Full disclosure; I am a Jarvis Landry truther. He’s been a major contributor to my success over the course of the last two seasons and I can’t help but like the guy. He impressed me in college and was a member of a number of my NCAA DFS lineups. Perhaps, I have an emotional attachment to him but I just don’t hate him as much as the majority of Fantasy Twitter.
To be clear, much of this hate stems from Landry’s current ADP of 23 overall in PPR leagues. The crazy thing, however, is that Landry is the 18th receiver off the board. This means that only 5 non WRs are being selected prior to him. This makes me question if his detractors are really against him or simply against taking a WR of his caliber so early in drafts. Of course, it’s not that simple. Some believe that sophomore receiver DeVante Parker could emerge as Miami’s main target in the passing game. Further, Landry’s dependence on volume has been cited time and again as a reason to be leery of his 2016 prospects.
To put things in context, here’s an overview of how Landry has performed in his two NFL seasons courtesy of the Research Dashboard.
Landry finished as the 11th ranked receiver in 2015 PPR leagues and even finished as WR15 in standard. Of course, some of this may have to do with the fact that he played in all 16 games. If we instead look at ranks based on points per game for all receivers that were in action for more than eight, Landry ranks 12th in PPR and 22nd in standard. That’s really not too bad. In fact, that’s pretty darn good and firmly surpassed 2015 preseason expectations. Some regression has been built into his 2016 pricing.
As I alluded to earlier, a legitimate concern surrounding Landry’s 2016 prospects is the emergence of DeVante Parker. Clearly, Parker is the more physically gifted player as evidenced by Player Profiler.
There’s no denying that Parker has a much better chance of being the Dolphins prototypical WR1. However, Landry is no stranger to sharing the field with talented players. As you can see, he held his own while at LSU competing for targets with Odell Beckham Jr.
|2013||Odell Beckham Jr.||59||1152||19.5||8|
|2012||Odell Beckham Jr.||43||713||16.6||2|
So there’s hope that each player will carve out their niche and Landry will remain a key component of the Dolphins offense as a solid possession receiver. Further, thanks to the Rotoviz Game Splits App, we can see that Landry was not impeded when Parker was in the lineup. In fact, his targets and points per game increased. Some of this was likely due to factors such as schedule and game flow, but nonetheless it’s noteworthy.
The biggest argument against Landry is his dependency on volume as he is inefficient across a number of metrics, posts low yards per catch and does not accrue many touchdowns. The Dolphins attempted 40 passes a game during those in which both receivers played. This gave Landry a market share of 30 percent and Parker 15 percent. Let’s lower that rate and pretend that in 2016 the team posts 600 attempts and that the two receivers earn an equal distribution of the total share they commanded in ’15. That would provide each with 135 targets.
Clearly, this would be a bit of a drop from 2015 levels, there’s no denying that. However, last year this total would have been 14th among receivers and allowed Landry to finish somewhere close to WR18. Though he only averaged 1.6 points per target, this would translate to 218 PPR points given our assumed target total. Sammy Watkins matched this total last season and finished as WR20.
The other thing that we need to consider is that as Parker continues to develop and if rookie Leonte Carroo can be a modest contributor, the Dolphins may be able to allow Landry to focus on what he does best; being one of the best slot/possession receivers in the league. Not this would greatly increase his yards per reception, but it could provide a boost to some efficiency based metrics.
At the end of the day, I understand the concerns. However, I don’t think that his overall usage will drop to levels where his lack of efficiency becomes a problem. Landry has been solid at providing the Dolphins production within the role they will be asking him to fill. Parker has boosted his production and there’s the possibility that new offensive coordinator Adam Gase can make Ryan Tannehill a better passer.
No, Landry is not a top 10 receiver and 2015 could possibly go down as the best fantasy season of his career. But, I do believe that his pricing makes more sense than many believe. If you think that a WR20 type of player has no business being drafted near the round 2/3 turn that’s fine. Just remember, that a WR18 finish for Landry isn’t an entirely ludicrous projection. I will concede, however, that his upside is likely limited.