The 2021 fantasy football season is officially in the rearview mirror, but the grind never stops! As soon as one season ends, we immediately start looking ahead to the next. With Odell Beckham Jr.’s contract being for just one year with the Rams, let’s see where Beckham might play in 2022 and analyze the fantasy impact his arrival would have on those teams.
Odell Beckham Jr. landing spots
The first three years of Beckham’s career were truly prolific. He was solid in his fourth and fifth seasons, still with the Giants, but both were derailed by injuries. After joining the Browns in 2019, Beckham’s production fell off a cliff. Entering 2021, many were wondering (myself included) if Beckham was just done. It certainly looked that way for the first half of the year.
Beckham supporters argued that it was the Browns and Baker Mayfield’s fault. After Beckham forced his way out of Cleveland and to Los Angeles, that belief was finally going to be put to the test.
Beckham’s production with the Rams has certainly been better, but mostly due to touchdowns. He’s averaging 3.4 catches for 38 yards per game but has scored 5 times in his eight contests. More importantly, Beckham still looks capable of playing football at the highest level.
OBJ is obviously nowhere near the guy we saw from 2014-2016. He’s also clearly better than the guy who languished away in Cleveland for three years. The answer, as it often does, lies somewhere in the middle. I have confidence Beckham can be a useful free-agent piece for an NFL team in 2022. Where might that be?
Los Angeles Rams
Beckham has seemed to enjoy his time with the Rams. Matthew Stafford is, by far, the most talented quarterback ever to throw passes to Beckham. This season, Beckham has a 6-77-1 game and a 5-81-1 game. He had just four more productive outings during his entire tenure in Cleveland.
The Rams’ postseason run may impact their interest in bringing him back. If Beckham plays a key role, they may want him to return. It may also increase his price.
There are a couple of moving parts when it comes to Beckham and the Rams. First, Beckham will turn 30 years old midway through the 2022 campaign. He should still have two or three quality years left. Whatever deal he signs will likely be no more than one or two years.
Second, the Rams are loaded at wide receiver. Cooper Kupp isn’t going anywhere, and neither is Van Jefferson. Robert Woods will be back at some point, but how the Rams feel about his ACL recovery may play a role in their interest in re-signing Beckham. If Beckham returns, expect him to play the same role as he does now. He’s averaged 10.9 PPR fantasy points per game with the Rams. That’s nothing too exciting but still a useful fantasy asset that belongs on rosters.
New England Patriots
Will Beckham end up in New England? Probably not. I just feel compelled to include them because of how desperately they need to address the wide receiver position. The Patriots often try and address their wide receiver problems through the draft — they’re just bad at it.
In Tom Brady’s final season with the Patriots, he won a Super Bowl throwing to a 33-year-old Julian Edelman and a band of misfits. Phillip Dorsett and Mohamed Sanu were their next two highest-targeted wide receivers.
This season, Mac Jones’ top targets were Jakobi Meyers, Hunter Henry, Kendrick Bourne, and Nelson Agholor. The Patriots certainly should be in the market for a wide receiver.
I can’t help but draw a little bit of a parallel between the 2007 Patriots signing a 30-year-old Randy Moss coming off three down seasons where people wondered if he was done. Beckham certainly won’t be anywhere as prolific as Moss, but if he wound up in New England, he would be a starter and have high-WR3 upside in a low-volume passing attack.
New Orleans Saints
Beckham was linked to the Saints back when he was forcing his way out of Cleveland. Given their uncertain quarterback situation, Beckham likely just wanted to go to a surefire contender. Next season could be different.
The Saints certainly need wide receiver help. There’s no guarantee Michael Thomas returns from injury as the same guy he was (or does so in New Orleans). Even if Thomas does come back, Beckham is a clear upgrade on the likes of Marquez Callaway and Deonte Harris at WR2.
In New Orleans, Beckham’s fantasy value would be highly volatile. It’s impossible to predict it as of now. The good news is his presence wouldn’t negatively impact anyone else that matters. If Thomas is there and still elite, his production will remain unaffected, and there would still be targets available.
Jameis Winston could be the starting quarterback to start 2022. Given the Saints’ uncertainties under center and with MT, we’ll just have to wait and see how things shake out in 2022.
Other teams that could use Beckham Jr.
The Las Vegas Raiders could potentially be interested in Beckham. Zay Jones has been a nice comeback story, but I doubt they want to enter 2022 with him as their primary X receiver. And Bryan Edwards ain’t it.
The Lions and Texans have a need at wide receiver, but I don’t see Beckham going to a non-contender.
Indianapolis is another intriguing option. T.Y. Hilton is expected to retire, and Parris Campbell can’t stay healthy. They could use someone opposite Michael Pittman Jr., and this is a team that should contend for a playoff spot once again.
Finally, we have the Chiefs and the Packers. Both teams could use a real WR2, but if OBJ was going to go to either of these teams, it just feels like he would’ve done it already.