2021 Bengals Wide Receiver Redraft Values

By: JayWall

2021 Bengals Wide Receiver Redraft Values

When looking at the 2021 Bengals wide receiver redraft values, it may be hard to predict who will be the most fantasy relevant between Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd. Is it possible for a healthy Joe Burrow to provide enough value to these three to produce top tier numbers? In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at each player, and whether three receivers from the same team have ever been fantasy relevant.

Ja'Marr Chase

The rookie hype with Ja’Marr Chase is high, but for good reason. If Chase would’ve declared for the draft a year earlier, he would’ve made a case for the top wide receiver in the incredible 2020 wide receiver class. Unfortunately, he was ineligible for the draft since he had just finished up his sophomore season, but he was part of that historic 2019 National Championship LSU team led by his former college quarterback and current NFL quarterback, Joe Burrow.

Since Chase opted out of the 2020 season due to the Covid-19 pandemic, let’s take a look at his freshman and sophomore year college stats. In his freshman season, he started just 8 of the 14 games for the Tigers and had a minor role, finishing with 23 receptions for 313 yards and 3 TDs. This might not seem like much, but for a true freshman at 18 years old to come in and do anything in the SEC is worth noting. The 19 year old breakout age in his sophomore season made Chase one of the highest coveted prospects as he finished with an outstanding 1,780 yards and 20 TDs on 84 receptions. This performance led him to win the Biletnikoff Award, while being named Unanimous All-American and First-Team All-SEC.

His college teammate, Justin Jefferson, was taken in the first round by the Minnesota Vikings after the Eagles decided to pass on him for Jalen Reagor ( yes, I’m a bitter Eagles fan). Jefferson had arguably the best rookie season by a wide receiver in NFL history. The hype around him has only helped Ja’Marr’s value, especially in dynasty fantasy football. Chase had less receptions than Jefferson in 2019, but he did have more yards. Chase’s 21.2 YPC in 2019 was the second highest among wide receivers drafted in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft behind CeeDee Lamb who finished just ahead of him with 21.4 YPC. Others out of that class were Henry Ruggs III who finished with 18.7 YPC, Jerry Jeudy with 15.1 YPC, Jalen Reagor with 14.2 YPC, Justin Jefferson with 13.9 YPC and Brandon Aiyuk with 18.3 YPC. Among all of them, Chase finished with the most receiving TDs with 20 in 2019 with the second closest being teammate Justin Jefferson with 18 TDs.

When looking at his 2021 rookie season, I’m going to take an unbiased look at what we can expect from him. All these predictions are with the assumption that Joe Burrow stays healthy and plays most of the season.

I may not be as bullish on Chase in year 1 as most, though I do think he’ll have an unbelievable career. I see him has a mid-to-low WR2 in PPR formats. The reason I don’t think he’ll finish as a WR1 is because in the past ten seasons only Odell Beckham Jr. (2014), Michael Thomas (2016) and Justin Jefferson (2020) have had a WR1 season as a rookie. The odds just aren’t in his favor even though he is a superstar talent. He also has to share the field with Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd who will demand their fair share of targets too. Temper your expectations for him next season.

Tee Higgins

In his rookie offseason, Tee Higgins was seeing an ADP of WR39 and around 100th overall. His value hasn’t changed as drastically as one may assume though, as he’s being valued with the 72nd overall ADP and the WR31 off the board this offseason. His value was absolutely higher before the Bengals decided to draft Ja’Marr Chase with the 5th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. While he was drafted at the top of the second round of dynasty rookie drafts last season, he definitely outplayed what was projected of him. Even though this is a redraft article, it’s still important to note the changes in value over time to best gauge where to draft a player or how to trade for him.

Last season he scored double digits in 10 of the 14 games he played while scoring double digits 7 times in a row in Weeks 3 through 10. He did this all while Burrow was throwing him the ball. He finished his rookie campaign with 908 yards and 6 TDs on 67 receptions. He also added 5 carries for 28 yards.

Higgins and Burrow built quite the connection last year, and there was a chemistry and trust that the two rookies formed which was extremely unique. Burrow said, “He is a great player. We've had a couple months now to really understand each other. I'm excited for the future with Tee," after their Week 8 win over the Tennessee Titans. Last year, Higgins only had 8 drops all season while seeing 108 targets. If he could see around the same amount of targets this season, he’ll have a chance to show what he can do after the catch to create more fantasy production.

While Chase and Burrow have chemistry from college, Higgins has built a strong rapport with Burrow at the NFL level. I wanted to mention this because a lot of people have written off Higgins as the WR1 in Cincinnati, but he’s still a real threat to be the main target in 2021. It’s been over a year since Burrow and Chase last played a game together, so he may lean on a more familiar Higgins, especially to start the season. 

With his WR28 finish in 2020, I do expect him to take a leap forward even with all the target competition he’ll see. It’s most realistic to expect a mid WR2 finish for him with the upside of finishing as a low-end WR1. I do not expect a WR1 finish, but I do think it’s possible with a healthy Joe Burrow in this very pass heavy offense. In order for that to happen, Higgins would need to take a big leap forward in his game. Considering he put up great rookie numbers with no offseason and no Burrow for the last six games, I think it’s possible for him to accomplish it. He’ll have to thrive in the red zone and after the catch for that to happen, though.

Tyler Boyd

Tyler Boyd is clearly seen as the WR3 in this Cincinnati wide receiver corps, but I wouldn’t be so sure he doesn’t surprise the fantasy community in 2021. In 2020, Boyd saw 110 targets which led the team as Higgins came in a close second with 108 targets. Boyd could see the second most targets in this trio, but Higgins is sure to take a step forward next season, and Chase is the most talented wideout on their team.

After being in the league for 5 years, Boyd is just 26 years old. He did take a step back last season finishing as the WR29, while finishing as the WR18 and WR16 in the years previous. In 2019 and 2018, he had back to back 1,000 yard seasons but ended up finishing with 841 yards last year. This is important to note because this was the only year he was with Burrow and the effect of Higgins on his fantasy production. Adding Ja’Marr Chase is only going to make it harder for him to post WR2 or WR3 numbers.

Going into the 2020 season, Boyd was viewed as the WR1 for the Bengals offense, but his value has taken quite the hit after just one year. His ADP fell from WR22 and 54 overall in 2019 to WR29 and 61 overall last season to WR31 and 78 overall this year. His value is steadily declining, so he is someone to target in the later rounds of drafts.

While I do think he’s undervalued, I think he will be a solid value and has a WR4 floor, though a limited ceiling as a high-end WR3. There are still a lot of question marks with how Chase will perform and what Higgins growth will look like, but we know that Burrow liked Boyd by the target share he saw. He’s not someone to get overly excited about, but he could be a guy who you can throw in your flex spot next season.

What Does History Tell Us

History tells us that having two wide receivers from the same team can actually benefit your fantasy team, but what does it say about having three players from the same team? Now I know that there is probably a very small percentage of fantasy managers who have all three on their roster, but it’s still fun to see if it’s feasible. We’ll look at the PPR fantasy stats over the past 10 years to see how many three-set wide receiver sets have all finished within the top-36.

Let’s start off looking at how often two wide receivers from the same team land in the top-36 over the past 10 years. There have been 91 teammates who have made their way as a WR3 or higher during that time. On average, there are just over 9 two wide receiver sets who accomplish this each year, which is fairly significant when drafting and trading for teammates.

I want to get into the history of success of three wide receiver sets that give your fantasy team a WR3 finish or better. As expected, the number of teammates who accomplished this is very low. Only 9 of them were able to pull this off. 

In 2012

In 2013

In 2016

In 2018 

In 2020

There’s a common theme among all 9 teams, and they are all pass heavy offenses. The only exception is the 2020 Carolina Panthers who ranked 15th overall in pass play percentage. When looking at the Cincinnati Bengals in the upcoming 2021 season, passing volume needs to be one of our main focuses.

In 2019, the year before they drafted Joe Burrow, Cincinnati ranked 5th in pass play percentage. Last year, the Bengals finished as the 13th highest passing offense in the league, but they were actually ranked 3rd overall before Burrow went down with a season ending injury. This allows all three wide receivers in Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd to be startable fantasy options next season. I would be confident having each one of these guys on my roster. Only twice has there been two of the three wide receivers who finished as a WR1 and both had elite quarterbacks in Payton Manning and Drew Brees. Assuming Burrow can stay healthy, I expect the Bengals to produce three top-36 wide receivers in 2021. My prediction is that Higgins and Chase will finish in the WR2 range, while Boyd ends up as a WR3 but is the most likely to miss the cut.

Thanks for reading my 2021 Bengals Wide Receiver Redraft Values article. Make sure you follow me @JayWall_FF on Twitter and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more great content!