How Odell Beckham to Cleveland Impacts Fantasy Football
The news broke Tuesday, March 12 but when the new league year officially began on March 13, 2019, Odell Beckham was formally introduced as a member of the Cleveland Browns. In exchange for arguably the best receiver in the league, the New York Giants received a first- and third-round pick and safety Jabrill Peppers.
The following will explore how the trade alters the fantasy landscape for both offenses.
How Odell Beckham’s Departure Impacts the Giants
There isn’t much to say about Eli Manning at this point. Even with Odell in his corner for most of 2018, Manning finished 24th in FP/game at his position (min. 200 attempts). At 38 years old, in arguably the most poorly-run organization in the league, on an offense that reportedly wants to be more run-heavy now that Beckham is gone, Manning is nothing more than a streamer in 2QB leagues or the deepest of deep 1QB leagues. In standard leagues, Manning is undraftable.
Beckham’s departure should theoretically open up opportunities for the other pass catchers in New York. With Odell out for the final month of 2018, we got a glimpse as to what this passing attack looks like without the star receiver.
With few impact options available as free agents and rookie pass catchers rarely making a year-one impact, a similar target share should shake out in 2019. Again, David Gettleman and Co. want to “transition to a...run-first attack” on a team that already offered Saquon Barkley over half of the team touches in 2018, so the ceiling is low for Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram. Still, it’s worth noting that over the last two seasons, Shepard has averaged 1.9 more PPR points per game in 11 games without Beckham than in games with him; Engram, meanwhile, has seen a 4.4-point jump in 15 games without Odell.
At the shallow tight end position, Beckham’s exit makes Engram much more palatable as a top-10 pick at his position on draft day. While Shepard figures to lead the Giants in targets by at least a small margin in 2019, the competition at wide receiver will likely make New York’s new primary pass catcher an unexciting, low-ceiling WR3.
UPDATE: On Thursday, Match 14, the Giants added another wide receiver in free agency, as expected. New York agreed to terms with Golden Tate on a four-year, $37.5 million deal. Between the Lions and Eagles last year, Tate spent nearly three-quarters of his snaps in the slot, where Shepard lined up almost 60% of the time in 2018. With redundant skill sets, Tate and Shepard cap each other's ceilings and floors in what is already expected to be an anemic passing game. This move shouldn't impact Engram much but if either receiver breaks the top 36 at their position, consider it a win.
How Odell Beckham Impacts the Browns
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