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Evans: DFS Passing Report ahead of NFL Week 17

Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs (14) runs the ball for a touchdown against New England Patriots cornerback J.C. Jackson (27) and defensive back Jonathan Jones (31) in the half quarter at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

As the NFL becomes more and more pass-heavy, fantasy football and DFS managers need to know where and how teams are distributing their targets in the passing game.

Receiver usage data — specifically targets, air yards and routes run — is much better at predicting future receiving production than simply scanning box scores. This passing report analyzes every team’s target, air yard and route run from the previous week so that fantasy managers can make informed decisions with information that's actionable and up to date.

The report includes five categories, which are defined as the following:

  • Target: a pass attempt to a receiver
  • Target share: the percentage of targets that a player receives out of his team’s total number of targeted pass attempts
  • Route run %: the percentage of routes run by a receiver out of his team’s total number of passing plays
  • Air yards: the number of yards the ball travels in the air for every pass attempt, measured from the point at which the QB throws the football to the receiver’s location at the spot of the target.
  • Air-yard share: the percentage of air yards a player receives out of his team’s total air yards.

We can also leverage the receiving usage data for every passing offense with analysis and angles for the Week 17 DFS slate.

Before we get to the team-by-team breakdown, I have identified several players who have recently seen their roles change. These players have new receiving usage data over the last few games, indicating a potential change in their future production. Their fantasy stock is either rising or falling based on these usage metrics.

Fantasy Football Stock Up Fantasy Football Stock Down
WR Calvin Ridley WR Keke Coutee
TE Mark Andrews WR Tim Patrick
WR Tee Higgins WR Henry Ruggs III
TE George Kittle WR Jalen Reagor
TE Mike Gesicki
TE Darren Waller
WR Chase Claypool
TE Irv Smith Jr.

ARZ | ATL | BLT | BUF | CAR | CIN | CHI | CLE | DEN | DAL | DET | GB | HOU | IND | JAX | KC | LVR | LAC | LAR | MIA | MIN | NE | NO | NYG | NYJ | PHI | PIT | SF | SEA | TB | TEN | WFT


Player Targets Target Share Route Run % Air-Yard Share Air Yards
DeAndre Hopkins 12 27% 95% 18% 72
Christian Kirk 10 22% 90% 30% 121
Larry Fitzgerald 7 16% 85% 9% 37
Dan Arnold 5 11% 52% 19% 78
Chase Edmonds 3 7% 22% 0% 0
KeeSean Johnson 3 7% 32% 14% 57
Darrell Daniels 2 4% 13% 2% 9
Kenyan Drake 2 4% 47% 0% 0
Seth DeValve 1 2% 10% 8% 33
DFS Angle

Somebody on the Cardinals coaching staff needs to show Kliff Kingsbury a weekly copy of this passing report. When the Cardinals' offense is humming along, you typically see DeAndre Hopkins unleashed downfield with a high average depth of target. When the Cardinals' offense is a complete disaster, you typically see Hopkins is deployed far too close to the line of scrimmage with a pathetically low average depth of target.

Arizona's star wide receiver mustered an unsightly 6-yard average depth of target in the side's Week 16 meltdown. For context, the Cardinals hung a 30-burger on the Eagles in Week 15 courtesy of a Hopkins 12.7-yard average depth of target. Hopkins has a 10.0-yard average depth of target in the Cardinals' eight wins compared to a 7.3-yard figure over their seven losses.

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