The Miami Dolphins are facing an interesting situation entering the 2017 NFL season, and it’ll impact multiple players on their roster from a fantasy football perspective. After a 2016 campaign in which the team snapped a seven-year playoff drought, they enter the new season with a serious concern at the quarterback position.
As ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Jeff Darlington reported, Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill may need season-ending surgery on his injured left knee. He hurt it during training camp before the team’s first preseason game.
There have been multiple reports from ESPN about what the Dolphins would do if Tannehill did miss the season, including Josina Anderson reporting the front office had discussed the possibility of signing Colin Kaepernick. Another, and possibly more like scenario, is Jay Cutler coming out of retirement to join the team, per Darlington. Cutler spent time under head coach Adam Gase and was successful in his system.
If Tannehill is out for the year, or even if he misses multiple games, it could impact star wide receiver Jarvis Landry quite a bit potentially in fantasy football. Let’s take a look at what Landry’s fantasy football value could look like without Tannehill.
Landry’s Current Fantasy Football Value
Consensus: Late 4th-Early 6th round pick
Before Tannehill went down, Landry was easily one of the top 15-20 wide receivers from a fantasy standpoint. Specifically, in point per reception (PPR) leagues, he has monstrous upside due to the large number of targets that he receives. He’s seen a combined 407 targets in three NFL seasons while topping 1,100 yards in each of the past two seasons.
The issue? Landry has just 13 touchdowns in those three seasons, which does hurt his value a bit. Even still, he’s somewhere between a 4th-6th round pick in PPR fantasy leagues with Tannehill under center, but what does it look like with backup Matt Moore, Kaepernick or Cutler running the show?
Landry’s Fantasy Stock with Matt Moore
Consensus: Stays the same
Last season, Moore started the final three regular season games as well as the playoff game, and it took him a few games to get into a rhythm with Landry, but the production was still there. Landry caught six passes for 137 yards and a touchdown in the first two weeks, but the next two weeks things really picked up.
In the season finale, Landry caught nine passes on 12 targets for 76 yards and a touchdown from Moore, then in the playoffs, he turned a whopping 14 targets into 11 receptions for 102 yards. Landry was Moore’s focus not long after taking over the job, so it’s hard not to feel comfortable with how he’d be able to produce with him under center.
Landry’s Fantasy Stock with Jay Cutler
Gase was the Chicago Bears offensive coordinator in 2015, which was a season that wound up being one of the best of Cutler’s NFL career. He posted a career-best 92.3 quarterback rating with a 64.4 completion percentage, 21 touchdowns and just 11 interceptions.
During that season, in just nine games that Alshon Jeffery was healthy, he caught 54 passes for 807 yards and four touchdowns. He was easily on his way to a 1,300-plus receiving yard season with eight or nine touchdowns potentially. Jeffery would have had the type of year that would have placed him among some of the top NFL wideouts, which is what type of upside Landry could have if he and Cutler can connect early.
While signing Cutler wouldn’t make me push Landry into the top two or three rounds of a fantasy draft, it makes me more interested in taking him in the early-to-mid fourth round.
Landry’s Fantasy Stock with Colin Kaepernick
This isn’t to say that Kaepernick is a bad quarterback, but he’s not the same player he was from 2012 to 2014. During those seasons, Michael Crabtree put up numbers such as 1,105 yards and nine touchdowns in 2012, while Anquan Boldin had 1,179 yards and seven scores in 2013. Since then, things have taken a step back.
Kaepernick would be learning a new offense and would be entered into a situation where he’d have to build a rapport with his wideouts. While that would also stand true for Cutler, I’d feel more confident in the ability of the former Bears quarterback to make that work. As for Kaepernick, he has the skill to play somewhere in the NFL, but not likely as a starter at this point.