Fantasy Football Feud: Odell Beckham Jr. vs. Davante Adams in debate of star WRs

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Who will win the battle of the WR1s? (Photo by: 2019 Nick Cammett/Diamond Images/Steven Ryan/Getty Images)
Who will win the battle of the WR1s? (Photo by: 2019 Nick Cammett/Diamond Images/Steven Ryan/Getty Images)

OK, you know the drill. Two experts debate the relative fantasy value of two similarly ranked players. Your job is to read, react and choose a side. Let's play the feud ...

Davante Adams (ADP 9.6, WR2) or Odell Beckham Jr. (ADP 13.2, WR4)? Who ya got?

Behrens goes green

If you like high-volume receivers tied to excellent quarterbacks ... well, either of these guys will do. We're dealing with a pair of elite options, both of them candidates to challenge for the positional lead in fantasy scoring. But if you like touchdowns and red-zone opportunities, Adams is the clear choice. He's delivered double-digit spikes in each of the past three seasons, including 13 last year, and his 31 red-zone targets in 2018 led all NFL players.

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Adams saw a whopping 169 total targets last season, so Beckham certainly doesn't have an edge in terms of overall volume. We're all just guessing about the distribution of Baker Mayfield's pass attempts (although OBJ will clearly feast). Meanwhile, Aaron Rodgers seems determined to provide his No. 1 receiver a few additional chances this season...

Adams has finished as a top-12 fantasy receiver in each of the past three seasons, missing only three games in three years. (You all know Beckham's more complicated injury history.) Incredibly, Adams' worst single-game performance last year was an 8-catch, 81-yard effort against Buffalo. In every other appearance, he produced either 100 yards or a touchdown (or both). There's simply no way the Packers' passing game takes a step back in the post-McCarthy era. Adams is as good as it gets.

Fantasy Football Draft Kit
Fantasy Football Draft Kit

Del Don backs OBJ

When it comes to skills, I’m not going to go as far as Chris Liss and call Adams a “mediocre talent,” but he isn’t the same class athlete as Beckham and has produced mediocre yards-per-target numbers throughout his career.

Of course, Adams is drafted so highly thanks mostly to his role, which produced a league-leading 31 red-zone targets and a remarkable NFL-high 44% team target share, with the next closest in the RZ a distant 36%. In other words, while Mike McCarthy’s departure may be good news for Packers fans, last season’s scenario was just about perfect for Adams’ fantasy value. It will be tough to replicate this year featuring an entirely new coaching staff, an emerging outside option in Marquez Valdes-Scantling and an improved RB in a suddenly yoked Aaron Jones. Adams should be among the WR favorites to lead in touchdowns, but realize you’re buying at his peak.

While last season marked Adams’ first to eclipse 1,000 receiving yards during his career, Beckham has failed to do so just once during his, and he averaged 1,374 yards (and 12 touchdowns) over his first three seasons in the league (while missing five games!). Beckham is admittedly riskier thanks to the past health issues, but this is a ridiculous talent who’s averaged the second-most receiving yards per game (92.8) in NFL history despite having Eli Manning throwing to him, and he now gets budding superstar Baker Mayfield as an absolutely massive upgrade.

Frankly, I’m most interested in taking running backs with my early picks this year, but if there’s one receiver I’d be willing to make an exception for, it’s Beckham, who in Cleveland has by far the most upside among all wideouts. Records could be set if health cooperates.

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