2023 Fantasy Football: Is new Raven Odell Beckham Jr. someone to target late in drafts?

By Pranav Rajaram, 4for4

Special to Yahoo Sports

Odell Beckham Jr. needs no introduction. He is one of the most popular players in the NFL and will be remembered by his colleagues and fans alike for years to come. With this being said, Beckham’s last few seasons have been a bit of a rollercoaster. Since September of 2021, he has forced his way out of Cleveland, won a Super Bowl with the Rams, torn his ACL and then signed with the Ravens after missing the entire 2022-23 season.

Here’s a look at if he is worth drafting in fantasy football at his current Yahoo ADP of WR49.

When we last saw Odell Beckham Jr.

Beckham has not played in a game since tearing his ACL during the second quarter of Super Bowl LVI. Before the injury, however, he was playing rather well with the Rams. He was the WR21 in fantasy from Week 12 on in 2021, averaging 10.2 points per game. He also stepped up in a big way during the Rams’ playoff run and put up 288 receiving yards in those four games. It was nice to see that Beckham still had plenty of juice left in him after largely being a letdown with the Browns. He ranked above the 70th percentile in success rate against both man and zone coverage in 2021 per Reception Perception and had a 72.7% contested catch rate.

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While solid when we last saw him, his injury will surely have an impact on his production. This is actually the second time Beckham has torn the ACL in his right knee, as he did so during the 2020 season as well. At 30 years old, Beckham is also no spring chicken at the receiver position even if fully healthy. So, although there is no doubt he has the talent needed to succeed, he has been hampered by injuries his entire career and will always have a level of risk attached to him because of that.

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OBJ in the Ravens’ offense

The Ravens listened to their fans’ complaints and made several changes to their receiving room in the offseason, so Beckham will face heavy competition for targets this year. Along with his signing, the Ravens drafted Boston College receiver Zay Flowers in the first round of the NFL Draft. They will also have Rashod Bateman returning from injury and star Mark Andrews holding down the fort at tight end. Add in the fact that the Ravens will give plenty of attention to their run game with Lamar Jackson at quarterback, and it will undoubtedly be difficult for Beckham to receive the volume necessary to be great.

The 30-year-old’s best chance at fantasy relevance is as a downfield, big-play threat. Flowers is a prototypical slot receiver while Bateman and Andrews both thrive in the middle of the field, so there is a chance that Beckham can help take the top off defenses and stretch the field. When we last saw him, Beckham was also a prolific red-zone threat — he scored seven touchdowns in 12 games with the Rams. If he can supplant Andrews as Lamar Jackson’s primary option in the red zone, it would be much easier for him to overcome a potential lack of volume.

Assessing Beckham’s floor and ceiling

All things considered, it makes sense why Beckham is being drafted so low, as there are several obstacles he will have to overcome to be relevant in fantasy. As a result, his floor is just as low as his ADP, if not more so — there is a chance he isn’t fully recovered from injury or simply doesn’t see enough volume to be more than a depth option for your team.

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Beckham does have some upside, though. The Ravens project to be one of the best offenses in the NFL considering the amount of talent they have, so Beckham will theoretically have a healthy amount of scoring opportunities.

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While touchdown-dependent players are notoriously volatile in fantasy, at 115th overall there isn’t a lot of sunk cost if OBJ doesn’t pan out. There is not a clear path for Beckham to be a top-20 option unless Flowers, Bateman or Andrews get injured, but he could still be a value at WR49, especially in best ball formats where week-to-week consistency matters less. This might not be the soundest piece of advice, but Beckham is also an objectively fun player to root for and adds a dynamic element to your team that guys like Tyler Boyd, Zay Jones and Jakobi Meyers — receivers going near him — cannot provide.

The bottom line

  • Odell Beckham Jr. proved he was still a great receiver with the Rams, but is recovering from his second torn ACL in three seasons.

  • Beckham will face plenty of target competition in Baltimore. His clearest path to fantasy success is as a deep threat and red-zone option. He will see a boost because the Ravens’ offense should be great as a whole.

  • Beckham has a wide range of outcomes in fantasy. He could be a complete zero for your team due to injury or might not develop a connection with Lamar Jackson, but he also offers upside that others being drafted around him cannot offer.

  • WR49 is a good spot for Odell to go in drafts. He is a good pick if you’re okay with cutting bait early if it doesn’t look like he will pan out. If you aren’t, then stay away from him and take more reliable options at that draft position instead.

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This article originally appeared on 4for4.com

Pranav is an undergraduate college student from Massachusetts. When he’s not cheering for the Patriots, he can be found looking at various NFL and NBA-related statistics. He has played fantasy football since he was seven and enjoys working with numbers and data.

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