While one of the most gifted receivers in the NFL, Odell Beckham Jr. has struggled to bring the imagination the same value despite his traditionally early ADP. Will Beckham Jr. out of a torn ACL, or is it still at a high level, or is it his fantasy football prospects based solely on name recognition?
Odell Beckham Jr.’s fantasy outlook for 2021
It’s time we sat down and had a serious conversation. I know it can be uncomfortable, but it is necessary. Why are you drafting Beckham Jr. Let me rephrase it. Who do you do do you think you are working out?
Do you choose someone who is one of the best in NFL and have a similar fantasy image based on recent results? Or do you draw solely on name recognition and because of a catch he got against the Dallas Cowboys and his pre-game routine? For the last four years, Beckham has been okay at best – and that is if he even plays.
Beckham Jr. started his career with three straight seasons at 1,300 yards and double-digit touchdowns with Eli Manning. In contrast, in the last four years he has missed 25 games, only scoring 6 touchdowns once and has as many seasons with 1,000 yards as he does 300 yards.
Can he be a WR1 based on talent? Of course. But how long will we continue to use the same reasoning as we decipher Beckham Jr.’s fantasy prospects?
I think Beckham Jr. can and will be a productive recipient of imagination in 2021 as long as he stays healthy. He enters the second year of Kevin Stefanski’s offense and gets the best version of Baker Mayfield he has seen yet. Nevertheless, I have adjusted my expectations to what I feel is a more realistic fantasy relationship rather than thinking I am choosing a WR1.
Odell Beckham Jr.’s fantasy projection
While we might have only had six full games of Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry together in 2020, we feel relatively confident in their roles in the offense. Beckham Jr. is a field stretcher (13.6 aDOT [average depth of target] in 2020) where Landry is Mayfield’s safety blanket below (8.3 aDOT).
Browns is not a high-volume crime (51.6% by 2020). But they compensate for that with two primary options in the passing game of Beckham Jr. and Landry. Together, they combined 50.3% of goals in 2019 (16 games) and 44.1% in 2020 (6 games).
Given the nature of his goal, Beckham will never be a player with a high catch percentage. In his two seasons with the Browns, he has averaged a catch rate of 55.1%.
Even though I’ve been down to Beckham Jr. so far, I still think he can have a good season in 2021. In the early part of 2020, Brown’s was a tough running heavy. Still, we saw this fade a touch toward the end of the season, which likely coincided with Mayfield’s growing knowledge and comfort of the offense.
Beckham Jr. was still averaging 7 goals a game in the six weeks he was healthy. During a season with 16 games, it is 112 goals. There were only 21 recipients with 112 or more goals in 2020, with 18 (81%) finishing as top-24 recipients. It’s Beckham Jr.’s floor for goals.
I expect to see Beckham Jr. hover around 21-22% goal share, which would put him in line for 8 goals in a game. I pinned him with 70 receptions on 120 goals for 1,010 yards and 8 touchdowns in my early round of projections. With these stats, Beckham would end the season with 218.6 PPR points (14.58 ppg).
Odell Beckham Jr.s ADP
According to Sleeper, Beckham Jr. currently selected as WR23 with an ADP of 55.9 in PPR formats. In superflex leagues, given quarterbacks priority, he drops to 76.1. According to NFC (a high-stakes fantasy platform), Beckham Jr. WR31 with an 81.23 ADP.
Should you consider drafting Beckham Jr. in 2021?
Well yes and no. For me, like all draft resolutions, it comes down to list building. If I went heavy back early, I would not trust Beckham to be my WR1. Getting out of an ACL tear and his recent injury history is always worrying until he finally “does it.”
In a perfect world, I would ideally have him as my WR3 and hope he slipped a bit in drafts. I believe on the positive side of Beckham to return to top-24 status. I do not expect the version of Beckham who was one of the best players in the NFL in 2021.
Could he surprise us all and be a WR1 in 2021? Absolutely. And I will take every chance I can get to land players with a high ceiling like Beckham in fantasy.
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Tommy Garrett is the author of the Pro Football Network, which covers NFL and fantasy football, and a member of the FSWA (Fantasy Sports Writers Association). You can read more of his work here and follow him at @TommygarrettPFN on Twitter.