Odell Beckham: Fantasy Team Killer or Winner?

Odell Beckham has a new team and the same old fantasy hype. Is he a fantasy stud or a ticking time bomb for future fantasy team owners?

New team, same outlook. Odell Beckham Jr Jr. is one of the most talented players in the league, and he is automatically a top-tier fantasy wideout. It doesn’t matter for which team he is playing. At least that is the conventional wisdom.

There is truth in that wisdom, but there is more to the story. Injuries have derailed many an elite player’s careers and ruined fantasy seasons galore. Odell Beckham Jr is healthy as far as we know heading into the 2019 preseason, but he has not been the most reliable fantasy option when it comes to being on the field in recent years.

All that makes Beckham a better best-ball than traditional fantasy option. But is he worth a top pick?

Elite or Bust

That moment is seared in our memories. You know the one. Beckham flying down the sideline against the Cowboys, seeing the ball come his way, adjusting mid-stride, twisting and leaping and reaching out to snag the greatest catch we have ever seen.

Indelible moments like this can cement a player’s greatness in the minds of millions. What Beckham did for fantasy owners as a rookie has done the same for him as a fantasy force. After missing the first four games of his career due to a hamstring pull -- more on that later -- New York's 2014 first-round pick went supernova. He finished fifth in fantasy scoring at his position and handily led his contemporaries in per-game scoring. He has been a first-round fantasy pick ever since.

Beckham is no doubt one of the best wideouts in the game, but his fantasy production has never quite matched the hype since his first year. Injuries or not, Beckham has never finished better than fourth overall in fantasy scoring. Of course, that's nothing to sneeze at, but never quite meeting value -- and, in some years, far from it -- is concerning enough. In recent years, Beckham has burned fantasy owners, through no fault of his own, of course.

Risk-and-Reward

Injuries have plagued the star wideout in recent seasons. Indeed, he has only played a full season once thus far in his career, and he only played 16 of a possible 32 games in the past two years. Leg injuries have felled Beckham on many occasions, including a broken ankle in 2017 and quad hematoma to end his 2018 season. How much these feed into each other or affect his explosiveness is for someone more medically qualified to answer, but the pattern exists -- Beckham is a good bet to miss some amount of time in 2019.

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