Drafting Odell Beckham Jr. Just Got Messier

I’ll commend you if you picked Odell Beckham Jr. off the waiver wire in your 2014 Fantasy Football leagues. I’ll be even more impressed if you drafted him, but his second year in the league could be much different than his extraordinary rookie season.

I’m not down on Beckham Jr. as a top-10 talent, but his ADP is ridicolous.There is no reason why he should go off the board before Calvin Johnson.

Listed below are some of the reasons why 2015 will be a very different year for Beckham Jr. than 2014.

New York Giants in 2014

The 22-year old receiver benefited from injuries and a lack of consistency within the offense in his rookie year.

The running game was a mess with a mixture of injured running backs, and wide receiver Rueben Randle and tight end Larry Donnell were seemingly unable to step up and offer a replacement for Victor Cruz. I’ll explain why I said seemingly soon. Beckham Jr. gave us a preview of what he could do in Week 7 with two touchdowns but didn’t impress with 34 receiving yards.

The rest is history after Week 9. The talented receiver totaled 156 yards and never looked back. In fact, Beckham Jr. recorded a minimum of 90 receiving yards for the duration of the season. Fantasy Football players love the next “it” player, and it certainly appears that he can have a productive career.

The 2015 Fantasy Football season, however, is a much different animal.

New York Giants in 2015

Pass-catching back Shane Vereen was brought in to  compliment a quicker offense under coordinator Ben McAdoo. Before McAdoo’s arrival, Eli Manning was taking an average of 2.73 second to release the ball. He improved to 2.49 seconds in 2015. Vereen’s bread and butter is receiving quick dump offs, and the shifty back totaled the fifth-most receiving yards for running backs last season. Rashad Jennings is a serviceable pass-catching back but Vereen brings extra fire power. That involvement in the offense could cost receivers a few looks.

Donnell looked promising at the start of the season, but his Fantasy Football relevancy slowly dissipated. Similar to Zach Ertz, Donnell’s blocking abilities were not up to par. He ranked 63rd out of 67 qualifying tight ends according to ProFootballFocus.com, and that is a great way for tight ends to lose snaps and opportunities. I commend Donnell on realizing his weaknesses, and he’s spent his offseason looking to improve his blocking skills. At 6-foot-6, the big tight end is a huge threat inside the red zone. He can gain more playing time with better blocking, and that means he has more opportunities to produce Fantasy points. That also means less receptions for the receivers.

I think Cruz’s abilities to contribute are slowly fading away, and Manning’s recent statements on Randle having a breakout season may be an indication of a changing of the guard. I said Randle was seemingly unable to replace Cruz earlier. When I looked at the numbers, however, I was pretty surprised. I spent my playoffs kicking myself for not scooping Beckham Jr. of off waivers, but I missed out on Randle’s performances at the end of the year. He totaled 290 receiving yards through Week 16-17, and he finished the entire season with 938 receiving yards. His touchdown total was low (3), but the fourth-year receiver has shown tremendous improvement each season. He’s also only 24.

There is also the possibility that Cruz comes back and can contribute. I don’t like the fact that his level of readiness seems to bounce around, but there is the possibility that he still has a little gas left in the tank.

Manning may have more weapons than he knows what to do with.

Hamstring Issues

Beckham Jr. missed the start of last season with a torn left hamstring, and he is currently fighting off a tightness in his hamstring right now.

The Giants are taking precautionary measures, but missing training camp can create room for Manning to build more rapport with his other receivers. I also don’t like generalities when it comes to injuries and recovery time. Fantasy players will have to pay close attention to find out the severity of the hamstring issue, and finding out an exact return date is crucial before spending a first-round pick on Beckham Jr.

Odell Beckham Jr.’s 2015 ADP

Beckham Jr.’s ADP is nuts.

This isn’t just in standard scoring leagues, however, as Beckham Jr. is being drafted over Demaryius Thomas and Johnson. I find it extremely interesting that Julio Jones is being drafted over the second-year receiver in PPR formats, but that is a topic for another time and place.

We only have one year of work in which to judge Beckham Jr..

I know what Johnson can do: five straight seasons of 1,000 or more receiving yards, 74 touchdowns in his career and finishing back-to-back seasons as the top receiver in Fantasy Football in 2011 and 2012. I get that he’s older. I get that he was injured last season. I also get that he is one of the most talented receivers to ever play the game. Stick three receivers on him and he still scores.

Don’t get caught up in the excitement of last season. Beckham Jr. has a great chance to finish as a top-10 receiver in 2015, but you hurt your success when you pass over more established options.

Just make sure you believe he can live up to your expectations before giving him a roster spot.

Jack Delaney is the owner of Your Fantasy Football Coach. Connect with him on Twitter and Facebook, and make sure to check out his new ebooks The Smart Fantasy Football Investor: 2015 Edition to start preparing for your 2015 Fantasy Football draft.

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Categories: 2015 Fantasy Football Wide Receivers

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