1 V 1 WR Edition: Mike Evans Vs Odell Beckham
In this series I'm going to compare two similarly ranked and drafted players putting them up against each other, and comparing them in a variety of categories such as quality of quarterback, draft pedigree, age, combine results, measurables, team passing attempts, snaps played, PFF grades, target percentage, and depth chart competition. In an attempt to determine which of the two players will be the superior dynasty asset. In this edition I'm going to compare arguably the top two dynasty wide receivers in Odell Beckham and Mike Evans. These two wide receivers are elite in every sense of the word, and are the centrepieces of their teams offense, despite both players dominating the wide receiver position there are considerable differences between them and how they play the game.
As expected they both had phenomenal 2016 seasons, finishing as top five receivers with Beckham catching 101 passes for 1367 yards and 10 touchdowns on 169 targets, averaging 13.5 yards per reception. Evans 2016 season was equally impressive hauling in 96 passes for 1321 yards and 12 touchdowns on 171 targets for an average of 13.8 yards per reception. Pro Football Focus had Beckham graded as there 12th overall wide receiver with an 85.9 grade, and Evans as there number two wide receiver with a 93.7 grade. I have Evans and Beckham as my number one and number two wide receivers with Evans just ahead of Beckham due mostly to the fact that I don't expect Eli Manning to be playing at a high level for very much longer whereas Jameis Winston could be throwing to Evans for the better part of the next decade. As far as the quarterbacks who help to make these two wide receivers elite, they certainly have different long term outlooks, with Manning being 13 years older than Winston and nearing the end of his career. Last year Manning ranked as PFF's 26th overall quarterback with a 70.5 grade, while Winston graded out as the 19th overall QB with an 80.0 grade. I have Winston ranked significantly higher than Manning as Winston is my 7th ranked quarterback compared to Manning as my 21st QB. Advantage: Evans
When it comes to age, measurables, combine results, and draft pedigree, these two wide receivers truly impress in all categories. Both wide receivers are very young and should have their best years ahead of them, Evans is about nine months younger than Beckham with Evans turning 24 in August and Beckham turning 25 in November. A major difference between the two of them is their size Evans towers over Beckham by six inches and has a nearly thirty five pound weight advantage, with his imposing 6'5 232 frame, whereas Beckham is listed at 5'11 198 pounds. Despite the significant size advantage for Evans their combine numbers were quite similar, Beckham ran a 4.43 40, had 122” broad jump, and a 38.5” vertical, Evans ran a 4.53 40, did not participate in the broad jump, and had a 37” vertical. Both players have very high draft pedigree being top fifteen picks in the potentially historical 2014 wide receiver class. Evans was selected in the 1st round with the 7th overall pick, and Beckham was selected soon after as the 12th overall pick, they were the second and third wide receivers drafted that year behind only Sammy Watkins who was taken 4th overall. Advantage: Evans
Now lets take a look at these two from more of a team perspective, looking at each teams passing attempts, completion percentage, successful play rate, and teams passing play percentage. In 2016 the Giants attempted 598 passes, completing 63.0% of them with a 45% successful play rate, throwing the ball on 61.6% of offensive plays. Tampa threw the ball 578 time last year, completing 61.4% of those passes, with a successful play rate of 48%, throwing the ball on 57.5% of plays. There is not really a distinct advantage one way or the other between these two teams and there 2016 passing statistics, both teams have more questions than answers regarding their run game and should have similar passing numbers in 2017. Advantage: Tie
Beckham held the advantage in snaps played last season, playing 1065 snaps to Evans 948 snaps although it didn't equate to more targets, with Evans having a slight edge with 171 targets to Beckham's 169 targets. Evans also had the advantage in target percentage as he accounted 29.6% of his teams total targets and had ten double digit target games. Beckham was targeted on 28.2% of passes thrown by his team and had nine double digit target games last season. Both players are the focal point of their teams offense, but now appear to have more competition than ever for targets. The Giants added veteran wide receiver Brandon Marshall via free agency, drafted tightend Evan Engram with the 23rd overall pick, runningback Wayne Gallman in the 4th round, and will have pass catching back Shane Vereen back at full health for the start of the season. It was a very similar off season for Tampa Bay adding veteran speedster Desean Jackson in free agency, using the 14th overall pick on tightend OJ Howard, then drafting wide receiver Chris Godwin in the 3rd round, and recently cut runningback Jeremy McNichols in the 5th round. Doug Martin will open the season suspended for three games so the Tampa run game is a bit of a guessing game at the moment, chances are Jacquizz Rodgers will open the season as the starter but a committee approach is likely. Advantage: Tie
When it comes to these two wide receivers you essentially can't go wrong with either, they are both ascending young players with immense talent. With that being said I prefer Evans due to the simple fact his quarterback is over a decade younger and still has the best years of his career ahead of him. I also personally believe that Beckham may be a bit of a diva, and with him going public saying he wants to be the highest paid player in the NFL contract negotiations could be a potential nightmare for the Giants, he deserves a ton of money but it could put New York in a long term cap struggle if he is to become the highest paid player in the league. Winner: Mike Evans