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Air Yards Analysis: Christian Kirk, Odell Beckham Jr., Nelson Agholor (2021 Fantasy Football)

Sep 29, 2021
Christian Kirk

Air yards are the total amount of yards the ball was thrown in the air toward the wide receiver. Why is this important? It helps us differentiate targets, weighing targets deeper downfield heavier than shorter throws. Since yards are a fantasy football stat, having players who need only to catch the ball to accumulate the most yards is a tried and true strategy.

Everyone is trying to gain an edge on their league. Knowing which players are garnering the opportunities to have monster weeks before they put it all together is an advantage. Every week, we will give you the top receivers (not just WR, but RB & TE too) according to air yards for every NFL team. Additionally, we will provide an evaluation of those numbers and what fantasy football actions are warranted.

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Arizona Cardinals

PLAYER WEEK 3 AIR YARDS WEEK 3 aDOT
Christian Kirk (WR – ARI) 110 13.8
A.J. Green (WR – ARI) 106 17.7
DeAndre Hopkins (WR – ARI) 36 6.0

 
Evaluation: Kyler Murray is smashing fantasy leagues and every pass-catcher attached to him has been an asset as well. This week, A.J. Green turned back the clock thanks to his QB. Continue to plug Cardinal wideouts into your lineups and ride the hottest hand in the NFL.

Atlanta Falcons

PLAYER WEEK 3 AIR YARDS WEEK 3 aDOT
Olamide Zaccheaus (WR – ATL) 63 10.5
Calvin Ridley (WR – ATL) 57 5.2
Kyle Pitts (TE – ATL) 32 10.7

 
Evaluation: Atlanta’s offense is a train wreck. They struggled to get anything going against the lowly Giants in Week 3, leading to an underwhelming performance from star WR Calvin Ridley. Still, Ridley is a high-volume option that is a must-start weekly. Kyle Pitts was a ghost for 95% of the week but gets a nice matchup with Washington in Week 4.

Baltimore Ravens

PLAYER WEEK 3 AIR YARDS WEEK 3 aDOT
Marquise Brown (WR – BAL) 161 23.o
Sammy Watkins (WR – BAL) 142 20.3
Mark Andrews (TE – BAL) 122 17.4
Devin Duvernay (WR – BAL) 34 11.3

 
Evaluation: The story here was Marquise Brown’s drops. Hollywood couldn’t hang on to multiple TD tosses, nearly costing Baltimore a win. This week, Rashod Bateman (WR – BAL) and Myles Boykin (WR – BAL) are set to return to practice, further complicating the target tree for Lamar Jackson.

Buffalo Bills

PLAYER WEEK 3 AIR YARDS WEEK 3 aDOT
Stefon Diggs (WR – BUF) 151 15.1
Emmanuel Sanders (WR – BUF) 95 15.8
Cole Beasley (WR – BUF) 86 6.0
Dawson Knox (WR – BUF) 43 8.6

 
Evaluation: Last week, we recommended adding Emmanuel Sanders, as his role in the Buffalo offense appeared to be growing. Now, he looks cemented as the counterpart to Diggs. The Bills run such a spread offense that there are plenty of throws to feed the hungry mouths.

Carolina Panthers

PLAYER WEEK 3 AIR YARDS WEEK 3 aDOT
D.J. Moore (WR – CAR) 151 12.6
Dan Arnold (TE – CAR) 39 9.8
Terrace Marshall Jr. (WR – CAR) 33 6.6

 
Evaluation: Robby Anderson’s (WR – CAR) disappointing start to 2021 continued in Week 3. Terrace Marshall appears to have passed him on the pecking order, but with CMC ailing, Anderson could see an uptick in volume from his vacated targets. Perhaps there is still hope for his fantasy managers.

Cincinnati Bengals

PLAYER WEEK 3 AIR YARDS WEEK 3 aDOT
Ja’Marr Chase (WR – CIN) 68 13.6
Tyler Boyd (WR – CIN) 66 11.0

 
Evaluation: Tyler Boyd was the beneficiary of Tee Higgins’ (WR – CIN) injury this week. The Bengals are on a short week, and Higgins has yet to practice with the team. Fire up Boyd where you have him.

Chicago Bears

PLAYER WEEK 3 AIR YARDS WEEK 3 aDOT
Allen Robinson (WR – CHI) 39 6.5
Darnell Mooney (WR – CHI) 29 7.3
Cole Kmet (TE – CHI) 24 6.0

 
Evaluation: Putrid is the best way to describe Matt Nagy’s scheme for rookie QB Justin Field’s first start under center. Outside of Allen Robinson, there is no one in Chicago to trust in the passing game.

Cleveland Browns

PLAYER WEEK 3 AIR YARDS WEEK 3 aDOT
Odell Beckham (WR – CLE) 149 16.6
Harrison Bryant (TE – CLE) 46 23.0
Donovan Peoples-Jones (WR – CLE) 39 19.5

 
Evaluation: OBJ to the rescue! Cleveland’s receivers have been a fantasy black hole in 2021, but Beckham returned this week to claim his rightful throne atop QB Baker Mayfield’s WR corps. Beckham hasn’t been a consistent fantasy contributor in some time, but the Browns have hopes of a playoff run and OBJ could be the benefit of an upgraded roster around him.

Dallas Cowboys

PLAYER WEEK 3 AIR YARDS WEEK 3 aDOT
Dalton Schultz (TE – DAL) 65 9.3
Cedric Wilson (WR – DAL) 59 14.8
Ceedee Lamb (WR – DAL) 55 22.0
Amari Cooper (WR – DAL) 41 10.3

 
Evaluation: Dallas bullied Philadelphia on Monday night, and thus didn’t need their big-play WRs to shoulder the load. This offense is among the elite in the NFL. Any Cowboys on your roster need weekly lineup consideration. Play them.

Denver Broncos

PLAYER WEEK 3 AIR YARDS WEEK 3 aDOT
Tim Patrick (WR – DEN) 85 17.0
K.J. Hamler (WR – DEN) 61 20.3
Courtland Sutton (WR – DEN) 26 5.2

 
Evaluation: K.J. Hamler was placed on IR by Denver on Wednesday with a torn ACL. The Broncos have produced stellar fantasy value thus far with QB Teddy Bridgewater. Going forward, WR Tim Patrick should be in line for even more volume. If he wasn’t claimed in your league this week, go make the move now.

Detroit Lions

PLAYER WEEK 3 AIR YARDS WEEK 3 aDOT
Kalif Raymond (WR – DET) 109 10.9
Darren Fells (TE – DET) 22 11.7

 
Evaluation: The Lions receiving shares have been all over the map in 2021. Fantasy managers should avoid the passing game outside of RB D’Andre Swift who draws regular targets from his QB.

Green Bay Packers

PLAYER WEEK 3 AIR YARDS WEEK 3 aDOT
Davante Adams (WR – GB) 253 14.1
Marquez Valdes-Scantling (WR – GB) 81 20.3
Allen Lazard (WR – GB) 23 23.0

 
Evaluation: All hail Davante Adams, fantasy royalty. But, we already knew this, so it’s MVS’ continued deep targets that we should take note of. Valdes-Scantling is a boom or bust play, but you could do worse.

Houston Texans

PLAYER WEEK 3 AIR YARDS WEEK 3 aDOT
Brandin Cooks (WR – HOU) 125 11.4
Anthony Miller (WR – HOU) 28 4.7
Chris Conley (WR – HOU) 16 16.0

 
Evaluation: Here is your weekly reminder that Brandin Cooks is criminally underrated.

Indianapolis Colts

PLAYER WEEK 3 AIR YARDS WEEK 3 aDOT
Michael Pittman Jr. (WR – IND) 125 10.4
Zach Pascal (WR – IND) 70 10.0
Parris Campbell (WR – IND) 17 4.3

 
Evaluation: This was a nice follow-up for potential breakout WR Michael Pittman Jr. Otherwise, Indy is faltering and it is causing fantasy problems.

Jacksonville Jaguars

PLAYER WEEK 3 AIR YARDS WEEK 3 aDOT
D.J. Chark (WR – JAX) 98 16.3
Jacob Hollister (TE – JAX) 73 12.2
Marvin Jones Jr. (WR – JAX) 60 7.5

 
Evaluation: QB Trevor Lawrence is talented, but the Jaguars roster around him is thin. He is often pushed out of the pocket and throwing on the run, causing the rookie to make difficult throws regularly. Fantasy managers are still a year early on this offense.

Kansas City Chiefs

PLAYER WEEK 3 AIR YARDS WEEK 3 aDOT
Travis Kelce (TE – KC) 143 13.0
Tyreek Hill (WR – KC) 86 12.3
Byron Pringle (WR – KC) 70 11.7

 
Evaluation: Mahomes can support plenty of fantasy options. Kelce and Hill will be top performers more often than not, but WRs like Byron Pringle can boom occasionally too. Good luck projecting when that be tho.

Las Vegas Raiders

PLAYER WEEK 3 AIR YARDS WEEK 3 aDOT
Henry Ruggs (WR – LV) 131 18.7
Bryan Edwards (WR – LV) 85 17.0
Darren Waller (TE – LV) 81 11.6
Hunter Renfrow (WR – LV) 57 9.5

 
Evaluation: It appears that QB Derek Carr is having the kind of success the Raiders have always hoped for. Both Henry Ruggs and Bryan Edwards have joined Darren Waller as viable fantasy options. If Hunter Renfrow can build off this week, he too could be a weekly PPR play.

Los Angeles Chargers

PLAYER WEEK 3 AIR YARDS WEEK 3 aDOT
Mike Williams (WR – LAC) 83 9.2
Keenan Allen (WR – LAC) 53 4.4
Jaylen Guyton (WR – LAC) 49 49

 
Evaluation: Each week the Mike Williams doubters continue to fade to black. This offense appears to be the perfect fix to his fantasy-bust nature. Instead of trading away Williams, just keep reaping the rewards of his breakout season.

Los Angeles Rams

PLAYER WEEK 3 AIR YARDS WEEK 3 aDOT
DeSean Jackson (WR – LAR) 136 27.2
Cooper Kupp (WR – LAR) 107 8.9
Robert Woods (WR -LAR) 59 9.8
Van Jefferson (WR – LAR) 58 9.7

 
Evaluation: Robert Woods has a fantasy production problem. His counterpart Cooper Kupp has been hogging all the production. There is no need to panic, as QB Matthew Stafford is good enough to support multiple fantasy WRs throughout the year.

Miami Dolphins

PLAYER WEEK 3 AIR YARDS WEEK 3 aDOT
Will Fuller (WR – MIA) 121 20.2
DeVante Parker (WR – MIA) 121 17.3
Mike Gesicki (TE – MIA) 98  8.2
Jaylen Waddle (WE – MIA) 40 3.1

 
Evaluation: Welcome back Will Fuller. By now, fantasy players know that Fuller can win weeks for you, but also can sabotage them. Meanwhile, Mike Gesicki continues to be a nice source of TE consistency.

Minnesota Vikings

PLAYER WEEK 3 AIR YARDS WEEK 3 aDOT
Justin Jefferson (WR – MIN) 85 7.7
Adam Thielen (WR – MIN) 59 6.6
Tyler Conklin (TE – MIN) 36 4.5

 
Evaluation: QB Kirk Cousins is nearly as hot as Derek Carr, and if that doesn’t sum up 2021 then I don’t know what does. Deep leaguers should add TE Tyler Conklin, as he’s been more involved each week in the offense.

New England Patriots

PLAYER WEEK 3 AIR YARDS WEEK 3 aDOT
Nelson Agholor (WR – NE) 180 22.5
Jakobi Meyers (WR – NE) 173 12.4
Kendrick Bourne (WR – NE) 145 18.1
Jonnu Smith (TE – NE) 50 8.3

 
Evaluation: Do your thing, Mac Jones! Agholor and Meyers are quickly becoming regular fantasy starters in leagues even with fewer than 12 teams. Pay attention, especially if your competitors aren’t.

New Orleans Saints

PLAYER WEEK 3 AIR YARDS WEEK 3 aDOT
Kenny Stills (WR – NO) 85 28.3
Marquez Callaway (WR – NO) 40 8.0
Deonte Harris (WR – NO) 29 9.7

 
Evaluation: The Saints miss Drew Brees, a lot. Brees had a knack for making pedestrian wideouts into decent NFL and fantasy options. That is no longer the case in New Orleans. Lower all expectations for this group, including Michael Thomas (WR – NO), if he returns in full health.

New York Giants

PLAYER WEEK 3 AIR YARDS WEEK 3 aDOT
Collin Johnson (WR – NYG) 80 11.4
Kenny Golladay (WR – NYG) 52 10.4
C.J. Board (WR – NY) 46 23.0
Evan Engram (TE – NYG) 40 6.7

 
Evaluation: Tow of New York’s top wide receivers left early in Week 3 with injuries leading to this odd-looking Air Yards chart. If neither Shepard nor Slayton can return to practice this week, Golladay would be the obvious choice for an uptick in production. Under the radar, however, is Collin Johnson. He flashed some tools at the end of 2020 in Jacksonville. Pay attention deep leaguers.

New York Jets

PLAYER WEEK 3 AIR YARDS WEEK 3 aDOT
Corey Davis (WR – NYJ) 108 10.8
Braxton Berrios (WR – NYJ) 46 15.3
Elijah Moore (WR – NYJ) 30 5.0

 
Evaluation: The Jets have a nice matchup with Tennessee in Week 4. If you can’t start Corey Davis this week, then it is time to consider dropping him.

Philadelphia Eagles

PLAYER WEEK 3 AIR YARDS WEEK 3 aDOT
Jalen Reagor (WR – PHI) 84 10.5
DeVonta Smith (WR – PHI) 77 12.8
Zach Ertz (TE – PHI) 50 7.1
Quez Watkins (WR – PHI) 41 20.5

 
Evaluation: Jalen Hurts and garbage time might become synonymous in 2021. The Eagles QB poured on the fantasy production well after the game was decided on Monday night. With that in mind, Philly pass-catchers could find themselves in profitable positions based on the scoreboard.

Pittsburgh Steelers

PLAYER WEEK 3 AIR YARDS WEEK 3 aDOT
Chase Claypool (WR – PIT) 108 7.2
James Washington (WR – PIT) 76 15.2
Pat Freiermuth (TE – PIT) 47 9.4
Eric Ebron (TE – PIT) 33 11.0

 
Evaluation: Big Ben’s lack of arm strength is all the buzz, but if you roster Chase Claypool and Diontae Johnson (WR – PIT) remains on the shelf, you can expect heavy volume. There are times when you can ignore the real-life value of a player because they can still help your fantasy team. The Steelers’ top two WRs will boom despite Ben’s rag arm.

Seattle Seahawks

PLAYER WEEK 3 AIR YARDS WEEK 3 aDOT
D.K. Metcalf (WR – SEA) 144 16.0
Freddie Swain (WR – SEA) 20 5.0
Tyler Lockett (WR – SEA) 13 3.3

 
Evaluation: Dang, Tyler Lockett. He got absolutely tagged in the fourth quarter last week. Thankfully, he walked off and should be good to go this week. Russ has always given us 2.5 fantasy WRs. If you are desperate, that half wideout might be Freddie Swain.

San Francisco 49ers

PLAYER WEEK 3 AIR YARDS WEEK 3 aDOT
George Kittle (TE – SF) 82 9.1
Deebo Samuel (WR – SF) 61 6.1
Mohamed Sanu (WR – SF) 48 6.0
Brandon Aiyuk (WR – SF) 44 7.3

 
Evaluation: Brandon Aiyuk ran more routes in Week 3 than he did in Weeks 1 and 2 combined. Perhaps there is hope he will salvage 2021 after all,

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

PLAYER WEEK 3 AIR YARDS WEEK 3 aDOT
Mike Evans (WR – TB) 135 13.5
Rob Gronkowski (TE – TB) 86 12.3
Tyler Johnson (WR – TB) 71 11.8
Chris Godwin (WR – TB) 35 5.0

 
Evaluation: Antonio Brown (WR – TB) was activated off the Covid-19 list this week and will return to the lineup. A revenge game against the Patriots looms this week. Play all of your Bucs pass-catchers.

Tennessee Titans

PLAYER WEEK 3 AIR YARDS WEEK 3 aDOT
Julio Jones (WR – TEN) 55 11.8
A.J. Brown (WR – TEN) 34 17.0
Nick Westbrook-Ikhine (WR – TEN) 32 8.0

 
Evaluation: Julio Jones and A.J. Brown are missing mid-week practices for the Titans. Which Tennessee WR would we recommend against a tasty matchup with the Jets if both were to be ruled out? Chester Rogers (WR – TEN).

Washington Football Team

PLAYER WEEK 3 AIR YARDS WEEK 3 aDOT
Terry McLaurin (WR – WAS) 56 8.9
Dyami Brown (WR – WAS) 44 22.0
Adam Humphries (WR – WAS) 36 9.0

 
Evaluation: Washington is using Logan Thomas (TE – WAS) out of the slot (72%) a lot in 2021. Their QB can support two fantasy pass-catchers, so outside of the TE and Terry McLaurin, none of the Football Team options is worth a fantasy roster slot.

Air Yards are a beast to tackle each week and I couldn’t put this together without the work of Dave Wright of Dynasty League Football. His weekly spreadsheet is incredible and you should subscribe to his Patreon for a wealth of fantasy football content!

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Aaron Pags is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Aaron, check out his archive and follow him @FantasyTriage.

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