At this point, it’s common knowledge that wide receiver has usurped running back as fantasy football’s premier position. Top-end receivers are less likely to get hurt, less likely to lose their spot to a teammate and, in this era of 4,000-yard passers and committee backfields, a better bet to produce on a weekly basis.
The thing is, after the likes of Antonio Brown and Odell Beckham Jr. come off the board, there’s a whole fleet of second-tier receivers to choose from. Deciding which to target is an inexact science, especially with the question marks surrounding so many of them.
Can Kelvin Benjamin, Keenan Allen and Alshon Jeffery rebound from injury? Can Demaryius Thomas produce at his normal level in spite of pedestrian quarterbacking? One player who’s being drafted after each of the aforementioned receivers, even though he has no such concerns, is Miami Dolphins wide receiver, Jarvis Landry.
Not to say that Landry should be going over all of the men mentioned above, but where it is a bit of a surprise how far he’s falling all the same. Per Fantasy Football Calculator, Landry’s typically drafted early in the fourth round of 12-team drafts. He’s the 20th receiver off the board, on average.
Now, Landry might not have the upside of a Benjamin or a Jeffery. Still, his draft positioning and consistent production make him a bargain of a second receiver at that spot.
Since being drafted in 2014, Landry has totaled 194 receptions, 1,915 yards and nine touchdowns. His best season thus far came in 2015, as the LSU product totaled 110 grabs for 1,157 yards. The versatile playmaker added over 100 rushing yards, a rushing score and a punt return score to his season total as well.
At just 23, the sky appears to be the limit for Landry. He’s also entering his third pro season–a time when many wide receivers are said to ascend. So, then, why is he being received with (relatively) little fanfare?
Some might be apprehensive about drafting Landry due to the presence of teammate DeVante Parker. The 2015 first-rounder burst onto the scene late last year by putting up 445 yards and three scores in Miami’s last six games. So, how did Landry fair opposite him?
He excelled. In those games, the man Dolphins fans refer to as “Juice,” managed 47 grabs, 506 yards and a touchdown. And that’s including one five-yard dud of a game. With a talented threat opposite him, Landry performed even better than he had beforehand. In fact, that six-game span projected over a full season has Landry finishing with 125 receptions and 1,350 yards.
The other thing that might drag Landry down in the eyes of fantasy owners is touchdown production. For a player who’s caught almost 200 balls in two years, nine receiving touchdowns is a little on the low side. As noted, he had a rushing and return score in ’15 as well, but it’s tough to count on those. You’d prefer your receivers to score on receptions.
Though it’s a small sample size, it seems safe to say that Landry will never be a double-digit touchdown guy. He is, however, someone who can be counted on to catch 100 passes a year. Given that he scored one more touchdown (five) on 25 ferwer receptions in his rookie year, Landry’s four scores in ’15 seem like a bit of an aberration.
That’s not to say he’ll ever score at a Dez Bryant-like clip, but, so long as he’s catching triple-digit balls, six-to-eight touchdowns seems within reason.
Perhaps the strongest reason that Landry’s flying under the radar is that he’s an un-sexy pick. He’s a top-notch possession receiver, but they’re regarded in a different light and have different expectations than the Calvin Johnson-type of stud receiver that many fantasy owners covet.
No matter, guys like Landry can help their own team and your fantasy team win games. And that’s why when other owners chase past successes of guys like Randall Cobb and Demaryius Thomas you should consider taking a consistent producer, and potentially budding superstar, like Landry.