Week 2 WR Air Yards Round Up

Each week I break out air yards data to attempt to find the wide receivers that stand the best chance to see an increase in their fantasy production.


Air yards give us a complete view of a WR’s game. They show us what volume of yards are thrown at a guy, what amount he caught, and how many yards after the catch he created on passes he did catch. Matt Harmon tweeted out some very cool route visualizations recently. Below is one for Stefon Diggs.

What I love about these visualizations is that they graphically depict the information captured in air yards.

From the above photo, here are the corresponding air yards data:

Completed Air Yards (white): 106
Incomplete Air Yards (gray): 3
YAC (green): 76
aYPT: 9.9
RACR:1 1.67
Market Share Air Yards: 0.41

Diggs had an amazing night on the national stage, converting every yard thrown his way into an additional 0.67 yards receiving. This was second among players with more than five targets in Week 2, behind only YAC monster Jarvis Landry and his 1.78 RACR. Big nights like this require that type of efficiency, but it would be foolish to expect it to continue at such a high level. Instead, focus on the much more sustainable year-to-date 37 percent market share of team air yards and 20 targets. If that volume continues (and history says it likely will), a 20 points per game average for the remainder of the season is a surprisingly reasonable projection.


If we create a model predicting future PPR points for WRs based on the first two weeks worth of data, the following players have the best shot at returning excess value (relative to their two-week PPR averages) moving forward.2

name pos team rec tar ms_air_yards aYPT RACR predict ppr diff
Allen Robinson WR JAC 9 20 0.38 14.9 0.42 17.0 10.8 6.2
Brandon Marshall WR NYJ 9 17 0.38 13.6 0.58 15.6 11.1 4.5
Demaryius Thomas WR DEN 9 13 0.31 8.3 1.28 15.5 11.4 4.1
T.Y. Hilton WR IND 10 23 0.29 9.8 0.53 15.4 11 4.4
Tajae Sharpe WR TEN 11 18 0.37 11.3 0.53 15.4 10.9 4.5
Dez Bryant WR DAL 8 17 0.43 15.0 0.43 14.9 9.5 5.4
Tavon Austin WR LA 9 21 0.34 8.0 0.37 14.7 7.7 7
Terrelle Pryor WR CLE 6 17 0.45 19.4 0.30 14.5 8 6.5
Jeremy Kerley WR SF 10 17 0.26 8.4 0.63 14.0 9.5 4.5
Golden Tate WR DET 9 16 0.29 10.6 0.32 13.8 7.2 6.6
Torrey Smith WR SF 5 16 0.37 12.7 0.33 13.0 8.9 4.1
Vincent Jackson WR TB 6 16 0.24 13.5 0.29 12.3 6.1 6.2
Sammy Watkins WR BUF 6 11 0.33 15.1 0.38 11.6 6.2 5.4


  • Allen Robinson again tops the list of WRs we should expect to breakout based on his volume of targets and market share of air yards. Week 2 vs. the Chargers looked like a perfect opportunity for garbage time ARob to feast, but Blake Bortles looked lost most of the afternoon and only began targeting Robinson well into the 4th quarter. Even without using last season as a guide (ARob led the league in Air Yards in 2015), my model predicts better days ahead for Robinson.
  • Tajae Sharpe posted only 7.3 PPR points in Week 2, but he is clearly the focal point of the Titans’ passing attack. Now would be a very good time to buy him low in a trade from a struggling owner who might view him as a one week wonder, especially in dynasty leagues.
  • Dez Bryant was mentioned in last week’s article as a bounce-back candidate, and he did just that. Apart from the seven receptions for 102 yards on 12 targets, Bryant led all WRs in Week 2 with a 67 percent market share of air yards. If Dak Prescott continues to give Dez this kind of volume, eventually the touchdowns and crooked fantasy numbers will come. Dez remains a buy.
  • Tavon Austin has seen 21 targets and sports a 34 percent market share air yards on what is admittedly a terrible team. It would be wrong to completely write off Austin’s potential to break out for a big game or two in the upcoming weeks, however. LA has a reasonably easy schedule coming up the next four weeks and they clearly want to funnel their passing offense through him. He is worth a waiver wire flier in shallow leagues and a lowball trade offer in deeper leagues.
  • Terrelle Pryor has dominated in the air yards department for Cleveland through two different quarterbacks. Unfortunately the Browns will be moving to their third signal caller in as many weeks, and caution is again advised as what was true last week may no longer be true for Week 3 with Cody Kessler taking his turn under center. That caveat aside, it certainly seems as though the Browns very much want Pryor to get his share of deep targets. With Cleveland playing an extremely soft Miami secondary next week, Pryor could make for a decent Flex in deeper leagues.
  • San Francisco is a terrible team that should have more games like Week 2. Blaine Gabbert is a horrible quarterback, but so long as the Niners defense gives up 40 plus points a game, Gabbert will be forced to throw. Currently the MS Air leader is Torrey Smith. His aYPT is rather shallow, indicating his routes aren’t all being run deep, which is a nod to Gabbert’s inability to throw deep successfully. Hold your nose and take a flier on Smith.
  • Golden Tate is still trailing Marvin Jones in MS air yards 0.29 to 0.42, but the model still predicts him to see a large bump in scoring based on his volume.3 Jones is still the WR to own on DET – in fact the model still thinks Jones is underperforming his volume – but Tate’s numbers suggests better days are ahead.
  • Some players not on this above list that you should still buy – Jordan Mathews: The model says he will be two points per game better on average moving forward. Mike Evans: his production is fully supported by his air yards and target volume. Ditto A.J. Green. Finally, Will Fuller remains a strong buy.

Air Yards Data Dump

Here is the year to date air yards data for NFL Wrs through Week 2.

Will FullerWRHOU1891133273406782117550.5422.60.52
Jordan MatthewsWRPHI23131118115233671855080.4610.10.79
Terrelle PryorWRCLE17609323733071007350.4519.40.30
Alshon JefferyWRCHI139017268240292015370.4518.50.84
Dez BryantWRDAL178099156255111105970.4315.00.43
Marvin JonesWRDET21120124117241792035730.4211.50.84
Mike EvansWRTB24112157210367121698980.4115.30.46
Jeremy MaclinWRKC22111115137252161316270.4011.50.52
Eric DeckerWRNYJ158214392235201636050.3915.70.69
Allen RobinsonWRJAC209088210298381267750.3814.90.42
Brandon MarshallWRNYJ179096135231371336050.3813.60.58
Antonio BrownWRPIT22122152108260131656850.3811.80.63
Odell BeckhamWRNYG1912012269191371595150.3710.10.83
Torrey SmithWRSF1651641392034685500.3712.70.33
A.J. GreenWRCIN2114114772219712185940.3710.41.00
Stefon DiggsWRMIN20161185392241002856080.3711.21.27
Tajae SharpeWRTEN1811091113204181095540.3711.30.53
Kenny StillsWRMIA931521902425556590.3726.90.23
Corey ColemanWRCLE1372152115267211737350.3620.50.65
Kelvin BenjaminWRCAR2113316258220371996080.3610.50.90
Kenny BrittWRLA1610011565180461615010.3611.30.89
Emmanuel SandersWRDEN1680764612212883450.357.60.72
Sammie CoatesWRPIT840122119241311536850.3530.10.63
Amari CooperWROAK20110108651731002085060.348.71.20
Tavon AustinWRLA21903713216926635010.348.00.37
Sammy WatkinsWRBUF1160561101667635070.3315.10.38
Davante AdamsWRGB14616414420812766410.3214.90.37
Nelson AgholorWRPHI1281768616223995080.3213.50.61
Jordy NelsonWRGB2011271130201341056410.3110.10.52
Demaryius ThomasWRDEN13906543108731383450.318.31.28
Tyrell WilliamsWRSD1151261021281061324220.3011.61.03
Golden TateWRDET16902714216938545730.2910.60.32
DeAndre HopkinsWRHOU1912214181222261677550.2911.70.75
T.Y. HiltonWRIND2310091134225291207690.299.80.53
Brandin CooksWRNO1813211275187992116400.2910.41.13
Julio JonesWRATL139210765172651725950.2913.21.00
Marquise GoodwinWRBUF5217472146511125070.2929.20.77
Mike WallaceWRBAL127387108195451326800.2916.30.68
Kevin WhiteWRCHI13705210015218705370.2811.70.46
Travis BenjaminWRSD141321162118311474220.288.41.25
Phillip DorsettWRIND11501199521451247690.2819.50.58
Willie SneadWRNO1714215127178752266400.2810.51.27
Larry FitzgeraldWRARI2114311691207461627520.289.90.78
DeVante ParkerWRMIA13807999178271066590.2713.70.60
Victor CruzWRNYG12817560135501255150.2611.30.93
Jeremy KerleyWRSF17100469714344905500.268.40.63
DeSean JacksonWRWAS159078116194641427610.2512.90.73
Sterling ShepardWRNYG1211112110131391605150.2510.91.22
Chris HoganWRNE10716556121541194950.2412.10.98
Vincent JacksonWRTB1660531632169628980.2413.50.29
Michael FloydWRARI13515312718016697520.2413.80.38
Michael CrabtreeWROAK141119221113261185060.228.11.04
Cole BeasleyWRDAL181308350133571405970.227.41.05
Paul RichardsonWRSEA84040811216465600.2215.10.38
Julian EdelmanWRNE181408223105601424950.215.81.35
Breshad PerrimanWRBAL730568714311676800.2120.40.47
Allen HurnsWRJAC15909467161451397750.2110.70.86
Brandon LaFellWRCIN12708438122461305940.2110.21.07
Adam ThielenWRMIN1080843712111956080.2012.10.79
Doug BaldwinWRSEA171216843111441125600.206.51.01
Jamison CrowderWRWAS18121638715034977610.208.30.65
John BrownWRARI720221261480227520.2021.10.15
Rishard MatthewsWRTEN107058491078665540.1910.70.62
Greg SalasWRBUF64156379333895070.1815.50.96
Steve SmithWRBAL1580665812417836800.188.30.67
Chris ConleyWRKC1160466811412586270.1810.40.51
Malcolm MitchellWRNE73027639021484950.1812.90.53
Quincy EnunwaWRNYJ141311062108401466050.187.71.35
Charles JohnsonWRMIN83099810711206080.1813.40.19
Tyler BoydWRCIN11807727104251025940.189.50.98
Andre JohnsonWRTEN9413165968395540.1710.70.41
Seth RobertsWROAK105120678724445060.178.70.51
Mohamed SanuWRATL1381386310161995950.177.80.98
Tyler LockettWRSEA1270841094321165600.177.81.23
Eddie RoyalWRCHI1281622789471095370.177.41.22
Danny AmendolaWRNE8727848220984950.1710.31.20
Randall CobbWRGB15110574710445996410.166.90.95
Jarvis LandryWRMIA2317092131051041966590.164.61.87
Jermaine KearseWRSEA137049388719685600.166.70.78
Michael ThomasWRNO11100841599611146400.159.01.15
Josh DoctsonWRWAS620516211315667610.1518.80.58
Donte MoncriefWRIND1071574410116737690.1310.10.72
Keenan AllenWRSD7604555018634220.127.11.26
Devin FunchessWRCAR8313041714286080.128.90.39
Marqise LeeWRJAC117044469053977750.128.21.08
Adam HumphriesWRTB13902381104781018980.128.00.97
Jaron BrownWRARI4317698520967520.1121.31.13
Pierre GarconWRWAS138051358623767610.116.60.88
Robert WoodsWRBUF750332457-3305070.118.10.53
Eli RogersWRPIT107132407236686850.117.20.94
Dontrelle InmanWRSD6201034443134220.107.30.30
Quinton PattonWRSF118044135741855500.105.21.49
Matthew SlaterWRNE10004949004950.1049.00.00
Brian QuickWRLA6402522476315010.097.80.66
Ted GinnWRCAR530534573566080.0911.40.98
Jordan NorwoodWRDEN53014173110243450.096.20.77
Anquan BoldinWRDET10713994843835730.084.81.73
Brandon ColemanWRNO4201436501156400.0812.50.30
Kamar AikenWRBAL3201339521146800.0817.30.27
Terrance WilliamsWRDAL4302520459345970.0811.30.76
Justin HardyWRATL52163743285950.078.60.19
Jalin MarshallWRNYJ430367439456050.0710.81.05
Rashad GreeneWRJAC5201044546167750.0710.80.30
Aldrick RobinsonWRATL3203011410305950.0713.70.73
Dorial Green-BeckhamWRPHI64015173217325080.065.31.00
Corey BrownWRCAR84014243812266080.064.80.68
Andre HolmesWROAK41162430065060.067.50.20
Andrew HawkinsWRCLE63012304216287350.067.00.67
Brice ButlerWRDAL3101222344165970.0611.30.47
Chris MooreWRBAL42011243511226800.058.80.63
Jordan TaylorWRDEN110160164203450.0516.01.25
Albert WilsonWRKC850-2292714126270.043.40.44
Rashard HigginsWRCLE10003131007350.0431.00.00
J.J. NelsonWRARI2101019291117520.0414.50.38
Braxton MillerWRHOU62061925397550.034.20.36
Cody LatimerWRDEN220110111123450.035.51.09
Aaron BurbridgeWRSF10001717005500.0317.00.00
Alex EricksonWRCIN110180182205940.0318.01.11
Taylor GabrielWRATL3301801810285950.036.01.56
Cecil ShortsWRTB210720275128980.0313.50.44
Harry DouglasWRTEN520881613215540.033.21.31
Rod StreaterWRSF2100151513135500.037.50.87
Trevor DavisWRGB10001616006410.0216.00.00
Arrelious BennWRJAC2107916297750.028.00.56
Leonte CarrooWRMIA220110113146590.025.51.27
Russell ShepardWRTB220110115168980.015.51.45
Cordarrelle PattersonWRMIN110606066080.016.01.00
Jared AbbrederisWRGB110606286410.016.01.33
Quan BrayWRIND110707077690.017.01.00
Andre RobertsWRDET110505385730.015.01.60
Jaelen StrongWRHOU100066007550.016.00.00
Ryan GrantWRWAS210516057610.013.00.83
James WrightWRCIN22010116175940.000.517.00
  1. RACR is a measure of how well a receiver converts air yards into receiving yards. The formula is: (completed air yards + YAC) / total air yards. It captures a receiver’s catching ability with his ability to create yards after the catch into one efficiency metric. It is the most predictive efficiency metric I have found for WRs.  (back)
  2. Model has an r-squared of .49.  (back)
  3. Tate currently is averaging 7.2 PPR points per game, but is getting volume that should be good for almost double that.  (back)

Josh Hermsmeyer

Air yards, Numbers Game, and predictive modeling.
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