While reviewing my Dynasty Positional Rankings, one player in particular stuck out to me when comparing to the rankings over at Dynasty League Football: Jarvis Landry. DLF ranked the second year pro from LSU at 23 amongst wide receivers. If I take out the rookies, Landry comes in at 34 for me. That may not seem like a huge disparity, but the difference in value between a low-end WR2 and low-end WR3 in dynasty can be quite large. The feeling that I was way lower on Landry than the public was confirmed to me when debating him in Footballguys ever popular Shark Pool. This begs the question: Is Jarvis Landry overrated in dynasty leagues?
2014 By the Numbers
First, the good. Landry amassed a whopping 84 receptions (75% catch rate) in his rookie campaign, good for 5th all time. He also finished the 2014 season as WR30 in PPR leagues. However, it is the bad that worries me. His 112 targets were good for just 37th in the league, and his yards per reception (9.0) was downright awful (more on that in a bit). Regardless, if you owned Landry last season, you were probably pretty happy with the results.
Just How Poor is 9 YPR?
There are a couple of different cohorts we can compare Landry to. First, here are all receivers since the merger (1970) to record less than or equal to 11 yards per reception (minimum 30 receptions) as rookies:
Not a particularly overwhelming group of players. The most successful player on this list to date has probably been Julian Edelman, and it took 5 years and a starting spot in a Tom Brady offense to achieve what he has. Wayne Chrebet, beloved by Jet fans, surprisingly only had one 1,000 yard season and 3 total seasons with 800 or more yards. In fact, the most talented player on this list is probably Brandin Cooks, who had his season cut short at 10 games and plays with Drew Brees. The rest are mostly irrelevant. Already, a rather poor start for Landry.
Now let’s tighten up the restrictions a little closer to what Landry did. Here is the list of ALL receivers since the merger to log at least 70 receptions and a maximum of 10 YPR:
First off, it is rather incredible that this is such a short list. My reasoning for this would be twofold: 1) it is incredibly difficult to be that inefficient with so many touches and 2) it is rare that a team would allow such an inefficient player to accumulate so many touches. And again, though it may take some closer analysis, the list is fairly weak. My feelings on James Jones have been well documented, and he properly disappointed in Oakland without Aaron Rodgers. Danny Amendola has struggled to stay healthy and hasn’t even been able to get consistent action as a member of the Patriots. Davone Bess is a clear JAG who has averaged 10.5 YPR for his career. Houshmandzadeh’s 2008 season was the first of his quick and steep decline at 31 years old. Same goes for Troy Brown, who didn’t break 472 yards receiving in the final 4 seasons of his pro career. Peter Warrick and Mike Pritchard were career nothings.
The most interesting case on the list is that of Wes Welker, who had two elite PPR seasons after the one posted in the chart above. The catch there: his 2010 season was his first off of his ACL tear, and a clear outlier in the 6 seasons he spent with the Patriots. Welker never had less than 10.5 YPR in any other season with New England, and his career has effectively ended after 2 lackluster seasons with the Broncos. Again, this is not a list of inspiring comparables, unless you forecast a trade to New England and a subsequent injury to Julian Edelman.
Landry the Athlete
So how exactly does a player catch 84 passes, have a long play of 25 yards (yikes), and manage just 9 yards per reception? The answer for most in the above charts is a lack of skill (players like Patterson) or a lack of athleticism (the vast majority). Landry would seem to fall into the latter. Rather than get into specifics with regards to his measurables, just check out his spider graph courtesy of mockdraftable:
I think uninspiring would be a rather kind way of putting how I feel about Landry’s athleticism. His hand size is about his only positive physical quality, and it is reflected in both his usage and his catch rate as a rookie. Due to clear athletic limitations, it is unlikely that Landry ever grows to be more than he already is: possession receiver out of the slot who lacks explosive plays. Because of that, I’m not quite sure why he would be ranked so much higher in dynasty than his WR30 finish last season. In fact, based on his comparables, it looks more than likely that his success is rather short lived despite his age. Especially when we consider the next factor.
A big part of the reason Landry saw so much action is that he had very little competition for targets. Mike Wallace was disgruntled and could never seem to get on the same page with Ryan Tannehill. Charles Clay was a quality move tight end, but after him we’re talking about the mediocre Brian Hartline and Brandon Gibson as primary competition on the depth chart. Landry clearly benefited from a lack of even average pass catchers on the Dolphins.
There is also much reason to believe that this will change. The team has since jettisoned Mike Wallace and lost Charles Clay in free agency. To replace them, the team traded for Kenny Stills and signed Jordan Cameron. Considering the attitude of Wallace and the comparable skill set to Stills, this is probably a wash, and possibly an upgrade. Furthermore, while writing this piece, the team has signed Greg Jennings to a 2 year $8 million deal. Long past his Packer days of yore, he has run 66% of his routes from the slot in the past 2 years. This will presumably have some kind of impact on the amount of touches Landry sees. It would certainly be hard to see him receiving many more than the 112 targets he earned last year, and his 75% catch rate should be considered far from sustainable.
In addition (according to the Miami Herald), the team is still hoping to land a receiver in the first round of the upcoming draft, be it at their current 14th overall selection, or by trading back into the first round. In other words: Landry’s fantasy value could see a dramatic hit within the next week or so just by way of the depth chart.
I firmly believe that Jarvis Landry is currently overvalued in dynasty leagues. The combination of poor production comparables, lacking athleticism, and potential improved competition makes a top 24 ranking unfathomable. If I owned Landry, I would be looking to move him while his value is high. If you believe the Miami Herald, you may have less than 10 days to do so.
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