I Don't Understand the Jarvis Landry Love in Fantasy Football
The way I feel about Jarvis Landry's average draft position in fantasy football is the way I felt when I couldn't get my surround sound speakers to work last night.
Perplexed. Annoyed. Frustrated.
Why? Why is this happening?
As it stands, according to FantasyFootballCalculator.com, Landry's leaving draft boards in the middle of the fifth round in PPR formats. That drops to the middle of the sixth in standard ones.
I don't get it.
Landry's Rookie Campaign
It's true that Landry had a great rookie season, and if not for the ridiculous 2014 class, we would probably be talking more about his campaign. (Maybe.) He finished the year with 112 targets and 84 receptions, scoring 5 times. He also added 758 yards.
I say that last tidbit nonchalantly, because totaling just 758 yards on 84 catches is kind of brutal. Among the 27 wideouts with 70 or more catches last year, Landry's yards per catch of 9.02 ranked dead last. And among the 113 70-plus catch seasons since 2010, only Danny Amendola's yards per catch rate from 2010 was lower.
Our Net Expected Points (NEP) metric -- which you can read more about in our glossary -- doesn't paint a very good picture, either. Landry's cumulative Reception NEP was 63.29, which ranked 44th at the wide receiver position in the NFL. His 0.57 Reception NEP per target among 50-plus target receivers (87 of them) ranked 66th.
Landry wasn't efficient -- don't let anyone fool you. Much of this has to do with his targets being close to the line of scrimmage, but that's all part of the game. The result of this was a volume-dependent receiver, and that could be a huge problem in 2015.
Will He Really See More Volume?
If you're bullish on Landry, then you must also be really into his potential to obtain a good number targets. I can see the logic -- from Weeks 9 through 16 last year, Landry saw 69 targets, averaging 8.63 targets per game. Extrapolated across the entire year, and you're looking at a 138-target season. That would've placed him 12th in the NFL last season, right next to Dez Bryant.
The problem here is that 138 targets with his efficiency still doesn't mean a whole lot. Last year, Landry had 181.40 PPR points on 112 looks. With each target, he was adding about 1.62 fantasy points.
At 138 targets -- his extrapolated second half, minus the usually irrelevant Week 17 -- would have given him 223.51 fantasy points on the year in PPR leagues, which are WR17 numbers.
He's currently being selected as the 25th wide receiver in PPR leagues, so there's at least some (not a ton) equity to be had there.
But I'm not overly confident that we should lock him into that type of volume.
The Miami Dolphins have a new-look offense, with completely different weapons than what was at Ryan Tannehill's disposal last year. Take a look at the list of receivers who departed and the number of targets that left with them.
That's 262 targets for the rest of the team to share. Except the rest of the team not only filled the tight end void with a better receiving tight end in Jordan Cameron this offseason, but Mike Wallace and Brian Hartline will now be replaced by Kenny Stills, Greg Jennings and rookie Devante Parker.
That's an additional relevant wide receiver being thrown into the mix.
The Dolphins had 595 pass attempts last season, making them an above-average team in terms of volume through the air (12th in the NFL). Roughly 61.1% of their targets went to the wide receiver position -- that's slightly higher than the NFL average of 60.3%.
Let's just assume the Dolphins become a top-five passing team in terms of volume next season and throw 620 times. At that same rate -- 61.1% -- you're looking at 378 targets to be divided between Stills, Landry, Jennings, Parker and whoever else ends up seeing looks (perhaps Rishard Matthews). Landry seeing 138 targets -- which is his rate extrapolated from the end of last year -- would leave 240 to be divided by amongst the remaining three-plus wideouts. Not only is that hard to imagine, but Landry, in this scenario, would be seeing a higher target share for his team than all but 15 wide receivers saw in 2014.
And remember, that's within an offense that would hypothetically be throwing the ball more than all but four teams in the NFL.
And remember, that's just volume. That's not even accounting for the fact that, in order to finish higher than WR17, he'd have to be far more efficient with the volume he sees.
Are we ready to say that'll happen? Are we ready to say that Landry will be used as more than a security blanket for Ryan Tannehill out of the slot? Are we ready to assume he'll score more touchdowns when the team drafted 6'3'' Devante Parker and signed an athletic red zone threat at tight end in Jordan Cameron?
I don't know about you, but there are a lot of positive assumptions being made with Landry given his average draft position. And with a fifth-round investment, I need a player that has more realistic, genuine, logical upside.