You can find comparisons of players all over the internet. Some give you the experts opinions; some crunch a bunch of data based on past and projected numbers; and some just lay the information in front of you for you to decide for yourself. My goal with my “versus” breakdowns is to give you the most important ability of your prospective fantasy player, and that is his availABILITY! I can’t take credit for this line as I have heard Herm Edwards say it many times, but I can attest to its truth. With many years in this fantasy game, I have learned that availability definitely matters most. No matter how great of a team you pick, it is about the team you can actually roster on game day. I will consider each players injury risk floor using various data, as well as their production ceiling. Ultimately I will use Injury Science to make a final recommendation on which player you can count on most!
Odell Beckham Jr.
The wide receiver position can be different for each player as some receivers travel to the middle of the field often to meet up with linebackers and safeties, while some are always down the field or near the sidelines to limit their injury exposure. Odell Beckham Jr. is so special that I really don’t know that he fits either group. He seems to avoid the big hit over the middle with pure speed and quickness. If anything, I fear that Beckham Jr. will injure himself with his own talent rather than another player injuring him. I often use the term “Freaky Talented” and this describes OBJ to a tee. He can run, jump, and cut at a ridiculous rate, and in many cases this type of ability can cause injury if not managed and controlled well. The fact that Beckham has suffered multiple hamstring injuries during his NFL career and a groin injury in college, tells me that he is as much a danger to himself as others are to him. Muscular injuries are usually a symptom of your body not being able to keep up with your own talent. This tendency with Beckham worries me, if I am to consider using no lower than a second round pick on him. Furthermore, Beckham Jr.’s recent training suggest that he is focused on becoming even more explosive. I know being explosive is the name of the game on the football field, but at some point I think a bomb shows that it has enough explosiveness to blow up anything. Upon achieving a bomb with a maximum explositvity, I think I would start thinking about finding ways to contain that bomb if needed. I do not claim to be an insider to Beckham’s workouts, but the publicized videos and descriptions seem to be all about explosion, speed, and quickness. Fantasy owners who plan to invest in OBJ should hope that containment is at least a secondary focus in his training, and that maybe it is simply not as publicized.
With Beckhams injury history, eccentric exercises, muscle balancing exercises, as well as dynamic flexibility activities would be the type of approach which would likely avoid another muscle strain or worse.
Antonio Brown has staked his claim as one of the best wide receivers in the league. From a profile standpoint, Brown almost looks like a more mature version of Odell Beckham Jr. From the standpoint of injury history, Brown shows a much more favorable past. Aside from a concussion that came from a dirty hit last year, Brown has not been injured since 2012 with a high ankle sprain. Considering the volume that he gets as Ben Roethlisberger’s number one wide receiver, this is very impressive. When I looked a little into Antonio Brown’s training regimen, it helped me understand how he stays off of the injury report. It doesn’t take long to find images of Brown holding difficult Pilates poses, and it appears that this has been a staple in his training regimen for some time. Unlike Beckham Jr., I did not hear the word explosion much and the overriding themes were Pilates and field work.
I believe Antonio Brown to be very talented, but I have always put him more in my “Supremely Skilled” category. This category is usually for players who rely more on their skill than their talent, and in looking at Brown’s training; you can see that this is reflected. A player who relies on skill will often do more field work and focus more on things like body control, techniques, etc., while their “Freaky Talented” counterparts are often trying to keep their talent bag filled to the top. At 27 years old, I consider Antonio Brown to be near his physical prime and consider his risk for injury low.
As you could probably pick up on my breakdowns of each player, I consider Antonio Brown the clear choice. The production ceiling is clearly higher with a Pittsburgh Steelers offense that is likely the most aggressive offense in the league. The injury risk floor for Brown and Beckham is about even as the age advantage and weight advantage go to Beckham. Antonio Brown’s sub 190 lb frame will always be somewhat of a risk, as a big hit could likely cause him injury. However, this injury risk factor is somewhat offset with his supreme skill to set up his routes, get in and out of cuts, and get down or out-of-bounds rather than take big hits. Either of these players is capable of the 10 catch, 200 yard, 4 TD game; but Beckham is the most likely one to miss a few quarters or maybe a few games because he blows out a tire from going too fast. The notorious and recurrent nature of hamstring injuries and the appearance that explosiveness is the top priority for Beckham, seals the deal for me. I would not be surprised if Odell Beckham Jr. missed 1-3 games this season. My guess is it would again be some type of soft tissue injury that occurs in direct response to his explosiveness. Hopefully for Odell Beckham Jr. owners, he will not miss any big time spots for you, as it is very difficult to overcome losing such a high pick late in the season.
Pick Antonio Brown over Odell Beckham Jr. with confidence this season and feel comfort that you will likely have a star receiver who will produce for you every single game.