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Joe Burrow’s Fantasy Outlook After Being Picked #1 Overall in NFL Draft

Joe Burrow unsurprisingly went first overall in the 2020 NFL Draft. Now the question is: should you draft him as your fantasy quarterback?

Photo: John Amis/Associated Press | Edit: Danny Schwartz/On Tap Sports Net

It’s unsurprisingly official, the Cincinnati Bengals have taken quarterback Joe Burrow with the first overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. We’re living in some strange times during this COVID-19 pandemic and this NFL Draft is as unusual as unusual gets, so it’s nice to have some sense of normalcy with an obvious number one pick.

The entire offseason has had me wondering about Joe Burrow. His performance in the College Football Playoff Championship game was outstanding:

2019 Game Logs Table
PassPassPassPassPassPassPass RushRushRushRush ReceReceReceRece TackTackTackTackTack
Date School Opponent Cmp Att Pct Yds TD Int Rate Att Yds Avg TD Rec Yds Avg TD Solo Ast Tot Loss Sk
2020-01-13Louisiana StateNClemson*W314963.346350176.314584.110000000.00.0
Provided by CFB at Sports Reference: View Original Table
Generated 4/23/2020.

Burrow is a pure leader who is willing to put in the work to make his surrounding teammates better overall, which brings up a really interesting inquisition.

Is Burrow a day one fantasy starter?

Let’s first take a look at the pieces around Joe before answering that question. The Bengals are not without talent on the offensive side of the ball. With the likes of A.J. Green, John Ross III, and Tyler Boyd all on the receiving end, there is no shortage of weapons along the perimeter or deep downfield. Green spent 2019 injured so we don’t fully know how he will be when he comes back, but if he’s anything like his former self, then we can count on him for an average of 72 catches per year.

Over the last two seasons, John Ross III has averaged 24.5 receptions per year and ten receiving touchdowns while Tyler Boyd has been a PPR monster, notching 2,074 yards off 166 receptions and twelve touchdowns. These receivers have the means to take a quarterback like Burrow and flourish under his poise.

Cincinnati’s running back corps is a tad bit unstable to put it nicely. They are mildly inconsistent and have a lot of improving to do. Giovani Bernard, Joe Mixon, and Trayveon Williams (who I was very high on going into the 2019 draft) have their work cut out for them and a stellar quarterback at the helm could be the key to getting them in a multifaceted offense.

Looking back on Burrow’s senior year at LSU, it’s hard not to stare at his final numbers in awe.

Passing Table
School Conf Class Pos G Cmp Att Pct Yds Y/A AY/A TD Int Rate
Provided by CFB at Sports Reference: View Original Table
Generated 4/23/2020.

Throwing for over 5,000 yards and 60 touchdowns is seriously impressive. Depending on how your league scores it, we’re talking about over 240 fantasy points in passing alone.

Over only 15 games, what really stands out to me with his numbers is the TD:I ratio of 10:1. Clearly, Joe knows how to protect the ball, and yes he had great receivers like Justin Jefferson and Ja’Marr Chase helping him out, but it takes an entire team to pull this off.

This kind of knowledge and skill is what separates the men from the boys at the NFL level. Turning the ball over at any level makes it much harder on your own defense to win a football game but it’s even harder to do in the NFL where opposing teams can really make you pay for your mistakes. Burrow possessing the ability to keep offensive possessions going will be a key factor in his success with the Bengals.

Now begs the question:

Is he draft-worthy and where do you take him?


Imagine Lamar Jackson going in the first round of your fantasy draft and really shaking things up. It’s not too far-fetched; I’m already seeing people discuss the idea in fantasy groups all over social media. If that happens, the domino effect will take come into play. The obvious choices will start to fall off the boards rather quickly, i.e. Aaron Rodgers, Patrick Mahomes, Drew Brees, Tom Brady, and Mitchell Trubisky Russell Wilson.

Depending on what position you are drafting in could play a huge role here. If you’re in a position to snag one of the aforementioned quarterbacks, then absolutely do not hesitate. However, if you’re like me and you tend to load up on skilled position players before taking a quarterback, then Burrow is the perfect choice. This is the weird grey area where guys like Nick Foles, Carson Wentz, Jared Goff, and Derek Carr tend to fall off the table because they are reliable but not over-the-top fantasy producers.

This is a situation where your draft strategy can win or lose you the league. In my opinion, Burrow is the absolute perfect choice here. I think taking a risk on him is well-worth it as long as you have a solid second choice like Kirk Cousins or Matt Ryan to fall back on in case of disaster. This is going to be a very interesting year of football and the fantasy leagues around the country are in for a roller-coaster style draft when the hectic picks start flying.

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Husband, father, and Chicago Bears fan bringing you the noteworthy news surrounding the Monsters of the Midway, beer in hand. #Crackum

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