NFL Air Yards Report Week 12 – Using Air Yards for Start Sit Decisions

by Edward DeLauter · Fantasy Football

This is the NFL Air Yards Report Week 12! Find out which players led the week 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 11

Davante Adams | Las Vegas Raiders- 195 Air Yards (1st Overall)

Davante Adams led the league in Air Yards last week on his way to seven receptions, 82 receiving yards, and a touchdown. As the Podfather recently noted during his Top 10 takeaways show, Adams is yet another alpha receiver that provides proof for the Tom Savage corollary.

Week 11 was proof positive that the presence of Aidan O’Connell under center should not stop you from treating Adams as a low end WR1 every week.

Tank Dell | Houston Texans – 159 Air Yards ( 3rd Overall)

Tank Dell scored 28.9 fantasy points catching eight passes for 149 yards and a touchdown. He has now tallied three consecutive games with at least 150 Air Yards. As C.J. Stroud‘s go-to receiver, Dell should continue to post top 24 WR numbers. If you are not treating Dell as at least a WR2 rest of the season, you have simply succumbed to take-lock.

Justin Watson | Kansas City Chiefs – 142 Air Yards (6th Overall)

Justin Watson was the only Chief’s wide receiver that provided hope last week in Kansas City’s Super Bowl rematch against the Eagles and Patrick Mahomes treated him accordingly. Watson saw a season high 142 Air Yards with 53 receiving yards and a touchdown.

While Watson’s performance may have been a game specific choice, he remains an intriguing player to monitor in the event he emerges as Mahomes preferred WR target.

Players Who Disappointed But will Bounce Back

Jaxon Smith-Njigba | Seattle Seahawks – 119 Air Yards (10th Overall)

Jaxon Smith-Njigba had his most promising game of his disappointing rookie season last week. While the first wide receiver taken in the 2023 NFL Draft only scored seven fantasy points, he crested 100 Air Yards for the first time all season. While we are at the point in redraft season where you shouldn’t be stashing too many receivers on your bench, Smith-Njigba is the exception.

Diontae Johnson | Pittsburgh Steelers – 104 Air Yards (13th Overall)

Diontae Johnson scored only 3.6 fantasy points despite seeing over 100 Air Yards in the Steelers loss to the Browns last week. With offensive coordinator Matt Canada no longer calling plays for the Steelers, there is some hope that the Steelers found the right scapegoat for their offensive failures this season.

However, with Kenny Pickett and his 5.7 Adjusted Yards per Attempt (No. 25) still slinging the football, hope may be the only thing that those that roster Johnson have. He is best viewed as a WR3.

Garrett Wilson | New York Jets – 103 Air Yards (14th Overall)

Zach Wilson imploded against the Bills last week to Garrett Wilson‘s detriment. Wilson scored only 0.9 fantasy points despite seeing eight targets and over 100 Air Yards. New starter Tim Boyle does not inspire much confidence for Wilson’s fantasy prospects moving forward, however things can only rebound from here. Continue to treat Wilson as a low end WR2.