Likely to be selected as 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 has the skills to win at every level on the field for the Cincinnati Bengals for years to come.
Ja’Marr Chase’s 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 also carry 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″ and 201 pounds, LSU WR 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.
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 fantasy value. That is a conversation about how you value players and structure your team rather than talent disparities.
Ja’Marr Chase land with the Cincinnati Bengals
We knew Chase would succeed wherever he landed in the NFL Draft, but now that he is with his former quarterback in Joe Burrow is the icing on the cake. Together, these two were crucial components in the most explosive and daunting offense in college history. Typically, there are growing pains as the QB and WR as chemistry develops. That won’t be the case here as he also joins two other phenomenal receivers.
Tee Higgins will be a stud, and adding Chase will put Tyler Boyd into a more advantageous position in the offense. The Bengals are still going to be a team playing from behind, which means all the passing plays the offense can handle. So long as Burrow can get the ball off, Chase will be his first target. The fact they have another dominant receiver will make it harder for teams to rotate coverage to Chase. He is the WR1 of the 2021 rookie class.
Chase had a record-breaking season in 2019
The 2019 LSU Tigers national championship team was loaded with talent. Burrow, Justin Jefferson, Patrick Queen, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, and Chase lit up the college scene.
While Jefferson looked special out of the gate, the play of Chase almost overshadows his performances. Chase goes down as the most decorated WRs in school history. In 2019, he took 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. He was 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, 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 Chase with the second pick. You will even see some fantasy leagues where Chase goes ahead of Harris, even though I believe Harris should go first overall.
In Superflex dynasty leagues, it is doubtful Chase falls past the fifth pick in fantasy drafts, assuming three quarterbacks and Harris go in front of him.
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. The fact he is with Burrow who has no issue allowing Chase to make a play on a contested-catch should put both players in the best place to succeed.
He can separate vertically with the best of them, and we have seen it game in and game out. While I always say draft the talent not the landing spot, the fit is hard to ignore.
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Tommy Garrett is a writer for Pro Football Network covering the NFL and fantasy football. You can read more of his work here and follow him at @TommygarrettPFN on Twitter.