Air Yards are the Gordon Ramsey of fantasy receiving stats. They tell us exactly what was right and clearly what was wrong with how a receiver performed in a given week. Often, it’s not easy to hear. But you as a fantasy manager need to pay attention to the under-the-hood numbers from your receivers instead of just blindly trusting the box score results, you donkey. 

Each week, this column will dissect air yards for actionable info in the weeks to come. For Week 4, we will do a quick analysis of the list of the 76 wide receivers who finished the week with at least 30 air yards.

Market Share of Air Yards: Top 5 in Week 1

These players received the five highest percentage share of their team’s total air yards in Week 4.

Tyreek Hill (163 air yards, 74.4% ) – I mean, it was just one of those weeks. They happen six or eight times per season. If you’re matched up against Hill when he has one of these eruption scores, you just close the laptop and go mow the lawn or take a walk. Your matchup is over. You know Hill gets looks and those looks produce a high number of air yards. He’s still good, folks. 

Terry McLaurin (217 air yards, 73.6%) – You gotta love the 50 yard busted play, hail mary touchdown where the defense had turned their heads. But #McSoarin managers will take it, especially when you see that Taylor Heinicke is doing his best FitzMagic impression the past couple weeks. Any concerns about a lack of aggressiveness in the Washington offense with out Ryan Fitzpatrick turned out to be greatly exaggerated.

DK Metcalf (87 air yards, 69.6%) – The past two weeks have been Metcalf weeks as opposed to Lockett weeks (more on that below), but it is interesting to note that 87 air yards represented 70% of Russell Wilson’s total. Wilson has thrown just 23 times twice already this season, this past week accounting for only 149 yards. I’m closely watching this Seattle team with Chris Carson banged up to see if they take to the air more, because their pace of play (last in offensive plays run per game) could be detrimental to high passing totals. 

Brandin Cooks (91 air yards, 52%) – This makes four-for-four on the year on this list, but as you can tell, this one is a bit misleading. In Week 4, it’s like Cooks was gifted 52% of a crap sandwich. Personally I want 0% of a crap sandwich, so his situation with Davis Mills is one to keep a close eye on.

Darnell Mooney (118 air yards, 50.9%) – Is there a changing of the guard happening in Chicago with their wide receiver corps? I don’t think I would go that far yet, but Justin Fields does seem to prefer Mooney’s deep threat ability and Fields has now been named the starter moving forward. Mooney leads the team in receptions, yards, air yards, air yards share and target share. I’m trying to come up with the reasons why this will swing back towards Allen Robinson and am truly drawing a blank. 

Market Share of Air Yards: Highlights from the Bottom 20

These are intriguing highlights from the bottom 20 wide receivers with at least 30 air yards.

Robert Woods (62 air yards, 17.5%) – Woods finally caught a touchdown in Week 4. But it was a garbage time score after Cooper Kupp and Van Jefferson had been peppered with targets and Darrell Henderson was given a full workload. Woods now sits below a 20% target share for the season, but we may get some “squeaky wheel” narrative happening here based on the lack of offensive involvement recently. Coach Sean McVey says he will Woods more involved. We will see. 

Hunter Renfrow (43 air yards, 14.8%) – Renfrow is basically Cooper Kupp lite at this point. He gets high numbers of receptions every week (at least five every game this year) and was up to a season-high 67% of snaps on Monday night. Renfrow is never going to have a high air yards total or share, but he is integral part of the offense, including with precious red zone looks. Renfrow has more red zone targets than all other Raiders wide receivers combined. 

Brandon Aiyuk (46 air yards, 13.0%) – This is actually worse then the 17.1% of air yards he posted last week. Things are not pointing in the right direction for Aiyuk as he now sits at 58 receiving yards and a 10% target share through four weeks. Most discouraging is his eight total yards after the catch when he made that his calling card in 2020. Aiyuk is getting close to the drop line. 

Positive Regression Candidate

Devante Parker (115 air yards, 77 receiving yards) – There is the combination of a few factors working in Parker’s favor moving forward. First, we are through with two games of the Jacoby Brissett experience. Tua Tagovailoa should be back in a couple weeks, bringing some consistency and downfield accuracy to the offense. Second, Will Fuller is not out for at least a few weeks with a broken finger. The Dolphins have also stopped throwing to their running backs for some reason. Myles Gaskin and Malcolm Brown combine for only 14.5% of the target share this year.
In the Week 4 game specifically, Parker caught only four of nine targets, but played 90% of the snaps, a season-high. Manage your expectations on Parker while Brissett is still the starter, but this is a place where you can confidently buy for the rest of the season.

Negative Regression Candidate

Keelan Cole (94 air yards, 93 receiving yards) – I know what you’re thinking. “He’s on the Jets so that’s why regression is inevitable.” Well, yes, but there are some analytical reasons not to expect a lot more four catch-92 yard games. For starters, Cole has a 9% target share on the season. This wide receiver core should revolve around Corey Davis, Jamison Crowder, and Elijah Moore (who is expected in Week 5). Further, Cole aDOT on Sunday was 23.5 yards, which is an enormous number for a career 14.4 yards per catch receiver. Don’t buy in here, and instead look at this game as an outlier. 

Kupp Check

This will be the weekly place where we check how Cooper Kupp is breaking the air yards model.

There is a very interesting trend developing in Kupp’s game this year. His air yards have increased each week, starting with 71 in Week 1 and ending with 114 in Week 4. His target share and air yards share remain elite each week, over 30% every game, but his aDOT is creeping up, from 7.1 t0 8.8.

Week 4 was the first time this season that Kupp looked mortal, only catching five of his 13 targets for 64 yards and no scores. But with the target share and air yards remaining at stellar levels, we should expect Kupp to be back over 100 yards and eight catches as early as Thursday night. If his aDOT continues its climb and the target share remains, what is already a great season might become legendary. 

Notable Players Under 30 Air Yards

Mecole Hardman (11 air yards, 16 receiving yards) – Hardman shows up here to remind us that he can have big fantasy games, but if it ends up being a big spot for Tyreek Hill or Travis Kelce, Hardman ends up with just table scraps. He is best left as a mega-deep league or dart-throw DFS play.

Marvin Jones (20 air yards, 24 receiving yards) – With DJ Chark going down with injury on the first drive of the game, this was a disappointing result for the veteran receiver. Of course disappointing is a relative term these days in Jacksonville with Trevor Lawrence on an interception spree, Travis Etienne on the IR, Carlos Hyde stealing snaps, and Urban Meyer grinding on co-eds. Jones should still have plenty of spike games with Chark shelved for a while. 

Tyler Lockett (29 air yards, 24 receiving yards) – Uh oh. This is his second straight week on this list after two dominant weeks near the top of the leaderboards in air yards and receiving yards. We are starting to witness a carbon copy of his 2020 season when he was an absolute week-winner in some weeks and completely useless in others. The slow pace of the Seahawks offense doesn’t help either. 

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Joey
Joey
10 months ago

Do I trade arob n Damien Williams for Djmoore n Jeff Wilson

12 tm short benches start 3 rb 3 wr

have ekler jrob javonte n sony n damien
My wr Mooney Arob Just Jeff n emmanuel Sanders