In my first article on high volume, the stats I mainly focused on were targets and red zone usage. After digging a little deeper, a couple other stats that stuck out to me were Air Yards and Yards After the Catch. Air Yards and YAC both are stats that help measure volume, which in the Fantasy Football world, results in points. YAC are relevant in a volume sense that, typically players with more YAC are being targeted more. Having said that, Yards After Catch can largely depend on the depth of the target (i.e. Jarvis Landry, Golden Tate, and Pass Catching RBs). In totality, Air Yards represents who is being force fed the ball with a higher average depth of targets, which is gold in the Fantasy Football world. YAC are more dependent on target depth, and in the long run are not as consistent of a predictor that Air Yards are.
What exactly are Air Yards? Air Yards are the total number of yards thrown, both complete AND incomplete, on plays that a particular WR is being targeted. Keep in mind the Air Yards start from the line of scrimmage, so whether the QB is scrambling or not is irrelevant, we are focused on the fantasy points after all.
Yards After the Catch is a little more obvious of a stat, simply the yards a player gains after the point of possession. One of the most disturbing stats from this year was that David Johnson led all WRs, TEs, and RBs in YAC with 661.
Yards After the Catch is what keeps some slot WRs relevant in the fantasy world, as well as adding even more upside to some of the big name WRs. Odell Beckham Jr. and Antonio Brown are the two biggest name WRs here that have very good YAC numbers. Odell and AB are consensus top WRs, that’s about all that needs to be said for those two. Golden Tate, Julian Edelman, and Jarvis Landry have been known as big time PPR guys, and thrive in the YAC category, 619 for Tate and 618 Landry in 2016.
As far as Air Yards for WRs goes, the guys that you would expect to be there, are there. Mike Evans posted a ridiculous 2,500 Air Yards this year, so for those of you worried about a drop off next year with the addition of D-Jax, don’t be. He’s got first in this category locked down by 471 yards (Terrelle Pryor 2,029), it’s safe to say he can be very effective in 2017 again, even if the volume takes a slight hit. Also, his rookie year he had a healthy V-Jax opposite him, just saying.
In reference to my first article, the two buy low candidates that I focused on were Allen Robinson and DeAndre Hopkins. The correlation between volume, YAC, and Air Yards is inevitable. Go find the A-Rob, Nuk, Landry, and Tate owners in your leagues; and see if you can’t get them at a discount after their disappointing 2016 seasons.
Here are a few guys that have solid Air Yard numbers as well as volume (despite poor 2016 FF seasons) that I’m buying low on for 2017: Marvin Jones, Davante Adams, Kelvin Benjamin, and Terrelle Pryor.