So here’s the deal. Landry has been a pretty good ppr wr for several years now, though we saw a pretty substantial step back for him year one in CLE. Now every year he has been the focal point of the offence, at least in terms of the passing game. That will not be the case this year. OBJ will demand a huge portion of targets. That’s going to leave the rest of the pie much smaller to divvy up amongst the remaining players. Now yes, Duke leaving town is a positive for Landry. But it’s pretty clear they want to get Chubb more involved in the passing game, I expect Njoku to be more involved going into his 3rd year, and they’ve expressed wanting to put Hilliard in the Duke role (though admittedly Hilliard will not have the same volume that Duke would have). In summary, Landry was a mid ppr wr2 last year, and his opportunity is very clearly taking a step in the wrong direction. I’m still working on my rankings but currently I view him as a mid to backend wr3.
OJ Howard’s opportunity, on the other hand, is increasing. Whereas Landry has a new target monster coming to town, Howard has a significant number of targets leaving town, and as already mentioned, the offence as a whole should improve with Arians running the show. OJ Howard was the TE5 on a per game basis last year, and we should only expect those numbers to improve. And while Howard won’t lead his team in targets, he doesn’t need to lead his team in targets to be a top tier TE. For years, Gronkowski was the preeminent TE1, and he generally didn’t lead his team in targets. Howard is a big play TE in the mold of Gronk and Kelce, and given the TE landscape you don’t need to be a target monster to be a top end TE. Finally, in terms of Brate, I have zero concerns. We already saw Brate being phased out last year. Howard is one of the premier TE prospects of recent memory, a surefire first round talent; Brate was an undrafted FA that has had a fine career, but whose talent doesn’t hold a candle to Howard’s.
Now in terms of ADP, I don’t have 16-team data, but in 14-team ppr leagues Howard is going at the 4.14. Samuel and Dede are going 7.04 and 7.05 respectively. Even if you thought Samuel and Dede are undervalued by 2 whole rounds, Howard is still the better value. Assuming a relatively active league, you would be able to trade Howard to the Samuel or Dede owner (both of whom you can draft yourself far cheaper than you could draft Howard), for either of those players plus probably a 10th or 11th round kind of player. And there’s a good reason for that. There is far more depth at the wr position than there is at te, where after the top 6 guy (give or take) it is an absolute wasteland. The question isn’t “will Howard outscore Samuel/Dede”, it’s “is (Howard - replacement te) > (Samuel/Dede - replacement wr)”. The answer to that question to me is pretty clearly yes, Howard gives you more of a competitive advantage.