We addressed the Jarvis Landry signing in March when he joined the Cleveland Browns, but a fair amount has changed since the veteran’s addition. Most notably, the Browns drafted quarterback Baker Mayfield with the first overall selection. Also of note, the backfield became deeper and more talented with the addition of rookie Nick Chubb.
March 12, we wrote:
Few receivers have been as dominate as Landry in point-per-reception scoring over the past three-plus seasons. As a rookie in 2014, he caught 84 passes and scored five times. Spanning the next three seasons, the former Dolphin hauled in single-year totals of 110, 94 and 112, respectively. The LSU product has finished no worse than 13th in PPR scoring over those three campaigns.
Landry is still only 25 years old well into the regular season, and with Cleveland having coffers deep enough to make Jeff Bezos do a double-take, this acquisition makes plenty of sense. The Browns needed an underneath target with reliable hands to complement the vertical nature of Josh Gordon and Corey Coleman. Toss in Rashard Higgins and Ricardo Louis for what could be one of the deepest receiving corps in the NFL. Higgins’ 62 percent snap share last year led the team, and Louis paced the club with 61 targets. Tight end David Njoku will also absorb looks, and perhaps even Seth DeValve gets in on the fun once again.
Landry needs to learn a new system, build chemistry with yet another quarterback whose passing skills are questionable, and find enough looks to matter on a weekly basis. Repeating last year’s 112 receptions is out of the question, but the nine touchdowns he scored could be in play. A range of roughly 85-95 catches for 900-ish yards is fair to expect. Presuming all things remain equal or play out as expected, Landry’s ceiling is capped somewhere in the midrange WR2 area for PPR purposes.
So, after a few months of change and reflection, how will his fantasy value be impacted?
- The seemingly inevitable change from Tyrod Taylor to Mayfield at some point in 2018 may not be as big of a downgrade as one would expect from a seasoned veteran to a rookie. Taylor is a safe passer but doesn’t throw open receivers, nor is he big on taking changes to create chunk plays. Mayfield brings moxie to the field Taylor does not and offers a similar level of athleticism.
- All-Pro left tackle Joe Thomas has hung up his cleats since we last met. The Browns will move Shon Coleman from right to left tackle. No doubt, it’s a downgrade. Austin Corbett was drafted in the second round and will likely swing from guard to right tackle and compete with Chris Hubbard.
- Tight end Darren Fells joined the roster and will duke it out with DeValve for blocking and reserve receiving work. His addition won’t matter to Landry.
- The aforementioned Chubb will help Carlos Hyde in the backfield, though neither player is a major factor in the passing game. Duke Johnson, the third-down back, signed a contract extension and will make a dent in Landry’s short-area targets, as previously expected.
- Fourth-round receiver Antonio Callaway is extraordinarily talented but troubled off of the turf. He missed all of the 2017 season at Florida and will have to earn his way into the ranks of contributors. He will attempt to unseat Coleman as the No. 3 target among Cleveland’s receivers.
Fantasy football takeaway
Mayfield should be the biggest concern, in theory, but the rookie will need to be electric in practice to unseat Taylor at any point in 2018. Head coach Hue Jackson knows he was bitten by throwing quarterbacks, specifically DeShone Kizer, out there too soon, and it is unlikely he will have enough incentive to try his luck with Mayfield just for the heck of it. In other words, the rookie will need to be great, Taylor will have to be average or worse, and Cleveland’s sliver of playoff dreams will be dashed before we see Mayfield.
Nothing significant enough has changed for Landry to suspect he will be worse than the previously predicted status of a WR2 in PPR. His average draft position in this scoring format is 4:12, which is fair.