You’ve probably heard the term the phrase “average depth of target” before in fantasy football. A crucial stat in evaluating fantasy football players, a receivers aDot could be a predictor of a breakout day, especially as it’s output suggest high variance players: receivers who could have a very good day or a very bad day.

How is the Average Depth of Target Calculated

The average depth of target (aDOT) is calculated by taking the total number of air yards on all of a player’s targets and dividing that number by the total number of targets.

Air yards refer to the distance that a pass travels through the air before it is caught or falls incomplete. To calculate air yards for a specific target, you can subtract the line of scrimmage (the point where the play starts) from the point where the pass is caught or falls incomplete.

For example, if a wide receiver is targeted three times in a game and the air yards on those targets are 8, 12, and 20 yards, respectively, the total air yards would be 8 + 12 + 20 = 40. If the total number of targets is 3, the aDOT would be calculated as 40 / 3 = 13.33 yards. This particular example shows the outsized impact that outliers can have on this particular statistic. This is only further evidence why the stat should be considered a high variance statistic with high risk and high reward.

It’s worth noting that aDOT can be calculated for individual games, as well as for entire seasons or other time periods. Additionally, different sources of NFL data may calculate aDOT slightly differently based on how they define and measure air yards.

Average Depth of Target Calculator

Even though the formula is pretty straightforward we nevertheless built this aDOT calculator. This calculator takes the total depth of targets (in yards) and the number of targets as inputs and calculates the aDOT by dividing the total depth of targets by the number of targets.

Average Depth of Target Calculator

What is the Average Depth of Target in Fantasy Football?

The average depth of target (aDOT) in fantasy football varies based on a number of contributing factors, such as the team's offensive scheme, the quarterback's playing style, and the wide receiver's role in the offense. In general, aDOT is the average distance that a pass travels through the air before it is caught or falls incomplete.

Whether or not the pass is completed, the second receiver in this image (the second from the left of the quarterback) has the longer depth of targer.

According to data from the 2021 NFL season, the average aDOT for wide receivers in the league was around 10.6 yards. However, this number can vary significantly depending on the individual player and team. Some wide receivers specialize in shorter, high-percentage routes, while others are deep threats who primarily run longer routes. Additionally, some quarterbacks prefer to throw shorter passes, while others like to take more shots down the field.

In fantasy football, a high aDOT can be a positive for wide receivers who are targeted frequently and have a good catch rate, as they have the potential to rack up a lot of yards and score touchdowns. However, a low aDOT can also be beneficial for players who run shorter routes and catch a lot of passes, especially in PPR (points per reception) leagues.

How much should one weight it?

The weight that should be given to a player's aDOT in fantasy football depends on a number of factors, such as the player's position, the league format, and the overall strategy being employed by the fantasy team. For large field tournaments in single day fantasy football, average depth of target becomes an extremely valuable statistic because it does not show in common stats an inexperienced player is likely to look at.

For wide receivers, a high aDOT can be an indicator of a player's potential for big plays and high-scoring performances. However, it is important to note that a high aDOT can also lead to a lower catch rate, which can impact a player's consistency from week to week. As such, it may be more beneficial to focus on a player's overall target share and red zone opportunities in addition to their aDOT.

For running backs, aDOT may not be as important of a metric, as these players typically catch shorter passes and are more focused on running the ball. However, a running back who is heavily involved in the passing game and has a high aDOT may be more valuable in PPR leagues.

  1. When drafting a high-upside WR: Wide receivers with high aDOTs tend to be players who can make big plays and score a lot of points in a single play. If you're looking to draft a high-upside WR who could be a difference maker in your fantasy lineup, focusing on players with high aDOTs could be a good strategy.
  2. When evaluating a WR's consistency: A high aDOT can sometimes be an indicator of a lower catch rate, which can lead to inconsistency from week to week. If you're looking for a more consistent WR for your fantasy lineup, you may want to focus on players with lower aDOTs who are targeted frequently and have a higher catch rate.
  3. When comparing similar players: If you're trying to decide between two or more similar wide receivers for your fantasy lineup, aDOT can be a useful metric to consider. A player with a higher aDOT may have a higher ceiling, but a player with a lower aDOT may be more consistent.

It's important to note that aDOT is just one of many metrics and factors that should be considered when evaluating fantasy football players. It should be used in conjunction with other metrics, such as target share, red zone opportunities, and catch rate, to get a more complete picture of a player's potential value.