Fantasy Football

Week 13 NFL red zone targets, touches

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Michael Harmon

Mike is a fantasy contributor for>>

The games of Week 13 end with a highly-anticipated matchup between the Giants and Redskins. It’s a game replete with storylines, both in the “real” NFL world and in fantasyland. After all, the Redskins are making a surge behind Robert Griffin III for a playoff berth. Griffin III finally has his top option, Pierre Garcon, healthy to lead the receiving corps. On the other sideline, fans and fantasy owners are curious to see how the Giants play following the Week 12 demolition of the Packers. Is Eli Manning back? Will he deliver big numbers?

So, it’s really not that different. It’s all about the playoffs.

Let’s take a deeper look inside the box scores to recognize the good, bad and ugly of another wild week in the NFL. I’ll spare you the “Carson Palmer posted another great game in comeback mode” line for this week. In fact, you can pencil that in for Week 14, as the Raiders will likely play with a deficit against the Broncos on Thursday. I digress.

Red Zone Carries

Bryce Brown electrified the fantasy world for a second straight week with a fantastic performance against the Cowboys, his fumble returned for a touchdown notwithstanding. Brown scored on both his red zone touches against the Cowboys, producing 15 rushing yards. He finished the game with 169 yards on 24 carries while adding four receptions for 14 yards. He’s already produced 16 runs of at least 10 yards in his 75 carries to start the season.

Bill Belichick demonstrated his love for fantasy football owners once again by calling Stevan Ridley’s number in close quarters. Ridley scored for the fourth consecutive game and topped all running backs in Week 13 with six red zone carries. He finished the game with 71 yards on 19 carries to vault past the 1,000-yard mark for the season (1,010).

As expected, Trent Richardson excelled against the Raiders in the Browns’ Week 13 road victory. Richardson toted the ball five times in the red zone, producing 14 yards with a touchdown, his seventh rushing touchdown of the season. Richardson finished the game with 95 total yards on 23 touches.

Alas, BenJarvus Green-Ellis was unable to take advantage of his red zone carries against the Chargers. Green-Ellis carried the ball four times, earning just nine yards in the red zone and watched Andy Dalton plunge in for a rushing touchdown of his own. Green-Ellis did earn his third consecutive 100-yard game, however, producing 118 yards on 25 carries. He added four receptions for 14 yards.

Frank Gore was hardly dominant against the Rams in the 49ers’ 16-13 loss in St. Louis, but he did find the end zone for the sixth time this season. Gore tied for third among all running backs with four red zone touches, producing two yards with a touchdown. He needs 18 yards to reach 1,000 for the season. Gore has ripped off 37 runs of at least 10 yards this season, second only to Adrian Peterson.

Red Zone Targets

I felt that I needed to talk about the effort put forth by tight end Brandon Myers early in this composition. The Oakland tight end hauled in his lone red zone target for a 17-yard touchdown from Carson Palmer in comeback mode against the Browns. Myers caught 14-of-15 targets in Sunday’s home loss for 130 yards. Myers is tied for 28th among all receivers with 88 targets, producing 69 receptions for 721 yards. Only three tight ends (Witten, Gonzalez and Graham have been targeted more frequently this season).

Demaryius Thomas caught 2-of-3 red zone targets for 18 yards, including two touchdowns against the Buccaneers. Thomas finished the Broncos’ home win with 99 yards on eight receptions, his sixth game with at least 99 receiving yards this season.

Donnie Avery appeared to be taking on the role of lead blocker for Andrew Luck in the waning moments of the Colts’ win over the Lions. Instead, Luck flipped the ball to Avery, who essentially walked into the end zone for his second touchdown reception of the day. Avery caught 5-of-14 targets for 91 yards, his highest production since Week 9. Both of his touchdown receptions were red zone targets. Avery tied for the league lead with four red zone targets (two receptions for 31 yards).

Keep an eye on San Francisco’s Mario Manningham down the stretch. He’s been more active in the passing game with Colin Kaepernick under center. In Week 13, he caught each of his three red zone targets for 18 yards. Manningham finished the loss with five receptions and 37 receiving yards, his second straight game with five receptions.

Who did Philip Rivers turn to in the red zone during the Chargers’ Week 13 home loss to Cincinnati? He threw the ball three times to Ronnie Brown, who caught two passes for 16 yards. Malcom Floyd failed to catch either of his red zone targets.

Should we take some comfort in the fact that Larry Fitzgerald was targeted twice in the red zone against the Jets? Fitzgerald caught neither pass and finished the game with one reception and 23 receiving yards.

Kyle Rudolph continued his red zone dominance against the Packers. Rudolph corralled both of his red zone targets for 11 yards, including a seven-yard touchdown pass from Christian Ponder. The second-year tight end has scored in three consecutive games (eight overall).

Red Zone Passing Attempts

Andy Dalton completed 5-of-7 red zone attempts for 46 yards, including a touchdown pass to Jermaine Gresham. Dalton extended his streak of multi-touchdown games to four by adding a rushing touchdown. He finished the game with 211 passing yards and two interceptions in the road win.

Peyton Manning completed three of his six red zone attempts for 19 yards against the Buccaneers. All three of those completions were touchdown passes (two to Thomas and one to Mitch Unrein, a defensive lineman from Wyoming). Manning passed for 242 yards with one interception. He’s surpassed the 3,500-yard marker in this contest and raised his touchdown total to 29.

Earl Bennett and Matt Forte caught red zone touchdown passes from Jay Cutler in the Bears’ 23-17 home loss to Seattle. Cutler completed 2-of-3 red zone attempts for 24 yards, and finished the day with 233 passing yards. It was Cutler’s highest yardage output since Week 5.

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Andrew Luck was terribly efficient in his red zone efforts, producing just two completions in seven attempts. Both of those passes, however, were caught for touchdowns by Donnie Avery. Luck overcame a shaky start to produce a monster day for fantasy owners. He passed for 391 yards with four touchdowns (Coby Fleener and LaVon Brazill) with three interceptions and two sacks.

Let’s give a nod to Brady Quinn and the Chiefs following their tremendous home effort against the Panthers. Quinn completed 2-of-3 red zone passes for 11 yards with two touchdown passes. He completed 19-of-23 attempts overall against a strong Carolina pass defense, producing 201 yards while avoiding the turnover issues that have plagued this squad.

Random Stat Checks

“Let’s get this straight. These DBs are just ordinary guys.” – Brandon Marshall on the starting Seattle cornerbacks.

Marshall talked during the week about the anticipation of playing against the vaunted Seattle secondary. He dominated play downfield, including a fantastic post-up move that set up Robbie Gould’s game-tying field goal to send the game into overtime. Marshall caught 10-of-14 targets overall for 165 yards, including a 56-yard grab. The monster wideout has already amassed 1,182 yards on 91 receptions with four games remaining.

Cecil Shorts III continued his magic against the Bills before exiting with a concussion (he’s expected to be ready for Week 14). Shorts III caught 7-of-12 targets for 77 yards and scored for the fourth consecutive game. He needs 176 yards over the final four games to reach 1,000 for the season.

If you blinked, you missed Wes Welker’s first 10 targets. Welker caught Tom Brady’s lone touchdown pass of the game and finished the day with 12 receptions and 103 receiving yards. He’s logged at least six receptions in 10 consecutive games.

Calvin Johnson led all receivers with 20 targets in Week 13. He caught 13 passes for 171 yards and scored for the fourth consecutive game. Johnson has amassed 1,428 receiving yards this season. Is the “Madden Jinx” officially dead?

New England tight end Aaron Hernandez didn’t find the end zone, but fantasy owners received a strong performance in the Patriots’ win over Miami. Hernandez caught 8-of-13 targets for 97 yards, his best output of the season.

Anquan Boldin was the receiving star for Joe Flacco in Sunday’s loss to Pittsburgh. Boldin caught 5-of-12 targets for 81 yards, including a touchdown reception. Teammate Torrey Smith was ineffective against the Steelers once again, producing three receptions for 33 yards on eight targets.

Can I bemoan the fact that Ray Rice only touched the ball 13 times here as well? Rice ripped off a 34-yard touchdown run to save an otherwise pedestrian day. He finished the game with 83 total yards (12 carries for 78 yards).

On the other side of that game, Mike Wallace offered another tepid effort for fantasy owners. Wallace caught five passes for 44 yards on eight targets. That’s a passable effort from the WR3 slot in PPR leagues.

Russell Wilson ran the Bears ragged en route to a thrilling overtime win that ended with a touchdown pass to Sidney Rice (five touchdowns in his past five games). Wilson passed for 293 yards with two touchdown passes and added 71 rushing yards. It was his fifth consecutive multi-touchdown game, a period during which the rookie from Wisconsin has turned the ball over only twice.

Rice finished the contest with 99 receiving yards.

Tony Romo took advantage of a great spot on the schedule and led the Cowboys to a high-scoring win over the Eagles. Romo passed for 303 yards with three touchdowns (14 rushing yards). It was his seventh 300-yard game of the season.

Dez Bryant logged his fourth consecutive game with a touchdown reception. Bryant caught all six of his targets for 98 yards with two touchdowns. The third-year receiver needs 22 yards to reach 1,000 for the season.

Matt Schaub was efficient against the Titans, producing two early touchdown passes to Lester Jean and James Casey. Schaub has thrown 11 touchdown passes in his past five starts following a slow start to the season.

Tagged: Bears, Bengals, Browns, Cowboys, Broncos, Lions, Colts, Chiefs, Raiders, Vikings, Patriots, Giants, Eagles, 49ers, Seahawks, Redskins, Ravens, Steelers, Chargers, Texans, Peyton Manning, Carson Palmer, Matt Schaub, Eli Manning, Frank Gore, Ronnie Brown, Jay Cutler, Brandon Marshall, Brady Quinn, Sidney Rice, Donnie Avery, Ray Rice, Earl Bennett, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Brandon Myers, Dez Bryant, Demaryius Thomas, Andy Dalton, Robert Griffin III, Andrew Luck, Trent Richardson, Bryce Brown

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