Ja'Marr Chase Trade Value and if he and Joe Burrow Could be Trade Targets After Slow Starts?
The Cincinnati Bengals are off to a slow start to their 2023 season. Cincy has just 424 total yards of offense and sits at 0-2 after divisional losses to the Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens. Only running back Joe Mixon has over 100 scrimmage yards and only wide receiver Tee Higgins has scored an offensive touchdown.
Ja’Marr Chase, one of the top picks in fantasy drafts this fall, has struggled through two contests. Joe Burrow, one of the top quarterbacks in the league, is also struggling while also dealing with an injury. What’s led to their struggles? What can the team do to get both guys going? Are Chaseand Burrow still worthy of a start on your rosters? Let’s discuss it all.
What's Happened to Ja’Marr Chase?
Through the team’s first two games, Chase has been targeted 17 times, which is a solid number. He’s caught just five passes in each game, but it’s the yardage that is a troublesome thing. He’s gained just 70 yards in the two games.
It doesn’t appear to be injury-related with Chase, as he’s played over 95% of the snaps in each game. He simply isn’t producing to the level fans and fantasy owners are accustomed to.
After the game, quarterback Burrow was asked about Chase, if teams were defending him differently and how the team could get him more involved going forward. Burrow called Chase the team’s best player and said they need to get him going, so you can bet the team will spend the next week trying to scheme Chase open, or simply throw some shorter passes to him and let him use his athleticism to rack up yards, first downs and points. So far, Chase is averaging just 4.1 yards after the catch, nearly a full yard below last year’s average.
What most fantasy owners are wondering is when Chase will turn things around, as most people believe he will. As long as Burrow is on the field, I’d keep starting Chase. I know it’s tough after the two weeks he’s produced so far, but he’s still one of the best wideouts in the game and I believe will turn things around sooner rather than later.
I definitely would not consider trading him, as his value is probably about as low as it will ever be and you won’t get nearly the return you should for him. On the other hand, if you are looking for a buy-low target at the wide receiver position, maybe you could persuade a Chase owner to ship him your way for a player who has enjoyed a strong opening two weeks.
I’d keep rolling with Chase. If he continues to struggle for another couple weeks, then we can revisit this conversation, but he’s simply too talented and has a history filled with too much success to consider benching him.
Cincy’s upcoming game is against the Los Angeles Rams next Monday night. It’s not the greatest matchup on paper, as the Rams have only allowed 227 yards and a touchdown to opposing receivers through two games. That’s still not enough for me to take Chase out of my lineup.
Is Joe Burrow’s Injury Affecting Things?
Burrow missed a good portion of practice leading up to the regular season with a calf injury. Regardless of what kind of history a quarterback and his receivers have, it’s not an ideal thing. Right now, it simply could be a timing thing for Burrow, Chase and the team’s other receiving threats.
That could be complicated a bit further this week because Burrow tweaked his hamstring again. He said he would have played through the injury at the end of the week 2 game, but that still likely means he isn’t a full go in practices, where some of the timing and other issues the passing game is facing could possibly be fixed.
It’s a day-by-day thing with those kinds of injuries, and after recently paying Burrow big money, the team is going to likely play things safe instead of pushing their franchise quarterback past his limits and potentially affecting him long term.
Burrow certainly looked better in week 2 than he did in the opener, and as long as his calf issue is manageable, you’d expect the team to find ways for him and the passing game to still flourish without putting him in serious jeopardy of aggravating things even further. Burrow has been sacked just three times through two games, so that’s a promising thing to build on.
I wouldn't be surprised if the Bengals really emphasize the short passing game, at least as long as Burrow is dealing with his injury. It's not the greatest thing for fantasy owners, but with the talent on that team, Burrow could still put up big-time numbers behind a short passing game approach.
Just like in Chase’s case, I don’t think it’s time to panic with Burrow. He’s simply too talented a quarterback to struggle for an extended period of time. I’m not benching Burrow on my fantasy team, unless you have another top-end starter going up an opposing defense that he’ll light up.
I'm not trading Burrow either, as again, his value is probably not going to ever be this low. He's another potential buy-low target. Trading for him is quite a bit riskier than trading for Chase because of the injury concerns though, so tread carefully there.
As you’d expect with a defense that defends opposing wide receivers well, the Rams’ defense is one of the best in the league so far in controlling opposing quarterbacks, with just 318 passing yards and one touchdown against them in two weeks. Like Chase, I’m still comfortable starting Burrow this coming week. The only way you aren’t starting him is if he’s ruled out for the game completely.#bengals #jamarr-chase #joe-burrow