Week 4 XFL Air Yards Data: Cam Phillips Forever

Credit:

Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Roughnecks WR Cam Phillips

Feb 26, 2020, 07:58 PM EST

We’re tracking air yards for the 2020 XFL season, and in this post we have all the receiving data for Weeks 1-3 of the XFL.

What exactly are air yards?

The scrimmage-yard distance that a ball travels on a target intended for a receiver: That distance is “air yards.”


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Why should we care about air yards?

Air yards are predictive.

To get a sense for how many yards a receiver is likely to get, a target projection will get you only so far. It also helps to know how far downfield a receiver tends to be targeted.

We have XFL air yards data thanks entirely to one of our writers, Tony Marquis, who took it upon himself to watch each snap from Weeks 1-3 and log the data for every single pass attempt.

Follow him on Twitter, and dive into his data. — Matthew Freedman

Week 3 XFL Air Yards Leaders

Without tight end Nick Truesdell (knee), Vipers wide receivers Jalen Tolliver (128 air yards) and Dan Williams (116) saw a healthy 54% share of targets in Week 3. As long as Truesdell is out, that volume is probably sustainable.

The Tre McBride everyone was excited about in the preseason showed up in Week 3 against DC, catching two touchdowns while leading his team in air yards (180). The Wildcats wide receiver, who didn’t play in Weeks 1-2 because of a thigh injury, appeared to sustain a head or back injury in the third quarter and did not return. Teammate Nelson Spruce (knee) has reportedly been ruled out for Week 4, so McBride should be closely monitored. He will be a popular fantasy option this week if active.

Roughnecks wide receiver Cam Phillips continued to break out in Week 3, catching three more touchdowns on a slate-high 223 air yards. As for teammate Sammie Coates, despite running just 22 routes, he managed to get 121 air yards (but only 11 receiving yards) on just three targets.

Guardians wide receiver Mekale McKay, who ran a team-high 37 routes, didn’t see a target until the fourth quarter, but don’t give up on him yet: Teammate Colby Pearson left the game with an apparent leg injury, so the Guardians may need McKay even more against the Wildcats in Week 4.

Don’t put too much weight on the Week 3 air yards for the DC Defenders. Quarterback Cardale Jones was horrible, as he passed for just 103 yards, completed just 50% of his attempts and threw four interceptions. Of all the air yards Jones threw, 99 went out of bounds, 71 landed more than five yards away from a receiver and 76 were intercepted.

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