Week 5 XFL Air Yards: Runaway Tre McBride

Week 5 XFL Air Yards: Runaway Tre McBride article feature image

Ric Tapia/XFL via Getty Images. Pictured: Tre McBride

We’re tracking air yards for the 2020 XFL season, and in this post we have all the receiving data for Weeks 1-4 of the XFL.

What are air yards?

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

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The stat, which was brought into popularity by Josh Hermsmeyer and his website AirYards.com, has proven to be a key predictor of future production.

I compiled the data in the tables below by charting the games. If you compare my statistics to those in the box scores at XFL.com, you’ll notice a few discrepancies. My numbers are unofficial, but they are almost certainly the most reliable XFL receiving statistics available.

Week 4 XFL Air Yards Leaders

It’s obvious that Los Angeles Wildcats wide receiver Tre McBride has arrived. He tops Week 4's air yards list with 169. But it looks like there will be enough to go around for other receivers in the Wildcats offense. Quarterback Josh Johnson has proven he is one of the XFL’s more prolific passers after throwing for 544 air yards against the New York Guardians last week. Wide receiver Jordan Smallwood quietly tied for No. 3 in air yards (133) in Week 4 and could excel against the Tampa Bay Vipers this week as more attention goes to McBride.

Vipers wide receiver Dan Williams led the slate in Week 4 with 72 yards after the catch, and for the year he's No. 1 in that category (146) and No. 4 in air yards (408). His emergence coincides with the improved play of quarterback Taylor Cornelius, who has targeted Williams four times in the end zone since Week 3. As long as tight end Nick Truesdell (knee) remains sidelined, Williams can be confidently deployed in fantasy.

Dallas Renegades tight end Donald Parham entered Week 4 as one of the hottest players in the league, and he didn't massively disappoint with a 6-56-1 receiving performance on 10 targets, but the downgrade from starting quarterback Landry Jones (knee) to backup quarterback Philip Nelson could be significant.

For the season, Jones has a 6.61-yard average depth of target (aDOT), whereas Nelson has a 5.8-yard aDOT. On his 119 attempts, Jones has targeted Parham 10-plus yards downfield 13 times. On 46 attempts, Nelson has zero such attempts to Parham.

With Nelson, expectations for Parham should be tempered: The guy throwing him the ball is someone who slides at the two-yard line.

I've watched a lot of football and I don't think I've ever seen this before. Thanks Phil. pic.twitter.com/FMnCbYYoHt

— Former Ben An made putt tracker (@tdaremarquis) March 3, 2020

Who does that?

2020 XFL Air Yards Data

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