Odell Beckham Jr Freed From Freddie Kitchens, Primed for Fantasy Bounce Back - Roto Street Journal
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Odell Beckham Jr Freed From Freddie Kitchens, Primed for Fantasy Bounce Back

From top to bottom, the Browns offense belonged in a brown paper bag that was lit on fire and left on someone’s doorstep.  There were hardly any rays of sunshine coming from such a bleak offensive season.  Freddie Kitchens proved what a disaster of a head coach can do to a star studded roster.  Disgrace, dysfunction, and disappointment.  The three D’s that illustrate the dimensions of underachievement the Browns showed in 2019. 

But with a new regime, comes new life, and new hope.  That’s what Kevin Stefanski’s offensive scheme brings to this depth chart that’s just dripping with talent.

The most prominent from a fantasy perspective is the volatile Beckham, who could fit this scheme perfectly in the “Stefon Diggs role.”

Yes, last year will be tough to forgive and forget for Beckham. The hype was astronomical, as OBJ was expected to have a monstrous season after finally escaping the clutches of Eli Manning and the New York Giants.

Yet, despite ranking 15th in targets (133), Beckham floundered for 74 receptions (28th), 1,035 yards (26th) and four touchdowns (66th) — alongside the 11th most drops. He finished below Jarvis Landry in every statistical category in 2019 amidst one of the most inefficient seasons in the league.

Even still, I expect Beckham to rebound tremendously under Stefanski and finish significantly ahead of Landry in 2020.

As mentioned, the key to making this offense work is the play action. After being routinely stretched horizontally by the zone-run game, defenses are focused on the backfield and quick to bite in the secondary. This opens the field up for chunk gains and deep shots, particularly to the Alpha-X WR (Diggs role). Again, total volume is sacrificed for efficiency, and Odell could absolutely thrive in this field-stretching role.

Just look at Diggs’ 2019 stats. He had the fewest receptions (63) and targets (94) since his rookie season, yet still set a career high in yardage (1130) thanks to insane spikes in efficiency. Diggs led the league in deep-ball (20+) yardage with 635, while all six of his TDs came on such throws, also leading the league. He ranked fourth in the league in yards per catch (17.9) and second in yards per target (12.0). Both marks were 4+ yards higher than any previous year, and despite ranking 44th in total targets, Diggs 29 deep looks ranked third.  62% of Diggs’ deep receptions were graded “catchable.”

Conversely, Odell saw plenty of deep volume, as his 33 targets were even more than Diggs and everyone not named Kenny Golladay (37). Yet, he ranked just 28th in yardage (263) and 24th in receptions (8), with just 10/33 targets deemed catchable (30.3%).

Ideally, Stefanski’s play-action success from Minnesota carries over, improving both Mayfield’s downfield accuracy and Beckham’s efficiency. Prior to last year’s debacle, the speedy and smooth Beckham was among the greatest home run hitters in the league. During his first three seasons, Beckham caught 288 passes for 4,122 yards and 35 touchdowns. That’s a miracle, considering Eli Manning is about as mobile a garden gnome, accurate as my blind grandmother, and as flexible as a Lego.

Mayfield is far more capable at extending plays and executing the bootlegs Stefanski will run. still. Beckham still drips in game changing talent, elite speed and agility, and offers some of the softest hands in the league, and will ideally be back to full health after playing through a sports hernia injury all of 2019. The marriage may be a year late, but the results could be as beautiful as we all imagined; even though he might see the fewest targets of his career, Beckham could still rebound nicely given Stefanski’s track record maximizing the deep game.


  • Graduate of Regent University (2019) BA Sports Journalism Writer: Full Press Coverage, UnFiltered Sports Network Fantasy Football Enthusiast Fantasy Analyst/Writer for the Roto Street Journal

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