Joe Burrow is cool. And that means he probably doesn’t really care about his fantasy football stats. The only stats that matter to him are the final scores of his two playoff exits in the NFL.
Still, a lot of people do care about his passing numbers. And thankfully for them, they should be mighty impressive this year — if all goes to plan, they’ll probably the best yet in his short career.
2022 fantasy performance
Burrow finished as the fourth-best quarterback in fantasy football last year, throwing for a career-high 35 touchdowns (second in the NFL) and 4,475 yards (fifth in the league) with only 12 interceptions. The third-year quarterback added fantasy value by rushing for 257 yards and getting five touchdowns on the ground.
Best-case scenario for 2023
Those who’ve watched them will tell you that Burrow and the Bengals offense have yet to really play to their potential (at least fantasy-wise). A lot of that is related to the fluctuation, injuries, and lack of consistent play on the offensive line. And now Cincinnati has added Orlando Brown Jr., giving that unit a huge boost. So there’s really no telling how high the Bengals can fly.
Can Burrow break Peyton Manning’s record of 55 touchdown passes in a season? Sure, if that’s really what they need from him. But, really, a balanced attack would make a lot more sense. So if anything, Burrow’s turnovers are probably where we’ll see the biggest change.
I had the chance to talk to one of the brightest minds in fantasy football, Bobby LaMarco of Razzball.com, about Burrow’s prospects. And he said that, so long as Burrow’s pass volume continues to grow (which it should), he’ll be an elite fantasy option. LaMarco had this to say about the Bengals star:
If you isolate the nine games where [Ja’Marr] Chase, Tee Higgins, and Tyler Boyd were all on the field together and were healthy, Joe Burrow was out of this world, averaging over 29 fantasy points per game.
Based on that, LaMarco has Burrow as QB4, behind Josh Allen, Patrick Mahomes, and Jalen Hurts.
Worst-case scenario for 2023
The absolute worst-case scenario is that Burrow gets hit badly again and misses significant time. In terms of his on-the-field play, there is a very small chance that the solid additions to the o-line from last year (Alex Cappa, Ted Karras, and Cordell Volson) take a step back and Brown gives up more pressure than Jonah Williams did on the left side. Burrow would then be rushed to go through his progressions and make more mistakes.
LaMarco says that, in the event of absolute disaster, like Chase and Higgins missing time again, Burrow’s volume could drop. Even if that were to happen, though, the fantasy football guru would have the Cincinnati whiz kid at QB5, now behind Justin Fields but still ahead of Trevor Lawrence and Lamar Jackson.
Thanks to an o-line that’ll actually help prevent disaster against premiere pass rushers, Burrow will probably end up with about 40 touchdown passes, 10 interceptions, and 5,000 yards passing.
Burrow has been able to stay mostly healthy through his young career. He suffered a terrible knee injury his rookie year but has been able to finish the last two seasons reasonably healthy. During the first week of the Bengals’ 2023 training camp, Burrow suffered a calf strain and had to be carted off the field. At this time, he’s listed as questionable for Week 1, which is something to keep in mind during your fantasy drafts.
The QB’s supporting cast is fantastic, and they make it easy for Burrow to maintain that record-breaking accuracy. To be quite honest, this might be the strongest supporting cast the fourth-year star has had in his entire career with the upcoming free agency of Boyd and possibly Higgins.
That means that this could be the equivalent of Dan Marino’s second season or Peyton Manning’s record-breaking second season with the Denver Broncos for Burrow. So sit back and enjoy the fireworks in Cincinnati this year.
Handcuff player recommendation
There is no quarterback on the Bengals’ roster who can come close to doing what Burrow does on the field. If he goes down, that’s the end of the offense.
Other Bengals to consider
Obviously, Ja’Marr Chase will be one of the first overall picks in fantasy drafts. Tee Higgins should be up there as well. Irv Smith is worth getting late in your draft. And Tyler Boyd could turn out to be a smart waiver wire pickup.
For more on the fantasy outlooks of Bengals players, watch the show with LaMarco below:
You can also listen on iTunes or using the player below: