2022 Bengals Fantasy Football Preview: What does the next step look like for Joe Burrow, Ja’Marr Chase?

Even the most optimistic Bengals fans may not have seen them play the Super Bowl in Joe Burrow’s first season after returning from a torn ACL, so expectations are a little higher as this season approaches. Given the team’s youth, a major step back would be a huge disappointment, although there are reasons to believe that last year’s success was not entirely sustainable.

2021 revision

register: 10-7 (9)
PPG: 27.1 (7)
YPG: 361.5 (13)
YPG pass: 259.0 (7)
YPG Rush: 102.5 (23)
Babbage: 32.6 (20)
Rabigh: 25.6 (19)

2021 end of fantasy

QB: Go Borough QB7
RB: Joe Mixon RB4
WR: Ja’Marr Chase WR5, Tee Higgins WR24
TE: CJ Uzumah *TE19
*No longer with the team

The number to know: 555

That’s the number of assists the Bengals threw last season, only 20 in the league. Given that Burrow finished the QB7 Championship despite missing a game and being in a relatively heavy attack, it’s clear that he was one of the most efficient quarterbacks in the league. In fact, it might be so The The most efficient quarterback in the league, he ranked first in yards per attempt at 8.9 and third in touchdown rate at 6.5%.

Playing in attack with dynamic playmakers like Chase and Higgins obviously helps, and Chase’s ability to break big plays in seemingly any circumstance played a big role—the novice had six plays going for at least 50 yards, five of which were for touchdowns. Burrow had 12 completions for at least 50 yards with eight touchdowns in those twelve completions, and both led the league – Matthew Stafford was the only QB with more than seven passes over 50 yards or four like that. Those weren’t just the league’s best numbers last season, though – Burrow is also one of only two QBs with as many as eight touchdowns for over 50 yards in the past five seasons, while at least there hasn’t been a QB in the past. Hold several completions of this length.

That means we probably shouldn’t expect a repeat of the kind of efficiency Burrow had last season, so he probably needs an increase in size to make up for that. That’s not unreasonable to expect, but it’s not a sure thing – Burrow has been through a lot in the playoff round, but the increase from 32.5 to 35.5 attempts per game probably isn’t enough.

2021 offseason

Draft Choices

1. (31) Daxton Hill, D.B.
2. (60) Cam Taylor Brett, CB
3. (95) Zachary Carter, D
4. (136) Cordell Volson, T.
5. (166) Thyssen-Anderson, SAF
7. (252) Jeffrey Gunther OLB


OL La’el Collins, OL Ted Karras, OL Alex Cappa, TE Hayden Hurst

Major losses

DL Larry Ogunjobi, TE CJ Uzomah

Opportunities available

0 Holds, 0 RB Targets, 15 WR Targets, 63 TE Targets

2022 preview


Chris Towers Predictions

QB Joe Borough PA: 593, YD: 4330, TD: 33, INT: 13; RUSH – ATT: 38, YD: 132, TD: 2
RB Joe Mixon Vehicle: 264, YD: 1110, TD: 11, TAR: 47, REC: 42, YD: 317, TD: 1
RB Samaji Beren Autos: 64, YD: 276, TD: 3, Rating: 24, Record: 21, YD: 155, TD: 1
WR Ja’Marr Chase TAR: 158, REC: 101, YD: 1212, TD: 9
WR T. Higgins TAR: 161, REC: 105, YD: 1099, TD: 8
WR Tyler Boyd TAR: 110, REC: 66, YD: 831, TD: 6
TE Hayden Hurst TAR: 71, REC: 50, YD: 523, TD: 3

biggest question

Are the Bengals focused on passing offense first?

Joe Burrow has been named QB’s No. 4 in the drafts as of publication, which is pretty optimistic after he finished the QB8 championship in points per game last season. Of course, expecting improvement from the talented young QB isn’t unreasonable, but the Bengals will probably need to pass more for Burrow to make the leap to this level given Burrow’s limited utility as a runner. They threw more on the stretch, but Burrow averaged 35.5 passes per game in his four playoff games, which is still fairly average. The weapons are certainly there, but Burrow may disappoint Fantasy players unless this becomes a more aggressive attack overall.

One sleeper, one detachment and one bust

Hurst hasn’t exploded the way we’d hoped since he was a first-round pick in 2018, and at 29 by week one, time ran out. But he may find himself in the best position he has been in his career, playing with elite QB along with the kind of weapons that defenses should focus on. That situation resulted in a career best score of 49-493-5 for CJ Uzomah a year ago, so if Hurst can build on that, there’s room for him to be a useful streaming option for Fantasy.

Higgins’ seasonal numbers already look great, but he was even better after getting past a shoulder problem that cost him two of his first four games. From Week 12 onwards, Higgins had at least 96 yards in seven of 10 games, including the playoffs, with six touchdowns—94-catch, 1,621 yards, 10-touchdown. Chase is the headline for this crime, but we’ve seen flashes of Higgins indicating that he could also be one of the best receivers in Fantasy. If you expect this passing game to be even better than it was a year ago, Higgins will likely take it one step further.

Maybe it depends on who you’re drafting, but Burrow is currently No. 4 QB in the ADP in the National Fantasy Championship drafts as of June 21, nearly a full round ahead of Lamar Jackson, Keeler Murray and even more ahead of Dak Prescott and Matthew Stafford. It’s a bet on the No. 1 pick with elite guns coming out of the breakout season, but as I’ve already made clear, there are plenty of reasons to bet going downhill in 2022. Burrow should be good, but he’s not so much a sprinter, so if the Bengals are going to be in the middle of the group in Passing attempts again, you’re betting he’s an outside player at the level of Aaron Rodgers’ proficiency every year. It may just be that, but this is awfully noble companies. And if the scroll volume increases dramatically… it’s probably the fourth best QB in fiction. This means that you craft it near its ceiling.