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The unthinkable happened on Tuesday as the New York Giants traded superstar wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. to the Cleveland Browns. In exchange for the 26-year-old receiver, the Giants received first- and third-round draft picks, as well as safety Jabrill Peppers.
The trade obviously sends shock waves throughout the fantasy football landscape, so below is how you should adjust your evaluations for each team's top pass-catchers and quarterbacks. Note that the values of feature backs Saquon Barkley (No. 1 overall) and Nick Chubb (fringe RB1) stay the same.
Browns WR Odell Beckham Jr. (Slight upgrade): Beckham's change in uniform color doesn't change the fact that he is one of the league's best wide receivers and will be heavily targeted. Yes, Beckham's quarterback situation is better with Baker Mayfield under center, but let's not pretend Eli Manning did a poor job setting Beckham up with tons of fantasy production. Beckham has also missed at least one game during four of five NFL seasons, including a total of 16 games the past two seasons, which needs to be factored into his outlook. Nonetheless, as Mayfield's top target, Beckham is a strong bet to eclipse 1,000 receiving yards for the fifth time. He's a midpack WR1 with elite upside.
Early 2019 projection: 152 targets, 95 receptions, 1,241 yards, 10 TDs
Browns QB Baker Mayfield (Upgrade): Freddie Kitchens took over as Cleveland's playcaller in Week 9 last season, and Mayfield scored the 10th-most fantasy points at the position from that point forward. During those eight games, Cleveland averaged 3.1 touchdowns per game, 76 percent of which were passes (fifth highest in the league). Mayfield adds very little with his legs and needs to cut down on interceptions, which could limit his fantasy upside a bit, but entering his second season with Beckham, Jarvis Landry, David Njoku and Chubb among those at his disposal, Mayfield can safely be considered a fringe QB1 and is an obvious breakout candidate.
Early 2019 projection: 366-for-577, 4,284 yards, 31 TDs, 14 INTs
Browns WR Jarvis Landry (Slight downgrade): Landry has handled a target share of at least 27 percent each of the past four seasons, but he's unlikely to come close to that mark in 2019. Landry actually enjoyed a 32 percent share during Weeks 1 through 8 last season, but that number plummeted to 21 percent during the Kitchens era. There's enough volume to go around to allow Landry to stay in that range in 2019, but he's clearly no longer the team's top receiver. Fantasy's No. 18 wide receiver last season is now more of a fringe top-30 option.
Early 2019 projection: 118 targets, 74 receptions, 927 yards, 5 TDs
Browns TE David Njoku (Slight downgrade): Njoku entered the league extremely young at 20 years old and is now entering his all-important third NFL season. His snaps and targets increased substantially last season, which helped him to a ninth-place finish in fantasy points. His 16 percent target share figures to decrease slightly with Beckham in the fold, but it's possible he overcomes that with an extra touchdown or two (he has exactly four in each of his two seasons). Njoku is a back-end TE1.
Early 2019 projection: 84 targets, 55 receptions, 653 yards, 5 TDs
Giants WR Sterling Shepard (Moderate upgrade): Shepard averaged 6.25 targets per game (17 percent share) during the 12 games Beckham played and 8.0 targets per game (23 percent share) during the four he missed last season. It was a similar story in 2017, with Shepard averaging 5.25 targets (19 percent) in four games with Beckham, compared to 8.9 targets (22 percent) in seven games without him. Shepard has finished 36th, 42nd and 30th at the position in fantasy points during his three seasons. New York will inevitably add to its wide receiver room this offseason, but Beckham's departure should all but lock Shepard into the largest role of his career. Though he's primarily a short-to-intermediate area target who doesn't add much in the touchdown department (six over the past two seasons), Shepard's status as New York's top wideout positions him for WR3 production in 2019.
Early 2019 projection: 123 targets, 78 receptions, 997 yards, 5 TDs
Giants TE Evan Engram (Moderate upgrade): Saying Engram bloomed with Beckham out of the mix last season would be a giant understatement. Engram posted weekly fantasy finishes of 12th, first, fourth and third to finish off the 2018 season. If we look at only the weeks he was active, Engram's target share actually fell from 21 percent in 2017 to 16 percent in 2018, but it was actually right at 21 percent during those final four weeks. Despite the reduced workload for the full season, Engram posted a top-10 fantasy week during 45 percent of his outings, which was sixth best at the position. Engram is locked into a huge role in his third season and is a midrange TE1.
Early 2019 projection: 112 targets, 77 receptions, 771 yards, 5 TDs
Giants QB Eli Manning (Downgrade): You know, for a minute there, Manning's supporting cast was actually looking pretty good. The Giants traded for star guard Kevin Zeitler and, combined with Nate Solder, Will Hernandez and Jon Halapio, they were 80 percent of the way to a very good offensive line. Add Beckham, Shepard, Engram and Barkley to the mix and suddenly Manning's sleeper appeal was on the rise. Of course, that was quickly put to bed when New York shipped away one of the league's best wide receivers. Manning's 17th-place fantasy finish last season marked his first in the top 20 since 2015. Incredibly, the 38-year-old has posted just one season better than 10th over the past 13 seasons. Manning is no more than a fringe QB2 in what should be a run-heavy New York offense.
Early 2019 projection: 368-for-567, 4,011 yards, 21 TDs, 12 INTs