Sound the alarms! The rumors have proven to be true, as the Browns just acquired one of the smoothest WRs in the league. John Dorsey is trying to recreate his old high-powered Kansas City offense as OBJ was traded to the Browns in exchange for 1st & 3rd round 2019 draft picks; as well as strong safety Jabrill Peppers. Time to unpack the fantasy impacts this has on not only OBJ but his teammates as we approach the 2019 season.
Odell Beckham, Jr. – OBJ (WR): He will FINALLY have a good quarterback feeding him the ball next season! Hallelujah! This is what fantasy owners have dreamed of since OBJ emerged into the league, a young QB who isn’t afraid to take shots downfield. No more watching this elite talent suffer… OBJ has put up FOUR 1,000 yard receiving seasons and THREE 10- or more TD seasons. OBJ has finished the last three healthy seasons as WR3, WR4, and WR14 — and that was with ELI MANNING THROWING HIM THE BALL! Yes, OBJ was hyper-targeted while wearing a Giants’ uniform but not all targets are created equally. A Baker Mayfield target is superior to an Eli Manning target. As long as OBJ stays healthy next season, he will see around 150 targets as the Browns WR1. The best part is, opposing defenses will have no choice but to respect the other weapons on the field. This means he will see fewer double teams next season, and we all know that VERY FEW corners can keep up with OBJ in man-to-man coverage. Less double coverage + better QB + better O-line = OBJ fantasy stock is on the rise.
After this trade I see him finishing as a top-5 receiver yet again and not getting out of the first round of most, if not all, redraft and dynasty startups.
Jarvis Landry (WR): This may actually be the best thing that has happened to Jarvis Landry in the NFL. Why? Because he will no longer have to see the best corners in the league and can return to his slot role. Last season, Landry’s catch rate dropped to 54%. However, the two seasons before that (when he was the WR2) he posted a 70% catch rate. I project Landry to see only around 100 targets next season, opposed to the 149 he saw this in 2018, but he will produce similar or better fantasy numbers. Landry finished as the WR22 last season as the number one option for Baker and I see that being his floor next season.
Baker Mayfield (QB): Jackpot. Go ahead and lock Baker in to finish inside the top-8 QBs next season. After a breakout rookie performance last season, Baker is now the head honcho of what looks to be a top-5 offense next season (on paper that is). Starting Week 4 last season, Baker was the QB12, with his end-of-season stat line of 3,725 yards/ 27 TDs/ 14 INTs in only 14 games. Now that Baker has an elite WR1 added to his arsenal, and with Jarvis going back to his comfort zone as the sure-handed WR2, you’d better believe Baker is about to produce big numbers. If I had to project his stat line next season, I would say 4,500 yards/ 35 TDs / 16 INTs, which historically would place him inside the top-8 Fantasy QB rankings for 2019. Baker will be the new hype at QB with all the weapons surrounding him, which means his ADP is about to jump from 8.11 into the 4th-5th round range.
Nick Chubb (RB1): As if the Kareem Hunt signing didn’t make Chubb owners cringe enough… Last season, Chubb took over the starting role in Week 7 and didn’t look back. From Week 7 through Week 16, Chubb finished as the RB7. This gave fantasy owners high hopes heading into the 2019 season, but with the unexpected Hunt signing & OBJ trade this offseason; the future is looking a lot less promising. I do believe Chubb will be the 1st and 2nd down back next season until Hunt’s suspension is over, which should be an average of around 18 touches a game. However, when Hunt is cleared to play, you have to believe Chubb’s touches will get cut in half. The only positive thing I could foresee for Chubb owners is Hunt being simply a future trade piece before the deadline next season. Chubb will pick up where he left off last season as a consistent RB1, but only until Hunt comes off suspension… In redraft leagues, Chubb is still a great value piece and it will be interesting to see where his ADP lands at the beginning of fantasy draft season next season.
Duke Johnson, Jr. (RB2): I will keep this section short. Duke Johnson finished the season as RB39 last season, and it isn’t going to get any better in 2019. He makes his living as the Browns 3rd down receiving back. He had 47 receptions on 62 targets with 3 TDs last season, which was a downtick from the previous season. With Chubb being a stud, Hunt on the horizon, and OBJ emerging onto the scene, Johnson’s stock will continue to fall. He should only be considered in deep dynasty leagues.
David Njoku (TE1): Njoku will be a big topic of discussion from this point on, after the OBJ trade. The reason is Njoku was Baker’s second read, only behind Landry. He finished the season last season as the TE9 with 56 receptions on 88 targets with 4 TDs last season. I think he will see a slight downtick in volume next season as he will have to share the middle of the field with Jarvis Landry. I do think Njoku will see more red zone targets, but overall targets will most likely decrease from 88 to around 70. However, I still have Njoku finishing as a TE1 next season but he will not be very consistent on a weekly basis because of how many mouths there are to feed in Cleveland.
Other Browns Receivers (Higgins, Perriman & Callaway): Obviously, this is bad news for the backup pass-catchers. While we will likely see more 3-WR sets next season from the Browns, I do not think it will be enough to enable another Browns’ WR to produce relevant fantasy numbers consistently. Last season the Browns’ target share broke down like this:
What about adding OBJ to the mix? The backup WRs drop a minimum of one spot and you must believe that Landry will still see around 100 targets next season as the WR2. I wouldn’t invest in any of the names not listed above.
Thank you for reading. Look for me on Twitter @DFF_Guru.