One of the best plays that gives a WR a chance to score a touchdown is targets in the Red Zone. We want to see a high team average mixed with a high reception/target result. This graph below gives us just that. This helps show which players are actively involved in their team’s Red Zone offense and which ones are not (players not on the graph). I will be graphing the top 50 WRs each week moving forward (for this graph and any others) unless otherwise noted.
Some surprising names that didn’t make it on here. I am going to give you their stats which in some cases are almost shocking. We will look at some of these players and outline what may be going on with each and if I feel that they can rebound from these numbers.
|Player||Red Zone Receptions||Red Zone Targets|
Brandin Cooks – the Texans have no choice but to get Cooks more involved in the Red Zone if they want to compete at all this year. He has gotten off to a very poor start this year even though he’s posted 7 targets per a game (good for 26th in the league) and strong metrics in route participation (19th) and target separation vs Man coverage (#13). A big part of his struggle is also that he ranks 66th in Catchable Target Rate which directly relates to Mills having a worse year than his rookie season. All and all I think Cooks is going to see increases in his stats due to the field potentially tightening up in the middle with Dameon Pierce running fairly consistently.
CeeDee Lamb – I truly believe these numbers are from the conservative game plan that has been instilled with Cooper Rush at the helm of the Dallas offense. Lamb should see significantly better Red Zone numbers with Prescott back on the field. The passing offense in the Red Zone has been almost non-existent. Lamb is tied for the league lead in Target Share at 33.3% but that drops to 15.8% in the Red Zone. This is one of the main reasons Lamb has only seen caught two touchdowns on the season.
Darnell Mooney – Mooney has seen brighter weeks recently; two of the last three he has put up serviceable flex numbers after not even scratching this option for the first three weeks of the season. The Bears have found a couple ways to win games this season and it’s directly lead to utilizing their talented ground game while not asking Fields to do too much through the air. He ranks 82nd in the league with a 63.6% Catchable Target Rate so roughly one third of the balls thrown his way have no chance. However there is hope as he ranks 18th in Contested Catch Rate and 16th in Yards Per a Pass Attempt. As the season goes on and this offense gets more comfortable I see the field opening up a bit more for Mooney. I’m not sure he’ll get back to last year’s numbers but I think he’ll average around 10 pts a game from here on out and we will see positive touchdown regression as the season goes on.
Gabriel Davis – what a unique situation here. Davis is getting no Red Zone love because apparently he doesn’t need to be anywhere near it to score. He has a Target Share of only 7.4% when he gets into the Red Zone. Allen just doesn’t look at him in an area where Diggs and McKenzie have seen much more love. Even 2021 Red Zone favorite Dawson Knox has fallen out of favor to Allen, he’s down to a 9.7% Red Zone Target Share. I do expect Davis to get over a 15% target Share in the Red Zone by season end but expect Allen to look for him as their big play option regularly. It’s just unfortunate that when the field gets tight he’s not even being considered.