Metrics that Matter: What Are Total Air Yards and Deep Ball Attempts?

by | Nov 15, 2023

If you are trying to analyze quarterbacks for your fantasy team, odds are you may have read some articles on quarterback advanced metrics and their correlation to success, such as this one from the experts at Fantasy Data. Two of the most predictive metrics for QBs that have gained prominence in recent seasons are Total Air Yards (TAY) and Deep Ball Attempts (DBA).

On some level, these should be intuitive and make sense. If a quarterback is taking constant shots down the field and has the arm to make deep throws and enough success that the coach keeps calling those deep throws (these things are intentional in the NFL, this isn’t a backyard football game). But what are these metrics, how are they calculated, and how should you think about them?

Total Air Yards (TAY):

Total Air Yards refer to the cumulative distance a quarterback’s passes travel through the air before reaching the intended receiver. In essence, TAY quantifies the aggressiveness of a passing offense, revealing how much yardage a quarterback is attempting to gain through the air. High TAY numbers suggest a willingness to take shots downfield, which can translate into big plays and fantasy points. While a low TAY implies the QB is throwing more screen passes, slants, and short routes relying on his receivers to rack up high Yards After Catch (YCA) for points.

Fantasy Impact:

For fantasy managers, TAY can be a valuable indicator of a quarterback’s potential for explosive plays. Quarterbacks with consistently high Total Air Yards are more likely to generate big plays, resulting in higher fantasy point totals. Monitoring TAY trends throughout the season can help identify quarterbacks with favorable matchups and the potential for a breakout performance. If you are looking for upside, QBs who take and can connect on deep shots can provide big plays needed to unlock higher upside and week-winning fantasy impact.

Deep Ball Attempts (DBA):

Deep Ball Attempts represent the number of passes thrown by a quarterback that travel 20 or more yards downfield. This metric specifically focuses on the deep passing game and provides insights into a quarterback’s willingness to take shots deep into opposing defenses. Quarterbacks with a high number of Deep Ball Attempts often have the potential to rack up fantasy points through long touchdown passes.

Fantasy Impact:

In fantasy football, deep passes can be a game-changer. Quarterbacks with a penchant for launching deep balls are more likely to connect on explosive plays, resulting in substantial fantasy point production. By targeting quarterbacks with a high volume of Deep Ball Attempts, fantasy managers can capitalize on potential big-play opportunities and gain an advantage over their opponents.

Putting It All Together:

To maximize fantasy success, savvy managers should consider both Total Air Yards and Deep Ball Attempts when evaluating quarterbacks. A balance between an aggressive passing approach (high TAY) and a willingness to stretch the field with deep throws (high DBA) can lead to a potent fantasy combination. Look for quarterbacks who consistently rank near the top in these metrics, especially when facing defenses susceptible to giving up big plays. Looking for other quarterback advanced metrics and metrics that matter for other positions? Check out more articles and fantasy analysis.

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