Freedman: Odell Beckham Jr. Props, Picks and Projections for 2019

Freedman: Odell Beckham Jr. Props, Picks and Projections for 2019 article feature image

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports Pictured: Odell Beckham Jr.

  • After spending the first five years of his career with the Giants, wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. has been traded to the Browns.
  • Matthew Freedman makes his picks for Beckham's 2019 props, complete with his own projections for the Browns wide receiver.

One of the best wide receivers in the league, Odell Beckham Jr. is a New York Giant no more.

Against all odds, the Giants traded Beckham to the Cleveland Browns, who are now +1400 to win the Super Bowl.

In his half decade of NFL action, OBJ has more than earned his diva reputation, but that doesn’t mean he’s not great. In my dynasty rankings, OBJ is a top-five player. He might be the best wide receiver in the league.

So what should we expect from Beckham in his first season with the Browns? Here’s my analysis of his 2019 player props.

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Odell Beckham Jr.’s Total Receptions

  • 91.5: Over -120, Under -120
  • 89.5: Over -115, Under -115

In Sean Koerner’s way-too-early 2019 projections for Beckham, he gave OBJ 91.9 receptions. That number seems about right to me.

In every season of his career, Beckham has had more than 10 targets per game. Across his 59 games, he’s averaged 10.5 targets.

For his career, OBJ has a 62.7% catch rate. Last year, he had a 62.1% mark. That number seems pretty representative — but it is very possible that with Baker Mayfield at quarterback instead of Eli Manning, Beckham could have a higher catch rate.

Regardless, Beckham has a career average of 6.6 receptions per game, and he’s been especially consistent ever since his breakout rookie campaign.

  • 2018: 6.4
  • 2017: 6.3
  • 2016: 6.3
  • 2015: 6.4
  • 2014: 7.6

Head coach Freddie Kitchens was an aggressive play-caller as the interim coordinator last season, and new offensive coordinator Todd Monken — a longtime wide receivers coach and passing game coordinator in the college ranks — ran an inspiring air-based attack last year with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

With the triumvirate of Mayfield, Kitchens and Monken working to get him the ball, there’s no reason to think that Beckham won’t hit his career marks of 10.5 targets and 6.6 receptions per game.

With Beckham, the primary question is how many games he will play.

Only once has he played a full 16-game campaign, and he’s suffered season-ending injuries in each of the past two years (2017, ankle; 2018, quad). For his career, he’s averaged 11.8 games per year.

Even so, the median reception total for his career is 91, and if he played 13.5 games, his career averages would translate to 89.2 receptions.

I don’t see much value in taking a side on either of the lines in the market.

The Pick: Pass

Odell Beckham Jr.’s Total Receiving Yards

  • 1,200: Over -120, Under -120
  • 1,150.5: Over -120, Under -120
  • 1,100.5: Over -120, Under -110

I’ve seen three different lines in the market, so depending on what you want to do, you have some options.

I know what I’m going to do.

Pound. The. Over.

If we project Beckham for 13.5 games along with his career rates of 10.5 targets per game, 62.7% catch rate and 14.0 yards per reception, that gives us a total of 1,253.0 yards.

Even if he plays only 12 games, that would give him 1,113.8 yards.

And remember that with Mayfield instead of Manning, and with Kitchens and Monken instead of Pat Shurmur (2018) and Ben McAdoo (2014-17), it’s very possible that OBJ could outperform his career averages.

Koerner has projected Beckham for 1,240 receiving yards.

I’ll take over 1,100.5 and bet it all the way to -150.

THE PICK: Over 1,100.5 (-120)

Odell Beckham Jr.’s Total Receiving Touchdowns

  • 9.0: Over -120, Under -120
  • 8.5: Over -115, Under -115

Have you ever middled 0.5 touchdowns?

Me neither. Let’s do it.

I’m joking.

Over the past two years, Beckham has just nine touchdowns combined — but he did that in 16 games while playing with a massively declining Manning. In his first three seasons, he had 12, 13 and 10 touchdowns.

Even if OBJ plays just 13.5 games, his career rates of 10.5 targets per game and 0.071 touchdowns per target would result in 10.1 touchdowns for the season.

Koerner has Beckham projected for 9.7, so we’re in the same neighborhood.

I love over 8.5 and would bet it to -145.

THE PICK: Over 8.5 (-115)

Will Odell Beckham Jr. Be the NFL’s 2019 Receiving Leader?

  • Leader in receiving yards: Yes +600, No -1200
  • Leader in receiving yards only: +700
  • Leader in receptions only: +750
  • Leader in receptions & receiving yards: +2500
  • Leader in neither receptions nor receiving yards: -3000

Over the past five years, Beckham has been a top-three receiver with 92.8 yards per game, trailing only Julio Jones (103.8) and Antonio Brown (100.6).

And in his first three seasons, before latter-day Eli sabotaged him, Beckham averaged 95.9 yards per game and had three straight elite campaigns.

  • 2016: 1,367 yards
  • 2015: 1,450 yards
  • 2014: 1,305 yards

But wide receiver and once-and-future teammate Jarvis Landry will command his share of targets, so I doubt that OBJ will get the raw target volume necessary to lead the league in receptions.

If I had to take one of the plus-money options, I’d probably bet on him to be the yardage leader only at +700. Beckham has the explosiveness to lead in yards without doing so in receptions.

But the bet I like the best of these is “No” at -1200 to lead in receiving yards: OBJ is great, but Landry will likely cap his volume upside, and he could miss multiple games.

Additionally, he’s still competing with a cohort of strong receivers in Jones, Brown, DeAndre Hopkins, Mike Evans, Tyreek Hill, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Michael Thomas and Davante Adams — and maybe even T.Y. Hilton, Amari Cooper, Keenan Allen and Stefon Diggs.

If any of those 12 players had the most receiving yards this year, it wouldn’t be a surprise.

With -1200 odds, there’s a 92.3% implied probability that Beckham won’t lead the league in receiving yards, but I think the true odds are closer to 95%. As great as he is, OBJ has never finished higher than third, and now he’ll have to share targets with Landry.

Over the past five years, the league leaders have averaged 1,645.4 yards per season in their league-best campaigns.

In order to have a strong chance of winning the award, Beckham will need to be better and healthier than he’s ever been in his first season with a new team.

That doesn’t seem likely.

I’d bet no on his being the league leader in receiving yardage down to -1500.

THE PICK: No for receiving yards leader (-1200)

Freedman’s 2019 Odell Beckham Jr. Projections

Here are my projections for Beckham with the Browns this season.

  • Receptions: 85-95
  • Receiving yards: 1,200-1,300
  • Receiving touchdowns: 9-10

I’m basically projecting Beckham for a typical OBJ-caliber season under the assumption that he’ll miss maybe a couple of games but will otherwise have a healthy campaign.

Of course, if his injury issues pop up for a third consecutive season, these projections could look pretty bad very quickly.

Matthew Freedman is the Editor-in-Chief of FantasyLabs. He has a dog and sometimes a British accent. In Cedar Rapids, Iowa, he’s known only as The Labyrinthian.

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