This series is going to go through each NFL division analyzing fantasy potential for players on each team using 2018 data starting with the:

New York Jets

QB - Sam Darnold

  • Darnold struggled to be accurate in 2018 and ranked 31st in completion %
  • This is because he averaged 9.22 Air Yards per throw which was 5th in the league meaning Darnold was taking some solid risks
  • Darnold only threw it over the middle 18% of the time which was 35th in the NFL
  • He also threw it short 74% of the time which was 29th in the NFL
  • As a result Darnold threw many deep balls, he had the 10th highest deep ball % in the league

The below chart looks at how Darnold’s Air Yards distribution compares to his WRs.The wider the violin means the more often an Air Yardage of that amount occured. The box represents a rough average.

Wide Receivers - data for passes from Darnold

  • Robby Anderson lead the WRs with a 19% target share from Darnold
  • On these passes Anderson had an Average Air Yardage of about 15
  • What’s interesting is on these passes, Anderson only averaged 3.7 YAC
  • Anderson also had a target share of 34%  on Darnold’s deep passes
  • Chris Herndon was second in deep target share at 17%
  • Overall however Herndon was 4th on the team in target share from Darnold at 9%
  • Enunwa’s data may be a little skewed since he only played in 8 games with Darnold however he had the best YAC of the WRs at 7.96
  • Very small sample for Crowder but on 19 passes from Alex Smith, 14 of them were short passes
  • Regardless crowder has been known to be a slot/short receiver

Running Back

  • I obviously don’t have 2018 data for Bell but for what it’s worth the Jets were dead last in Football Outsider’s adjusted line yards. As we know offensive line performance impacts RB efficiency. However Bell’s volume should be high enough to where he still has fine fantasy value

Takeaways

As I’ve wrote about before here, Air Yards have a large impact on fantasy performance. Even though Darnold’s completion % was low he was taking shots downfield which returns fantasy value. I would assume he only approves in 2019.  Of all the Jets WRs it seems that Robby Anderson has the most value as his Air Yards distribution matches Darnold the most. Enunwa has produced in the past and is more of an all around the field WR, but the addition of Crowder will most likely hinder his performance on the short side of the field. Barring dramatic improvement from the O-Line I can see Bell having a DJ like 2019. Lots of volume, low efficiency.

New England Patriots

QB - Tom Brady

  • Brady was 23rd in the NFL in Avg Air Yards which is likely with how often he dumps it down to White & Edelman
  • 80% of Brady’s passes were short passes which was 5th in the NFL
  • The below graph tells nothing new in that Edelman’s and White’s distributions lined up the best with Brady

*Note I wanted to include DT but the data was wrong

Wide Receivers

  • With Gronk, Hogan, Patterson, and Gordon likely gone that accounts for 39% of Brady’s targets
  • Edelman and White Combined for 40% of the targets and that might even get higher with the names above gone
  • I don’t have data for Harry but would assume he fills the Gordon role. Gronk/Gordon/Hogan accounted for 64% of deep targets from Brady

RB’s

  • Sony Michel carried the ball 209 times for a YPC of 4.5
  • Michel also had YPC’s > 4 up the middle and to the outside
  • The NE line was also 3rd in adjusted line yards
  • The Patriots also just spent a 3rd round pick on Damien Harris because Bill hates fantasy

Takeaways

  • Nothing new with the Pats offense, dink and dunk and an RB committee mess. What’s for sure is the targets lost from Gronk and Co. have to go somewhere and you can make the argument White and Edelman see even more volume in 2019. This added to the fact that Brady is another year old and the Pats did lose LT Trent Brown (Although Dante Scarrnechia is the nucleus to the O-Line). I really think N’Keal harry will have solid value in 2019 since he will most likely take the Gordon role as well as a bulk of the Red Zone targets. Sony will be a tricky value come draft day but I would personally just fade the public; if he’s being drafted too high pass on him, if he drops too low cause people are afraid of Harris, take the chance on him.

Buffalo Bills

QB - Josh Allen

  • Allen was hit on 19% of dropbacks which was the 10th highest rate in the league
  • Despite this he also led the league in Avg Air Yards with 10.99
  • Allen ranked 41st in the league in % passes over the middle
  • He was also 42nd in position of passes that were short passes
  • 28% of his passes were deep balls which was 1st in the league

Wide Receivers

  • Zay Jones lead the bills in target share from allen at 21% but nearly half of those passes were incomplete
  • Foster was second and each had Avg Air Yards over 14
  • Foster and Jones also combined for 48% of Allen’s deep passes
  • 91% of Beasley’s targets were short targets in 2018
  • With flacco, 46% of Brown’s routes were deep routes

RB’s

  • McCoy had 161 carries and a YPC of 3.19
  • The Bills were also 30th in Adjusted Line Yards
  • The Bills also signed TJ Yeldon who had a YPC of 4.78 to the outside but only 3.34 up the middle

Takeaways

Josh Allen is uncle rico, he loves to sling it.Now the question is who will the deep balls go to. I would lean Brown because they went out and got him indicating they weren’t thrilled with Jones & Foster’s success. I also think Beasley won’t do much in the Bills offense in 2019. I’m sure they may try to design plays for Allen to dump to Beasley but I don’t think it will be enough for fantasy relevance. As of today I have no idea what to expect from this backfield in 2019. I’m gonna assume McCoy is cut/traded, after that I could see Yeldon, Singletary and maybe even Gore staying with the team in 2019. However the combination of uncertainty and poor run blocking limits fantasy ceilings for any of these RBs in 2019.

Miami Dolphins

QBs

Ryan Fitzpatrick

  • Fitzmagic gained 8.85 yards per pass which was 1st in the NFL
  • He was also 3rd in the league in Avg Air Yards
  • Fitz ranked 40th in the league in % of passes that were short but 2nd in % of passes that were long passes

Josh Rosen

  • Rosen only gained 4.49 Yards per pass which was 40th in league
  • However he had a solid Avg Air yards of 8.36 which was 16th in the league
  • Rosen’s WRs however were 39th in the league in YAC
  • Rosen distributed the ball pretty evenly over the field but still favored the deep ball at 18% of throws (13th in NFL)

Wide Receivers

  • Each WRs performance was skewed due to catching passes from Tannehill & Osweiler
  • Stills lead the team in Air Yards
  • Wilson had the best YAC from Tannehill (however a small sample)

RB’s

  • Kenyan Drake had a YPC of 4.7 to the outside but only 3.7 up the middle
  • He only had 36 carries but Ballage had better numbers in each category with a YPC 6.7 to the outside and 4.2 up the middle

Takeaways

It’s difficult to project this team since we don’t know who will be QB, there is a new coach, and WR performances were catered to Tannehill and Brock. One thing is for sure is if Fitz wins the job there’s a chance all 3 of these guys may have value in 2019. The data in 2018 is too small of a sample to make any judgements on. If Rosen wins the job he takes somewhat less chances so that limits the WRs outlook. Same with the RB position, we don’t know if Flores will finally hand everything to Drake, or try and use a Pats system with a RB committee. All in all as of today there are way too many combinations that can happen with this offense in 2019 to make any sure predictions.

Finally since I talked a lot about Air Yards I wanted to include each QBs Completion % the deeper the target. I chose these bins since I felt they represented common segments of the field. I couldn’t do each individual yard since hypothetically there’s a chance passes of 31 yards didn’t really happen but 32 occurred often. The black line represents the league average.

I’m sure Fitz’s sample was a little smaller since he just dominated in that short timespan. Darnold was all over the place & Josh Allen was, eh