NFL Air Yards Report Week 13 – Using Air Yards for Start Sit Decisions

by Edward DeLauter · Fantasy Football

This is the NFL Air Yards Week 13! 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 12

Christian Watson | Green Bay Packers – 140 Air Yards (7th Overall)

It took 12 weeks, but Christian Watson finally had a week that most fantasy gamers envisioned when they took him in the fourth round in fantasy drafts. Watson crested 20 fantasy points for the first time all season catching five passes for 94 yards and a touchdown. It’s hard to trust Watson just based off this one spike week, but it should be enough to consider him as a boom bust WR3 flex play moving forward.

Pat Freiermuth | Pittsburgh Steelers – 105 Air Yards (14th Overall) (1st among Tight Ends)

While we usually highlight wide receivers in this article, Pat Freiermuth‘s usage in the Steelers first game sans Matt Canada was too noteworthy to not mention here. Freiermuth led all tight ends in Air Yards in Week 12 seeing 25 Air Yards more than Travis Kelce. He also saw 11 targets and finished with 21 fantasy points. While Freiermuth’s usage may be a fluke based on the Bengals coverage scheme, this may be an indication of who the Steelers plan to focus on as part of their passing attack in a post-Matt Canada world. Fire up Freiermuth as a TE1 this week again against Arizona.

DeVonta Smith | Philadelphia Eagles – 159 Air Yards ( 13th Overall)

The Podfather painted things perfectly during this weeks top 10 takeaways. Devonta Smith is who everyone thought he was. Sure, there will be down weeks like week three when Smith finished as the WR69, or Week 5 when Smith finished as the WR98.  However, there are also the spike weeks like last week where Smith scored 23.6 fantasy points. Smith is exactly who we thought he was when he was drafted this season: a set and forget WR2 with occasional WR1 spike weeks. Continue to lock him into your lineup and ride the wave.

Players Who Disappointed But will Bounce Back

D.K. Metcalf | Seattle Seahawks – 161 Air Yards (5th Overall)

D.K. Metcalf had one of his worst games of the season last weekend as he was shut down by Charvarius Ward and the 49ers’ secondary. Regardless, Metcalf has cleared at least 130 Air Yards in five of his last six games. Expect some absolute nuclear weeks from Metcalf moving forward and treat him as a high end WR2.

Courtland Sutton | Denver Broncos – 80 Air Yards (26th Overall)

Courtland Sutton finished with 9.1 fantasy points last week which was the second time all season Sutton scored below double-digit fantasy points. He is one of the most consistent wide receivers this season thanks in part to his eight touchdowns. Sutton is the clear cut WR1 on the Broncos. Look for him to continue his high-end WR3 ways this week against the Texans.

Puka Nacua | Los Angeles Rams – 74 Air Yards (33rd Overall)

Puka Nacua‘s blistering start to the fantasy season seems like decades ago. The sensational rookie has finished with more than double digit fantasy points only twice out of the past six games. However, this past week Nacua saw his most Air Yards since Week 7 when he finished as the WR5. With Cooper Kupp again ailing with injury, look for Nacua to rebound this week. He is best treated as a WR2.