3. Cleveland Browns: OBJ not end-all, be-all
There’s a lot of excitement about the possibility of Odell Beckham Jr. returning, but I just don’t see his game status affecting the Browns one way or the other.
Can he help? Of course. But Baker Mayfield operates by spreading the ball around to various receivers and tight ends.
Look for Rashard Higgins to play a bigger role in this one. He may not have the talent of a healthy Beckham, but he’s someone Mayfield has been able to count on his entire career.
Higgins catches the ball and when he does, the Browns usually move the chains. In 2020, Higgins averaged 16.3 yards per catch.
I’m also looking for Anthony Schwartz to bounce back. He doesn’t need to set the single-game receiving record, rather, he needs to keep the Bears defense honest by offering a deep threat. As we saw in Kansas City, he’s capable of getting it done.
Donovan Peoples-Jones is the big mystery. He’s been a ghost out there after a playing well in the preseason. His slow start is one of the biggest disappointments of the early season.
As for Beckham, even if he does play…what are we all expecting. He still hasn’t taken contact. It’s just not fair to ask him to be vintage 2016 coming off a major knee injury.