Tee Higgins enters the 2022 season having seen his dynasty value rise following a strong sophomore campaign. As a key part of the Bengals’ young ascending offense, how should dynasty fantasy football managers value Higgins going forward?
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Tee Higgins’ dynasty profile for 2022
If his first two seasons are any indication, Higgins is poised for superstardom. As a rookie, Higgins soared past the 350 receiving-yard threshold that indicates future success, posting 908 receiving yards on 67 receptions. Due to his strong rookie campaign, fantasy managers were expecting a second-year leap.
Although Ja’Marr Chase joined the team and immediately leapfrogged Higgins for the WR1 role, Higgins was not going to be denied. He caught 74 passes for 1,091 yards and 6 touchdowns in 14 games.
As a rookie, Higgins averaged 13.1 PPR fantasy points per game, finishing as a low-end WR3. As a sophomore, Higgins jumped to 15.7 ppg and finished as the last WR1 (minimum eight games played).
Despite being his own team’s WR2 behind Chase with no hope of ever becoming the guy, Higgins’ ceiling remains quite high. Last season, he had three weeks inside the weekly top four in fantasy scoring. Most promising is that he’s capable of a monstrous matchup-winning, 43-point explosion like he had in Week 16. Higgins’ weekly ceiling is as high as anyone’s. Widely viewed as a top-12 wide receiver in dynasty, can fantasy managers bank on Higgins continuing to produce at that level going forward?
Fantasy projection for Higgins
Chase and Higgins are the best wide receiver duo in the NFL. They are tethered to one of the best young quarterbacks in the NFL, Joe Burrow. This is a Bengals team that just reached the Super Bowl in Burrow and Higgins’ second season and Chase’s first. They spent the 2022 offseason improving the offensive line. Their only relevant offensive loss was tight end C.J. Uzomah. The Bengals should continue to have one of the higher scoring offenses in the NFL, which bodes well for Higgins’ success.
What’s very appealing about Higgins is his ability to operate both underneath and downfield. Chase’s presence opposite Higgins prevents defenses from keying in on Higgins. Last season, Higgins averaged 9.9 yards per target, top 10 among all wide receivers. His 2.43 yards per route run was also inside the top 10.
Higgins averaged 7.8 targets per game, which is actually 0.3 higher than Chase’s on average. Make no mistake about it, Chase is this team’s WR1. At the same time, the targets were nearly identical, and I expect that to remain the case.
Last season, Chase scored 13 touchdowns on 81 receptions for 1,455 yards. Higgins, meanwhile, only scored 6 times. At 6’4″, 216 pounds, Higgins profiles as an elite end-zone target. Burrow only averaged 32.5 pass attempts per game, and the Bengals threw the ball just 56% of the time. There’s room for more. Higgins is capable of not only reproducing a WR1 season but finishing even higher than he did last year.
What is Higgins’ future beyond 2022?
At just 23 years old, Higgins has a long career ahead of him. Of the Bengals’ core four (Burrow, Chase, Higgins, and Joe Mixon), only Mixon has played more than two seasons. These players are going to continue to grow and improve together. Fantasy managers should be salivating at the idea that Higgins has not yet reached his prime, considering how good he is already.
I’d be very surprised if the Bengals don’t extend Higgins before the final year of his rookie contract. The same goes for Burrow. They are not letting any of these guys walk. That means we can project Higgins to be playing with Burrow through at least his age-28 season. That’s a long time. In dynasty, we value talent over situation. In this case, we have both.
What can fantasy managers expect from Higgins?
There are likely some people out there expecting Chase to separate from Higgins even further this season. While I do expect Chase to be a mid-to-high WR1 once again, I don’t see him running away from Higgins.
Chase will cost a late first/early second-round pick in redraft leagues. In dynasty, he’s either the most valuable or second most valuable asset. Higgins is a WR1, but he’s perceived as clearly inferior to Chase.
While that may be true in reality, the only real difference in fantasy last season was touchdowns. If we reduce Chase’s touchdown total to match Higgins’, the two would’ve averaged about the same points per game.
What I’m trying to say is Higgins may be undervalued. Chase he is not, but he’s closer than the valuations suggest. Dynasty managers should value Higgins as a clear top-12 WR worth acquiring if possible.