The Cincinnati Bengals came into the draft with a lot of needs, not the least of which was the need to replace aging veteran quarterback Andy Dalton. One of the worst kept secrets leading up to this year’s NFL draft was that the Bengals would take Joe Burrow with the 1.01 pick, and that’s exactly what they did. Now that it’s official, let’s take a look at Joe Burrow’s dynasty value for 2020 and beyond, particularly in Superflex formats.
Joe Burrow’s Superflex dynasty value following the 2020 NFL Draft
Dalton might stay, but Burrow will fight for the job
While everyone knew that the Bengals would draft Burrow, the bigger question mark was around the Bengals current QB, Andy Dalton. Many suspected that the team would release him from his 2020 contract since they are set to pay him a whopping $17.7 million this year.
I previously speculated what teams would be a good fit to sign him if Dalton were a free agent, and two of those teams at least are still viable options now: the New England Patriots and Carolina Panthers. The Panthers signed Teddy Bridgewater but are lacking a true backup, and the Patriots have yet to make a move in free agency or the draft addressing the position. However, at the time of this article, Dalton is still a Bengal, meaning the question of whether or not he’ll be the starter for the team is still unanswered.
There has been talk that the team might keep Dalton around to help mentor the new guy, which isn’t a bad idea given the craziness this offseason is adding to an already crazy learning curve. Burrow is definitely able to take the load from the start though, and teams rarely draft a guy at first overall to let him ride the bench. On the other hand, teams rarely pay such a high price for a backup QB either.
Adam Schefter recently tweeted that Burrow has been studying the offense for weeks to try to give him an edge on the competition. It’s clear that he wants the job, and the team would be crazy to keep him from taking it.
No. 1 overall pick Joe Burrow has been studying the Bengals’ offense for weeks now, and one source said that he is so far ahead that he will be able to challenge for the starting QB job right away.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 25, 2020
Pro Football Network’s Tony Pauline listed some flaws with Burrow in his scouting report that having a mentor like Dalton could help with, and had this to say regarding his final analysis:
He’s presently the hot commodity at the quarterback position, but he is by no means a sure thing and must prove 2019 was not the exception to the rule. Burrow comes with outstanding talent, great moxie and football intelligence and should be successful at the next level if properly coached and developed.
The best-case scenario is that the Bengals decide to keep Dalton and have him mentor Burrow as he gets up to speed. Dalton would be able to help develop Burrow throughout the offseason, eventually preparing him to take the job whenever he’s ready. Whether that’s Week 1 or Week 10, Burrow will almost certainly be given the chance this season to show everyone just how good he can be at the next level.
Examining the pieces around him
In order to determine Burrow’s dynasty value for 2020, we should look at who he’s got around him other than Andy Dalton, starting at the top.
Head coach Zac Taylor has a history of being an offensive mind who generally prefers to lean on the quarterback, meaning Burrow might see more attention and coaching from him than former Bengals coach Marvin Lewis. As was heavily mentioned when he came to the Bengals, Taylor comes from the Sean McVay coaching tree, and now he gets to draft his guy and groom him how he wants. That should bode well for both of them as long as things go well.
The Bengals are also returning veteran WR A.J. Green and rising slot man Tyler Boyd along with a great pass-catching option in Joe Mixon, so when Burrow takes the field he was already looking at a solid group to work with. These guys have all worked well when on the field together, although Green missed the entire 2019 season due to an ankle injury. Green’s veteran presence should still help Burrow on the practice field while he learns the new offense.
As if that wasn’t enough, with the 2.01 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Bengals added even more firepower by drafting WR Tee Higgins from Clemson. Higgins may not be a burner but he should fit well opposite Green and give Burrow another great option down the field. Higgins is great at moving his body to find the ball, giving Burrow a big flexible target to look for on the outside. A definite upgrade from the other WRs currently on the Bengals roster.
Joe Burrow’s dynasty value in 2020
In 2QB and Superflex rookie drafts, it should be no surprise that Burrow is ranked as the number one overall option. As we always say, the cheapest way to acquire quarterbacks in most Superflex leagues is through the draft, and as we’ve mentioned before, Burrow will get the job sooner than later.
For now, without knowing for sure if he starts Week 1 or not, he probably ranks in the back half of the QB2 range, ahead of guys like Derek Carr and Jameis Winston. He’s a backup option in 1QB leagues but not worth reaching for in the first of most of those drafts. Once he gets the starting job his value should rise though, so keep a lookout for that.
Given where the rookie running backs landed in the early rounds of the NFL draft, there’s no doubt in my mind with taking Burrow at 1.01 in SF rookie drafts. The Heisman and title-winning season that he just finished, the quality of the talent around him, and his new coaches should make him a great dynasty asset for years to come. He’s as much of a sure thing as you can get in both fantasy and the NFL, and you won’t regret taking him first overall in your SF drafts either.
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Andrew Hall is a writer for PFN covering Fantasy Football. You can follow him on Twitter: @AndrewHallFF.