Have you had your Fantasy Football rookie dynasty draft yet for the 2021 season? If you did, there's a pretty good chance that Cincinnati Bengals receiver and No. 5 overall NFL Draft pick Ja'Marr Chase was the top overall selection. However, Chase has really had issues in camp and in the preseason thus far, to the point that one Bengals beat writer suggests the former LSU star might lose some snaps in the regular season to 2018 seventh-round pick Auden Tate if things don't improve soon. Chase is now +1500 at Caesars Sportsbook to win NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.
Chase was sensational in the 2019 college football season at LSU in winning the Biletnikoff Award as the nation's top receiver in catching balls from current Bengals teammate Joe Burrow, who won the Heisman Trophy. However, Chase chose to opt-out of the 2020 campaign so perhaps a longer learning curve was to be expected as an NFL rookie.
In Friday's preseason loss to Washington, Chase dropped all three of his targets and all on third down; he had just six drops his final season at LSU on 124 targets. Apparently, he has had a case of the dropsies in practices, too. Chase has admitted he's "still adjusting to the timing" of the NFL.
"We expect our receivers to catch the ball … it's as simple as that," coach Zac Taylor said. "The ball is coming at you, catch it." Taylor later noted, "By no means are we down on Ja'Marr. He's just going through some of the things rookies go through."
Some around the league thought the Bengals should have taken Oregon offensive lineman Penei Sewell at No. 5 overall to help protect Burrow – he was destroyed behind the Cincinnati line last year before suffering a season-ending knee injury – instead of Chase. Receiver wasn't a huge need considering the Bengals have Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd. Burrow pushed the Bengals to select his former teammate. The QB has yet to play in the preseason and probably won't in this week's finale.
Two players in Bengals history have won NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year and both were receivers: Eddie Brown in 1985 and Carl Pickens in 1992.
Chase is given an Over/Under of 1,025.5 receiving yards this season, with the Under a slight favorite, and 7.0 TD catches. For Week 1 vs. Minnesota, the SportsLine Projection Model forecasts Chase for 4.1 catches, 73 yards and 0.40 TDs.
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