Start Odell Beckham Jr. In Fantasy? Plus How OBJ Impacts Cooper Kupp, Van Jefferson, Tyler Higbee
Getty Images. Pictured: Rams WR Cooper Kupp, Odell Beckham Jr., Rams WR Van Jefferson
Update: Odell Beckham Jr. is set to make his debut for the Los Angeles Rams on Monday Night Football, when they head to San Francisco to take on the 49ers.
It turns out that fellow Rams WR Robert Woods tore his ACL during practice on Friday. His loss will impact OBJ’s fantasy football outlook now that the depth chart has thinned, so we’ll update this story with our analysts’ updated advice soon.
Editor’s note: The following was written on Thursday.
Odell Beckham Jr. is set to start his next chapter in Los Angeles as the newest member of the Rams’ high-powered offense. But what does OBJ’s addition to this receiving corps mean for fantasy football managers?
Sean Koerner — FantasyPros’ No. 1 fantasy football draft ranker of 2019 and one of the industry’s most consistently accurate rankers — and fellow fantasy football expert Chris Raybon break down the primary takeaways of Beckham joining the Rams below.
Start Odell Beckham Jr. In Fantasy Football?
by Sean Koerner
The main fantasy fallout of OBJ signing with Rams is that Van Jefferson probably won’t be a rest-of-season WR3 like I thought — I pegged him as a rest-of-season WR3 after they traded away DeSean Jackson and Tutu Atwell was placed on IR.
Jefferson was a lock for 90%+ routes run in an elite passing offense. Considering he was the No. 4 target in the offense, he was going to have high-ceiling, low-floor WR3 value every week. I’m assuming OBJ would essentially take over that exact role.
I wouldn’t consider Beckham a massive upgrade over Jefferson, to be honest. Cooper Kupp will still be a top-three fantasy WR, Robert Woods will still be a WR2, Tyler Higbee will still be a low-end TE1, Matthew Stafford still be a matchup-based mid-range QB1, and OBJ will still be a volatile WR3.
I’m guessing that Jefferson’s routes run% will dip into the 20-35% range once Beckham gets up to speed. It’s really, really hard to put up fantasy points when you aren’t on the field — in fact, it’s impossible. Therefore, Jefferson goes from a WR3 (with WR2+ injury upside) to a WR5 bench stash (with WR3+ injury upside).
by Chris Raybon
Beckham will slot in as a WR3 with WR1/2 upside with the Rams. He will likely slide into the role previously occupied by Van Jefferson, who has run a route on 83% of Matthew Stafford’s dropbacks this season and 94% over the past three games.
Whenever a pass catcher is entering a new environment, one of the best ways to project his future outcomes is to look at how he stacks up to the rest of the team in terms of targets per route run, which is a sticky year-over-year stat that can paint a picture of how well a player can get open and command targets relative to his teammates.
Here’s how Beckham stacks up with his new teammates in L.A. in terms of targets per route run (min. 59 routes run; data courtesy of PFF):
- WR Cooper Kupp 30.7% (331 routes)
- WR Robert Woods 20.7% (319 routes)
- WR Odell Beckham 19.7% (173 routes)
- TE Tyler Higbee 15.6% (288 routes)
- TE Van Jefferson 15.3% (287 routes)
- RB Darrell Henderson 14.2% (204 routes)
- RB Sony Michel 12.8% (78 routes)
As you can see, Beckham will be a clever top-three option, and has a chance to unseat Woods as the No. 2 option, but not Kupp, who is a target hogging machine. If OBJ plays this week and took over Jefferson’s full role, I would have him projected as the WR28 in half-PPR, with Woods WR19 and Kupp WR1 while Higbee is TE11.
With Matthew Stafford enjoying a renaissance to the tune of 307.9 passing yards per game — third in the NFL — and Sean McVay calling the shots, the Rams can absolutely support three startable fantasy receivers and a low-end TE1.
More On Odell Beckham Jr.
by Alex Kolodziej
Beckham played in all 16 games in his first season with the Browns, collecting 74 catches for more than 1,000 yards and four touchdowns.
However, he’s amassed just 40 receptions, 552 receiving yards and three receiving touchdowns in 13 contests since the start of 2019, dealing with both injuries and struggles within Cleveland’s run-heavy scheme.
The Rams are already in good shape through the air, ranking third in Football Outsiders’ DVOA pass offense entering Week 10. They’re on the road in San Francisco for Monday Night Football, laying four points against the 49ers (check real-time NFL odds here).