2017 Fantasy Football Draft Prep: We can breathe a sigh of relief as Odell Beckham appears to avoid serious injury

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The most important thing about the preseason when it comes to established players is just avoiding an injury. On Monday night, it was almost a disaster for Giants receiver Odell Beckham in the second preseason game at Cleveland.

Beckham took a helmet-to-knee hit from Browns defensive back Briean Boddy-Calhoun in the first half on his left leg. He walked off the field and went back to the locker room, but cameras caught as he collapsed in the tunnel underneath the stadium.

The Giants reported that Beckham suffered a sprained ankle, and he was also evaluated for a concussion. He cleared the concussion protocol, but nothing has been reported about his knee. It appears like Beckham avoided a serious injury, though he is expected to undergo further testing.

Fantasy owners can breathe a sigh of relief that Beckham seems to be OK. We’ll have to continue to monitor his status, but Beckham should still be worth drafting in the first round in the majority of leagues.

He is currently being drafted as the No. 6 overall player and No. 3 receiver based on CBS Sports Average Draft Position. He is definitely worth that selection when healthy.

Beckham had 101 catches for 1,367 yards and 10 touchdowns on 169 targets in 2016. He comes into this season tied with Jarvis Landry for the most receptions for a player in the first three years of their career with 288, well within sight of the four-year record of 342 from Anquan Boldin

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Beckham is also the only player in NFL history with three-consecutive seasons of 70-plus catches, 1,000-plus receiving yards and 10-plus touchdowns to begin his career. And he’s the fastest player in NFL history to catch 250 passes (38 games) and gain 3,500 receiving yards (35 games). There is no shortage of accolades for the Giants’ stud. 

This year, Beckham is going to share the field with the most accomplished teammate at receiver he’s ever had, in Brandon Marshall, which could hurt his production. Especially if second-year receiver Sterling Shepard continues to play at a high level, after he hauled in eight touchdowns as a rookie. But Beckham is clearly the go-to weapon in this offense, and Eli Manning is not going to shy away from him. 

Beckham has averaged 153 targets a year for his career, and his production speaks for itself. We just have to make sure he is OK with this injury. As things stand, that seems to be the case, though if it turns out to be a high-ankle injury, that could obviously linger well into the regular season. Stay tuned. 

Should Beckham miss any time, it would sink Manning’s Fantasy value. Manning is already being drafted as a No. 2 quarterback, which would no longer be a discount if Beckham has to miss serious time. His ADP is the No. 16 quarterback at No. 120 overall.

Marshall, Shepard and rookie tight end Evan Engram would benefit the most if Beckham misses any extended action, but neither would be considered a must-start Fantasy option. Marshall would remain a No. 3 Fantasy receiver (his ADP is the No. 27 receiver at No. 70 overall), and Shepard would see a rise in value from his ADP by default, as he is just the No. 53 receiver at No. 137 overall. Engram is just a late-round flier at best in a re-draft league.

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Thankfully, it appears like Beckham is fine. He might not play again in the preseason, which is just fine by us; but we just need him to be ready for Week 1. It was scary to see, but it seems like Beckham has avoided the worst-case scenario.