How to Invest In Joe Burrow’s Dynasty Fantasy Potential with Bengals
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images. Pictured: Joe Burrow
Joe Burrow Dynasty Rookie Analysis
- Position: QB | School: LSU
- Height: 6’3” | Weight: 221 pounds
- 2020 Age: 24 | Class: Redshirt Senior
- Recruitment Stars: 4
- Draft Position: 1.01 (Bengals)
Joe Burrow’s Fantasy Fit with Bengals
As expect, Burrow lands with the Cincinnati Bengals as the No. 1 pick. Almost certain to start in Week 1, Burrow is unlikely to be a high-end fantasy starter right away: He’s not a Kyler Murray-esque dual-threat option.
But Burrow should have streamable production against subpar opponents.
It certainly helps that he has an under-appreciated wide receiver unit in A.J. Green, Tyler Boyd, John Ross and Auden Tate and two strong receiving backs in Joe Mixon and Giovani Bernard.
I won’t be looking to draft Burrow in 2020 redraft leagues outside of best ball and two-quarterback formats, but it’s not hard to imagine him filling in as a waiver-week wire add.
Joe Burrow: Dynasty Analysis
Heisman Trophy-winning redshirt senior quarterback who goes No. 1 overall to the Cincinnati Bengals and suits up as a 24-year-old rookie after a dominant final college season in which he turned two unknown underclassmen into 1,000-yard producers: That’s Joe Burrow, right?
That’s 2003 Carson Palmer.
His receivers? The original Mike Williams and Keary Colbert.
As the wise man says, “Time is a flat circle.”
History reminds us that we should keep our quarterback expectations in check. Even though Palmer was the No. 1 overall pick, he didn’t even play as a rookie, and in his second season, he passed for just 2,897 yards and had an 18-18 touchdown-to-interception ratio.
In 2019, Burrow had probably the greatest passing season ever for a collegiate quarterback with 5,671 yards and 60 touchdowns to six interceptions. His 76.3% completion rate and 12.5 adjusted yards per attempt were immaculate.
Unlike Palmer, Burrow is going to start right away, and I think he actually offers value as the +250 frontrunner to be the 2020 Offensive Rookie of the Year at FanDuel Sportsbook. Burrow already has a passing yardage prop of 3,999.5 at BetMGM.
Over the past 16 years, the NFL has increasingly become a more quarterback-friendly and pass-focused league, and over that time, a passer has won the award 50% of the time.
All of the OROY quarterback winners since 2004 have started at least 13 games. Most of them had 15-plus starts. With the exception of Dak Prescott (2016), all of them were drafted in Round 1. And aside from Dak and Ben Roethlisberger (2004), all were selected with top-three picks.
Like 2019 No. 1 pick Kyler Murray, Burrow enters the NFL as a quarterback poised to be an immediate contributor.
But Burrow is not Murray. Even if he wins the 2020 OROY award, Burrow is not likely to be a difference-making player for fantasy. Last year, Murray had clear league-winning potential because of his rushing ability and head coach Kliff Kingsbury’s offensive system.
But I doubt strongly Burrow will be any better than a low-end fantasy QB1 in 2020 — and even that seems like a stretch. With Burrow, patience is advisable.
I am, though, optimistic about Burrow’s long-term potential. In 2005, Palmer’s second season as a starter, he was the No. 1 overall fantasy quarterback, and even after his serious knee injury in the 2005-06 playoffs, he was the the fantasy QB5 and QB9 for the 2006-07 seasons.
Burrow isn’t a dual-threat quarterback, but he is functional as a runner (3.2 yards per carry, including sacks, at LSU), and he has the pocket presence and accuracy to be perhaps a Tom Brady-esque impact passer: Last year, he led all draft-eligible passers with his 83% on-target rate (per the 2020 Sports Info Solutions Football Rookie Handbook).
Burrow needs to work on his eye discipline: Sometimes he stares down his receivers, and he rarely manipulates defenders out of position with his eyes. And even though he started for two seasons at LSU, he is the epitome of a one-year wonder.
I wouldn’t take Burrow before Round 3 in a rookie draft — but that’s what I’d say most years about any non-running quarterback selected No. 1 overall. I do like Burrow’s long-term potential and see him as a perennial QB1 in fantasy with top-five upside at his peak.
NFL Prospect Comp: Baker Mayfield with less youth and starting experience but superior size and peak production
More Dynasty Analysis For Freedman’s Top Rookies
Matthew Freedman is the Editor-in-Chief of FantasyLabs, part of The Action Network.