Air Yards Report Week 2: Using Air Yards for Start-Sit Decisions

by Theo Gremminger · Sleepers

This is the Air Yards Report Week 2! Find out which players led Week 1 in Air Yards and how YOU should use Air Yards when determining your fantasy lineups.

What are Air Yards? 

Air Yards measure how many yards the football travels past the line of scrimmage on a passing play. Some Air Yards have completed passes, and some are incomplete passes. They are not a perfect measurement of future fantasy success but a tool that we can utilize to help us make lineup decisions. In 2022, the Air Yards receiving leaders were Tyreek Hill, Davante Adams, Justin Jefferson, A.J. Brown, and Stefon Diggs. All five players finished within the top six scorers at the WR position. The only top-six WR not in the top five in Air Yards was CeeDee Lamb: he finished No. 9. 

Air Yards Standouts Who Shined in Week 1 

Nico Collins | Houston Texans – 158 Air Yards (3rd Overall)

Collins finished with an impressive 11 targets and caught six passes for 80 yards. He was the go-to receiver for Houston. The box score does not show you the impressive amount of Air Yards Collins accumulated. Game flow helped, but he is the go-to receiver for now in Houston. I am starting him in the flex in a few spots. Treat him as a WR3. 

Puka Nacua | Los Angeles Rams – 151 Air Yards (5th Overall) 

Nacua’s 15 targets were the talk of fantasy, but his day could have been even better. Nacua had 151 Air Yards- good enough for No. 7 among all WRs. He is a no-brainer starter this weekend if he is good to go (dealing with an oblique injury).

Kendrick Bourne | New England Patriots – 129 Air Yards (8th Overall)

The suddenly pass-happy New England Patriots went toe to toe with the defending Super Bowl Champion Eagles, falling 25-20. We must consider that New England fell behind 16-0, but Mac Jones‘ 54 pass attempts were No. 1 among all QBs. Bourne was one the biggest beneficiaries, finishing with six catches, 64 yards, and two TD catches. If you are in a jam this week and need a flex play, consider firing Bourne up in a potentially high-scoring game against Miami. 

Tutu Atwell | Los Angeles Rams – 121 Air Yards (10th Overall)

Nacua was not the only Rams WR to have an impressive opening game. Atwell finished with six catches for 119 yards on eight targets. He maximized his usage and had the best game of his career. Atwell would become a must-play this week if Nacua were to miss time. 

Players Who Disappointed but will Bounce Back

Tee Higgins | Cincinnati Bengals – 151 Air Yards (6th Overall) 

Higgins received eight targets and had 151 Air Yards but finished with 0 fantasy points. This is an aberration, and Higgins is a LOCK starter in Week 2. This is the second straight season where Higgins has not produced in Week 1. Last season, he had two catches for 27 yards before bouncing back with 19.1 PPR Points in Week 2. 

Amari Cooper | Cleveland Browns – 107 Air Yards (14th)

Cooper had seven targets but only caught three of them. He finished with a 37-yard fantasy dud. Still, there was a promising amount of Air Yards. Cooper also had one measly yard after the catch. The Browns had to do little offensively in a romp over Cincinnati but will have to pass more in tricky upcoming games against Pittsburgh and Tennessee. Cooper is still the main target in Cleveland and should be in our lineups this week. 

Luke Musgrave | Green Bay – 72 Air Yards (1st Among All TEs)

Musgrave had solid opening game production, finishing with three catches for 50 yards, but there is room for improvement. Musgrave paced all TEs in Air Yards with 72. Musgrave is a mega athlete playing an every-down role in an offense that needs pass-catching weapons. Treat him as a low-end TE1 moving forward. 

Tyjae Spears | Tennessee – 45 Air Yards (1st Among All RBs)

Is this an outlier stat or a harbinger of things to come? Spears out-snapped Derrick Henry and led all RBs in Air Yards. Something tells me Spears is going to be a thing. I could be very wrong, but he is dynamic, and the Titans seem to have big plans for him despite a lack of Week 1 productivity.