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Beckham, Brown and Bell Find New Homes

by • March 13, 2019

Throwing out one insanely good year from Josh Gordon, the last consistently fantasy-relevant Cleveland receiver was Webster Slaughter.

He left the team in 1991.

Just 28 short years later, it’s finally changed.

It’ll be simultaneously weird and awesome to see Odell Beckham wearing dirty orange. And I can’t wait.  Let’s break it down, fantasy style.

Beckham’s pre-trade ADP was WR8, but the move vaults Beckham’s fantasy value into the discussion for WR1.  Let’s look at all the ways Beckham’s situation looks deeply promising in Cleveland:

  1. Obviously, his upgrade at quarterback is massive. Baker Mayfield is an ascending star who is already dramatically better than Eli Manning. Mayfield will unlock deep passing routes to Beckham that Manning’s withered arm simply couldn’t. Mayfield’s mobility will extend plays that Manning couldn’t.
  2. Predictably, Jarvis Landry didn’t pan out as the team’s No. 1 receiver last year. But Landry is an ideal second receiver, running from the slot, and forcing defenses to respect underneath passes.
  3. Much like with Saquon Barkley last year, Beckham will benefit from a potentially lethal Browns running attack led by Nick Chubb and eventually Kareem Hunt.

For me, Beckham vaults up from his pre-trade ADP, leapfrogging JuJu Smith-Schuster, Antonio Brown, Tyreek Hill and Julio Jones.  He’s now in the top four, along side DeAndre Hopkins, Davante Adams, and Mike Thomas.

And, allow me to reiterate one of my key points from last offseason when I was advocating for the Chiefs: The Browns are going to be so much fun to watch, I want those players.

Sometimes fantasy football is pretty simple: assemble a fun roster, filled with guys you can’t wait to watch on Sunday. The Browns will be one of the three or four most enjoyable teams to follow.

It’s too early to say whether Odell Beckham should be WR1, WR2, WR3 or WR4 at his position. But if the Browns solidify their lousy offensive line, there’s a very real case to be made for him at WR1.

Note: The quiet loser in the Beckham deal is Saquon Barkley, as defenses need only stop him to completely shut down the Giants offense, at least as it stands today.

In other news at the start of the new league year, Antonio Brown has been traded to the Raiders for a 3rd and 5th as many speculated. Le’Veon Bell signed with the Jets for 50 million. Neither spot is near the boom nor effect on their teams that Beckham’s, but neither are abysmal.

Antonio Brown should be in line for 150 or so targets even with the addition of Tyrell Williams on the opposite side. This should get him close to being a top 12 wide receiver just on volume, but doesn’t necessarily boost his teammates.

Le’Veon Bell after joking last year about what it would take for him to run for the Jets… apparently answered that question at midnight last night. He will be just about the only show in town and every opposing defense will look to key in on him. Again, this is about volume for Bell. For that money, the Jets will use him in every facet for as many touches as possible. In this day and age of committee backfields, bell cows (get it…) are rare and always have top 12 potential.