Chase can’t stop making big plays. He caught 34 and 53-yarders in Sunday’s win over the Lions. He’s now leading the league with 5 receptions of 40+ yards and is tied for 4 with 9 grabs of 20+.
No surprise, then, that Chase is sitting on a massive 20.5 yards per catch. He’s also scored 5 times on 27 catches -- an 18.5% TD rate.
Simply put, those kinds of efficiency metrics are unsustainable, no matter how good you think Chase is. Consider this: He ranks 6th among WRs in PPR points but just 33rd in targets. We should certainly expect Chase to be more efficient than your average WR. But not THIS efficient.
Consider Chase a WR2 with upside going forward. If you can get WR1 value for him in a trade, we’d cash in.
Although Chase wasn’t lighting it up in the 1st quarter, he jump started his massive day on a play that Joe Burrow was under pressure and rolling out, and the WR got behind his defender while rolling with the QB, resulting in an electric 70-yard TD. Although he was targeted just 10 times, he averaged over 25 yards per catch, including a dazzling catch along the sideline to give the team a chance (which the kicker blew) to win the contest in OT.
Chase has seen his targets go up over the last 2 games while his yardage has also increased in each game after Week 2. He’s already emerging as a star who the Bengals will lean on. However, as opposing defenses begin to treat Chase as a true alpha, he could see a slight decrease in targets, as the team has Tee Higgins, who is also a star in his own right, and Burrow wouldn’t necessarily see a decrease in efficiency by throwing to the WR with more favorable coverage. Regardless, it’s tough to see Chase as less than a WR2 the rest of the way.
With Tee Higgins sitting out with a shoulder injury, it looked as if Chase was in line for a massive target share. But with the Bengals leading throughout the contest, Joe Burrow only threw 18 passes, though Chase did see 5 of those. He made the most of his chances, as he consistently saw single coverage. He slipped behind the defender and snagged a perfect throw by Burrow on his 34-yard score, and he worked himself wide open on his 9-yard score to give him his 4th TD in 3 games to start his career.
After starting the season averaging 73 yards and 1.33 TDs, some may be ready to count on him as a weekly superstar. Of course, that’s possible, but he’s averaging just 5 targets per game, and unless that number goes up, the production level seems unsustainable. It also should be noted that Tee Higgins out-targeted him in the first 2 games before sitting this week out with a shoulder injury, so Chase could continue seeing suboptimal weekly target totals.
After leading the team in targets in Week 1 with 7, it was a dose of reality in Week 2 for JaMarr Chase, who saw just 4 targets. While 2 catches for 54 yards was not the production many who started Chase hoped for, the TD helped salvage his fantasy day.
Going forward, Chase will likely have the widest range of outcomes among the Bengals' top 3 WRs. He has the big play ability to produce massive days, but the rookie could just as easily be held in check. When Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins are also options on your team, there is little reason to force the volume in one direction.
According to Pro Football Focus, 25 WRs dropped at least 1 pass in Week 1. None of them was named Ja’Marr Chase.
Instead, the 5th overall pick led the Bengals in targets (7), receptions (5) and yards (101) in his NFL debut. He drew 25.9% of Joe Burrow’s total pass attempts, most notably his 50-yard, 2nd-quarter TD. That play obviously accounted for most of his fantasy points and won’t always show up. But Chase’s mix of short-range and deep-ball ability is why Cincinnati and fantasy drafters paid up for him.
We’ll see where the target shares in Cincinnati go from here. And it’s worth noting that the Bengals went low with passing volume overall. According to RBSDM.com, they checked in last in the league in Week 1 situation-neutral pass rate.
That’s bad news for passing volume if it sticks as Cincinnati’s approach. But we’ll see whether it was just a matter of easing the repaired QB back in for his 1st full action since the double-ligament tear.
Either way, the Bengals also made it clear they believe in their rookie wideout.
In addition to the long TD and team target lead, Chase also got a handoff on the team’s 2nd play and a 4th-quarter deep target that sailed beyond his reach down the sideline.