There’s little doubt that Odell Beckham Jr. is an excellent football player. However, at his current average draft position, there should be some concern about drafting him at such a price this season.
The Positives For Odell Beckham Jr.
Even after last season, Odell’s resume indicates he’s a historically special player. In terms of receiving yards per game for a player’s career, he’s behind only Julio Jones and Michael Thomas out of all receivers in NFL history. He’s one of seven players to average over 80 receiving yards per game for his career.
|3||Odell Beckham Jr.||2014||2019||75||755||464||6511||48||86.8|
Entering his age-28 season, Odell is getting older but should still be able to put up WR1 numbers.
The Concerns For Odell Beckham Jr.
Now that I’ve explained that I have no disdain for Odell as a player, let’s address his primary concern. The concern is his offensive scheme. New head coach Kevin Stefanski was the Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator in 2019.
In 2019, the Vikings finished 30th in pass attempts. This resulted in WR1 Stefon Diggs finishing with just 94 targets in 15 games, despite Adam Thielen missing the majority of eight games. It wasn’t for lack of efficiency either – as Diggs averaged a spectacular 12 yards per target. Despite the hyper-efficiency and lack of target competition, Diggs finished 24th out of wide receivers in per-game scoring.
One could argue that Stefanski was catering to the talent on the Vikings but the same can be said with the 2020 Cleveland Browns. Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt aren’t short on talent and will likely continue to see a ton of work. Diggs and Thielen didn’t force Stefanski to change his tendencies, so can we expect Odell and Jarvis Landry to?
I do expect Odell’s efficiency to rise, but like Diggs, his volume will likely take a hit. Even if we assume that Odell plays all 16 games, with the same target volume as Diggs, and give him a 15 percent increase in targets, that’s still just 115 targets for the season. Is Odell good enough to draft when we expect him to be at a target deficit?
I love Odell the player – but I dislike Stefanski’s slow, run-heavy scheme. At his current average draft position in one-year Apex leagues, Odell is being selected ahead of JuJu Smith-Schuster, Amari Cooper, AJ Brown, Calvin Ridley, and Cooper Kupp. Nearly every one of those receivers should be expected to out-target Odell.
Dalton Kates and I debated whether or not to target Odell Beckham in fantasy drafts this season on the new Apex Fantasy Football Podcast. I’ve posted the video below – the debate starts at 22:42.