The official touchdowns get all the glory, and rightfully so. But the near-misses can teach, or at least suggest, a lot about a player's scoring potential. Let's take a gander at some intriguing trends from bear the goal line through the young season, and maybe we can identify some uncovered touchdown potential for Week 4:
- Adrian Peterson's fine 2015 start could be even bigger. His red zone production has been poor, with just one touchdown on 18 rushes, including a subpar 1-for-6 mark from inside the five. And that doesn't include his 11-yard scamper last Sunday that ended at the one; fourth-stringer Zach Line vultured the touchdown on the next play. That'll even out, and Peterson remains a great weekly bet for touchdowns going forward.
- DeMarco Murray has yet to score on three carries from inside the five. That wouldn't be worrisome if Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles weren't a perfect 2-for-2 from there. Assuming Murray plays Sunday, the sledding won't get much easier against Washington's surprisingly stout run defense.
- Chris Ivory has already seen five rushes from inside the five, tied for second-most in the league, but produced just one touchdown among them. The Jets' underachieving offensive line plays a role there, and that outlook isn't great after starting RG Willie Colon's injury. Ivory remains a solid weekly play in general, but it's something to file away as we assess his week-to-week TD potential.
- Any Texan running the ball near Atlanta's goal line has a fine Week 4 outlook. The Falcons have allowed touchdowns on four of five rushes from inside the five, including three to Dallas last week.
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- Julio Jones is obviously much better than you, but what's long held him back from #1 fantasy WR status has been his weak usage and production near the goal line. But thus far in 2015, he leads the league in red zone targets and sits tied for second from inside the 10. He's not exactly dominating from there, catching two of the five balls thrown his way from there, but both have gone for touchdowns. He's a fine bet to score again in Week 4, as Houston has allowed 2-of-4 short-yardage passes to score. It's just another reason to shoehorn Jones onto whatever roster you're constructing.
- It's been a nice welcome-to-the-scene start for Tyler Eifert, who's scored on two of his three red zone targets thus far. And we all saw his two-yard touchdown that was absurdly overturned last Sunday. Roll him out with confidence against a Kansas City defense that has astoundingly allowed TDs on seven of the 10 red zone targets it's faced.
- John Brown has posted serviceable numbers thus far, but he could be a top-10 fantasy WR by now. He drew pass interference at the goal line in Week 1, which would've given him a 5-63-2 line, then drew two long penalties in Week 2 and dropped a sure touchdown last Sunday. You have to like his volume of deep balls; there's real 2013 T.Y. Hilton potential here.
- Amari Cooper has grabbed the exposure, but Michael Crabtree has settled in nicely as an underneath target for Derek Carr. He leads the Raiders with three red zone targets, and will face off this week against a Bears unit that's allowed 56% of its red zone passes to score. He makes for an interesting GPP play at just $4,600.
- Heath Miller leads all non-Gronkowski tight ends with five looks from inside the 10. He's only produced one touchdown, but looks like a strong gamble to find the end zone Thursday night at just $3,700.