Odell Beckham, Jr. to the Browns
Odell Beckham is in my Top 5 after initially being pegged at No. 8. He averaged 19.9 points per game (12 games) in 2018, all while the Giants’ offense was brutal early in the season. Eli Manning is a bottom five quarterback, but Beckham still produced.
Baker Mayfield gets a huge bump and has a legitimate chance to finish as a top eight QB in 2019. This team is stacked with talent at every position and I fully expect Baker to take a big jump.
The promotion of Freddie Kitchens to head coach certainly helps Mayfield, too.
Baker Mayfield before Kitchens became offensive coordinator: 130/223 (56.5%). 1,471 yards, eight touchdowns, six interceptions.
Baker Mayfield after Kitchens became offensive coordinator: 180/263 (68.4%), 2,254 yards, 19 touchdowns, eight interceptions.
Jarvis Landry was expected to be a PPR stud in Cleveland as the only established receiver on the roster. Unfortunately, Tyrod Taylor started the season and isn’t exactly an amazing passer. There was optimism around him when Mayfield took over but it didn’t result in better production. Landry was asked to play outside much more than he was comfortable with and let’s be frank, where he’s much less effective. After Kitchens took over, the offense was immediately improved but unfortunately, Landry’s targets dropped. Speaking of decreased targets, Beckham joining the fold will push Landry’s targets down but his efficiency should go up. Beckham will draw extra attention from any opponent’s best cover corner and secondary which leaves Landry to operate in the slot on weaker corners. He’ll be a wide receiver No. 2 in PPR formats.
David Njoku is the biggest loser in this trade. Njoku is supremely talented but there are too many mouths to feed. Beckham, Landry, Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt (when he returns from suspension) will all need to touch the ball. It’ll be tough to predict week-to-week for Njoku but with the tight end landscape as bad as it is, he’s still a top 10.
Giants without Beckham
Saquon Barkley was ranked as the No. 1 or 2 running back by anyone with eyes and a pulse going into 2019. That shouldn’t change with the news that the Giants will turn to a run-heavy offense that will feature Barkley.
Two things concern me after this trade: Any defense facing the Giants would be crazy not to completely stack the box and force Eli Manning to beat them and Barkley is going to take a beating as he should blow past his touch number from 2019. Personally, I’m not adjusting my ranking on Barkley (second overall) but at this point, I’d rather have Ezekiel Elliot going into 2019. Barkley’s production will rely on his receptions, touchdowns, and usage. His efficiency is sure to be down with all eyes on him.
Evan Engram is the biggest winner in this trade. In games without Beckham (four games), Engram produced 22 receptions, 320 receiving yards, and one touchdown. Eli Manning isn’t going to throw the ball downfield and I expect Engram to become his security blanket. Engram is now in my top five and pushing to be the fourth tight end off the board, following the elites of Kelce, Kittle, and Ertz. Injuries are really the only concern as Engram has missed games in both seasons of his career.
Sterling Shepard would have been in line for an uptick in targets had the Giants not signed Golden Tate. The move is a head scratcher as Shepard is tied to playing the slot, much like Tate, who is the favorite to be pushed outside as he has done it in his career but it’s far from an ideal situation for either of them. If the Giants make a splash in the draft and select an outside receiver from this deep draft class, Shepard could be solid. But until then, this situation is so murky and I would recommend avoiding both of them.