Some fantasy football managers tend to stray away from drafting players in their rookie year. They fear that these rookies may not live up to the hype, or that they might struggle. This mentality has good reasoning behind it, but it may be worth reconsidering for Cincinnati’s Ja’Marr Chase. Chase is regarded as one of the best wide receiver prospects of the decade, and based on his tape at LSU, it’s easy to see why.
Ja’Marr Chase 2021 Fantasy Football Profile
Not Your Ordinary Rookie
Last season, fantasy managers were disappointed after selecting Denver’s Jerry Jeudy early in fantasy drafts. Jeudy had some good performances, but did not live up to his average draft position (ADP) whatsoever. He was significantly outperformed by Minnesota’s Justin Jefferson, who broke records in his rookie season. This leaves fantasy managers – many of the same managers who selected Jeudy in last season’s draft – to question whether or not Ja’Marr Chase is worth selecting in their fantasy drafts.
Put simply, Chase is not the same. Although we only saw one season from him in his collegiate career, that season was more than enough to tell us what we needed to know about Chase. He brings everything a team could possibly desire from their number one receiver to the table. Chase has a unique route running ability and can create separation consistently. On top of this, Chase was one of the best contested catch receivers in all of college football. He also brings incredible speed and athleticism to the table.
One might argue that college is different from the pros, and it will take time for Chase to adjust. Though a valid argument from some perspectives, Chase faced professional level competition throughout his time in 2019, and also experienced the double coverages and other defensive adjustments from teams planning against him. Through it all, he was able to find ways to create separations and post record-breaking numbers. As if that wasn’t enough, Chase is paired up with the same quarterback he had at LSU – Joe Burrow. The duo had record-breaking seasons together on the way to going undefeated and winning a National Championship.
Ja’Marr Chase Fantasy Football Projection
You don’t draft a player fifth overall and not give them the ball. Chase will more than likely be Cincinnati’s most targeted receiver, as they invested the most capital in him out of the rest of their offensive weapons. In addition, the chemistry already present between Chase and Burrow should allow for even more opportunities for Chase. Expect Chase to score plenty of touchdowns as a dominant deep ball receiver. Creating separation is one of the most important traits in a receiver, especially when looking for PPR points. Chase will not let any managers down in that regard, being that he is incredible at coming out of breaks.
Although the Bengals have done an excellent job so far at rebuilding their team, Cincinnati’s defense still leaves a lot to be desired. Because of this, you can expect the Bengals to be playing from behind quite a bit this season. Playing from behind is a fantasy manager’s dream, because this means more “empty calorie” passing yards, receiving yards, and more. Keeping in mind that the Bengals ran five-wide sets (meaning no players in the backfield and a guaranteed pass play) for the vast majority of their season last year, you can expect a lot of volume for Ja’Marr Chase in 2021.
At the end of the day, although rookie receivers tend to scare away fantasy managers, it is definitely worth taking Ja’Marr Chase in your fantasy drafts. If he is still available in the fourth or fifth round of a 12-man PPR redraft league, one should definitely be taking a shot on him as a WR2 or a high-end flex option. Even if you have bad experience with rookies in fantasy in the past, Chase is different. He is absolutely worth your selection in fantasy football this year.