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Week 10 fantasy red zone targets
• Alas, Matt Forte registered just 37 rushing yards on 16 carries.
• Jay Cutler left the game at halftime because of a concussion following a two-interception first half.
• You did get to see a handful of turnovers, as you may have expected.
While the Bears and Texans failed to light up the scoreboard, Sunday’s games were marked with some fantastic performances and high point totals. Of course, many other would-be heroes left us shaking our heads.
• We can point to the shootout win by Drew Brees and the Saints over the Falcons. He threw two touchdown passes to Jimmy Graham (146 receiving yards) and one to Marques Colston to inch the Saints back toward respectability.
• Fred Jackson rushed for 80 yards with two touchdowns before exiting with what is believed to be a concussion.
• Sam Bradford passed for 275 yards with two touchdowns in the 24-24 tie against San Francisco.
The day was marked by concussions affecting the quarterback position. Michael Vick left Sunday’s loss to the Cowboys after posting a solid start, including a touchdown pass to Riley Cooper on the Eagles’ first possession. Alex Smith and Jay Cutler, scheduled to meet in Week 11, also left their games because of concussions. We’ll be following their statuses as the countdown to kickoff approaches.
Let’s get inside the numbers with this week’s edition of “Red Zone Alerts.”
Red Zone Rushing
Fantasy owners relegated Steven Jackson to a Flex role or the Bench for Sunday’s divisional tilt against the 49ers. They were surprised to see his final stats if they failed to watch the thrilling tie game in San Francisco. OK, I probably should leave the sarcasm on the side. Jackson produced his first 100-yard game since Week 16 of 2011, carrying the ball a season-high 29 times for 101 yards, including a touchdown (his second of the year). He added two receptions for 26 yards. Jackson carried the ball five times in the red zone for nine yards, including his seven-yard touchdown run. It was the third rushing touchdown allowed by the 49ers this season.
As expected, Stevan Ridley took on a large role for the Patriots against the Bills. He led all running backs with seven red zone targets, producing 10 yards with a touchdown. Ridley rushed 22 times for 98 yards overall, his fifth game with at least 98 rushing yards this season (814 with six touchdowns).
The Titans rebounded from a pathetic Week 9 effort against the Bears by tearing up the Dolphins on the road. Chris Johnson continued his surge with another 100-yard performance, including a 17-yard touchdown run. He produced 12 rushing yards on three attempts in the red zone overall. Following a dismal start to the 2012 season, Johnson is tied for fourth in rushing yardage with 862 yards. He’s averaging 5.1 yards per carry with four touchdowns.
Cincinnati rose up and pounded the Giants in a home tilt. However, fantasy owners that trusted the potential for a red zone contribution from Andre Brown were rewarded late. Brown accumulated 94 total yards on 12 touches, including a two-yard touchdown run (two red zone carries for two yards). He caught five passes for 29 yards. Brown has scored in four consecutive games.
As expected, the Patriots put up a big point total against the Bills. Fantasy owners probably didn’t expect to see Danny Woodhead among the game’s heroes. Woodhead made the most of his only red zone carry and pass target in the victory, producing 15-yard and 18-yard touchdowns, respectively. The touchdown run was Woodhead’s only carry of the day. He finished the game with four receptions for 46 yards. He’s caught at least four passes in four consecutive games.
Red Zone Targets
Tony Gonzalez failed to corral a fourth-down pass from Matt Ryan that ended the Falcons’ comeback effort against the Saints. Still, he led all receivers with five red zone targets with five. Gonzalez caught three of those targets for 18 yards, including two touchdowns (his first touchdowns since Week 5). Gonzalez finished the game with 11 receptions and 122 receiving yards. It was the future Hall of Famer’s second game this season with a double-digit reception count and 122 yards (123 yards in Week 5 against Washington).
Carolina tight end Greg Olsen nearly matched Gonzalez’s production in the Panthers’ home loss to Denver. Olsen caught nine passes for 102 yards, including two red zone touchdowns. He caught both of his red zone targets for nine yards.
Scott Chandler caught two touchdown passes in the first contest between the Bills and Patriots. He delivered another in Sunday’s loss, a three-yard reception from Ryan Fitzpatrick. Chandler caught five of his eight targets for 65 yards. He’s on the radar as a “Sleeper” for a second straight week with Miami on the docket.
Arian Foster produced a huge first half for the Texans’ in the hard-fought, elements-challenged road win over the Bears. His effort included a short touchdown reception from Matt Schaub that proved to be the difference in the game. Foster was targeted twice in the red zone, producing two receptions for five yards (five receptions for 15 yards overall). Foster rushed 29 times for 102 yards, his sixth game with at least 98 rushing yards this season. He’s scored at least one touchdown in 17 of his past 18 games. He leads all runners with 45 red zone carries this season (10 touchdowns).
* Note that Foster rumbled for 92 yards in the first half before getting shut down by the Chicago defense (and the horrid Soldier Field turf) in the second half.
The long, tiresome drought has ended. Calvin Johnson finally caught a touchdown pass from Matthew Stafford as part of the Lions’ loss to the Vikings. Johnson corralled an 11-yard touchdown reception on his lone red zone target. He finished the game with 12 receptions (13 targets) for 207 yards. Johnson now leads all receivers with 974 receiving yards.
Teammate Brandon Pettigrew also ended a long scoring drought. Pettigrew caught a 16-yard touchdown pass from Stafford, his first touchdown reception since Week 2. He’s caught 42 passes for 417 yards overall.
Felix Jones turned in a strong game in the Cowboys’ divisional win over the Eagles. Jones caught an 11-yard touchdown pass from Tony Romo early in what became a decisive home win. Jones produced a fantastic game overall, generating 93 total yards on 19 touches (three receptions for 22 yards).
Red Zone Passing
Matt Ryan led all quarterbacks with 11 red zone attempts in Week 10 (prior to Ben Roethlisberger’s Monday night effort, of course). He completed seven passes for 36 yards with three touchdown strikes, including a touchdown pass to lineman Mike Johnson. Ryan passed for 411 yards overall (34-for-52) with a sack and an interception. He’s thrown 20 touchdown passes against seven interceptions this season.
Ryan Fitzpatrick completed 5-of-10 red zone attempts for 27 yards with two touchdowns. Alas, he also threw a game-clinching red zone interception. Fitzpatrick passed for 337 yards (27-for-40) with 12 rushing yards, three sacks and a lost fumble. He’s thrown 17 touchdown passes this season against 14 turnovers while averaging 223.4 passing yards.
Matthew Stafford completed all three of his red zone attempts for touchdowns against the Vikings. Stafford passed for 329 yards (28-for-42), adding 13 rushing yards with two sacks. It was his second three-touchdown effort in his past three starts.
On the other side of the game, Christian Ponder completed 4-of-5 red zone attempts for 18 yards, including a touchdown pass. Ponder finished the Vikings’ convincing win with 221 passing yards (24-of-32) with two touchdowns, 15 rushing yards and a sack. Eleven of Ponder’s twelve touchdown passes have been red zone completions. He’s thrown a single red zone interception in 51 attempts (tied for second in the NFL).
Andy Dalton was efficient in the Bengals’ resounding home win over the Giants. Dalton completed 4-of-8 red zone attempts for 28 yards, including three touchdowns. He finished the day with 199 passing yards (21-of-30) with four touchdowns. Dalton was not sacked and finally ended his interception streak.
Random Stat Checks
The 49ers played much of the 24-24 tie against the Rams without Alex Smith, who left the game because of a concussion. Colin Kaepernick was an efficient replacement, completing 11-of-17 attempts for 117 yards while rushing for 66 yards with a touchdown. Kaepernick tied for the second-most runs of at least 10 yards with four. He was sacked three times and fumbled twice, though the 49ers retained possession. Kaepernick may be under center on the big stage next Monday against the Chicago defense.
Brandon Marshall dropped a sure touchdown pass, a huge gaffe in the narrow loss to Houston on Sunday night. Marshall caught eight of his 13 targets for 107 yards, including a 45-yard reception. It was Marshall’s fifth game with at least 98 receiving yards this season. He may be without Jay Cutler for the Monday night showdown with San Francisco.
The Texans took a page from the Chicago playbook and register four takeaways in the rain-soaked contest (two forced fumbles and two interceptions), although the vaunted defensive front did not record a sack.
As expected, Steve Smith was a non-factor in the Panthers’ home loss to the Broncos. He caught just one of his seven targets for 19 yards. Smith figures to be a prime bounce-back candidate in Week 11 against a Tampa Bay secondary that has been very generous to No. 1 wide receivers.
The Dallas defense shot up the rankings board for a big date against the Eagles. The analysis was fairly simple. If the previously lifeless New Orleans defense could sack Michael Vick seven times in Week 9, then surely Rob Ryan could dial up a scheme to harass the embattled quarterback. Dallas finished the day with three touchdowns, including a punt return and two defensive scores (one interception and one fumble). The Cowboys registered two sacks. Take a look at the wire. The Cowboys have another glorious matchup with the Browns on tap.
Eli Manning was shut out for the third consecutive game in a crushing road loss to the Bengals. Manning completed 29-of-46 attempts for 215 yards with two interceptions, a lost fumble and four sacks. In his past three games, Manning has completed just 54.5% of pass attempts with four interceptions with a fumble and seven sacks.
Danny Amendola returned in a big way against the 49ers. Amendola caught 11-of-12 targets for 102 yards and had an 80-yard reception called back because of a penalty at the start of overtime. It was Amendola’s second game with more than 100 receiving yards and a double-digit reception count.
Demaryius Thomas owners had a scare early against the Panthers, as it appeared he’d sustained a leg injury that might sideline him. Thomas returned to the field and produced a big game, generating 135 receiving yards on nine receptions (11 targets). He’s logged five 100-yard games this season with seven performances of at least 77 yards.
The Texans got a win, but Andre Johnson wasn’t able to sustain early success in the passing game. Johnson finished the game with 35 yards on four receptions (nine targets). With Owen Daniels sidelined, the Bears concentrated on stuffing the box against Arian Foster and clamping down on Johnson. His three-game surge (eight or more receptions in three consecutive games with at least 75 yards) ended abruptly.
Anyway, Joe Flacco dominated the Oakland secondary in the resounding victory. Flacco completed 21-of-33 attempts for 341 yards with three passing touchdowns and one interception while adding a rushing touchdown. He led all quarterbacks with five completions of at least 25 yards.
Torrey Smith caught two passes for 67 yards against the Raiders. Both were caught for touchdowns (47 and 20 yards).
Carson Palmer passed for 368 yards (29-for-45) with two touchdowns (Heyward-Bey and Moore), one interception and a lost fumble in the blowout loss. Palmer has passed for at least 298 yards in three of the past four games. He’s thrown multiple touchdown passes in three consecutive games and has a favorable home matchup on tap in Week 11 against the Saints.
Philip Rivers completed 29-of-37 attempts for 337 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown. It was the most inexplicable pass of the day. Rivers connected with “super sleeper” Danario Alexander for an 80-yard touchdown reception early in the game (five receptions for 134 yards) before completing touchdown passes to Antonio Gates and Malcom Floyd later in the loss.
Mark Sanchez completed 9-of-22 attempts for 124 yards with an interception, three sacks and a lost fumble. When does the switch happen?
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