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Rookie Snapshot 2021: Ja'Marr Chase fantasy football profile

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Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU Tigers

Size: 6-feet and 201 pounds

Age: 21-years-old (3/1/2000)

Background

Enamored by athletics at an early age, Chase became a local legend before graduating from high school. A three-sport athlete at Archbishop Rummel (located in Metairie, Louisiana), his hops wowed on the basketball court and even earned him a first-place finish in the men’s long jump at the state track competition.

It was on the football field, however, that Ja’Marr’s acrobatics gained him the most notoriety.

WR Snapshots: Toney | Chase | Smith | Waddle | Marshall Jr.

The first wideout in Rummel High Raiders history to post 1,000 receiving yards in a season, Chase was one of the hottest recruits at the position. Despite sustaining a season-ending right knee injury (PCL) that upended his senior campaign, the Louisiana-native received 28 offers. He waffled for a bit — enticed by Ole Miss, Florida, TCU, and Auburn — but, ultimately, the lure of staying close to home nudged him towards LSU.

Starting seven contests as a true freshman in 2018, Chase converted 23 of 36 looks for 313 yards and three scores.

That wasn’t even the appetizer. It was barely an amuse-bouche.

Because in 2019, things got wild. Good wild.

Chase was a massive part of LSU’s historic campaign, leading the FBS in receiving yards (1,780) and scores (20). To contextualize, in his true sophomore year, the then-19-year-old (!!!) recorded 100+ yards or a touchdown in 13 of 14 contests. He was also presented the Fred Biletnikoff Award and named a first-team selection for the AP All-America team.

Choosing to cap his college career on a supremely high note, Chase opted out of the 2020 season.

Pros: Ace ball-tracker, polished route-runner, savvy ball-carrier after the catch.

Cons: Questions about sample size/ability to perform without the same level of surrounding talent; average height for an X-receiver.

The Big Picture

Seemingly unfazed by pressure — be it defensive or situational — Chase’s game is pure poise. Whether the former Tiger is bursting off the line, fearlessly high-pointing, or breaking tackles after the catch (22 in 2019), his strength is as evident as his ball skills are elite.

There’s maturity and nuance to his game that’s rarely seen in a prospect so young. His ability to shift gears and play with tempo provides him with valuable versatility. While he’s thrived as an “X” and brings an alpha attitude to the field, his technique is advanced enough to scrupulously work all three levels of the field.

Some may call him a “one-year-wonder,” but what he did in that one year cannot be downplayed. Search his name and pages of stats will populate. But there’s one that encapsulates not just Chase’s 2019, but his potential at the next level:

Over the past two seasons, Chase recorded the most TD catches over 20 yards (14) ... but he was only on the field for one of those seasons. *shrug emoji*

NFL Comp: Michael Thomas

Fantasy Fit

Who doesn’t like a reunion?

Buzz around Chase to the Bengals at No. 5 would make for some spicy springtime (into summer) click-bait. But is it wise for a franchise to pass on protecting the overall No. 1 pick from just a year ago? That same pick that was sacked 32 times and is currently rehabbing his left knee (ACL + MCL) somewhere in SoCal?

Reports that Joe Burrow is urging his team to add Chase, in combination with the team’s activity over free agency, suggest that the QB and his former go-to target could run it back on the big stage. Were that the case, Chase could easily draw upwards of 100 looks as a rookie (A.J. Green recorded 104 in 2020), providing the youngster (and fantasy managers) with immediate top-30 potential.

Engage with Liz on social @LizLoza_FF

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