Long has it been said in fantasy football that a red zone target has more value than other areas on the field, and you’d expect it to. In most (if not all) scoring settings a TD is given the same points as a 60-yard reception (or slightly less in PPR leagues).
But, how much more are we talking about? And is there anything we can take from looking at how individual players performed in the red zone?
Red Zone Target Value: Determining Stats
The first thing to do is to define the red zone. In future articles, we might take a look at the value of other areas within the 20, but for right now we are just looking at anywhere in the 20-yard zone.
Then, in looking at what a player has done in the red zone, and comparing it to their entire offensive output. We can then determine the difference in scoring.
Red Zone Target Value: Points Per Touch
The next step is to then look at the fantasy points that are scored from each touch. Then we can determine how much more valuable a touch is in the red zone in comparison to the rest of the field.
For this, I looked only at the top 64 receiving players (on targets) in any given season, to remove a lot of the players who would skew the result. That gave me this;
So in unlike rushes, the value of a target has remained similar over the past three years. However, they are still worth just slightly less than double of a target in other areas of the field.
Red Zone Target Value: 2020 Outlook
But really, what does this matter? Going into it we knew the value that a red zone target would be higher. However, what we can do is look at some players that are significantly above or below that line in 2019.
That should enable us to try and work out some players that could be inline to regress next season (where their ratio is far higher), or that could improve (where their ratio is far lower).
Unlike with Running Backs, there isn’t a player that is factors above the average. However, it’s certainly interesting that all of the top tier of talent is above average. With the exception of Davante Adams.
Adams certainly struggled last season with a new offense and with increased coverage. It is worth nothing, however, that his 2018 season data would’ve put him at the top of the pile with a score of 3.56.
Outside of that, I think that we can expect an uptick in RZ-points for Odell Beckham, Stefon Diggs and Deebo Samuel. All three had fewer points per touch in the red zone than outside of it!
Red Zone Target Value: Summary
I’m not saying that this is the be-all and end-all when it comes to drafting, and I’m certainly not saying that this is something that can be entirely relied upon season to season.
However, what I am saying is that it’s something to bare in mind. If a player is as effective in the red zone as they are outside, that is going to mean more stability for your team each week.
Equally, if a player doesn’t get that many red zone targets and still finishes towards the top of the scoring tables? You’ve just found a gem that could break out and become a league winner.
Image Credit: Kirby Lee – USA TODAY Sports