Raymond Summerlin

By the Numbers

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Unreliable Red Zone Receivers

Monday, July 3, 2017


The flip side of the pass catchers who dominated in the red zone in 2016 are those who could not have found the end zone even if led there by the most experienced cicerone. For some of these hapless receivers, their red-zone incompetence was just a blip on an otherwise solid career. For others, it represented the latest in a long line of red-zone failures. Each scenario offers clues to how these weapons will fare in 2017.

*Stats from ProFootballReference.com

   

Inside 20

Inside 10

Rank

Player

Targets

TD

Conv %

Targets

TD

Conv %

146

Nelson Agholor

14

0

0.00%

2

0

0.00%

145

Chris Conley

13

0

0.00%

4

0

0.00%

144

Amari Cooper

13

0

0.00%

7

0

0.00%

143

Phillip Dorsett

7

0

0.00%

2

0

0.00%

142

Tyler Lockett

5

0

0.00%

1

0

0.00%

141

Chester Rogers

5

0

0.00%

3

0

0.00%

140

Kevin White

5

0

0.00%

1

0

0.00%

139

Golden Tate

17

1

5.88%

5

1

20.00%

138

Quincy Enunwa

15

1

6.67%

9

1

11.11%

137

Jermaine Kearse

14

1

7.14%

7

1

14.29%

136

Pierre Garcon

13

1

7.69%

6

0

0.00%

135

Darren Sproles

13

1

7.69%

2

1

50.00%

134

Stefon Diggs

12

1

8.33%

3

1

33.33%

133

Cameron Meredith

12

1

8.33%

4

0

0.00%

132

DeSean Jackson

11

1

9.09%

4

0

0.00%

131

Chris Hogan

10

1

10.00%

5

0

0.00%

130

Adam Humphries

10

1

10.00%

2

1

50.00%

129

Tavon Austin

9

1

11.11%

1

0

0.00%

128

Tyler Boyd

9

1

11.11%

2

1

50.00%

127

Jared Cook

9

1

11.11%

2

1

50.00%

126

DeAndre Hopkins

9

1

11.11%

6

1

16.67%

125

Braxton Miller

9

1

11.11%

2

0

0.00%

124

Coby Fleener

16

2

12.50%

5

2

40.00%

123

Greg Olsen

16

2

12.50%

5

1

20.00%

122

Tyrell Williams

16

2

12.50%

8

2

25.00%

121

Jason Witten

16

2

12.50%

3

1

33.33%

120

Marqise Lee

8

1

12.50%

2

1

50.00%

119

Brian Quick

8

1

12.50%

4

1

25.00%

118

Robert Woods

8

1

12.50%

2

1

50.00%

117

Julian Edelman

15

2

13.33%

9

1

11.11%

116

Marvin Jones

15

2

13.33%

7

2

28.57%

115

Corey Brown

7

1

14.29%

2

0

0.00%

114

Trey Burton

7

1

14.29%

3

1

33.33%

113

Jermaine Gresham

7

1

14.29%

3

1

33.33%

112

Dontrelle Inman

7

1

14.29%

2

0

0.00%

111

Will Tye

7

1

14.29%

3

1

33.33%

110

Albert Wilson

7

1

14.29%

4

1

25.00%


Amari Cooper

In addition to his late-season woes, Cooper has struggled in the red zone early in his career. He did manage two touchdowns on seven red-zone targets as a rookie, which is slightly above average, but he whiffed on all 13 of his attempts last season. In fact, all of his touchdowns last year came from at least 32 yards out, and he has yet to score a touchdown from within the 15-yard line in the NFL. His relative struggles can be seen one of two ways. With middling size and leaping ability, pessimists could say it is not surprising he has struggled in the red zone and predict those issues will persist. On the other side, optimists could point to his age (barely 23) and clear talent to predict some positive regression. As always, the truth likely lies somewhere in the middle, but what's for certain is Cooper has to improve as a red-zone threat to reach the fantasy heights many have projected for him.

DeAndre Hopkins

Considering his skill set and how he plays between the 20s, Hopkins’ struggles in the red zone throughout his career are mystifying. After converting just one of nine chances last year, Hopkins now owns an 18.5-percent career conversion rate. 2015 was easily his best season, but even then he was barely above average, converting 27.3-percent of his chances. Quarterback play has certainly played a role – Braxton Miller is also on this list and C.J. Fiedorowicz was not much better – but that is unlikely to improve immediately unless Deshaun Watson is able to make an extremely quick transition, a proposition made difficult by the complexity of coach Bill O’Brien’s offense. Hopkins almost has to be a better fantasy option this year if the targets stick around, but he may not return to the double-digit touchdown ranks.

Golden Tate & Marvin Jones

Despite a good season overall, Matthew Stafford was ordinary at best in the red zone, and that trickled down to his receivers. Even Anquan Boldin, who caught six red-zone touchdowns, converted 27.2 percent of his opportunities while Tate and Jones combined to convert just three of 32 targets in the scoring area. What’s odd is both players have had success before in their careers – Tate converted 6-of-17 (35.3 percent) in 2015 and Jones had 12 touchdowns on 30 targets over three years in Cincinnati. Stafford has also been more efficient in the red zone throughout his career and actually threw 26 touchdowns on 73 attempts in 2015, which is the fifth-best single-season rate over the last three years. All of that suggests the Lions should improve across the board in the scoring area this season. 

Greg Olsen

It is not surprising to see Olsen on this list as Cam Newton was not sharp last season, but it is still notable because the tight end has been trending down the last several seasons. Despite seeing a similar number of targets every year, Olsen’s touchdown total in the red zone has dropped from 6 to 5 to 4 to 2 over the last four seasons with his conversion percentage dropping from 33 in 2013 and 2014 to 12.5 last year. Olsen has never been great in the red zone – his 24.5-percent career conversion rate is bang average – and has managed to be an elite fantasy tight end despite mediocre touchdown numbers, but this trend is still a concern.


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12
Raymond Summerlin is a football writer for Rotoworld.com. He can be found on Twitter at @RMSummerlin.
Email :Raymond Summerlin



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