Joe Burrow Fantasy Outlook: Can the Cincinnati Bengals’ Franchise QB Finish No. 1?

    Few QBs are primed to shine more than the Cincinnati Bengals' Joe Burrow. With talent and tools at his disposal, what is his 2023 fantasy outlook?

    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 QB Joe Burrow’s fantasy outlook for 2023.

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    Joe Burrow’s 2023 Fantasy Outlook

    Burrow went from the overall fantasy QB8 in 2021 to the QB4 in 2022. He throws to one of the best WR tandems in the league. His No. 3 WR is a reliable veteran with great hands. Oh, and Burrow is, quite simply, one of the most talented quarterbacks in football.

    That’s an incredible combination for a presumably still-ascending QB, who happens to lean heavily on two young (and presumably ascending) wideouts. Just like with Jalen Hurts in Philly, we probably haven’t seen the best of Burrow. That’s what you want in a fantasy player — someone with more upside than we can realistically understand.

    If yellow flags exist, then the sacks he’s absorbed are probably the brightest flags to monitor. He’s been taken down 124 times in only 42 regular-season games and an incredible 153 times in 49 total games.

    For context, Patrick Mahomes has been sacked 151 times in 94 total games — roughly half the sack rate. One should at least be mildly concerned about how many hits Burrow has taken and to what extent it’s sustainable. The only starting QB who had less time to throw last season was Tom Brady, and we saw how that impacted his performance.

    There are two ways to positively spin this. First, Burrow has thrived despite these offensive line challenges. Second, by extension, imagine what he could do if he had even a middling amount of time to throw. He could realistically lead the league in completion percentage while hitting 5,000+ passing yards and 40+ TDs.

    Of course, he could accomplish that regardless. As alluded to above, the talent and personnel are there. With continued development, he and his young offensive core could take the next step forward, becoming the most fearsome aerial attack around.

    It helps that the Bengals acquired Irv Smith Jr. Despite a career marred by injuries, Smith could be a difference-maker, including near the goal line. We shouldn’t be surprised if this new addition becomes the best Cincy TE since Tyler Eifert circa 2015.

    So where does Burrow fit into a top-heavy fantasy QB group that includes Mahomes, Hurts, Josh Allen, Justin Herbert, and perhaps even Lamar Jackson, Justin Fields, and others? Because once the first name in the top quarterback tier comes off the board, there could be a run on the position.

    In all likelihood, Burrow is interchangeable with others in that top tier. He probably has as good a chance at finishing No. 1 as Mahomes and Allen do. And since I’m bullish on Herbert this year, I’m adding him to that mix.

    Hurts probably has the best shot at finishing No. 1, and he’ll probably be the first or second QB drafted in most leagues.

    That said, if you can get Burrow at No. 3, you’re probably locking in value. “Great” value? Who knows. But consider that he has one of the highest floors, period. In other words, it would be shocking if Burrow finished outside the top six — if he regressed so much that he was no longer elite and only on the edge of near-elite.

    Burrow easily could crack 400 points in 17 games. He’s one of about five guys who could do it without shocking the fantasy world. That makes him a must-get at his ADP.

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