Miami Dolphins

Scenarios favor a high-volume Jarvis Landry fantasy outing vs. Steelers

19 August 2016: Miami Dolphins wide receiver Jarvis Landry (#14) makes a one handed catch during the NFL preseason game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Miami Dolphins at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Matthew Visinsky/Icon Sportswire)
Matthew Visinsky/Icon Sportswire

While those of you who are still alive in survivor pools likely have Sunday’s Pittsburgh Steelers-Miami Dolphins game as one of your finalists — and those who received some buy-low action on Le’Veon Bell in season-long drafts are presumably rejoicing — don’t ignore the DFS potential of Miami’s one reliable component.

Pittsburgh indeed will be expected to build a lead, but the visitors are vulnerable to opposing receivers. So, the Dolphins’ premier weapon has game flow and matchup on his side.

Jarvis Landry will be a safe No. 2 wide receiver buy in Week 6, even if his team remains mired on the similar path it’s traversed for the better part of the past decade.

Jeff Fisher’s Los Angeles Rams receive all the credit for owning the slightly below-average NFL space, but the Dolphins have been in this neighborhood longer, finishing between six and eight wins in each of the past seven years. Nevertheless, that consistently “meh” trajectory led them to Landry, who is at least the best Dolphins receiver since Brandon Marshall — and he’ll surely craft more of a legacy in south Florida than Marshall.

He has a 1,100-plus-yard season in 2015 and the fifth-most receptions through five 2016 games, the Dolphins’ No. 1 receiver should receive more acclaim than he does.

But for the PPR-based DFS sites, there aren’t many better than the third-year slot man. He’s priced 15th in DraftKings ($6,900) and 21st in FanDuel (also $6,900, which is quite rare) and faces a Steelers defense that should be protecting a lead, but more importantly, it’s one that’s given up plenty of points to opposing wide receivers.

The 6-foot, 205-pound pass-catcher has 34 receptions for 403 yards and a touchdown, picking up where he left off after a 110-catch 2015 slate. Dating back to last year, Landry’s been targeted at least 10 times in eight of his past nine games — with last week’s odd three-target Titans tilt being the only outlier. But Tennessee using a playbook straight out of 1975 doesn’t give plenty of opportunities to opposing receivers if the Titans’ offense is making first downs.

Prior to that day, one that saw Ryan Tannehill attempt just 18 passes, Landry was operating in high gear as one of the game’s best slot presences. He’d amassed eight straight games of at least six receptions, having caught at least seven passes in Miami’s first four contests. Landry cleared 100 yards in two of those games and 59 in the other two.

Even if he’s not scoring touchdowns, this is one of the highest floor players in fantasy. Landry also receives the benefit of being able to attack the Steelers where they’re weakest: over the middle.

Pittsburgh has quality cover man William Gay as its No. 1 corner, and decent No. 2 man Ross Cockrell on the other side. In the slot: rookie Sean Davis, whom Pro Football Focus enjoys watching about as much as the population enjoyed the second presidential debate. PFF slots Davis as its No. 108 cornerback — seventh-worst position among full-time corners. Overall, the Steelers have allowed a league-worst 79 catches to wideouts, pointing to one of the mid-2010s’ premier pure catchers having his chances.

Slot covers don’t get much tougher than Landry, even if Tannehill is involved. And the Steelers are kind of sizzling right now since Bell re-emerged. This does not profile as a game the Dolphins are going to be grinding clock; it looks like one where they’re going to be trying to catch up or keep pace. Either of the latter two scenarios bode well for Landry and his legion of DFS truthers.

You do not have to get excited about the Dolphins’ prospects for victory here to enjoy Landry. In fact, rooting for the Steelers is encouraged to unleash the Dolphins’ chain-mover — and a player who will rack up receptions in a garbage-time situation.

Go with Jarvis here. There just isn’t a noticeable downside.

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