It is an exciting time to be a Cleveland Browns fan (those words sound ever so foreign!) as hotshot quarterback Baker Mayfield will be piloting a dangerous offense with Beckham, Jarvis Landry, David Njoku, and Nick Chubb.
Here are some quick thoughts on the trade’s dynasty value implications!
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Current ADP Trend
Graph from Beckham’s DLF Player Page.
Beckham’s shine has been fading over the course of the last 12 months as he’s dropped from being an overall top two asset to having an ADP of 8.33 in the March 2019 DLF ADP values, largely due to the puzzling Giants decision to rely on a fading Eli Manning at quarterback.
That’s about to change, as he lands in an ascendant Browns offense that finished in the top half of the league in scrimmage yards for the first time in 11 years.
With a quarterback like Mayfield now throwing the ball, it’s easy to make a case for Beckham to push back up to the top of the overall dynasty value charts.
Cleveland Offensive Situation
After Baker Mayfield was named starter in week four, he averaged 7.96 yard per attempt and 275 yards per game, which put him in the top ten in quarterback efficiency and yardage – pretty fantastic for a rookie quarterback still learning the NFL game.
If you split out the yoke of Hue Jackson’s play-calling, Mayfield’s numbers improve even further to 8.89 Y/A and 291 YPG – numbers that would place him in the top three for 2018 and very much in elite territory. With stability on the coaching front as Freddie Kitchens takes over the head coach position, we can expect continued improvement. Adding Beckham to the mix certainly helps!
The complementary cast of offensive weapons is also top-notch. Jarvis Landry (Beckham’s LSU teammate) is widely considered one of the best receivers in the slot/short-intermediate areas of the field. David Njoku is a freakish size-speed athlete at tight end and is primed for a breakout. Nick Chubb emerged as a breakout star at running back over the last half of the season. The roles seem clear and well defined, and lets Beckham slot into his preferred role as a primary and deep threat in the offense (12.3 adot).
That said, there is reason to temper your excitement. Beckham finished as the WR9 in points per game for the 2018 season, having earned the third highest share of both team air yards and team targets among all wideouts (as per airyards.com). Given the presence of so many other high-quality playmakers, we’d expect that share of receiving volume to decrease.
We *should* expect an increase in efficiency – but how much will this counteract the decrease in volume?
If we project a drop in target share from 28% to 25% (putting him in the Antonio Brown, Adam Thielen, Tyreek Hill range as “not-the-only-pass-threat” type of target share) and give him slight bumps in catch-rate (from 62% to 65%) and receiving-to-airyard-ratios (from 0.69 to 0.75), it’s not difficult to see a 95-catch, 1,300-yard, eight-TD season as a reasonable projection. That would put him firmly in mid-WR1 production territory as a baseline.
The short-term outlook looks positive. What about his long-term one? Beckham is under contract until 2024 (when he will be age 30). As a group, the Browns look stable.
The key pieces are locked up until at least 2022 and all but Landry (26) are 24 years old or younger. We can expect that the group will continue to get better together over the next few years as the players mature. This bodes very well for continued year-over-year improvement.
Outlook and Dynasty Recommendations
Odell Beckham’s stock is on the rise – landing in an ascendant offense with as good an opportunity as you could ask for. Dynasty owners are already responding with massive hype-swings, and Beckham has essentially rebounded back into dynasty 1.01 conversations. I think Beckham safely contributes as a mid-WR1 for years to come.
As a personal dynasty recommendation, I’d be comfortable taking Beckham at that 1.01 spot in startups, but I’m not sure that I’d acquire Beckham at this point by trade. From what I’ve seen on Twitter, the current asking price is almost four first round picks in value. Even if you’re contending, or close to contending, if you get an offer that meets or beats this price, I would seriously consider it. You can find mid-WR1 production for a one-two year window elsewhere for about a single first in value, and you come away with ~three more firsts on top of that.
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