Fantasy Football Player Profile 2024: Cincinnati Bengals WR Ja'Marr Chase

2T5PX3K Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase (1) sprints down the field during an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills, Sunday, Nov. 5, 2023, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Zach Bolinger)

Ja’Marr Chase has a healthy Joe Burrow: The injury to Burrow last season was the main reason Chase didn’t finish as a top-10 fantasy wide receiver.

Chase could play more in the slot: Tyler Boyd left for the Tennessee Titans, which opens the door for Chase to move around the formation more often.

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Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

The player profile series gives the most in-depth view of a player possible using the best data points at PFF’s disposal to look at how good the player has performed, what competition the player has for touches, and how other teammates and coaches will impact each player's performance.

Last updated: 7:15 a.m. Wednesday, July 10

Player performance

Chase was excellent as a rookie in 2021 after getting selected with the fifth overall pick. He won Offensive Rookie of the Year, was a second-team all-pro and helped the Cincinnati Bengals reach the Super Bowl.

His receiving grade has slowly but surely improved, although that hasn’t come with the same increase in statistical production. In 2022, Chase missed time in the middle of the season due to injury and in 2023, Joe Burrow missed seven games.

He’s been excellent at almost everything he’s been asked to do. The routes he’s asked to run most often correspond with the routes he’s performed better at than almost anyone else. The only downside to his production is when he’s double-teamed. Obviously, all receivers play worse when double-teamed, but he plays more like an average receiver would in those situations.

Chase is only 24 years old so there is still room for improvement in his game. The anticipated step-up led him to finish third on our rankings of wide receivers heading into the season.

Competition for touches

Chase has always had Tee Higgins as his teammate, which has hurt his target share, but he also probably helped keep double teams off him. Chase’s target rate over the last three seasons ranks 19th among wide receivers with at least 1000 routes.

One big reason for optimism for Chase is Tyler Boyd leaving for the Tennessee Titans in free agency, which will allow Chase to line up in the slot more often. Boyd has run 1,531 routes from the slot over the last three seasons — nearly 300 more than any other receiver. Chase is great when he lines up out wide, but he’s even better in the slot. 

The Bengals have had several backup wide receivers during the last three seasons but none have stood out as a clear potential starter when someone left. The Bengals added Jermaine Burton in the third round of the draft. Ideally, he will be able to take the third role, especially considering the Bengals have been unwilling to give Tee Higgins a long-term contract. The top choices for the third receiver spot all have more experience on the outside compared to the slot, furthering the idea Chase could play more in the slot.

Impact of teammates

Chase has the same head coach and quarterback throughout his NFL career, which is ideal for a wide receiver. The Bengals' pass rate over expected and how much their passing offense relies on wide receivers have been a huge help to Chase fantasy value, especially in overcoming his target rate.

The biggest change is Bryce Callahan‘s departure, as he left for the Tennessee Titans. Callahan was Chase’s offensive coordinator for the last three years, but considering Taylor is the lead offensive mind from the Bengals coaching staff, this change shouldn’t be as major as other coordinator changes. Dan Pitcher, who’s been the Bengals' quarterback coach, was promoted to offensive coordinator while Troy Walters remains Chase’s wide receiver coach.

A healthy Joe Burrow will be vital to Chase returning to a top-five fantasy wide receiver. Chase averaged 19.0 fantasy points per game with Burrow last season and 16.8 without him.

Something that could help Chase’s value is if he can become a deep threat again. Burrow has a lower-than-average deep target rate but a strong deep target accuracy. Chase’s average depth of target and deep target rate were much higher in 2021 than in 2022 or 2023. That could be a key in bringing Chase back to having double-digit touchdowns.

Bottom line

Chase has finished top-six in fantasy points per game each year during the games Joe Burrow is his quarterback. His past performance, the continuity he has on offense, and his age make him worthy of a top-five draft pick.

  • Statistics for the tables and charts were generally chosen based on their ability to predict future fantasy performance on either per game or per opportunity basis, or chosen for their ability to describe the player relative to other players at the same position.
  • Opportunities for this purpose are defined by passing dropbacks, rushing attempts and receiving routes run.
  • Numbers are either by season or based on the last three years. For rookies, only college numbers are included. For non-rookies, only NFL numbers are included, even if they played in college in the last three years.
  • Because college competition is relatively easier than NFL competition, it can be expected that most rookies will see a decline in their numbers compared to their historic numbers.
  • For all of the tables in this article, colors range from blue (good or high) to red (bad or low).
  • All percentiles or colors compare the given player to other players with a high sample of opportunities. Generally, it’s one-third of the possible opportunities given the sample. If the player in question doesn’t have enough opportunities, they are still compared, even though a player could look good or bad on that small sample size which might not be as predictive.
  • Information on running back utilization classifications and importance can be found here, wide receiver here and tight end here

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