Ja’Marr Chase Fantasy Outlook: Why the Cincinnati Bengals Star Might Break Records in 2023

    Cincinnati Bengals WR Ja'Marr Chase had a deceptively incredible 2022 and is primed to improve on it. What is his fantasy outlook in 2023?

    At PFN, we’ve researched more than 350 fantasy football players, trying to identify which ones are overrated, underrated, and priced right. With that in mind, here is Cincinnati Bengals WR Ja’Marr Chase’s fantasy outlook for 2023.

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    Ja’Marr Chase’s 2023 Fantasy Outlook

    Remember when Chase struggled during his rookie preseason because the ball was “bigger” than what he was used to in college and “doesn’t have the white stripes on the side”? His fantasy value took a meaningful hit in the aftermath.

    But after racking up 80 yards and a score before halftime of Week 1, he had proven most doubters wrong. Chase is a rare receiving talent who can thrive alongside a comparable receiving talent (Tee Higgins).

    The numbers don’t lie, and they’re no fluke. Health concerns, or a serious injury to Joe Burrow, are the only realistic obstacles to another incredible season.

    And last year, that’s exactly what happened, as Chase missed roughly a month with a hip injury. However, his season totals (87-1,046-9 receiving line on 134 targets) don’t tell an accurate story. Across a 17-game season, that output would have translated to a 123-1,482-13 line.

    As one of only four wideouts to average 20+ fantasy points per outing, he’s entering his age-23 season as an elite player on the rise. Think Justin Jefferson with a better quarterback.

    Fair? Maybe not. But while it might be hard to imagine Chase rivaling Jefferson as the presumed No. 1 fantasy WR, the fact is, Chase possesses the talent and QB to take another step forward. A 135-1,600-14 line is entirely doable.

    Why? For starters, this receiving corps remains as top-heavy as ever. While the newly acquired Irv Smith Jr. might (or might not) add a little more pop at the tight end position, Cincy’s WR corps remains relatively thin beyond the customary “big three” of Chase, Higgins, and Tyler Boyd.

    Fourth-round rookie WR Charlie Jones will turn 25 in October; he was more of a win-now mid-round selection rather than a development piece, providing potential depth that frequently has been lacking.

    But it remains to be seen if he can step in and contribute in Year 1. And sixth-round rookie Andrei Iosivas is more of a flier at this stage.

    Meanwhile, as well as Boyd has played as the No. 3 WR, his ceiling is pretty much capped, and on the verge of turning 29, he might be on the verge of another regression. Notably, his 2022 drop rate was the highest it’s been since 2018, and five of his 82 targets resulted in interceptions — a mammoth percentage.

    Also, his yards-after-the-catch average hit a career-low, and his targets per game have declined steadily since 2019. Increasingly, he poses less and less of a threat to Chase’s dominance.

    Finally, with little proven depth behind Mixon at the RB position, it remains to be seen if the Bengals will need to lean more than ever on the passing game. In fact, Mixon’s 3.8 yards per carry in his last 400 attempts doesn’t bode well for a running back who’s expected to be a workhorse when active.

    The Bengals have the personnel to make another run at a Super Bowl title. Burrow, Chase, Higgins, and Mixon are the offensive corps. Boyd and Smith will be distant secondary options. No one else is on the radar.

    Chase should continue to command a huge target share on one of the NFL’s most pass-friendly teams. Chase’s after-the-catch skills are nearly peerless. So is his tackle-breaking ability.

    While he’s far from perfect, he’s one of the few WRs with a legitimate shot at finishing No. 1 at his position. And with one of fantasy’s highest floors, it’s hard to go wrong drafting Chase at his market value.

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