That catch. Odell Beckham’s touchdown catch against the Dallas
Cowboys last season was spectacular, but his fantasy football numbers were even
more so. Despite missing the opening four weeks of the 2014 season, the New
York Giants wide receiver recorded 91 catches for 1,305 yards. Beckham also
scored 12 touchdowns in as many matches, and broke 100 yards in seven of New
York’s final nine games of the campaign. These figures are astounding for an
established NFL player, let alone a rookie.
Due to his incredible playmaking ability, Beckham is fantasy gold. The LSU
product averaged 17 fantasy points per game last season and, although it will
be tricky to replicate those numbers this season, the Giants star will benefit
from Victor Cruz’s return in the near future. For the majority of the 2014
campaign, Beckham was heavily involved and opposing defences started to double
team him. The return of Cruz, who was ruled out with a severe knee injury,
should allow Beckham one-on-one coverage in certain formations and Eli Manning
will look to exploit this as regularly as possible.
Earlier this year, NFL Media’s senior fantasy analyst Michael Fabiano ranked
Odell Beckham in fifth on his list of the game’s top 10 wide receivers –
this is too low. While there is a valid argument for Antonio Brown and Dez
Bryant to sit above New York’s number 13 in the standings, Calvin
“Megatron” Johnson and Demaryius Thomas deserve a lower ranking.
Perhaps Fabiano was a little afraid to rank New York’s young talent above the
great “Megatron”, but Beckham deserves that accolade – and here’s
I am an Eagles fan, I cannot stand the Giants but I believe w all my heart that Odell Beckham Jr. will be the #1 fantasy receiver this year.
— Ray Faux Dutch Hagan (@Faux_Philly) August 8, 2015
Calvin Johnson has been the NFL’s leading wide receiver for the past five
seasons. Megatron was selected as the number two overall draft in the 2007 NFL
Draft and has certainly lived up to the hype. Since 2010, Johnson has been
selected in five consecutive Pro Bowl sides while he led the NFL in receiving
yards in back-to-back years in 2011 and 2012. He remains a fantasy stud, but
some will be cautious of drafting Johnson too early this season, and they are
well within their rights to have concerns over the Detroit star.
Megatron cannot play forever. As good as Johnson has been in the past, he
will begin to struggle as he gets older. Last season, Detroit’s talisman was
plagued by various injury problems and those issues could come back to haunt
him throughout the upcoming campaign. Detroit have an incredibly tough,
physical division and, although Johnson can more than hold his own, those knocks
and niggles could play on his mind and affect his impact on the NFL in 2015. It
would be foolish to write Megatron off though and, at the time of writing, he is 8/1 with betfair
to finish with the most receiving yards in the regular season.
Demaryius Thomas, meanwhile, will play a crucial role for the Denver Broncos
this season. Peyton Manning is, at 39-years-old, on the brink of retirement and
Thomas’ numbers will certainly drop once “The Sheriff” hangs up his
boots. Thomas has been a potent threat in Denver’s offense throughout the last
three seasons, finishing in the top five wide receivers for fantasy points in
each year. Last season, Thomas made 111 receptions, scored 11 touchdowns and
recorded 1,609 receiving yards – incredible
figures for those who drafted him in fantasy football.
However, you have to question just how much Denver are going to throw the
ball this season. The Broncos are under new management and head coach Gary
Kubiak, formerly of the Baltimore Ravens, loves to run the football. C.J.
Anderson showed his qualities last season as Manning struggled, and the Broncos
may opt to adopt a similar tactic this season. In theory, that means that
Thomas will see less of the ball, but he could also reap rewards of slack
defending against the pass if Denver decide to switch tactics.
While Calvin Johnson’s figures will depend very much on his post-injury form
and Demaryius Thomas may suffer from a transitional period in Denver, Odell
Beckham should prosper from consistency and an improved offensive line. While
Victor Cruz will take targets away from Beckham, he will still remain a lethal
threat all over the field, with his pace, power and height allowing him to line
up in various formations. Beckham will line up for most snaps and, while his
receptions may take a slight hit, he could finish in the top two or three wide
receivers in fantasy football this season.