Raymond Summerlin

By the Numbers

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Dominant Red Zone Receivers

Monday, June 26, 2017


Touchdowns are fickle beasts, and projecting them for fantasy football is something of a fool’s errand. Unfortunately, they are also the difference between good and great fantasy assets. In 2016, five of the top-seven receivers recorded double-digit touchdowns, and several tight ends were only fantasy relevant because of their touchdown total. Elite production almost requires elite touchdown numbers, which is why both red-zone opportunities and efficiency are so important.

15 receivers or tight ends scored at least eight touchdowns last year. Of those 15, only four had fewer than 15 red-zone targets, and two of those four – Dez Bryant and Sterling Shepard – converted over 40 percent of their red-zone chances. More tellingly, of the nine players who saw at least 20 red-zone targets, only three had fewer than seven touchdowns. That group averaged 8.1 scores.

The short and obvious story is players who get targeted and are efficient in the red zone put up big touchdown numbers. With that in mind, here is a look at the best red-zone receivers from last season who saw at least five targets inside the 20.

*Stats from ProFootballReference.com

   

Inside 20

Inside 10

Rank

Player

Targets

TD

Conv %

Targets

TD

Conv %

1

Cole Beasley

8

5

62.50%

4

4

100.00%

2

Donte Moncrief

10

6

60.00%

6

6

100.00%

3

Garrett Celek

5

3

60.00%

2

2

100.00%

4

Danny Amendola

7

4

57.14%

2

2

100.00%

5

Dion Sims

7

4

57.14%

5

3

60.00%

6

Tyler Eifert

9

5

55.56%

6

2

33.33%

7

Cameron Brate

16

8

50.00%

7

4

57.14%

8

Sterling Shepard

12

6

50.00%

6

4

66.67%

9

Martellus Bennett

10

5

50.00%

5

4

80.00%

10

Zach Miller

8

4

50.00%

5

3

60.00%

11

Justin Hunter

6

3

50.00%

4

2

50.00%

12

Rishard Matthews

15

7

46.67%

6

5

83.33%

13

Dwayne Allen

9

4

44.44%

5

2

40.00%

14

Hunter Henry

16

7

43.75%

7

5

71.43%

15

Julius Thomas

7

3

42.86%

2

2

100.00%

16

Dez Bryant

12

5

41.67%

7

2

28.57%

17

Jordan Reed

12

5

41.67%

8

5

62.50%

18

Mike Evans

17

7

41.18%

7

5

71.43%

19

Doug Baldwin

15

6

40.00%

7

3

42.86%

20

Justin Hardy

10

4

40.00%

9

4

44.44%

21

JJ Nelson

10

4

40.00%

3

3

100.00%

22

Gary Barnidge

5

2

40.00%

2

1

50.00%

23

Austin Hooper

5

2

40.00%

3

2

66.67%

24

Jalin Marshall

5

2

40.00%

2

1

50.00%

25

Antonio Gates

18

7

38.89%

7

5

71.43%

26

Michael Floyd

13

5

38.46%

6

4

66.67%

27

Jordy Nelson

29

11

37.93%

15

9

60.00%

28

Andre Holmes

8

3

37.50%

6

3

50.00%

29

Michael Thomas

19

7

36.84%

11

6

54.55%

30

Kenny Britt

11

4

36.36%

7

3

42.86%

31

Theo Riddick

14

5

35.71%

6

3

50.00%

32

Davante Adams

20

7

35.00%

10

5

50.00%

33

Kelvin Benjamin

15

5

33.33%

5

3

60.00%

34

Jack Doyle

12

4

33.33%

5

3

60.00%

35

Willie Snead

12

4

33.33%

6

3

50.00%


Tyler Eifert

It is not a surprise to see Eifert near the top of this list. He converted 11 of his 15 red-zone targets (73 percent) into touchdowns in 2015, meaning he has converted two-thirds of his targets in the last two seasons – the league average is 24.67 percent over the last four seasons. Unfortunately, he has played just 21 games over that span, and it is not certain he will be ready for training camp because of offseason back surgery. The upside is undeniable at a position driven by touchdowns, but it is impossible to predict 16 games. That alone keeps him out of the elite tier at tight end.

 

Donte Moncrief

Much like Eifert, Moncrief carries massive touchdown upside when he is healthy, but unlike Eifert, he does not have a long history of injury. Last season was the first time Moncrief really dealt with injuries since entering the NFL, and he still managed seven touchdowns in nine games. In fact, Moncrief has recorded 11 touchdowns in 15 games with Andrew Luck under center over the last two years. If he is able to stay on the field, which was not a concern his first two years, Moncrief has clear double-digit touchdown upside.

 

Martellus Bennett

Good quarterbacks make their receivers better, and this list proves that remains true in the red zone. That reality is good news for Bennett, who traded Tom Brady for Aaron Rodgers over the offseason. Entering 2016 with a 23.4-percent career conversion rate, Bennett was able to turn five of his 10 red-zone targets into touchdowns last year. While he will not benefit from perhaps the greatest ever this season, Rodgers is obviously no slouch, with four of his pass catchers finishing with a top-40 conversion rate last year. Bennett has serious competition for red-zone opportunities between Jordy Nelson, Davante Adams, and perhaps even Randall Cobb, but it is a good bet he is efficient with his chances, giving him good touchdown upside and TE1 status.

 


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Raymond Summerlin is a football writer for Rotoworld.com. He can be found on Twitter at @RMSummerlin.
Email :Raymond Summerlin



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