Odell Beckham Jr. Fantasy Forecast
OBJ might be past his prime, but he could have more in the tank than people realize.
The Baltimore Ravens dangled $15 million guaranteed in front of Odell Beckham Jr., and he caught the carrot.
For at least one season, Beckham will play in Baltimore, one of the several pieces the Ravens recruited this offseason in an attempt to bolster Lamar Jackson’s arsenal. It is the receiver’s fourth franchise in his decade-long NFL career and third dating back to 2021.
The last time we saw Beckham on the football field, he was winning Super Bowl LVI with the Rams. An ACL injury he suffered in that game sidelined him for all of 2022, robbing him of the opportunity to build on his momentum from the prior playoffs.
Beckham’s back, and as fantasy football players worldwide take to their drafts, he poses a ponderous puzzle. Will 2023 showcase the same Beckham who had nine receptions for 113 yards in the 2022 NFC Championship Game, or did the Ravens foolishly back up the Brink’s truck for a player who has torn his ACL twice since the pandemic?
Beckham surprised several people with his postseason play about 18 months ago with the Rams. After the turmoil in Cleveland, it was unclear what Los Angeles was getting when it picked up the released receiver. It turned out that LA was collecting a key character in what would become its Super Bowl story.
Perhaps he’ll have a comparable impact in Baltimore. The talent within Beckham is undeniable, and the Ravens didn’t give him $15 million for charitable purposes. Setting aside the price tag, the one-year term indicates a clear objective: prove it. Some players find such a situation to be very motivating.
Lamar Jackson is healthy (at least for now), and the Ravens have ditched their run-heavy offense of the past by hiring Todd Monken to be their new offensive coordinator. While at his previous positions with the Browns and Bucs, Monken leaned on the air. His 2018 Tampa Bay offense topped the NFL in passing yards and averaged 39 passing attempts per game. The Ravens attempted the fifth-fewest passes in the league in 2022 – I wouldn’t expect the same in 2023.
It’s partially thanks to additions like Beckham, but a revitalized scheme and potential return to top form from Jackson gives the Ravens' offense a higher ceiling than in years past. OBJ fantasy owners stand to directly benefit from this shift.
In less than two calendar years, Beckham experienced two torn ACLs and hasn’t played a down of NFL football since February 2022. The truth is, it’s impossible for any of us to know exactly what we’ll get when he’s back out there. ACL injuries can have lingering effects, and even if those don’t slow him down, it might take him a minute to adjust back to the intensity of the NFL. Beckham has featured in every game of the regular season only twice in his nine years as a pro.
The Ravens have seemingly upped their offense this offseason, which will be some combination of a blessing and a curse for Beckham fantasy owners. On one hand, it will offer the receiver more shots at receptions, big plays, and touchdowns. On the other, it means there’s plenty of meaningful competition for Jackson’s attention. Mark Andrews is an already well-established pass catcher in Baltimore, and the Ravens spent their 2023 first-round pick on Boston College’s Zay Flowers, too. The team also signed veteran Nelson Agholor, plus Rashod Bateman and Isaiah Likely will have designs on increasing their workloads.
Assuming he proves himself useless enough, Beckham will have a role. But barring injuries, he won’t be the main target in Baltimore, and he might not even be second with the amount of hype surrounding Flowers. Beckham should live somewhere near the top of the pile, but where is unclear.
In Conclusion: Odell Beckham Jr. in 2023
The last time Beckham finished in the top 30 among wide receivers in standard scoring was 2018. If you have some fantasy football seasons under your belt, you already know not to expect the Beckham of yesteryear in 2023. And that’s okay – you can find your WR1 elsewhere. But the real question is: does Beckham bring enough value for a mid-round pick?
Flowers and Beckham have similar ADPs, both generally going just north of No. 100 overall in standard scoring, according to Fantasy Pros. That means if you want a piece of the Baltimore pass attack, you can’t sit on the fence.
I see more upside to Flowers given Beckham’s recent injury history and inconsistent play dating back to 2019. It might take the rookie some time to acclimate, and there will be ups and downs – during those downs are when Beckham owners will hope he shows up – but I see Flowers getting more regular work over the long haul. At the very least, I find more upside with Flowers, a first-round rookie the Ravens clearly see a spot for in their offense for years to come, than in Beckham, a 30-year-old coming off of two ACL tears that sometimes has weird drama follow him.
There’s value here, though, especially in later rounds. If you need some wide receiver depth and Beckham is available in the 11th round, he’s not a bad shout. Baltimore will throw more this year, and he will reap some of those rewards. I wouldn’t want to rely on him, but Beckham could serve as a viable FLEX or WR2 play off your bench when you’re on a pitch or he faces a friendly matchup.
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