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Odell Beckham Jr. Won't Play for Browns: Fantasy Impact

How should fantasy managers react to the news that OBJ may be done in Cleveland?

If it's true that Odell Beckham Jr. has suited up with the Browns for the last time, it feels like it should be bigger news, but it certainly doesn’t have a huge fantasy impact. Cleveland head coach Kevin Stefanski reportedly told his team Wednesday that Beckham is "essentially not on the team right now." So what is the fantasy impact of that news?

Beckham leads all Cleveland players with 34 targets this season, yet running back Kareem Hunt and tight ends David Njoku and Austin Hooper all have more receptions than the mercurial receiver.

Even if Beckham not being part of the team is only temporary, it's not as if he's been fantasy relevant this season anyway.

The Browns were only 21st in passing yards with Beckham, who has been slowed this season in part due to injuries. He has played in six of the team’s eight games and was second on the team in receiving yards (232) to Njoku -- nothing to write home about from a fantasy perspective. Still, fantasy managers who had Beckham on their roster no doubt were anxiously awaiting a breakout game that would never come. Some managers may have felt compelled to start Beckham every week, despite what the numbers said simply because he's OBJ.

Now those tortured managers will wait to see if Beckham gets released, where he lands next and how he might fit in with a new team. Word to the wise: Don’t hold your breath.

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As for what Beckham's potential release means for the rest of Cleveland’s fantasy options: Perhaps the most intriguing player is wideout Donovan Peoples-Jones. The second-year pro has two TD receptions this season -- which sadly leads the team. Peoples-Jones had been a fashionable waiver wire suggestion before missing Week 8 with a groin injury. He's back in practice this week and slated to return. Jarvis Landry has not made a major impact this season, but he’s still good enough to draw opponents’ attention. Peoples-Jones could take advantage of the situation and become a viable fantasy option in the Browns’ passing game.

Still, SI Fantasy senior analyst Michael Fabiano says Landry would be the biggest beneficiary in Beckham's absence.

"Jarvis Landry would see the biggest increase in value among the Browns wide receivers," said Fabiano. "It could also mean more opportunities for Donovan peoples Jones and Austin Hooper and David Njoku. This is an offense that is based on the ground attack, however, so I wouldn't expect notable increases in terms of fantasy production from anyone outside of Landry."

Said SI Fantasy analyst Jen Piacenti: "In the short-term, Jarvis Landry will see an uptick in targets as well as Rashard Higgins. Once Donovan Peoples-Jones is back, I think Peoples-Jones will see more than Higgins. Austin Hooper and David Njoku will likely continue to alternate with strong fantasy weeks." 

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