Fantasy Reaction: Jarvis Landry Signs with the Saints (Fantasy Football)

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Former Browns WR Jarvis Landry is coming home. After playing his college ball at LSU, Landry is returning to Louisiana to play on a one-year deal with the New Orleans Saints. His deal is reportedly worth $3 million in base salary with the potential to earn an additional $3 million in incentives. Landry, 29, has been a reliable fantasy option for most of his career, but over the last two seasons in Cleveland, Jarvis’ fantasy ceiling was capped.

After posting five consecutive top-20 fantasy WR finishes from 2015-2019, Landry struggled to produce in Cleveland’s low volume passing offense over the last two seasons, finishing as the WR36 in 2020 and the WR56 a year ago after playing in just 10 games due to a variety of injuries, including a sprained MCL, quad injury and a bone bruise. Now in the latter stages of his career with a change of scenery, what can we expect from the veteran WR in 2022?

On the surface, the landing spot in New Orleans seems valuable for fantasy, but when you examine the depth chart and competition for targets, things dry up pretty quickly. Michael Thomas missed all of 2021 while recovering from ankle surgery, but he’s been a career 28+% target share type of guy and should return to the lineup this season. The team also added Ohio State WR Chris Olave with the 11th overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, and Alvin Kamara has averaged 102 targets per year since he entered the NFL. Last year, New Orleans struggled with QB play after the Jameis Winston injury, but even in Weeks 1-7 before his ACL injury, the Saints ranked 27th in neutral situation pass rate, choosing to win with the ground game, strong offensive line play and top tier defense.

In 2022, with the influx of WR talent on the depth, it’s reasonable to expect that pass rate to increase this season, but even a modest jump in pass rate is likely not enough to support the top three WRs on the Saints’ depth chart and Alvin Kamara out of the backfield. Aside from overall volume concerns for Landry, the other concern is that he’ll most likely be running his routes in the same areas of the field as fellow possession pass catchers, Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas. Last season in Cleveland, 57% of Landry’s targets were less than 10 yards down the field. If Kamara and Thomas are also catching balls in this area of the field, and Landry continues to be utilized in the short to intermediate areas of the field, someone has to lose out here.

While Landry is unlikely to be a consistent fantasy producer on this depth chart, this signing certainly helps to elevate the fantasy outlook for Jameis Winston. Last season, Winston was throwing to arguably the worst WR room in the NFL. With Thomas back, Olave’s youth and athleticism and Landry’s reliability, Winston now has three valuable weapons at his disposal.

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