It didn’t take long for Ja’Marr Chase to become a Top 5 receiver in the league. Detractors will say he still isn’t and it was maybe one lucky season, but anyone who saw the tape will say the evidence is clear.
Chase broke Justin Jefferson’s rookie receiving yards record with 1,455 before going on to set records for receiving yards in a game by a rookie (266) and receiving yards in a postseason by a rookie (368). He finished the year with the fourth most receiving yards in the league (1,455), third most receiving touchdowns (13), third most fantasy points for a wide receiver (224), second highest yards per reception (18.0), and topped it all off by winning Offensive Rookie of the Year. It truly was one of the best rookie seasons in the history of the NFL.
Heading into 2022, the Bengals are poised to make another postseason run. Joe Burrow has proven he’s a franchise quarterback, Tee Higgins emerged as a star wide receiver, the front office gave the offensive line a facelift by signing three starters in La’el Collins, Ted Karras, and Alex Cappa, as well as drafted Daxton Hill to boost the secondary. Everything is looking good in Cincy, especially if Chase can maintain his production.
He may see some slight statistical regressions with Higgins’ development, but opposing defenses will learn quickly they have to cover both of them equally, which may actually open the door for Chase to get more targets. He averaged just 4.8 receptions per game, which is almost guaranteed to increase in 2022.
Chase has proven he’s capable of being the #1 guy on a contending team. His speed is next level and he plays well above his size. The only notable injury he’s ever suffered came in 2017 when he was with LSU, and it was a PCL/bone bruise. Since then, he’s had no concerns. If he can learn to be a bit more consistent on a week-to-week basis he could be the top receiver this season. He’s healthy and comes with such high upside playing alongside Joe Burrow.