Possibly the first wide receiver taken in both the NFL Draft and fantasy football leagues, LSU standout WR Ja’Marr Chase comes into dynasty drafts with massive upside and a value to match. Touted as the next elite receiver, Chase could have the skills to win at every level on the field.
Ja’Marr Chase dynasty value for 2021
In dynasty, wide receivers extend your window to chase championships. Given the longer time frame where they can maintain elite levels of play, they are the foundation of your team. As a result of this, they are also carrying some of the highest implied value. The 2021 class of rookies is as good as we have seen in years, making it a struggle to find value disparities amongst the top of the class.
Coming in at 6’1″ and 207 pounds, LSU WR Ja’Marr Chase might just be the best of the bunch. Despite sitting out of the 2020 season, his historic 2019 season with Joe Burrow cemented his place in this class.
If you are going to describe Chase with one word, it would be physical. Everything he does on the field has a sense of physicality and bully-ball to a degree. He wants to punch at the line of scrimmage, and he uses his strength to get separation. At the point of catch, there is no contest. Chase has hands that borderline on vulgarity.
Ja’Marr Chase is widely regarded as the best receiver in the class and carries the highest dynasty value. It comes down to Chase or Najee Harris for who has the highest value. That is a conversation about how you value players and structure your team rather than talent disparities.
Ja’Marr Chase had a record-breaking season in 2019
The 2019 LSU Tigers national championship team was loaded with talent. Joe Burrow, Justin Jefferson, Patrick Queen, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, and Ja’Marr Chase lit up the college scene.
While Jefferson looked special out of the gate, the play of Chase almost overshadows his play. Chase goes down as the most decorated WR in school history. He would take home the Biletnikoff Award as the top receiver in college football.
A unanimous first-team All-SEC and All-American selection, Chase caught 84 passes for 1,780 yards and 20 touchdowns in his 14 games as a sophomore. He set the SEC record for touchdowns in a season, though it would last only a year until DeVonta Smith had 23 in 2020.
He led the nation in touchdowns and yards while finishing second nationally in yards per game at 127.1. The first receiver in LSU history with three 200-yard games in a season and the only player in school history to have two 200-yard games during the regular season.
When you think about the talent in Death Valley, that is impressive to have leapfrogged the likes of Odell Beckham, Jarvis Landry, Dwayne Bowe, and Josh Reed.
While we can dream of what he would have done with another season, Ja’Marr Chase’s value for both dynasty and the NFL Draft was set. There was little more he could have hoped to accomplish other than break his own records. Chase ended his LSU career with 24 games played, catching 107 passes for 2,093 yards and 23 touchdowns.
Where should you draft Chase in dynasty rookie mock drafts?
If you are in a 1QB dynasty league, people won’t hesitate to take Ja’Marr Chase with the second pick. You will even see some leagues where Chase goes ahead of Harris, even though I believe Najee Harris should go first overall.
In Superflex dynasty leagues, it is doubtful Chase falls past the fifth pick in the draft assuming three quarterbacks and Harris go in front of him.
While I have said nothing but glowing things about Ja’Marr Chase, he is not my highest-valued WR for dynasty. That goes to DeVonta Smith. I promise you this is not just recency bias talking. I know I am in the minority on this, and I get it. For me, I just have some questions about Chase’s game and some issues I see on film that make him far from a “can’t miss” prospect, a phrase that is thrown around way too often anymore.
While Chase could be a great receiver, he is far from perfect
I talked about Chase and his penchant to be physical at the line — it is also a double-edged sword. Far too often, you see him initiating the fight, almost as if the CB got in his head.
Even in the game against Alabama, when he matched up with Trevon Diggs and Patrick Surtain II, Chase was more worried about punching them than his route. You saw that from time to time, Burrow would want to throw his way, but Chase was still engaged.
When he gets off the line, he leans on his physicality to gain separation rather than footwork. Now, I am not saying he can’t get inside without it, but you often see this is how he gets open. He will extend his right arm to get enough space. Ja’Marr Chase is not a crisp route runner.
At times, he runs disinterested and lazy routes. That is why, when on the field together, Justin Jefferson pops off the screen. His commitment to the route at every level is one of the reasons he played so well as a rookie in the NFL.
Chase is also not a burner. In high school at Archbishop Rummel, he ran a 4.66. Apparently, he has shaved that down to a 4.40, but I believe that to be a dubious claim at best. He is fast enough for the NFL level, even if he is not a speedster. He will likely come in somewhere in the middle, around a 4.50 in the 40-yard.
Ja’Marr Chase is still a phenomenal talent and should be highly valued for dynasty
With all of this said, what he does well, he does at an incredible level. Physicality, jump balls, contested catches, and body control are all elite-level grades. If he goes to a team that has a QB that likes to attack vertically, look out because Ja’Marr Chase could be a monster.
He can separate vertically with the best of them, and we have seen it game in and game out. If he goes to a team that relies on a shorter, more timing-based passing game, I think he could struggle. While I always say draft the talent not the landing spot, the fit is hard to ignore. Not every WR ends up like A.J. Brown (if you remember the narrative around him on draft day). Look at N’Keal Harry if you want to go in the opposite direction.
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