Odell Beckham Jr. Trade – Stock Up, Stock Down
The football world, real and fantasy, was rocked on Tuesday. As football fans, we are not accustomed to blockbuster trades, but we’ve been spoiled lately, and it’s all about the wide receivers. From the Cowboys trading a 1st rounder for Amari Cooper mid-season to the Steelers sending Antonio Brown to the Black Hole, NFL teams’ transactions have sent ripples through the fantasy football landscape. None, however, are bigger than the most recent trade made between the New York Giants and the Cleveland Browns. The Cleveland Browns sent a 1st round pick (No. 17 overall), the second of the Browns’ 3rd round picks (No. 95), and safety Jabrill Peppers in exchange for Odell Beckham Jr. Ignoring my thoughts on the trade as it pertains to the NFL, I’m going to try and give you some insight on how it changes the stock of the players on the Browns and Giants, both from a redraft perspective and dynasty.
- Baker Mayfield, QB: Baker is going to be waking up feeling dangerous a lot next NFL season. The Cleveland Browns have gone from having the worst skill position players in the AFC North to the best in just over a year. Baker is going to have no shortage of offensive firepower with Beckham, Landry, Calloway, Njoku running routes with Chubb and Hunt in his backfield. With his combination of youth, talent, and quality surrounding him, Baker is flying up my dynasty QB rankings and I don’t think it’s unreasonable to put him at QB2, just behind Pat Mahomes.
Stock: “All The Way Up!” – Fat Joe
- Nick Chubb, RB: Last season, Nick Chubb faced stacked boxes (8+ defenders) a whopping 34.38% of the time. That’s 2nd (Leonard Fournette) highest among running backs with at least 150 attempts. Now I know there’s a tendency to lower the stock of running backs when a new elite receiver joins the offense, but I’m here to tell you that it’s the opposite for Chubb. Chubb’s stacked box % is going to plummet, with teams devoting much to slowing down the passing attack. While designed passes to Chubb won’t go up, his rushing efficiency will. Chubb should be sliding up your draft boards, especially in standard format leagues.
- Odell Beckham Jr, WR: Here we are, the bell of the ball. I could go on a longer than necessary diatribe about my love for Odell Beckham Jr as a fantasy football player. In his career (59 games), OBJ has eclipsed the 100 receiving yards mark 23 times (38.98% of the time) and scored at least 1 touchdown 31 times (52.54%). He’s achieved at least one of those marks in 39 of 59 games (66.1%)! OBJ has finished as a top 12 wide receiver in 29 of his 59 career games (almost 50%). So what’s all this mean? Well, Beckham has achieved all this with Eli Manning as his quarterback. Baker is already an upgrade to Eli, but he’s also only in his second year. So, with Beckham having 4 years left on his new contract, we have a tasty Baker-OBJ stack for the foreseeable future. Now you’re probably thinking Beckham’s stock is soaring! Well, not necessarily. In New York, Eli targeted Beckham an unhealthily amount. On average, Eli targeted him a staggering 10.54 times per game! Can Baker do that? Yes. Will he? That remains to be seen. Baker has more weapons surround Beckham than Eli ever had and I suspect he will spread it around that much more. So, with all that being said, I expect Beckham to remain about where he was at the start of this past season. In a dynasty start-up, some will take him in the 1.03-1.05 range, others will insist on drafting the top 5 running backs first. Either way, Beckham has ensured that he will remain a top fantasy asset for years to come.
Stock: Slightly Up
- Jarvis Landry, WR: Our first instinct is to lower Landry’s stock. He is no longer going to be the WR1 in the newly electric Cleveland Browns’ offense. However, there are pros and cons to Landry’s situation. On one hand, teams will no longer be able to shift coverage his way. If they do, Beckham will make them pay. Furthermore, With Beckham on the outside, and probably Calloway opposite him, Landry can move into his more natural position, the slot. In his last three years as Miami’s slot receiver, Landry finished no lower than WR13 overall in PPR formats. All that being said, Landry was targeted 9.25 times per game. That number is the type of targets a #1 receiver gets. That number is bound to decrease. So, with those pros and cons, I don’t think Landry’s fantasy outlook changes much.
- David Njoku, TE: I’m really excited about David Njoku. When the Browns drafted him two years ago, I was worried he may end up being the best pass catcher in the offense and be relied upon as such. Now he’s not only not the #1 option, but he’s also not even the 2nd or even 3rd option. Under normal circumstances, I would lower his stock, but a rising tide raises all boats. I expect Kitchens to think of new and creative ways to get Njoku involved in the offense. And when the Browns face a team with the secondary with the capabilities of covering both Beckham and Landry, Njoku will be there for Baker to eat them alive. His target share may leave something to be desired, but the success of the Cleveland Browns’ offense will make up for that.
Stock: Slightly Up.
New York Giants
- Eli Manning, QB: Tom Brady has the greatest career of any quarterback in history, but he is 0-2 vs. Eli in Super Bowls. That seems like a lifetime ago. To say Eli relied heavily on Beckham would be an understatement. Beckham out-targeted the Giants’ #2 target getting by 20 last year, despite missing 4 games. In 2016 he had 64 more targets than the #2 and in 2015 he had 67 more targets. Not to mention, in Beckham’s last 3 full-ish seasons, Eli’s passer rating when targeting OBJ was 92.2, 97.9, and 112.3 respectively. All of which is a far cry from his seasonal passer ratings. Eli is going to be forced to spread the ball around more and I don’t think he still has the ability to do that effectively. Not sure you if you were still starting Eli in even two-quarterback leagues, but it’s not looking good if you do.
- Saquon Barkley, RB: I’m tempted to use the inverse of the argument I used to justify Chubb’s stock raise. Barkley is sure to face a higher percentage of stacked boxes without OBJ to take coverage away. However, just imagine how many panic dump-offs Barkley is going to get from Eli now that his favorite target is gone. While I expect Barkley’s efficiency to go nowhere but down, his usage will remain sky high and should still be seen as the 1.01 in redraft and dynasty leagues.
- Sterling Shepard, WR: Shepard has had his most successful stretch of games when Beckham was out. In games that Shepard started as the Giants WR1, he’s averaged 8 targets a game. I don’t expect Shepard to come anywhere close to producing the kind of points that Beckham put up in New York. While the opportunity is there, the talent is not. Shepard will see an increased role but I wouldn’t trust him to be any more than a good WR3 or a meh WR2.
Stock: Slightly Up
- Evan Engram, TE: Engram expects to be the biggest beneficiary of the Odell Beckham Jr. trade. In 2018, Engram’s average positional finish, with Beckham starting, was almost TE19. However, in games that Beckham was hurt, Engram averaged out to be the TE6. That includes three top 12 finishes to end the season. I expect Engram to build on his rookie season magic from 2017 and return to the upper echelons of the tight end landscape. I see Engram finishing as a top 5 tight end in the near and far future.
I hope this helps you come to grips with this blockbuster trade in your fantasy football evaluations. I have a few more quick-hit reactions to the other free agency moves that I found significant and how they may affect your fantasy teams.
- Steelers trade Antonio Brown to the Oakland Raiders for a 3rd and 5th round pick
- Stock up: Derek Carr, (newly signed) Tyrell Williams, (newly signed) Donte Moncrief
- Unchanged: Juju Smith-Schuster
- Stock down: Antonio Brown, Ben Roethlisberger, James Conner
- Jacksonville Jaguars sign Nick Foles
- Stock up: Leonard Fournette, Dede Westbrook
- Unchanged: D.J. Chark
- Stock down: Keelan Cole, Marquis Lee
- New York Jets sign Leveon Bell
- Stock up: Sam Darnold
- Unchanged: Quincey Enunwa, Robby Anderson
- Stock down: Chris Herndon, Elijah McGuire
- San Francisco 49ers sign Tevin Coleman
- Stock up: Tevin Coleman, Jimmy Garropolo, Marquise Goodwin
- Unchanged: George Kittle
- Stock down: Jerrick McKinnon, Matt Breida
- The Baltimore Ravens sign Mark Ingram
- Stock up: Mark Ingram, Lamar Jackson, Mark Andrews
- Unchanged: Ravens WRs (they were always going to be a dumpster fire)
- Stock down: Kenneth Dixon, Gus Edwards
- The Tampa Bay Buccanneers neglect to resign both Adam Humphries and Desean Jackson
- Stock up: Chris Godwin, O.J. Howard
- Unchanged: Mike Evans
- Stock down: Jameis Winston