Last season, Jarvis Landry started Week 1 behind Mike Wallace, Brian Hartline and Brandon Gibson, but as the season progressed, Landry worked his way into the No. 2 role behind Wallace and even the No. 1-target role toward the end of the season. As the slot receiver, Landry wasn't always on the field, but he was targeted on 23 percent of his routes from the slot for 78 of his 105 targets, catching 81 percent of those targets. That's the best catch percentage from the slot of 2014 and was even better than Randall Cobb last season, which is slightly hard to believe with Aaron Rodgers, the most efficient quarterback in the league, at the helm.
This year, there has been a big turnover in Miami receivers, with Wallace, Hartline, Clay and Gibson all gone and replaced by Greg Jennings, Kenny Stills, Jordan Cameron and rookie DeVante Parker. That leaves Landry as the "veteran" Dolphins receiver, and there is little doubt he is set up to lead the team in targets from the slot.
Under offensive coordinator Bill Lazor, Ryan Tannehill improved in 2014 and saw his completion percentage jump from 60 percent in 2013 to 66.4 percent in 2014. Lazor's quick-hitting, fast-paced offense was custom fit for Tannehill's skill set, and Landry was the perfect receiver for Tannehill and Lazor, while Mike Wallace's deep-route skills were not.
Wallace caught 67 of 108 targets for a 62 percent catch rate, while Landry caught 84 of 105 targets for an 80 percent catch rate. Of course these numbers reflect the depth of target, but Landry also finished with 1.74 yards-per-route run compared to Wallace's 1.72. The difference of course is negligible, but Landry was the motor in this passing offense last season and Tannehill's favorite target from Week 10 on with 72 targets to Wallace's 48. Landry even ranked 10th overall in targets during that end of the season stretch and caught five or more passes in each of his last nine games.
The question is, how will the new receivers fit in to this offense and will they take away from Landry's fantasy numbers? Lazor comes from the wide-open, run-first offense that Chip Kelly has brought to the league, so there most likely won't be one receiver who racks up 150+ targets, plus there isn't a receiver in this new group who demands the bulk of the targets. That should leave Landry as the target leader due to his knowledge of the offense, chemistry with Tannehill and past success.
With Greg Jennings on the downside of his career, Kenny Stills having still not proven himself in the league, DeVante Parker could be the major competitor with Landry for targets, but Parker is a rookie and won't be competing for slot snaps. Parker should be a nice red-zone piece with Jordan Cameron, but Landry will still be gobbling up short receptions all over the field.
There were some growing pains for Lazor as he implemented his new offense last season, but we did see Tannehill have his best statistical season as he targeted his wide receivers 365 times, 8th most in the league. This seaso,n we should see the offense run more plays than last season as the team has learned Lazor's plays and pace better, and Landry as the top target could easily hit 125 targets and 100 receptions this year. His touchdowns will be gravy in PPR leagues and six to eight would be great at his current ADP of 61st player and 28th receiver off the board in PPR leagues. A receiver with 100 receptions, 1,000 yards and six to eight touchdowns will be in the discussion for a top 15-fantasy receiver and extreme value at his current ADP.
Slot and target statistics from Pro Football Focus.