Touchdowns are more likely to be scored inside the 10-yard line, so it makes sense to pay attention to what offenses are trying to do in that part of the field. When a player is seeing lots of looks in that part of the field, it’s more likely that he’ll score in future games – particularly in weeks where his offense projects to be getting it around the goal line often.

Three players have seen double-digit looks inside the 10, with DeAndre Hopkins leading the way with 13. Michael Thomas has seen 11, and Chris Godwin 10 (most early in the year).

Eight players have seen twice as many targets inside the 10 as anyone else on their team, and that includes three tight ends: Zach Ertz, George Kittle and Jared Cook. The five wide receivers include Hopkins, Godwin, T.Y. Hilton and Corey Davis. Zay Jones is the junior member of this group (he’s seen only 4 targets, but nobody else on Buffalo has seen more than 2).

Other observations:

You might think Eric Ebron would be one of the dominant pass catchers around the goal line, with him having caught 11 touchdowns. But most of those have been on plays from further out. Inside the 10 he’s caught 3 of 4 pass attempts (all for touchdowns). Hilton has caught 4 of 9 passes inside the 10 (also all for touchdowns).

Similarly in Pittsburgh, Antonio Brown has scored in all but two games. You might think he’s their dominant guy. But inside the 10, JuJu Smith-Schuster has seen 9 targets – 6 more than Brown. The game between them as scorers might not be a severe in the remaining games as it has been thus far.

I tend to think of Antonio Gates as an old, plodding guy who should have retired a year or two back, but he’s seen 9 targets inside the 10. That ties with Melvin Gordon for the most on the Chargers roster. When they’re inside the 10, they’re trying to work it to their backs and tight ends rather than their wide receivers. Chargers are hosting hapless Cincinnati in Week 14; could make some sense to toss in Gates for that game.

In Atlanta, Austin Hooper has seen 9 throws inside the 10. That’s 4 more than Julio Jones, and 5 more than anyone else on the roster.

Jeff Heuerman has seen an team-high 8 targets for the Broncos. He’s out for the year, so I expect they’ll try to plug another tight end into that role – Matt LaCosse, perhaps.

Corey Davis hasn’t been a great scorer, but they keep pumping the balls to him – 8 targets inside the 10. They just need to get those plays dialed in a little better. They’ve got an easy schedule down the stretch and Marcus Mariota is healthy now. In general, if you’ve got Davis, probably best to just leave him in there and hope the efficiency comes around.

We have talked some about DJ Moore in recent weeks. He’s got a bright future, and he’s been coming on. But he’s seen only 1 target inside the 10 all year. The Panthers instead have worked Christian McCaffrey and Devin Funchess (6 targets each) in that part of the field. Greg Olsen (3 targets) has been similar but has missed a bunch of games. With Moore being a rookie, I’m thinking it will be in 2019 and 2020 when he really starts being fulled used in that part of the field. I think back to Julio Jones and Amari Cooper (as I recall, neither of them saw a single pass attempt inside the 10 in otherwise productive rookie seasons).

Through Week 12, 56 players have seen at least 5 targets inside the 10. That’s including 2-point conversions (which aren’t officially plays but are included in these numbers).

PlayerTgtNoTD2ptEZ Pct
DeAndre Hopkins, Hou.1363023%
Michael Thomas, N.O.1195045%
Chris Godwin, T.B.1054150%
Austin Hooper, Atl.973144%
Kenny Golladay, Det.943033%
T.Y. Hilton, Ind.944044%
Antonio Gates, LAC932133%
Melvin Gordon, LAC973144%
James White, N.E.944044%
Jared Cook, Oak.972022%
JuJu Smith-Schuster, Pitt.951011%
Trey Burton, Chi.873150%
Jeff Heuerman, Den.821013%
Travis Kelce, K.C.833038%
Kyle Rudolph, Min.811013%
Odell Beckham, NYG833038%
Greg Kittle, S.F.832138%
Corey Davis, Tenn.821013%
David Johnson, Ariz.741014%
A.J. Green, Cin.722029%
Cooper Kupp, LAR742029%
Robert Woods, LAR733043%
Todd Gurley, LAR731129%
Stephon Diggs, Min.753157%
Amari Cooper, Oak.-Dall.722029%
Zach Ertz, Phil.754057%
Larry Fitzgerald, Ariz.642150%
John Brown, Balt.611017%
Christian McCaffrey, Car.652033%
Devin Funchess, Car.631017%
Tarik Cohen, Chi.632033%
Jarvis Landry, Clev.621017%
Marvin Jones, Det.622033%
Golden Tate, Det.-Phi.61000%
Davante Adams, G.B.655083%
Mike Williams, LAC633050%
Brandin Cooks, LAR641017%
Adam Thielen, Min.643167%
Julian Edelman, N.E.621017%
Alvin Kamara, N.O.652033%
Benjamin Watson, N.O.631017%
Sterling Shepard, NYG653167%
Antonio Brown, Pitt.632150%
Julio Jones, Atl.511020%
Antonio Callaway, Clev.531140%
Ezekiel Elliott, Dall.531020%
Emmanuel Sanders, Den.531020%
Demaryius Thomas, Den.-Hou.543060%
Dede Westbrook, Jac.51000%
Kareem Hunt, K.C.532040%
Keenan Allen, LAC532040%
Gerald Everett, LAR532160%
James Conner, Pitt.541260%
Doug Baldwin, Sea.521020%
Mike Evans, T.B.511020%
Jordan Reed, Wash.532040%

—Ian Allan