Avoid Browns WR Odell Beckham Jr.
By: Adam Hulse (@AdamHulseSports)
The entire month of August, as well as the beginning of September, is prime time for fantasy football drafts as the 2021 NFL season quickly approaches. Draft day is by far the most important day of the entire fantasy football season because it plays the biggest role in determining which teams will be competing for a championship. It’s very important to enter the draft with a clear strategy based on personal research and preparation of all the available options. It’s crucial to have some idea of both players to target as well as players to avoid. Based on their current ADP in redraft leagues, here are 3 WRs to avoid when it comes time to make a selection.
1. Kenny Golladay, New York Giants
For the first time in his career, Kenny Golladay hit the open free-agent market this offseason. Ultimately, he decided to leave the Detroit Lions and join the New York Giants for the 2021 NFL season. From his perspective as a professional and competitor, this is an excellent career move. He upgraded to a better team with more of a chance to win while also scoring himself a huge contract. On the other, from a fantasy football perspective, it hurts his projected production for a couple of reasons. He has downgraded from Matthew Stafford to Daniel Jones at quarterback, will now be in a run first style of offense, and will get less garbage time production than he did with the Lions who were often trailing big in games.
Besides the situational decline of changing teams, another red flag for Golladay was his injury-plagued 2020 season. He was only able to appear in five games and recorded 20 receptions on 32 targets for 338 yards and two touchdowns. The reason he was given such a big contract were his highly productive seasons in 2018 and 2019 where he eclipsed 100 targets and 1000 receiving yards in both years. All things considered with where he is now, it’s not likely that he will fully return to those totals this season. It’s also important to point out that last season the Giants ranked 29th in the NFL in passing offense at 189.1 yards per game while the Lions ranked 10th at 256.5 yards per game.
These are all signs that point to regression from Golladay in terms of fantasy production. He can still turn out to be a solid player for the Giants, and the true number one WR that they have been missing, but that does not mean it will translate to big fantasy points, especially with Saquon Barkley returning from injury and commanding a ton of touches. Golladay is a WR to avoid at his current ADP where there are other options in better situations with more upside. Some examples would be players like DJ Moore and Tyler Lockett.
2. Odell Beckham Jr, Cleveland Browns
The biggest concern for Odell Beckham Jr heading into the 2021NFL season is his recovery from ACL surgery. This is one of the most difficult injuries to bounce back from and WR is one of the most challenging positions to do it from. Health is always a major risk when it comes to fantasy football. In particular, it is a huge factor when looking at players with high ADP because that is the core of the team being constructed. Losing one of the first few drafted players on a particular team can derail an entire season. That’s not to say that Odell can’t fully bounce back, because he absolutely can, but it’s just always something to keep in mind on draft day.
The knee injury is not the only concern that comes with Odell and his high ADP. In the seven games that he did play in the 2020 season, he was not as productive as his usual self. He recorded 23 receptions on 43 targets for 319 yards and and 3 touchdowns. The target average is something to be aware of as it dipped from over 8 per game in 2019 to just about 6 per game in 2020. A big reason for this is the run heavy style of offense implemented by new head coach Kevin Stefanski. The Browns ranked third in the NFL last season in rushing offense at 148.4 yards per game which is a huge increase from their 118.8 rushing yards per game in 2019 before Stefanski arrived.
Considering the drastic change in offensive scheme, the deduction in targets per game, and the difficult injury situation all qualify Odell as a WR to avoid in fantasy drafts this season. He still may have a very productive season and could be a really nice pick up if he falls later in the draft, but given his current ADP there are safer options as well as ones with much more potential to possibly have huge years. Some of these types of WRs in this spot include Chase Claypool and Brandon Aiyuk.
3. Tyler Boyd, Cincinnati Bengals
Now entering his sixth season with the Bengals, Tyler Boyd has been a very productive WR in recent years. He really broke out in in the 2018 season with 76 receptions on 108 targets for 1028 yards and seven touchdowns. He then followed that up in 2019 with another impressive season of 90 receptions on 148 targets for 1046 yards and five touchdowns. He then saw a slight dip in production in the 2020 season but still totaled a solid 79 receptions on 110 targets for 841 yards and four touchdowns. This is an excellent three year run that would usually make him a safe target in fantasy drafts, but there are some red flags.
The biggest concern for Boyd and his projected production is the fact that the Bengals used their first round draft pick on WR Ja’Marr Chase out of LSU, where he and QB Joe Burrow developed a special chemistry. He is expected to be featured heavily in this offense as a weapon of choice for Burrow. In addition to Chase is the break out rookie star from last season in WR Tee Higgins. He had one of the best rookie WR seasons in the NFL last year and his usage will almost definitely start to increase as he continues to grow as a player. Finally, star running back Joe Mixon was only able to play in six games last year so now that he is returning for the 2021 NFL season he will go back to getting a large number of touches as he usually does.
The arrival of Chase, the break out of Higgins, and the return of Mixon are three things that create a recipe for a possible huge let down season for Boyd. The Bengals are not exactly a high-powered offense, at least not yet, and there just may be too many mouths to feed to justifiably carve out a huge role for Boyd. It is highly unlikely that he would be featured more than Chase or Higgins and this offense is probably not anywhere near the level that is good enough to fully support three WRs from a fantasy football perspective. Rather than Boyd, there are much better options with similar ADP who are in better offensive situations with more upside and likelihood for a higher usage rate. Some candidates here include Antonio Brown and Jerry Jeudy.