected points, as projected points can still see a big swing depending on the outcomes of just a few red zone opportunities. Fantasy points are based on PPR scoring.

Thanks to Pro Football Reference for their excellent red zone data and play index.

Please note: This is a red zone article. Projections and rankings are based on red zone usage only


Week 11 Red Zone Projections: RB Top 10 Carries+Targets

Player Proj C+T Proj RZ Pts
Todd Gurley 9.4 18.0
Alvin Kamara 8.5 16.3
Kareem Hunt 4.4 10.2
James Conner 4.1 8.4
Saquon Barkley 4.0 4.9
Melvin Gordon 3.7 9.1
Ezekiel Elliott 3.6 4.6
Christian McCaffrey 3.3 7.3
David Johnson 2.8 5.5
Tevin Coleman 2.6 4.9

Noteworthy Week 11 RBs

Tevin Coleman

In my week 9 preview, I highlighted Tevin Coleman as a red zone disappointment, as he had gone three straight games without a red zone carry and was taking a back seat to Ito Smith in scoring position. In the two games since, however, Coleman has nearly doubled his red zone usage for the whole year. With six red-zone carries over the last two weeks, good for eighth in the NFL, to go along with four red zone targets, tied for fourth in the NFL (wide receivers and tight ends included), Coleman has reemerged as a solid fantasy option. Coleman was actually a bit unfortunate to score only one red zone touchdown in the last two games, though he did add a long receiving touchdown to make up for the missed points.

After two games on the road, the Falcons return home to face the Dallas Cowboys in week 11, where they have posted point totals of 31,37,36, 34, and 23 points this season. While the Cowboys have a solid defense, going to Atlanta is a challenge for any defense. If Coleman maintains his recent red zone usage, he stands an excellent chance to score a touchdown. Coleman looks like a solid RB2 this week in season-long leagues and a sneaky lower-owned play in daily fantasy tournaments.

Saquon Barkley

Saquon Barkley‘s elite overall usage, especially in the passing game, has made him a top 10 running back in most fantasy leagues. Barkley has disappointed in the red zone this year, however, scoring only 39 PPR points inside the 20 and only 15 PPR points inside the 10. Here he is compared to other running backs with similar carries+targets this year:

Player RZ C+T RZ Pts
Kareem Hunt 34 78.3
James Conner 34 70.0
Ezekiel Elliott 34 43.9
Saquon Barkley 32 39.4
Melvin Gordon 30 73.8

Week 11 presents Barkley with one of his best red zone projections of the year in a home matchup against a struggling Tampa Bay team. Vegas has consistently projected the Giants with low point totals but projects them with the sixth most points in the league this week at 26.5. The Giants have often been trailing this year, leading to an unbalanced 32 carries compared to 59 targets in the red zone. As slight favorites, the Giants appear more likely to be playing with a lead than in previous games, likely leading to more red zone rushing opportunities. Barkley has a shot to be the week’s highest scoring running back.

Phillip Lindsay

While Phillip Lindsay is clearly the most talented running back in the Broncos backfield, Royce Freeman‘s potential return after a two-game absence will still eat into Linday’s usage to some degree. Without Freeman for the last two games, Lindsay’s five red zone carries+targets were fairly mediocre, in large part to a struggling offense. Week 11 doesn’t provide much hope for improvement as the Broncos are seven-point underdogs on the road against the Chargers and are projected to score just under 20 points, the leagues 2nd lowest total this week. Lindsay has received a solid 24% of his team’s red zone carries+targets this year, but the Broncos may not provide him with enough chances in the red zone to take advantage.


Week 11 Red Zone Projections: WR Top 10 Carries+Targets

Player Proj C+T Proj RZ Pts
Michael Thomas 3.0 9.8
JuJu Smith-Schuster 2.4 3.7
Odell Beckham 2.3 3.4
Brandin Cooks 2.0 5.2
Sterling Shepard 1.8 3.5
DeAndre Hopkins 1.7 5.2
Sammy Watkins 1.6 3.8
Antonio Brown 1.6 2.9
Adam Thielen 1.5 4.1
Corey Davis 1.4 1.6

Noteworthy Week 11 WRs

Corey Davis

Corey Davis sneaks into the top ten on my red zone carries+targets projections on the strength of his last three games, where he has received seven red zone targets total. Davis was unable to take advantage of his increased chances, with his only red zone touchdown of the year coming back in week four against the Eagles. This may allow him to fly a bit under the radar, however, as he has otherwise looked like a potential breakout candidate over the last two weeks since the Titans’ bye week.

If the Titans continue to look like a real NFL offense, Davis may be able to begin living up to the hype that many fantasy owners had for him at the start of the year. He faces a Colts defense that has faced some poor passing offenses lately, yet still has allowed touchdowns to players like Donte Moncrief, Seth Roberts, and Brandon LaFell over the last two games. With 16% of Tennessee’s red zone carries+targets in the red zone this year, Davis is creeping up towards the other elite fantasy wide receivers. Now he just needs to turn his scoring chances into fantasy points.

Courtland Sutton

Despite being involved in the passing game all year, Courtland Sutton has only seen four red zone targets, good for only 6% of Denver’s red zone carries+targets. Oddly enough, all four of his targets came in the same game, week 5 against the Jets. The trade of Demaryius Thomas seemed to open up more opportunities for the rookie, but Sutton did not see a red zone target in the one game so far without Thomas. Considering Sutton has not received a red zone target in eight of nine games this season, he should be seen as a big play dependent WR3 at best until his role grows.


Week 11 Red Zone Projections: TE Top 10 Carries+Targets

Player Proj C+T Proj RZ Pts
Eric Ebron 2.1 7.4
Travis Kelce 2.0 6.1
Zach Ertz 1.9 5.2
Ben Watson 1.3 3.2
Austin Hooper 1.3 3.9
Jeff Heuerman 1.1 1.7
Trey Burton 1.1 4.0
Jared Cook 0.9 2.2
Gerald Everett 0.8 1.7
O.J. Howard 0.8 4.1

Noteworthy Week 11 TEs

Austin Hooper

After a two-game absence in the red zone, Austin Hooper bounced back with four red zone targets last week, including three from inside the 10-yard line. As noted above when talking about Coleman, the Falcons look primed to score early and often this week at home. In a matchup against a Cowboys team that just got destroyed by Zach Ertz, look for the Falcons to test their linebackers with Hooper. There aren’t many tight ends that can boast three games with nine or more catches as Hooper can, and an increased red zone presence would put Hooper squarely among the top fantasy tight ends in season-long leagues. He should be a good mid-priced option in daily fantasy as well.

Ricky Seals-Jones

While Ricky Seals-Jones is a startable streaming option this week against the Raiders, don’t confuse him as a red zone threat. Seals-Jones only has two red zone targets all year, with zero chances in Arizona’s last three games. He’s still worth a start for desperate owners in season-long leagues, but he may not have the upside needed in daily fantasy to be worthy of a roster spot, even versus a Raiders team that is very giving to the tight end position this year.


Red Zone GIF of the Week

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When Julio Jones scores his first red zone touchdown of the season, the fantasy community takes notice. Jones is truly a fantasy marvel, as he is the first receiver to 1,000 yards this season, a perennial top 10 wide receiver, and a player who doesn’t need touchdowns to be a first-round pick. Four or five more touchdowns like this every year and he would be in consideration with Antonio Brown as the first wide receiver taken in fantasy drafts.

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