Last season, we saw former college teammates Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase and Tua Tagovailoa and Jaylen Waddle find immediate success in their first seasons together in the NFL. “Shower Narrative” is a phrase popularized by Adam Levitan that suggests college teammates, specifically QB-WR batteries, who had success in college are likely to be similarly successful at the NFL level.
The Bengals and Dolphins drafted all four of the players mentioned above, but the Raiders and Cardinals looked to the trade market this offseason in an attempt to find similar connections. Las Vegas acquired WR Davante Adams to pair with former Fresno State teammate Derek Carr, while Arizona traded for WR Marquise Brown to catch passes from former Oklahoma teammate Kyler Murray.
Let’s take a look at the best shower narratives around the NFL and evaluate what their fantasy impact might be this season. Next up in this series: Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase.
Joe Burrow (QB – CIN) and Ja’Marr Chase (WR – CIN)
Joe Burrow Projections
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Joe Burrow finished the regular season as PFF’s highest-graded passer (91.2) while also ranking first in super sticky stats like passing grade from a clean pocket (94.6) and passing grade throwing at the intermediate level (95.6). I have finished the season as the QB8 averaging just north of 20.5 fantasy points per game.
The Bengals quarterback has undoubtedly entered the conversation as one of the league’s best real-life NFL passers, but might be slightly overvalued based on early best ball ADP with impending regression. He’s the QB6 despite finishing as a top-6 fantasy quarterback just thrice in 2021.
No quarterback scored more fantasy points over expectation, which hints that regression will hit Burrow in 2022. The LSU product also rushed for just 118 yards and two TDs. He rushed for fewer yards than Mac Jones, who is notorious for being ranked low across consensus due to his lack of upside as a rusher.
However, there is a legitimate path for Burrow’s upside to be further unlocked if the Bengals increase their pass rate as they did during his rookie season and down the playoff stretch. Burrow led the NFL in passing attempts per game (40.4) during his rookie season and averaged 38 passing attempts/23.0 fantasy points per game in his final six weeks
An uptick in passing volume won’t help Burrow’s efficiency per se, but his fantasy numbers will be much more stable from week to week.
Also can’t forget to mention the Bengals revamped their offensive line as they look to not let their franchise quarterback get sacked 70 times – 22 more than the next closest quarterback.
– Andrew Erickson
No.2 in yards per attempt from a clean pocket last season?
Joe Burrow 💉🧊 https://t.co/L0fyB8KCtC
— Andrew Erickson™ (@AndrewErickson_) March 21, 2022
Ja’Marr Chase Projections
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Ja’Marr Chase broke Justin Jefferson’s record for most receiving yards by a rookie, finishing 2021 as the WR5 in fantasy points per game and the WR22 in expected fantasy points per game. Only Deebo Samuel scored more fantasy points above expectation (+74.3) than Chase – a testament to his home-run hitting ability from him. Chase’s 18.0 yards per reception ranked second-best in the NFL behind only Samuel.
The Bengals wide receivers’ dominance continued in the postseason with back-to-back 100-yard games in the first two rounds of the playoffs. Chase commanded a 27% target share when it mattered most during postseason play, a 5% increase from his regular season target share.
– Andrew Erickson
2022 Fantasy Football Staff Consensus Rankings
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