Heading north for the season, Jarvis Landry has been traded from the warm, comforting weather of Miami to the cold, bleak weather of Cleveland. In the wake of the trade, many people have started to debate where Landry should fall in the early WR rankings. Is he a top 10 receiver or has he fallen to not even a top 20 wide receiver?
A terrific question, that will not be answered by me today. That’s a story for another time. In this article I’m going to shed light to the eyes of the people not thinking deeper than Landry. I’m going to highlight how this trade affects the other two receivers poised to become starters in Miami.
Firstly, I’ll tackle the bust that was DeVante Parker, after projecting a huge third season only to have my hopes peak in week 2 when Parker caught his one and only touchdown for 2017. In his defense, Jay Cutler was a horrid quarterback and favored Landry, respectfully, leaving Parker out to dry. Parker was targeted 96 times this season — which was a career high — but lacked the catches to be a relevant fantasy option. His 670 receiving yards was a downtick from his 2016 season. His catch percentage also dropped under 60% (59.4%). His one touchdown was by far a career worst.
Although this may all be true, we should not undersell the aforementioned Jay Cutler. That was a bad signing by the Dolphins and Cutler just never got it going with Parker.
DeVante Parker’s best career catches rivals any other player’s.
— Yung Mayo (@YungMayoYT) March 10, 2018
Of the 96 targets, 74 of them were catchable. Of those 74 tagerts, Parker hauled in 57 for a 77.1% catch rate. Parker had 12 red zone targets, catching six, and six end zone targets with one reception. All together, Parker has shown he can still catch the ball and has the ability to be a WR1. With a healthy Tannehill being projected to be the week 1 starter, and Landry on his way out, Parker should see his first 100+ target season. Don’t be afraid to go back to the well to get someone who may have burnt you last season.
Different from Parker, Kenny Stills had a big year for himself in 2017. Exceeding expectations on all counts and finishing 2017 as the 28th best receiver in PPR leagues, Stills raked in 108 targets, 58 receptions, 847 yards and 6 touchdowns. The deep threat was on his horse last year, traveling the 10th most amount of yards per intended target (15.1 yards per target).
In addition, Stills’ 696 air yards last season was good enough to finish 15th in the NFL. Air yards; for those who may not know, tracks the amount of yards the ball travels through the air after the line of scrimmage up to the point of reception. The threat of Stills deep is a serious one for the opposing defensive coordinators, yet it’s also a threat to fantasy owners. It leaves us with a huge guessing game. However, with Landry leaving, there may even be more targets available for Stills, with more across the middle allowing for a better catchable ball rate.
Be this as it may, Stills remains a liability when it comes to catching the ball. Of his 68 catchable targets he was only able to capture 44 of them. We will need to see some work in the offseason on his hands if he is going to finally break into the top 24 wide receiver discussion.
Generally speaking, the Dolphins will probably go after a receiver in the draft or free agency, with former Kansas City wide receiver Albert Wilson emerging as a likely candidate. With Landry’s 162 targets on the way out, though, there is sure to be a plethora of chances for Stills and Parker to improve on their stats. With this target improvement, I’m not scared to say Parker could be a top 20 receiver and Stills a top 25 receiver.