For several years, Odell Beckham Jr. was one of the NFL’s top receivers. Some would argue that he was the best. For example, on a per-game basis, his rookie 2014 campaign statistically was one of the greatest — if not the greatest — WR performances in NFL history.
But entering his age-31 season and having been sidelined by injury for 14 months, it’s fair to question whether Beckham can still be a weekly fantasy asset, much less a weekly NFL asset.
With that in mind, here are three intriguing landing spots for Beckham, as well as his likely fantasy football value on each of these teams.
Odell Beckham Jr. Signing Predictions
At this point in his career, I believe Beckham would take less money to play for a contender vs. more money to play for a rebuilding franchise.
Does he have an outsized belief in his market value? Perhaps, and rumors that he’s asking for at least $15 million for one season reinforce this sentiment. But his bullishness suggests he knows what he’s willing to accept, and starting high early in the offseason will give him more leverage if/when some teams get more desperate by the summer.
How desperate? That’s the big question. Since he tore his ACL last February, there’s plenty of speculation about his abilities (or lack thereof) to play at or near a high level.
Big picture: he’s missed 45 of his teams’ last 98 regular-season games since 2017. That’s 46%. That’s concerning, at minimum, and a glowing red flag at worst.
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Before his latest injury, Beckham shook off the doldrums of his Cleveland tenure and reasserted himself as a top-35 NFL wideout. But it took time. In eight regular-season games with the Rams, he posted a mostly pedestrian 27-305-5 receiving line. While the touchdowns were nice, he exhibited only glimpses of his former greatness.
Then came the playoffs, where he became a true difference-maker — worth every penny the Rams handed him. In a little over three games, he compiled a 21-288-2 receiving line while reeling in 81% of his targets. For a guy who hadn’t caught more than 56% of his regular-season targets since 2018, it was a different Beckham — an elevated Beckham.
That’s what teams want to pay for — not the substantial injury risk on the wrong side of 30 years old, but the instant-impact Super Bowl champion with a proven ability to rise to the moment.
Here are three teams with realistic Super Bowl aspirations, the cap space to give Beckham a payday he can live with, and a role that can justify the expense.
The Lions have done a lot of things right this offseason, including bolstering a defense that finally played like a top-14 unit in the second half of last season and could realistically reach the next level in 2023.
At wideout, Amon-Ra St. Brown and Jameson Williams anchor an extraordinarily top-heavy receiving corps left even more lopsided after last year’s midseason trade of T.J. Hockenson. Who’s left? Kalif Raymond, Josh Reynolds, Quintez Cephus, and other holdovers.
Detroit is oh-so-close to putting the finishing touches on a roster that not only could win the NFC North but also vie for the NFC title. They’ll need at least one more playmaking receiver. Presumably, they’ll look to the draft. However, bringing in Beckham could be a win-win for a young unit that could use a veteran presence.
Fantasy-wise, Beckham likely would be the No. 4 or even No. 5 offensive option in Detroit behind St. Brown, Williams, D’Andre Swift, and/or David Montgomery.
Adam Schefter recently reported that Baltimore has made a contract offer to Beckham. This deal would make sense for a host of reasons. Principally, it would give Lamar Jackson (if he stays) a more formidable receiving corps as this franchise hopes to make a deep playoff run.
And frankly, the Ravens’ receiving corps has gaping holes. Yes, Mark Andrews and Rashod Bateman form a strong nucleus. But as we saw last year, Demarcus Robinson — while playing quite well as an emergency No. 1 WR — isn’t the answer for a team with lofty expectations.
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At his best, Beckham could push Bateman as Jackson’s primary deep target. And in a relatively run-friendly system, OBJ could be more of a situational asset, which he’s probably better suited for this stage of his career.
Fantasy-wise, Beckham in Baltimore could be troubling for the veteran receiver, as well as for Bateman. There simply aren’t enough targets to go around. Beckham probably would be a TD-dependent top-50 fantasy WR with occasional pop.
New York Jets
This assumes the Jets land Aaron Rodgers, which at this stage remains more of a hope than a near certainty. If New York starts over with someone else at QB (or somehow is forced to roll with one of its 2022 starters), then it’s hard to imagine them as strong or even remote Super Bowl contenders. They need a dangerous QB — or at least a very capable one.
So if Beckham and Rodgers sign with the Jets, then I believe Beckham would have a tough time carving out a consistent role. Garrett Wilson is the unquestioned No. 1. A returning Breece Hall (if he’s fully recovered) would earn a lot of looks in the backfield. The team added Allen Lazard and Mecole Hardman to be immediate contributors. Corey Davis looms (for now).
And yet, Beckham’s name continues to be thrown around in the Jets rumor mill.
Where would he fit in? Perhaps as the No. 5 or No. 6 offensive option if everyone’s healthy. Because at this stage, Beckham would be a guy they keep healthy for the biggest games against the Bills, Patriots, and Dolphins. He’d be a wideout to keep fresh until the postseason or until a regular starter goes down.
As a result, I don’t see how the Jets would pay — or could even afford — Beckham unless he takes a significant reduction simply to be part of a Rodgers-led offense backed by a near-elite defense.
Odell Beckham Jr. Market Value and Career Stats
As alluded to above, OBJ’s market value is hard to peg. He’s smart to aim high early in the offseason, and I think he’ll be realistic about taking a “prove-it” contract that would keep him relevant on a high-profile, successful team. A healthy and semi-productive Beckham in 2023 could prove to the league that he can still be a difference-maker in 2024.
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Unlike most seasons, there are probably only two franchises that realistically don’t have a remote shot at the playoffs (I’m thinking Houston and Arizona). A few others are long shots but not entirely goners.
A fully healthy Beckham could bolster a receiving corps. But I doubt he can still be a top-two wideout on at least 80% of NFL teams. A franchise has to be willing to pay a slight-to-significant premium on a guy who can step up, but who, by and large, would operate as a role player with major injury risks and occasional big-play abilities.
Beckham’s Career Regular-Season Stats
- Receptions: 531
- Receiving Yards: 7,367
- Receiving Touchdowns: 56