The Jarvis Landry Fantasy Football Party is Over

The Jarvis Landry Fantasy Football Party is Over

Jarvis Landry was truly an anomaly among the best fantasy wide receivers in his four seasons in Miami. However, his ability to rely on volume over inefficiency is likely over after being traded to Cleveland.

Landry averaged the second-fewest receiving yards per reception in NFL history last year among wide receivers who caught 80 or more passes. Only Danny Amendola in 2010 averaged fewer yards per catch than Landry’s 8.81 in 2017. Third on that list? Jarvis Landry. With 9.02 yards per catch on 84 receptions in 2014.

This is who Landry was on the Dolphins. A receiver who averaged 100 receptions per season, but for only 10.1 yards per catch. Is that type of triple-digit reception production sustainable with the Browns?

I don’t think so.

Miami vs. Cleveland WR Target Volume

In three of Jarvis Landry’s four seasons, Hue Jackson’s offenses have thrown fewer passes than Miami’s offenses. Jackson was the offensive coordinator for the Bengals in 2014 and 2015, and has been the head coach of the Browns since 2016:

Passes Per Season
Season Miami Hue Jackson Difference
2014 595 503 -92
2015 588 505 -83
2016 477 567 90
2017 602 574 -28

Moreover, the target share for WRs has been significantly lower in Jackson’s offenses since 2014 when compared to what Landry saw with the Dolphins:

WR Target Share Per Season
Season Miami Hue Jackson Difference
2014 61.50% 57.50% -4.00%
2015 65.10% 58.80% -6.30%
2016 65.50% 57% -9%
2017 67.70% 52.60% -15.10%
Average 64.95% 56.48% -8.48%

That has led to receivers seeing over 80 fewer targets in Jackson’s offenses when compared to Miami offenses for three of the four seasons Landry has been in the league. Even in 2016, Jackson’s offense only threw 12 more passes than the Dolphins—a difference of less than one per game:

WR Targets Per Season
Season Miami WR Targets Hue WR Targets Difference
2014 364 284 -80
2015 378 288 -90
2016 306 318 12
2017 398 297 -101
Average     -65

What might this mean for Landry? Let’s look at Landry’s individual target shares in each of his four seasons and see how that would have projected to targets in Hue Jackson’s offenses. We begin with the percentage of WR targets Landry saw in Miami’s offenses. We’ll call this Landry’s WR target share:

Target Share Among WRs
Season Miami WR Targets Landry Targets WR Target Share
2014 364 111 30.49%
2015 378 165 43.65%
2016 306 131 42.81%
2017 398 160 40.20%
Average     39.29%

Let’s make a huge assumption here and say Landry will maintain the monster share of targets among WRs in Cleveland like he did in Miami. Even in that unlikely scenario, he would have averaged about 25 fewer targets per season in a Hue Jackson offense from 2014 to 2017. What would that have done to his fantasy production?

Landry's Projected Targets with Hue Jackson
Season Hue WR Targets Landry WR Target Share Landry Projected Targets w/ Hue Landry Targets in Miami Difference
2014 284 30.49% 86.6 111 -24.4
2015 288 43.65% 125.7 165 -39.3
2016 318 42.81% 136.1 131 5.1
2017 297 40.20% 119.4 160 -40.6
Average         -24.8

With the decreased volume of targets that were allocated to wide receivers in Hue Jackson’s offenses, Jarvis Landry’s fantasy production would have suffered in three of the past four years. And that’s assuming Landry would have kept the same extremely high target share among receivers on his team.

Landry's Projected Fantasy Production with Hue Jackson
Season Landry Projected Targets w/ Hue Landry PPR FP/T Projected PPR FP w/ Hue Projected PPR WR Rank Actual PPR WR Rank
2014 86.6 1.7 147.22 WR52 WR31
2015 125.7 1.7 213.69 WR21 WR9
2016 136.1 1.8 244.98 WR11 WR13
2017 119.4 1.6 191.04 WR24 WR5

Can Landry Maintain His WR Target Share?

A closer look reveals Hue Jackson has peppered his WR1 at a higher rate than even what Landry saw in three of the last four seasons, with the exception of 2017, when the Browns didn’t have a true WR1.

So in a vacuum, it is conceivable to think Landry could maintain a high share of targets among Browns WRs. However, the chart above ignores one very important piece of information—what the Browns offense looked like with Josh Gordon for five games.

If you look at just those games, you’ll see Gordon commanded more than 50 percent of all Browns WR targets. That would crush Landry’s chances of maintaining a high target share if Gordon can stay on the field. And, we haven’t even mentioned Corey Coleman yet.

Conclusions

It's extremely unlikely Jarvis Landry continues to see the elite level of targets he saw in Miami with his new team in Cleveland, making it difficult for fantasy owners to receive a return on investment at his early fifth-round ADP. This is based on a few things:

  • Hue Jackson averaged 8.5 percent fewer targets to receivers than Miami’s offenses since 2014.
  • That meant an average of 65 fewer targets per season for WRs in Hue Jackson offenses over the past four seasons, compared to Miami.
  • Fewer targets for WRs would have meant fewer targets and fantasy points for Jarvis Landry, as he is a volume-based fantasy asset.
  • Landry’s fantasy floor in 2018 may be scary low, as Josh Gordon will eat into the target share Jackson has typically given to his WRs—a share that is already 8.5 percent lower than what Landry saw in Miami.

Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images.


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