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Evans: Fantasy Football Passing Report ahead of NFL Week 16

Dec 20, 2020; Arlington, Texas, USA; San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk (11) celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Dallas Cowboys in the second quarter at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

As the NFL becomes more and more pass-heavy, fantasy football 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.

Additionally, we can leverage the receiving usage data for every passing offense with analysis and angles for the Week 16 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 Robby Anderson
WR Russell Gage WR Michael Pittman Jr.
TE Darren Waller WR James Washington
TE Logan Thomas TE Jonnu Smith
WR Marvin Jones Jr. WR Tim Patrick
WR Diontae Johnson
WR Jakobi Meyers
WR Brandon Aiyuk
WR Alshon Jeffery

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

ARIZONA CARDINALS

Player Targets Target Share Route Run % Air-Yard Share Air Yards
DeAndre Hopkins 11 30% 98% 37% 140
Chase Edmonds 5 14% 61% 0% 0
Dan Arnold 5 14% 51% 22% 83
Christian Kirk 4 11% 90% 8% 29
Larry Fitzgerald 4 11% 63% 16% 62
KeeSean Johnson 3 8% 34% 12% 45
Kenyan Drake 2 5% 34% 0% 0
Darrell Daniels 1 3% 10% 0% 0
Ezekiel Turner 1 3% 2% 3% 13
Maxx Williams 1 3% 15% 1% 4
DFS Angle

DeAndre Hopkins has 305 receiving yards in his last two games as the Cardinals are finally unleashing him downfield — 11 targets and 140 air yards is the alpha usage that we crave from superstars like Hopkins. He will rightfully be popular on the Saturday slate, and I will prioritize him in my lineups.

Christian Kirk has become the next great track superstar on the Cardinals, as evidenced by the 90% route rate and the anemic 29 air yards. Kirk’s downfield usage from earlier in the season has completely evaporated. I imagine he will garner ownership at $3,800 because of his monster stretch from Week 6-9, but I would rather pay up for Hopkins if I was forced to grab a Cardinals wide receiver.

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