The great members of the PFN Dynasty staff were posed the following question: “What is your bold prediction for the upcoming season?” Five brave souls stepped up, and I will analyze these five 2020 fantasy football bold predictions individually in a series — each successive article will escalate in boldness. Find the previous three bold predictions here as we go headfirst into our next installment in the bold prediction series.
The fourth bold prediction pivots back to the quarterback position where I take a look at Joe Burrow breaking the rookie QB passing touchdown record on his way to finishing as a top 12 fantasy QB.
Joe Burrow breaks the rookie QB passing touchdown record and finishes as a top 12 fantasy QB
Prediction made by Dennis Sosic (@CALL_ME_SOS)
Why it’s a bold prediction
In 2018, Cleveland’s Baker Mayfield broke the record for the most touchdown passes ever thrown by a rookie with 27, breaking a record set initially by Peyton Manning in 1998 and equaled by Russell Wilson in 2012.
Similar to Mayfield, Joe Burrow arrives on a Cincinnati Bengals franchise that has been decimated by injuries, poor coaching, and inadequate management. He has an uphill battle to achieve success in Cincinnati. However, his winning pedigree should not be discarded.
Burrow has won at every level and will need to overcome the Bengals porous offensive line, continuous injury woes, and the rookie mistakes that will plague him and the franchise. The cherry on top will be the elevation of his game to heights that will allow Burrow to beat the rookie touchdown record on his way to being a top 12 fantasy football quarterback in 2020.
Why it will happen
The Bengals drafted Burrow number one overall in the 2020 NFL Draft. The 23-year-old quarterback is the first player since Cam Newton to win a Heisman Trophy, national championship, and be selected number one overall.
Cincinnati earned the right to draft first by going 2-14, including an 0-11 start in the 2019 season. Rookie head coach Zac Taylor dealt with numerous injuries throughout the season, but it is not all doom and gloom in the Queen City.
Running back Joe Mixon ran for more than 1,100 yards, and wide receiver Tyler Boyd produced 1,046 receiving yards, making this just the 15th time in Bengals history that the team had a 1,000-yard rusher and receiver in the same season.
Multi-talented receiver A.J. Green is expected to return after missing the 2019 season with an injury. Wide receivers John Ross and Auden Tate showed flashes of being formidable weapons in this offense. In the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft, the Bengals drafted Clemson outstanding wideout Tee Higgins, who averaged an incredible 18.1 yards per catch during his three years at Clemson.
Burrow proved how impressive he could be with weapons surrounding him during his final collegiate season when he led LSU to a National Championship behind 5,671 passing yards, a whopping 60 touchdown passes, and only six interceptions.
The defense will once again be one of the worst in the league, which will lead to shootouts in most of their matchups. The combo of Taylor and Burrow leading the offense for the next decade should be music to fantasy manager’s ears.
The quarterback position is the most crucial in football. Burrow is a lock to start for Cincinnati immediately in 2020 with an elite group of offensive weapons.
The Bengals allowed 50 sacks last season, which tied for the fourth-most in the NFL. Cincinnati was without their 2019 No. 11 overall pick Jonah Williams for the entire season due to suffering a shoulder injury that required surgery. He returned to practice this spring and looks ready to be a difference-maker at left tackle. Furthermore, the Bengals signed veteran guard Xavier Su’a-Filo to help solidify the interior of the offensive line.
Heading to the other side of the ball, we see a defense that was one of the worst in the league last season. They ranked in the bottom third in every defensive metric imaginable. Bengals fans should expect an improvement in 2020 with the overhaul personnel changes completed by the Bengals front office.
However, I don’t believe that these changes will considerably improve enough to avoid Joe Burrow and the Bengals offense being forced to throw a ton to keep Cincinnati in games. A lousy defense partnered with an offense that possesses elite weapons equals shootout opportunities, which are a fantasy jackpot.
Taylor has emphasized that Burrow already possesses a great understanding and knowledge of the playbook. Burrow is entering his rookie season with lofty expectations as one of the most pro-ready can’t miss prospects.
He is a difference-maker that makes plays with his field vision, arm, and his athleticism, which allows rushing upside as evidenced by his rushing for over 300 yards and more than five touchdowns in each of the last two seasons.
Fantasy Pros Expert rankings have Burrow as the No. 20 quarterback while PFN has the former Heisman Trophy winner as QB10. He displays a boatload of upside and the ability to establish himself as the franchise cornerstone behind center for a decade in a Cincinnati Bengal uniform.
The quality and quantity of offensive weapons at his disposal with continuous negative game scripts should lead to Burrow airing it out plenty, which will provide ammunition for Burrow to surpass the rookie passing touchdown record and ascend to an upside QB1 for fantasy football managers in 2020.