Despite playing just a full 16-game season once in his young career, Odell Beckham Jr. is pegged as one of the game’s most elite game changers at the wide receiver position. While he may drop a pass here and there, he comes down with some highlight-reel catches, and he is one of the most electrifying non-tailbacks when the football is in his hands. The first five years of his career were spent with Eli Manning and the New York Giants, and he put up at least 1,000 yards in each season where he appeared in at least 10 games. Even in 2017 when he was limited to just four games, he was averaging 75 yards per game, which had him on pace to eclipse 1,000 yards if he would have stayed healthy. Beckham has been able to combine high volume with high effectiveness and efficiency, and one could argue that he’s going to a better situation with a quarterback that plays more to Beckham’s explosiveness and a supporting cast that will make it tough for defenses to double-cover OBJ with regularity. At the end of the day, Beckham could push for the top overall scoring receiver in fantasy football this season, and no one would be surprised by it.

Baker Mayfield made the receivers in Cleveland better, especially in terms of getting the football downfield. In four years with the Dolphins, Landry averaged 10.1 yards per reception, but in his first year with Mayfield and the Browns, he averaged 12 yards per reception. Albeit a tight end, David Njoku averaged nearly a full yard more per target in his second year with Cleveland compared to his first, not to mention adding 10 percentage points to his reception percentage. Unlike Manning in his older age, Mayfield has a big-time arm and certainly isn’t afraid to let it fly downfield. While Beckham can kill you with his quickness in and out of his short and intermediate routes, he can certainly get behind the defense and win the jump balls downfield.

Last year, under 20 percent of Beckham’s targets were 20 or more yards downfield, per Pro Football Focus. That should not be the case AT ALL. In Cleveland, seeing as Antonio Callaway saw 24.4 percent of his targets at least 20 yards downfield, and guys like DeVante Parker (25.6%), Zay Jones (24.2%), and Taywan Taylor (23.6%) registered higher marks than Beckham and OBJ is more explosive than all of them combined! Unfortunately, that’s become the status quo for Beckham in New York, as he’s never had a season in which more than 21 percent of his targets were 20 or more yards downfield, per Pro Football Focus. Interestingly enough, however, take a look at the Cleveland receivers when Baker Mayfield was under center.



Breshad Perriman


Rashard Higgins


Antonio Callaway


Jarvis Landry


For more context, prior to joining Mayfield and the Browns, Landry’s career-high in deep passing percentage was 11.9, and he was held under six-percent of his targets each of the other seasons. Mayfield made it happen with Landry, who is a good athlete in his own right, but imagine what Mayfield can do with a player as explosive, lethal and game-changing as Beckham. Wow.

These two just might be the perfect fit for each other, not only in terms of their hot-headedness, but their on-field skills and tendencies. When you compare Beckham’s receiving chart from 2018 to Mayfield’s passing chart in 2018, the two will be able to help one another immensely. To be frank, where Beckham excelled last year, Mayfield has struggled and vice versa. It’s interesting to see the two charts next to each other, and it further validates that Beckham is finally getting a quarterback who is effective throwing the deep ball, and not afraid to do so. The graphics below are courtesy of Pro Football Focus.



Charts courtesy of Pro Football Focus

Additionally, Beckham caught just six touchdown passes last season, largely due to the fact that Manning’s touchdown percentage last year was a measly 3.6 percent. Mayfield posted a 5.6 percent touchdown clip. Manning has had two seasons in his career where he bested Mayfield’s touchdown mark from last season, and that was all the way back in 2010 and 2015. Beckham caught 13 touchdown passes in 2015, the only season in which he had a quarterback post at least a 5.6 percent touchdown clip. Mayfield did it as a rookie and while Cleveland may throw the ball a bit less than New York when you consider everything, Beckham’s volume should remain similar to prior seasons, but he has a chance to be far more effective with the touches he’s given.

I can beat your head in with numbers to further prove why Beckham will be successful in Cleveland, but let’s talk about some non-numerical driving forces in the equation. Beckham had just one season where the Giants were actually playing for something late in the season, and in that season (2016), he posted a career-high in targets (169) and receptions (101), while scoring 10 touchdowns and racking up 1,367 receiving yards. Playing for a potential contender in Cleveland should give Beckham an added boost on the field. Also, not to mention, he simply wanted out of New York and there could be some rejuvenation to his game and attitude now that he’s out of the city he desperately wanted to leave.

Per NFFC data, Beckham is the fifth receiver off the board, but comes in ninth in our rankings in 0.5 PPR formats. His projected stat line of 81 grabs, 1,188 yards, and 7.8 touchdowns is a solid season for the star receiver. Is there a chance he bests each of those numbers? Certainly. There’s more competition for targets in Cleveland this season than he ever had in New York, but when you have a knack for getting open and catching everything in sight, you’ll get the rock early and often.

There are few players that have a realistic chance to be the top-scoring wide receiver in fantasy football this season, and Odell Beckham Jr. is one of those players.

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