NFL News & Analysis

Highest-graded NFL receivers in the red zone ahead of Week 10

Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Baltimore Ravens tight end Mark Andrews (89) celebrates scoring a second quarter touchdown against the Cincinnati Bengals at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

• Ravens TE Mark Andrews leads the way: Lamar Jackson's favorite target remains lethal in the red zone, hauling in five such touchdowns this season.

• Chargers RB Austin Ekeler makes the cut: The only running back on the list, Ekeler ranks second in red-zone receptions through Week 9.

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A go-to NFL wide receiver's threat in the passing game only intensifies when the team’s offense resides in the red zone. The most dynamic units in football maximize their scoring ability by isolating their best players in scoring situations.

Here are the top-10 highest-graded red-zone targets through nine weeks of action.

Editor's Note: Includes only players with 10-plus red-zone targets through Week 9 (including targets that were negated by penalty).

1. TE Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens: 78.9 Red-Zone Receiving Grade

Andrews' red-zone stat sheet includes the second-most receiving yards (66) and third-most receptions (9) from 14 such targets. He’s continued to be quarterback Lamar Jackson’s go-to threat in scoring positions, with the Oklahoma product ranking second in red-zone touchdown receptions (5) through Week 9.

2. WR Amari Cooper, Cleveland Browns: 78.2 Red-Zone Receiving Grade 

All five of Cooper’s red-zone catches have gone for touchdowns, and he possesses the third-highest yards per reception figure (9.4) among qualifiers. Despite being targeted only nine times (one negated by penalty), Cooper has snagged 100% of his catchable passes. 

3. WR Chris Olave, New Orleans Saints: 76.2 Red-Zone Receiving Grade

Olave has snagged two of his three contested targets in the red zone while tallying three first downs and two scores. The rookie sensation has caught five of his nine such targets (one negated by penalty) to continue his ascension into New Orleans’ WR1 role as the highest-graded first-year wideout overall (80.6) in the NFL thus far.

4. WR Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams: 75.6 Red-Zone Receiving Grade

There’s been no slowing down the level of WR1 dominance that Cooper Kupp has showcased this season. His 11 red-zone targets trail teammate Allen Robinson II’s 13 for second-most on the roster, but eight Kupp receptions have resulted in six first downs and four touchdowns through nine weeks.

5. WR Ja’Marr Chase, Cincinnati Bengals: 75.5 Red-Zone Receiving Grade

Before suffering an injury in Week 6, Chase's top-five yards per reception figure (8.8) on red-zone catches highlighted his dynamic ability inside the 20-yard line. Six of his eight such receptions have gone for either first downs or scores, and he holds a second-ranked yards per route run mark in the red zone (1.52).

6. RB Austin Ekeler, Los Angeles Chargers: 75.2 Red-Zone Receiving Grade

Ekeler trails only tight end Travis Kelce in red-zone receptions this season (10). He has snagged all but one of his 11 targets and holds the third-highest yards after the catch per reception mark (4.0) within the 20-yard line. The Chargers’ RB1 has become quarterback Justin Herbert’s favorite security blanket in scoring situations en route to four red-zone touchdown receptions through nine weeks.

7. TE Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs: 75.0 Red-Zone Receiving Grade

Kelce currently leads the league in red-zone touchdown receptions (7) and also paces his competition in red-zone targets (18). While he's averaging a middling 5.7 yards per reception, he forms a dynamic connection with quarterback Patrick Mahomes as the NFL's highest-graded tight end overall (90.8) through nine weeks.

8. WR Allen Lazard, Green Bay Packers: 74.6 Red-Zone Receiving Grade

Lazard has been the Packers’ most reliable weapon in the pass game when healthy, and that remains true in red-zone situations. His four touchdowns inside the 20-yard line are tied for third, and he has a higher yards per receptions mark (9.2) in such situations than Ja’Marr Chase.

9. WR Brandon Aiyuk, San Francisco 49ers: 72.0 Red-Zone Receiving Grade

Aiyuk has outmuscled George Kittle and Deebo Samuel as the Niners' go-to red-zone option. While he qualifies here with 10 red-zone targets including those negated by penalty, only eight have counted. Still, Aiyuk boasts the league’s highest yards after the catch figure in such situations (6.5) alongside a stellar top-three yards per route run mark (1.52).

10. WR Christian Kirk, Jacksonville Jaguars: 71.6 Red-Zone Receiving Grade

The Jaguars have leaned on Kirk as their new WR1 after signing him in free agency, and that responsibility doesn't wane in the red zone. He trails only Travis Kelce for the league lead in red-zone touchdown catches (5) and ranks top five in yards per route run (1.45) on just eight catches from 11 red-zone targets.


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