After a much-heralded stint for the Giants and a far-less-heralded period in Cleveland, Odell Beckham Jr. will begin the next phase of his career with the Los Angeles Rams. What does this mean for his fantasy football value? Here’s a breakdown of his realistic usage and production for the rest of the season, beginning in Week 10.
Odell Beckham Jr.’s declining production
Beckham started his career in New York with three straight seasons of at least 1,300 yards and double-digit touchdowns. However, since 2017, he’s missed 28 of 73 games, while his per-game production has dropped precipitously.
Injuries have certainly taken their toll. But it’s hard to argue with a catch rate that has declined continuously — from 62.1% in 2018 to 55.6% in 2019 and all the way down to 53.5% in 2020.
This season, he’s caught only 50% of his targets. Among the top 85 fantasy WRs, only Robby Anderson has a lower catch rate.
So, we can’t simply expect Beckham to shine like he once did. A coaching change won’t restore him to WR1 value. Furthermore, a new quarterback won’t instantly catapult him to must-start status.
What is Beckham’s realistic fantasy outlook?
Playing alongside Jarvis Landry and an ascending Donovan Peoples-Jones, Beckham wasn’t able to carve out a consistent offensive role. Some of that can be blamed on Cleveland’s run-heavy offensive scheme, and that’s where I fall on this subject. Beckham needs volume.
In his first three seasons, Beckham was one of the most targeted players in the league. As attention on him waned, so did his production. It wasn’t just about injuries, although they didn’t help. It was about a demotion from clear-cut No. 1 receiver to co-No. 1 receiver on a team committed to winning with the run game.
Beckham’s role on the Rams
Beckham has averaged just under 6 targets per game since the start of 2020. Earlier in his career, he averaged 10+. Unless the Rams are committed to feeding him 8, 9, or more targets per contest, he will be little more than a talented role player with a poor catch rate, trying to convert 3-4 receptions into meaningful production.
As fantasy managers, we should not give up on Beckham. But we should be realistic. He’ll be competing with the best fantasy wideout of the year (Cooper Kupp), a consistent WR2 (Robert Woods), and a high-functioning tertiary option (Van Jefferson). As long as he’s starting, Beckham should be better than what we saw the past two seasons in Cleveland. But OBJ’s days as a reliable starter are probably finished, at least this year.
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