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Air Yards Analysis: George Kittle, DeVonta Smith, Jaylen Waddle (Fantasy Football 2021)

Nov 11, 2021
George Kittle

Air yards are the total yards the QB threw the ball 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. Therefore, it is advantageous to know which players are garnering the opportunities to have monster weeks before they put it all together. 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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**only players with >40 Air Yards for the week are listed below**

Arizona Cardinals

PLAYER WEEK 9 AIR YARDS WEEK 9 aDOT
Christian Kirk 56 9.3
Antoine Wesley 45 15.0

Evaluation: Without their star WR, DeAndre Hopkins, Kirk stepped up to carry the load. Not pictured, Rondale Moore was targeted behind the LOS often and gave some decent YAC.

Atlanta Falcons

PLAYER WEEK 9 AIR YARDS WEEK 9 aDOT
Kyle Pitts 76 10.9
Russell Gage 65 8.1
Cordarrelle Patterson 60 10.0
Olamide Zaccheaus 43 14.3

Evaluation: Pitts is living up to the hype. Good for you if you drafted him early this season despite all the expert pushback.

Baltimore Ravens

PLAYER WEEK 9 AIR YARDS WEEK 9 aDOT
Rashod Bateman 111 13.9
Mark Andrews 110 11.0
Marquise Brown 91 7.6

Evaluation: Brown and Bateman could rotate Top 20 WR weeks the rest of the season.

Buffalo Bills

PLAYER WEEK 9 AIR YARDS WEEK 9 aDOT
Emmanuel Sanders 107 13.4
Stefon Diggs 72 9.0
Cole Beasley 64 5.8

Evaluation: Buffalo just couldn’t find the end zone but still moved the ball nicely through the air. All Bills receivers are FLEX or above plays.

Carolina Panthers

PLAYER WEEK 9 AIR YARDS WEEK 9 aDOT
D.J. Moore 95 13.6
Robby Anderson 11 3.7

Evaluation: Moore is an alpha. Monitor his practice time this week after a brutal hit.

Cincinnati Bengals

PLAYER WEEK 9 AIR YARDS WEEK 9 aDOT
Ja’Marr Chase 172 13.2
Tee Higgins 129 16.1

Evaluation: Chase is in a funk. Did we crown him too early? Or has the league discovered a way to throw off his game?

Chicago Bears

PLAYER WEEK 9 AIR YARDS WEEK 9 aDOT
Cole Kmet 116 14.5
Marquise Goodwin 102 25.5
Darnell Mooney 93 15.5
Allen Robinson 87 14.5

Evaluation: Kmet’s day could mean he’s in the mix at TE, but we all know that Justin Fields and Matt Nagy are avoided right now. Don’t we?

Cleveland Browns

PLAYER WEEK 9 AIR YARDS WEEK 9 aDOT
Donovan Peoples-Jones 84 28.0
Jarvis Landry 32 6.4

Evaluation: That’s how you take the top off a defense in 2021, OBJ. Peoples-Jones is a FLEX play with upside.

Dallas Cowboys

PLAYER WEEK 9 AIR YARDS WEEK 9 aDOT
CeeDee Lamb 212 23.6
Amari Cooper 74 14.8
Malik Turner 57 8.1
Dalton Schultz 39 7.8

Evaluation: A missed opportunity for Lamb, turning 212 Air Yards into only 23 actual yards. However, better days will be ahead of this volume continues.

Denver Broncos

PLAYER WEEK 9 AIR YARDS WEEK 9 aDOT
Tim Patrick 91 18.2
Jerry Jeudy 45 5.6

Evaluation: Courtland Sutton ran the most routes, but it was Patrick who put up the fantasy numbers. This group is interchangeable in real life and fantasy.

Detroit Lions

PLAYER WEEK 9 AIR YARDS WEEK 9 aDOT

Evaluation:

Green Bay Packers

PLAYER WEEK 9 AIR YARDS WEEK 9 aDOT
Davante Adams 162 11.6
Randall Cobb 62 12.4

Evaluation: Jordan Love sputtered all day against KC. Still, Adams gets his every time he steps on the field. He’s a stud.

Houston Texans

PLAYER WEEK 9 AIR YARDS WEEK 9 aDOT
Brandin Cooks 121 9.3
Danny Amendola 89 12.7

Evaluation: Cooks or nothing at all.

Indianapolis Colts

PLAYER WEEK 9 AIR YARDS WEEK 9 aDOT
Zach Pascal 142 23.0
Michael Pittman 24 4.0

Evaluation: Air Yards couldn’t capture Pittman’s grit this week. His talent is unquestioned.

Jacksonville Jaguars

PLAYER WEEK 9 AIR YARDS WEEK 9 aDOT
Marvin Jones 53 10.6
Dan Arnold 51 7.3

Evaluation: Arnold has ascended Mount Duval as the best option for Trevor Lawrence at this stage in the season. Start him comfortably each week.

Kansas City Chiefs

PLAYER WEEK 9 AIR YARDS WEEK 9 aDOT
Tyreek Hill 199 18.1
Travis Kelce 70 8.8
Mecole Hardman 47 7.8

Evaluation: You keep Kelce and Hill and drop any other Chiefs’ WR you are still rostering.

Las Vegas Raiders

PLAYER WEEK 9 AIR YARDS WEEK 9 aDOT
Darren Waller 99 9.0
Zay Jones 73 18.3
Bryan Edwards 73 18.3

Evaluation: Waller exploited the Giants, creating space and securing seven of 11 targets. His play hasn’t been up to par, but still reliable at an unreliable position.

Los Angeles Chargers

PLAYER WEEK 9 AIR YARDS WEEK 9 aDOT
Keenan Allen 83 6.4
Mike Williams 64 12.8

Evaluation: Allen was a volume machine at work hauling in everything that came his way. He’s still a valuable PPR asset.

Los Angeles Rams

PLAYER WEEK 9 AIR YARDS WEEK 9 aDOT
Tyler Higbee 74 7.4
Van Jefferson 74 10.6
Robert Woods 58 5.8
Cooper Kupp 54 4.2

Evaluation: Weird game for Kupp catching only underneath stuff. He’s a prime BOOM candidate next time he lines up.

Miami Dolphins

PLAYER WEEK 9 AIR YARDS WEEK 9 aDOT
Jaylen Waddle 103 10.3
Mike Gesicki 98 12.3
Mack Hollins 84 14.0
Kirk Merritt 56 18.7

Evaluation: Waddle has elevated his game since October, running more advanced routes and drawing Air Yards. He’s headed for a big week soon.

Minnesota Vikings

PLAYER WEEK 9 AIR YARDS WEEK 9 aDOT
Justin Jefferson 79 15.8
Adam Thielen 73 10.4

Evaluation: Tough day at the office for Minnesota’s wideouts against Baltimore, but that is the familiar feeling after a game with the Ravens.

New England Patriots

PLAYER WEEK 9 AIR YARDS WEEK 9 aDOT
Jakobi Myers 48 12.0
Hunter Henry 34 11.3

Evaluation: Is anyone in NE worthy of your fantasy roster? Not in the passing game.

New Orleans Saints

PLAYER WEEK 9 AIR YARDS WEEK 9 aDOT
Kenny Stills 103 20.6
Marquez Callaway 73 12.2
Adam Trautman 61 8.7
Tre’Quan Smith 53 13.3

Evaluation: Smith looked good, Trautman was involved, but we cannot recommend guessing which Saints pass-catcher will bank the points each week.

New York Giants

PLAYER WEEK 9 AIR YARDS WEEK 9 aDOT
Evan Engram 34 11.3
Kenny Golladay 25 12.5

Evaluation: :poop emoji:

New York Jets

PLAYER WEEK 9 AIR YARDS WEEK 9 aDOT
Keelan Cole 88 11.0
Elijah Moore 87 10.9
Jeff Smith 68 17.0
Denzel Mims 61 12.2

Evaluation: Moore secured the TDs, helpful for fantasy, but moving forward, maybe Cole becomes a floor play.

Philadelphia Eagles

PLAYER WEEK 9 AIR YARDS WEEK 9 aDOT
DeVonta Smith 105 17.5
Dallas Goedert 67 11.2
Quez Watkins 36 12.0

Evaluation: No surprises. Smith and Jalen Hurts continue to connect at a high rate.

Pittsburgh Steelers

PLAYER WEEK 9 AIR YARDS WEEK 9 aDOT
James Washington 55 18.3
Diontae Johnson 38 6.3
Chase Claypool 36 7.2

Evaluation: Dinking and dunking his way to your NFL Playoffs, ladies and gentlemen. Mr. Ben Roethlisberger.

Seattle Seahawks

PLAYER WEEK 9 AIR YARDS WEEK 9 aDOT

Evaluation:

San Francisco 49ers

PLAYER WEEK 9 AIR YARDS WEEK 9 aDOT
George Kittle 116 14.5
Brandon Aiyuk 101 12.6
Deebo Samuel 81 9.0

Evaluation: Oh, George! This is why we loved you so much. Please go on a tear. Signed, third-round Kittle drafters everywhere.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

PLAYER WEEK 9 AIR YARDS WEEK 9 aDOT

Evaluation:

Tennessee Titans

PLAYER WEEK 9 AIR YARDS WEEK 9 aDOT
A.J. Brown 84 7.6

Evaluation: Brown received the Jalen Ramsey treatment, and as you can see, TEN struggled to get anyone else the ball too. LA’s pass defense is stifling.

Washington Football Team

PLAYER WEEK 9 AIR YARDS WEEK 9 aDOT

Evaluation:

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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Whether you’re new to fantasy football or a seasoned pro, our Fantasy Football 101: Strategy Tips & Advice page is for you. You can get started with Starting Your Own Fantasy Football League or head to a more advanced strategy – like What is the Right Amount of Risk to Absorb on Draft Day? – to learn more.

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

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