Odell Beckham Jr. will look to have the comeback revenge tour of the year in 2021. Far from his days of sideline temper tantrums and punching kicking nets on the Giants, Odell appears to have his temper in check in Cleveland. While he has shown some flashes of brilliance on the Browns, he has not put up the same stat lines we were used to Odell doing in New York. Odell then got traded to Cleveland and joined his college running mate, Jarvis Landry, for a devastating 1-2 combo on the outside. He is still the best receiver on the Browns, but a torn ACL caused Odell to miss 9 games in 2020. Odell needs to be making incredible one-handed catches and back to full strength if the Browns want to make the playoffs for the second consecutive year in a very hostile AFC North.
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Odell Beckham Jr. had a very up and down year in 2020. Besides being sidelined with an ACL tear for over half of the season, Odell had games where he looked great and other games where he disappeared entirely. Like against Dallas, Odell scored 35.9 points from catching 2 touchdowns to go along with 81 yards and looked unstoppable. However, against the Steelers and Ravens, Odell only caught 5 passes, had 47 receiving yards, and scored 7.2 points combined. Odell was very feast or famine last year, but the talent that he has leads his production to be more feast.
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A determined and motivated Odell Beckham Jr. means bad news for opposing defenses across the NFL. Odell has a lot to prove this season as he is coming off a severe injury and hasn’t been considered a top receiver for several years now. It is unknown if he still has the same burst and lightning-quick burst that he used to, but if he does, then he has a chance to become a household name again. Odell possesses some of the greatest hands I’ve ever seen, as everything that touches seems to stick to his hands like glue. He is still the #1 option for Baker Mayfield if he stays healthy and should have a great year in 2021.
ADP & Auction Value
ADP: 67, Rounds 5-6, WR27
Auction Value: $15
Odell is far removed from his days as a top-tier receiver. With his combination of the balanced Cleveland offense and his own injury history, fantasy owners are hesitant to draft him. Right now, Odell is slated to be drafted in the 5th or 6th round around other receivers like D.J. Moore, Chase Claypool, and Brandon Aiyuk. These are all fine WR2 or Flex options, but Odell stands out in that grouping because we’ve seen what Odell can do. It wasn’t so long ago that Odell was giving defensive coordinators migraines with his incredible route running ability and great vertical leap to compliment his blinding speed. Now the injuries are a legitimate concern, but I would definitely take a chance on Odell if he fell into my lap in the 5th round.
Injuries can slow down any player, and Odell is no exception. A torn ACL has been notorious for ruining careers, and we shall see if Odell still has the same burst and explosiveness that he used to. Another issue with Odell is that his touches have fallen off since he has been traded to Cleveland. In the four seasons, he played over 12 games with the Giants. Odell averaged 10.6 targets a game. In his time with the Browns, that number has declined as Odell only averages 7.7 touches per game. That is not what you want to see as a fantasy owner, but Odell is a solid WR2 for any fantasy team.
If that ACL tear is fully healed, then Odell can potentially be back to the game-wrecking receiver we saw in New York. Odell was able to put up Hall of Fame numbers with a declining Eli Manning as his quarterback, so imagine the type of numbers Odell can put up in with a rising star in Baker Mayfield and one of the top running attacks to take some of the focus off of him. Odell also has his best friend Jarvis Landry with him, who is the best slot receiver he ever has played with. The Browns are going to be a scary offense to play against, and a fully healthy Odell can be the #1 receiver that will take the Browns to a new level.
Cleveland Browns Offense
This Browns offense is being criminally slept on. I feel like no one is talking about how great this offense could be. Kevin Stefanski led the Browns to a 10-6 record and their first playoff appearance in forever, and I feel like they are just getting started. The Browns scored the 14th most points in 2020 with their balanced attack. They were more of a run-heavy team as they ranked 3rd in total rushing yards, but they struggled through the air as they ranked 23rd in total passing yards. Baker Mayfield is emerging as the franchise quarterback the Browns hope he would be as he threw the best touchdown to interception ratio of his career. The Browns also have the best 1-2 punch at running back in the NFL, with Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt earning every penny of their paycheck as both had over 800 rushing yards. With Odell Beckaham Jr. coming back from injury and some of their younger receivers like Donovan Peoples-Jones and Rashard Higgins getting another offseason under their belt, this offense could be a two-head monster with a deadly rushing attack and an air raid passing attack that the NFL should fear.
Strength of Schedule
The Browns have the 9th toughest schedule in 2021, and that’s due to them being in the AFC North. The AFC North is definitely the hardest division in the AFC and maybe even the NFL, only being rivaled by the NFC West because 3 teams from this division went to the playoffs last season. Apart from their difficult division games, the Browns have to play the NFC North and AFC West as well as their games against the Patriots, Chargers, and Texans. So from that grouping, the interesting games are going to be their games against potential playoff teams. This would be the Packers, Chiefs, Ravens, Steelers, Chargers, Patriots, Raiders, Vikings, and Cardinals. Their schedule isn’t all hard games, though, as their Week 1 matchup is against the Texans, as well as getting to play the Lions, Bengals, and Broncos in the middle and late portions of the season. The Browns have a tough year ahead of them and will need to win around 11 games if they want to go to the playoffs for the second consecutive year.
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