No mystery this week — Odell Beckham Jr. will miss his second straight game as he continues recovering from major knee surgery. During his Wednesday news conference, Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski announced the team’s decision to hold Beckham out of Sunday’s game against the Houston Texans.
Odell Beckham Jr. out against Houston on Sunday
Beckham tore his ACL on Oct. 25, 2020, and underwent reconstructive surgery two weeks later. Cleveland listed him as questionable for Week 1 against the Chiefs, but he was eventually scratched when he didn’t feel right physically pre-game.
Stefanski insisted Wednesday [September 15] that Beckham did not suffer a setback but simply isn’t ready to return. Beckham is expected to practice on a limited basis this week. The hope is he can be available for the Browns’ Week 3 bout with the Chicago Bears.
With Beckham out of the lineup against Kansas City, here’s how the Browns divvied up the workload among their wide receivers: Jarvis Landry received 51 of a possible 59 snaps, Donovan Peoples-Jones saw 47, Anthony Schwartz 31, and Rashard Higgins 4.
Baker Mayfield spread the ball around en route to 321 passing yards (75% completion rate). In fact, no Browns player was targeted more than 5 times. Landry, tight end David Njoku, and Schwartz all had at least 69 receiving yards.
And Beckham’s absence did not significantly limit the Browns’ ability to stretch the field. According to NFL Next Gen Stats, Mayfield still averaged 9.8 air yards per target, third-most in the NFL in Week 1.
Still, getting Beckham back can only help the Browns. He totaled 6,830 receiving yards and 51 touchdowns in his first seven NFL seasons. He accumulated that impressive stat line despite missing nearly two full seasons due to injury.
Beckham, 28, is earning $14.5 million in base salary this year. He has three years left of the five-year, $90 million contract he signed while still with the Giants. Yet, Cleveland could move on from him with no salary cap implications after this season.
Beckham’s fantasy analysis for Week 2
OBJ being ruled out for Week 2 already has alarm bells ringing. Given it was reported Sunday morning that he was expected to play, only to be a late scratch, this latest news indicates whatever caused him to miss Sunday may be more serious than initially thought.
For fantasy football managers, right now, Beckham is someone to hold. When he is on the field, he can be a difference-maker for fantasy teams. He’s worth waiting for, even if it means you have to find an alternative for another week or two.