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Bengals draft WR Ja’Marr Chase with No. 5 pick

LSU Tigers WR Ja’Marr Chase goes to the Bengals with the No. 5 pick in the 2021 draft. Will he be a fantasy football asset to start his career?

LSU Tigers wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase against the Clemson Tigers in the College Football Playoff national championship game at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Widely considered the best wide receiver in the 2021 NFL Draft class, former LSU Tigers pass catcher Ja’Marr Chase was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals with the No. 5 pick overall. He brings everything the Bengals would want at the wide receiver position, and Chase should be a player fantasy football owners should be monitoring whether it’s a standard or dynasty league.

Chase was among the college football stars who decided to opt out of the 2020 season, and it would’ve been nearly impossible to replicate his performance in 2019. He caught 84 passes for 1,780 yards with 20 touchdown catches and took home the Biletnikoff Award for the best receiver in college football.

Scouting Report

Chase is extremely talented at plenty of areas that wide receivers need to be successful, which is why he was drafted as high as he was. He was able to get by defenders with ease in college, and he has the burst for that type of play to translate well to the NFL. Chase is about as athletic as it gets at the wide receiver position, and he should be a playmaker early on in his career.

Some of the weaknesses are hard to come by, but Chase will need improvement as a route runner. That’s an area that can be adjusted quickly with proper technique through coaching. Being a contributor for just one full season in college could be a slight concern, but we’re just grasping for cons at this point.

Fantasy football impact

Rookie

Ja’Marr Chase was the clear-cut No. 1 wide receiver prospect in this class, with the perfect blend of size, speed and agility. He pairs up with the quarterback he last played with in the NCAA — Joe Burrow — so the chance for an immediate connection is there. Chase has the potential to be a true dominant WR1 in the NFL, and he’ll be drafted as such in dynasty leagues. He’ll compete for targets with Tee Higgins (second-round 2020 draft pick) and Tyler Boyd, but it could be that the most immediate impact is a higher ceiling for Joe Burrow.

Long-term

Paired with a quarterback like Joe Burrow, Chase immediately makes the jump into the top-15 WRs for dynasty fantasy football. He’s got the size to be a true dominant WR1 and now gets to play the length of his rookie deal (hopefully) with the quarterback that helped to make his 1,780 receiving yard season in 2019 a reality. To the moon!