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NFL Air Yards Tool, Week 9: Leaders of Week 8

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Each week in this space, I’m going to take a trip through the FTN air yards tool to find some of the most interesting and actionable takeaways for fantasy football.

 

Air yards represent the distance the ball travels from the line of scrimmage to the intended target. Regardless of whether a pass was complete or incomplete, air yards measure the amount of ground covered from passer to pass catcher. It does not account for the yards after catch on a completed pass. When calculating air yards, it’s important to keep in mind that not all air yards are created equal. An on-target throw is much more valuable than an uncatchable ball, even if the air yards are greater. Although air yards are not inductive of fantasy success, it’s a great way to calculate opportunity. The Weighted Opportunity Rating incorporates players’ share of team targets and the percentage of team air yards. Fantasy scoring is difficult to predict; however, opportunities are usually a stick stat and can translate to current and future output. Every week I will go position by position, highlighting the leaders in air yards. You can access the free air yards tool at FTN Fantasy.

Week 8 Air Yards Leaders

Quarterback

PJ Walker, Carolina Panthers

(459 air yards, fantasy QB15)

After somehow throwing for negative air yards in his first start, PJ Walker led the week in air yards (459), throwing for over 300 yards (317) and one touchdown. His longest completion was a 62-yard touchdown pass to DJ Moore in what looked to be the game-winning touchdown, before a missed extra point forced the game to overtime, and the Panthers fell 37-34 to the Falcons.

Runner-Up: Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins (404 air yards, fantasy QB1)
Season Leader: Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2,426 air yards, fantasy QB14)

Wide Receiver

DJ Moore, Carolina Panthers

(251 air yards, fantasy WR5)

DJ Moore Week 9 Fantasy Football Air Yards TOol

DJ Moore was left for dead three weeks ago, held under 60 receiving yards in the first three weeks. However, since the Panthers traded away Christian McCaffrey and Robbie Anderson, Moore has exceeded 65 receiving yards in back-to-back games, averaging 10.5 targets, 6.5 receptions, 110.5 yards, and a touchdown in the last two weeks. In Week 8, Moore caught six passes for a season-high 152 yards and scored the game-tying touchdown. 

Runner-Up: Tyreek Hill, Miami Dolphins (222 air yards, fantasy WR3)
Season Leader: Tyreek Hill, Miami Dolphins (1,059 air yards, fantasy WR1)

 

Tight End

Tyler Conklin, New York Jets

(149 air yards, fantasy TE1)

In Weeks 1-5, Tyler Conklin was the TE12, averaging 48 yards per game with Joe Flacco under center. Seemingly trustworthy as a TE1, Conklin’s production took a significant hit as soon as Zach Wilson returned to the lineup in Week 6. With Wilson as the starter, Conklin was shut out for the first time all season and held under 25 receiving yards in the next two games. He came back to life in Week 8 in the Jets’ first game without Breece Hall. While playing from a trailing game script, Conklin saw a season-high in targets (10), receptions (6), yards (79), and touchdowns (2).

Runner-Up: Greg Dulcich, Denver Broncos (114 air yards, fantasy TE9)
Season Leader: Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens (681 air yards, fantasy TE2)

Running Back

Spencer Brown, Carolina Panthers

(40 air yards, fantasy RB58)

Chuba Hubbard was ruled out in Week 8, creating an ambiguous situation in the Panthers backfield. D’Onta Foreman was elevated as the starter, but it was unclear which other running back would serve as the next man up. Undrafted rookie Raheem Blackshear seemed like the most obvious candidate as the only other player to see backfield touches in Week 7. However, Spencer Brown ended up slotting in as the RB2 for Carolina, backing up Foreman. He failed to haul in his lone target but saw six carries for 27 yards. With Hubbard back at practice, Brown is unlikely to have a meaningful role, barring an injury.

Runner-Up: Matt Breida, New York Giants (26 air yards, fantasy RB60)
Season Leader: Breece Hall, New York Jets (147 air yards, fantasy RB12)

Previous NFL Splits Tool, Week 9: Russell Wilson’s Impact in Denver Next Week 9 Fantasy Football Game By Game Breakdown