There is legitimate and justified excitement about the Cleveland Browns heading into an NFL season for the first time since the early days of the Bill Clinton presidency. After so many years in the doldrums, one of the NFL’s most storied franchises finally looks to be on the up. The team ended the 2018 campaign on fire, behind the blistering play of their rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield. Now, after an offseason of retooling, they look primed to challenge in the AFC North, and ultimately for the Super Bowl itself. Confidence and excitement levels are high.
It is, therefore, against this backdrop of positivity, that there will probably never be a better time for dynasty owners to rid themselves of Jarvis Landry.
Now, I understand that Landry led the Browns in most key statistical categories in 2018. I am also fully aware of his history of production since entering the NFL as part of the epic wide receiver draft of 2014. What I am all too conscious of, however, is a tide of circumstances that make Landry’s performance in the coming year, and year to come, something that dynasty owners would really rather see on another person’s roster.
Racking Up the Numbers
Below, you will see a table with Landry’s career statistics to date, including where he ranks among all NFL WRs between 2014 and 2018. The numbers are, as I have previously indicated, impressive.
Landry has managed to remain fantasy-relevant for the Dolphins and the Browns (to an extent) thanks to his volume. He has been the quintessential target magnet. Now, when it comes to fantasy football, opportunity > efficiency. This is clearly evident in the case of Landry.
According to the RotoViz Screener, Landry is one of only 12 WRs from 2014-2018 to have seen at least 600 targets. Landry is one of only three of this group to boast a negative tally in terms of Receiving Fantasy Points over Expectation. Only Michael Crabtree can lay claim to a lower score than Landry’s -34.8.
A Season of Two Halves
In the early part of 2018, it looked like Landry would be enjoying a similar season to those he had gotten used to with the Dolphins. He was head and shoulders above his teammates in terms of target share from Weeks 1-8.
Once Freddie Kitchens assumed the role of offensive coordinator ahead of Week 1, Landry remained the focal point of the passing attack. But his dominance of the targets dropped considerably.
Landry’s splits from the first half of the season to the next are quite revealing. His PPR output did not drop too much. But his counting stats in “real” football took a major dive.
Staying Out Under Kitchens
Landry’s drop in production can, of course, be traced to a drop in opportunities. And I don’t just mean fewer targets. Landry’s snap share and routes run in the two halves of the season make for interesting reading.
|Snap %||Routes Run per Game|
The Browns, under Kitchens, were a far different offense than they had been under the “leadership” of Hue Jackson and Todd Haley in the seasons opening two months. As a result, the difference in efficiency is quite incredible, especially considering the team ran almost 13 fewer plays per game.
So we can see that the Browns upsurge in offensive production just happened to coincide with the time that they decided that they didn’t need Landry on the field for every offensive snap. Well, that’s a bad sign for anybody’s chances of racking up some numbers. But then the Browns went and dealt Landry’s chances a further blow when they acquired Odell Beckham from the hapless New York Giants.
To be perfectly frank, the chances of Landry assuming a role greater than that of Beckham’s in the Browns offense are not zero … but they’re certainly in that ballpark. Because despite his missing 21 games between 2014-18, and his having 91 fewer career receptions, Beckham blows Landry out of the water in most of the remaining key categories.
Despite his being hampered by playing with Eli Manning at quarterback with the Giants, Beckham has still been able to produce play after play. Manning averaged 9.36 adjusted yards per attempt whenever he targeted Beckham over the last five seasons. Landry’s linkups with his quarterbacks have produced exactly one partnership worth more than 7.0 AYA. And before people point to the list of names that Landry has played alongside, take a look at how well he meshed with Mayfield last season.
There is probably a fantasy owner in your dynasty league who is eager to swallow the Browns kool-aid. You should certainly try and take advantage of this by palming Landry off on them. His hopes of fantasy stardom are dependent on Beckham getting injured.1 But Freddie Kitchens showed last season that Landry is not a player to whom they are willing to force-feed targets. His ceiling would be considerably lower than if Hue Jackson were still around, doing some of the best coaching work of his career.
As you read this, you have a chance to cash in on an asset — one that is only going to decrease in value. Take advantage of it.
Image Credit: Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Jarvis Landry.
NFL subscribers, the time to get into PGA DFS is now! For a limited time, upgrade your subscription by adding a 2019 Rest of Season PGA subscription at a $10 discount. Click here for details!
- Which is not beyond the realms of possibility of course. He has only played all 16 games in a season once. (back)