Two of the best wide receivers in the NFL now find themselves on new teams after being traded away from the teams that originally drafted them. All-Pro pass catchers Antonio Brown and Odell Beckham Jr. were both traded last week, and the transactions became official when the new league year began.
After a drama-filled 2018 season and a public dispute between Brown and the organization via social media and through media outlets this offseason, the former Pittsburgh Steelers receiver got his wish to be traded away from the team was granted when he was sent to the Oakland Raiders in exchange for a pair of mid-round picks.
Despite making Beckham Jr. the highest paid receiver in the league last offseason, before Brown inked a new deal with Raiders upon the finalization of the trade that made him the highest paid, the Giants traded their star pass catcher and one of the most polarizing personalities in all of the sports to the Cleveland Browns in exchange for a first and third round pick as well as former first-round safety Jabrill Peppers.
These two receivers have been responsible for some of the most jaw-dropping and awe-inspiring plays that fans and spectators of the sport worldwide have been able to bear witness to from Odell’s one-handed circus snags to Antonio’s acrobatic catches when being double or even triple covered.
The debate has begun on which of the two will be more successful with their new teams. For all you fantasy football fanatics out there that will be looking to draft one of these players come fall, there are some factors to consider when projecting which of them will be the most impactful.
Why and why not Brown:
Even though the Raiders signed the top free agent wideout that was on the market in former Los Angeles Chargers No.2 receiver Tyrell Williams to line up across from Brown, he will still likely face the same double and triple coverage he faced during his tenure with the Steelers.
However, that has never stopped him from producing at a high level before as he has surpassed 100 receptions and at least 1,200 receiving yards in each of the last six seasons dating back to 2013 so for those in PPR (points per reception) leagues, Brown is still a safe bet.
Why and why not Beckham Jr.:
After being the dangerous playmaking crutch that has made an aging Eli Manning, whose skills have been deteriorating for quite some time, look like a serviceable starter, he will now be on the receiving end of passes from young budding star Baker Mayfield who took the league by storm late last season.
He’ll also be reunited with his former college teammate, fellow Pro Bowler and long-time friend Jarvis Landry in Cleveland. They will be joined by a bevy of other Pro Bowl caliber playmakers in the Browns new loaded offensive arsenal. Mayfield will spread the ball among all his talented targets and while that may lessen his volume of receptions, he will won’t see as much bracketed coverage and could get the occasional one-on-one matchup that could lead to scores more often than not.
In all honesty, one can’t go wrong with picking either wideout in daily or season-long fantasy football as both will almost assuredly continue to flourish with their new teams. However, an area where Brown might be perceived to have the edge over Beckham Jr. is availability. The newest member of the Cleveland Browns receiving core missed 12 games in 2017 after suffering a fractured leg and missed the final four games of last season with another lower leg injury.
While he did manage to surpass the 1,000-yard mark before the team decided to shut him down since they were eliminated from playoff contention, Brown will likely see more targets and history suggest that he will be the healthier option after missing just three games in the last three season due to injury.