RB Red-Zone Attempts Entering Week 9: Travis Etienne and D’Onta Foreman See Heavy Workloads

We take a look at the RB red-zone attempts in Week 8 with Travis Etienne and D'Onta Foreman leading the position in goal-line carries.

As we set our eyes on Week 9 of the fantasy football season, let’s take a look back at what we have seen in terms of RB red-zone carries so far this year. Initially, we will take a look at which RBs had the most red-zone attempts, with a focus on those attempts in and around the goal line as a priority.

Then we will put those RB red-zone attempts into the wider context of the whole season. Using that data, we can hopefully identify some bye-week fill-in options at the running back position based on goal-line attempts.

RB Red-Zone Attempts From Week 8

Our initial focus will be on carries inside the 5-yard line as being the “key” RB red-zone attempts to focus on. The mathematical reasoning for this is explained in full at the bottom of the article.

The simple point is that carries inside the 5-yard line are, on average, worth 1.55 fantasy points more than carries beginning between the 6 and 10-yard lines. These rushes beginning inside the 5-yard line will be referred to as “goal-line carries” for the duration of the article.

In Week 8, there were 35 rushes that originated inside the 5-yard line. On those rushes, 18 touchdowns were scored with a total of 51 yards gained. Six of those rushing attempts were handled by six different quarterbacks, leaving 29 handled by RBs.

Let’s take a look at the RBs to have two or more rushing attempts inside the 5-yard line in Week 8 and put it into the context of the rest of the season.

  • Four carries
    Travis Etienne, JAX
  • Three carries
    D’Onta Foreman, CAR
  • Two carries
    Jamaal Williams, DET
    Leonard Fournette, TB
    Saquon Barkley, NYG
    Melvin Gordon, DEN
    Malcolm Brown, LAR

After the Jacksonville Jaguars traded James Robinson to the New York Jets, the Etienne show is in full swing. He now has the last five goal-line carries for the Jaguars’ running backs. The departure of Robinson has set Etienne up to be a complete back that is a weekly must-start.

MORE: Fantasy Impact on Jets’ Backfield After James Robinson Trade

Foreman had an incredible week for the Carolina Panthers, finding the end zone three times. In the absence of Chuba Hubbard, Foreman dominated snaps. However, something that is intriguing is that before Foreman had his three goal-line carries this week, Spencer Brown actually had the first such attempt.

Additionally, it is important to note that the four goal-line carries in this game constitute 80 percent of the Panthers’ goal-line carries this season.

Despite the return of D’Andre Swift, Williams continued to dominate the goal line carries. His two carries in Week 8 took the total to 12 in seven games. No other RB has handled a single carry close to the goal line this season.

In Tampa Bay, Rachaad White is starting to see more of a mix of opportunities. However, around the goal line, it has been the Fournette show in the past three weeks. He has handled all of the last five goal-line carries and seven of the nine the team has this season. For as long as Fournette gets the goal line work, he will remain a must-start RB on a weekly basis.

MORE: Week 9 Fantasy RB Rankings

The only time Saquon Barkley lost carries at the goal line to a player other than Daniel Jones was when he was off the field in London against the Green Bay Packers. He remains the New York Giants’ main goal-line back, but Daniel Jones’ mobility does eat into his ceiling a little.

Things in the Denver backfield are a little complicated. The addition of Chase Edmonds further complicates things but should not have a major impact on the goal line work. While Gordon handled two of the goal-line carries in Week 8, Latavius Murray also had one. Both backs scored touchdowns, and Murray now has two goal-line touchdowns in the past two weeks.

It is tough to judge whether the two goal-line carries for Brown really mean anything. While he also had one last week, Darrell Henderson had two such carries. Additionally, Henderson was apparently still dealing with illness, so it is not certain if Brown will have this role going forward. However, if you are looking for an upside swing in a 16-team league, then Brown’s potential goal-line role could be that option this week.

RB Goal-Line Passing Usage in Week 8 and the 2022 NFL Season

In Week 8, there were three targets for RBs inside the 5-yard line. Let’s take a look at the backs that saw those targets and what they mean in the wider context of their fantasy value.

Kenyan Drake, BAL: Drake saw his first target inside the 5-yard line this week. The Ravens have spread these looks around, and whether it be targets or goal-line carries, it is tough to trust them for the Ravens. If Gus Edwards is trending toward being out in Week 9, it would somewhat increase the likelihood Drake sees RB goal-line attempts.

Dameon Pierce, HOU: While this was Pierce’s first goal-line target, he has dominated the RB goal-line carries by a ratio of six to one. While Pierce has the role locked down, the biggest issue is the Texans have had just nine total goal-line attempts in seven games this season. It is hard to rely on Pierce regularly having a chance to reach the ceiling this role affords him.

Dalvin Cook, MIN: Week 8 saw Cook have his first goal-line target of the season. One interesting note is that this was the first goal-line target for any RB in Minnesota this season. Cook leads the RB goal-line attempts six to one on the season and clearly has this role to himself.

What is the Significance of Red-Zone and Goal-Line Carries for Fantasy?

Utilizing data going back to 2013 (including 2022), we can see where RBs find the most value in terms of fantasy points (fpts) per rushing attempt. The average value of a single rushing attempt anywhere on the field in that time span is 0.6 fpts.

However, as you would expect, we see a clear increase in value the closer we get to the goal line. Rushes between the 10 and 6-yard lines average 1.00 fpts per rush on average.

Meanwhile, from the 5-yard line inwards, we see a huge jump in value to 2.55 fpts per rushing attempt. That value continues to rise as we move closer to the goal, with rushes from the 1-yard line averaging 3.4 fpts per rush attempt.

However, the most significant jump in value comes when we move from the 10 to six region to the 5-yard line (+1.55 fpts per rush). Therefore, for this article, we will focus on rushes beginning from the opponents’ 5-yard line or closer.


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