Ja’Marr Chase is a starting wide receiver for the Cincinnati Bengals. Initially committing to the University of Kansas, Chase enrolled at LSU to play college football. After a nondescript true freshman campaign in 2018, he and quarterback Joe Burrow carried the Tigers to a magical run in 2019 that concluded with a National Championship win against a Trevor Lawrence-led Clemson team. He caught 84 balls for 1,780 yards and 20 touchdowns in that breakout season, winning the Fred Biletnikoff Award as college football’s best wide receiver. Chase then opted out of the 2020 season to prepare for the 2021 NFL Draft.
Chase brought the proverbial house down at his Pro Day in 2021. His athleticism metrics include a 4.34 40-time, a 135.7 (97th-percentile) Burst Score, a 10.95 (81st-percentile) Agility Score, and a 10.29 (94th-percentile) Catch Radius. At the behest of Cincinnati's franchise quarterback and college teammate Joe Burrow, the Bengals made Chase the No. 5 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. That was after widespread speculation the team should pick blue chip offensive lineman Penei Sewell. Chase’s contract is a four-year, $30.8 million deal. It includes a $19.8 million signing bonus, more than $30 million guaranteed, and a $7.7 million average annual salary. He carries a max cap hit of over $9.8M in the 2024 season.
It’s safe to say that Chase earned his contract and then some during his exceptional rookie year. In his first career game against the Minnesota Vikings, he hauled in five passes for 101 yards and a touchdown, good for 20.9 (No. 15) fantasy points. With three more scores over the next two weeks, he became the youngest player in league history to score four times in his first three games. That was only the beginning. Chase logged seven triple-digit receiving yard performances that season, including two over 200 yards, a league record for most receiving yards in a game by a rookie, and a franchise-record 1,454 (No. 14) receiving yards to go along with his 13 (No. 4) touchdowns. He helped lead the Bengals through the playoffs to the team’s first Super Bowl in 33 years, where they fell 23-20 to the Los Angeles Rams despite Chase's five catches for 89 yards. While his team fell in the Championship Game, Chase set a rookie postseason record with 368 total receiving yards.
In his rookie season, Chase recorded an 86.1-percent (No. 14) Snap Share and 536 (No. 12) Routes Run. He also posted 1,532 (No. 9) Air Yards, 30 (No. 3) Deep Targets, a 23.7-percent (No. 23) Target Share, and 17.9 (No. 5) Fantasy Points Per Game. He led all WRs with a +20.5 Production Premium, the highlight among many impressive efficiency metrics, including 125.2 (No. 2) Expected Points Added, a 136.0 (No. 4) QB Rating When Targeted, and 2.38 (No. 5) Fantasy Points Per Target.
In his sophomore season (2022), Chase suffered a hip strain after recording his second straight 30-plus point game, and he was forced to miss the next four games. When he returned to the lineup, it was as if he had never missed a beat. He finished with three top-five fantasy finishes over the next six games. The sky is the limit for one of the league’s pre-eminent playmakers. His ADP is safely nestled in the first round of all league formats for the coming decade.