Fantasy Football: Is Joe Burrow Due for a Bounce-Back Season?

Riley Thomas
Riley Thomas_riley8
Fantasy Football: Is Joe Burrow Due for a Bounce-Back Season?

After finishing with the fourth-most fantasy points among quarterbacks in 2022, Joe Burrow had a disappointing season last year mainly due to his season-ending wrist injury sustained in Week 10. Burrow would finish 25th in QB fantasy rankings.

Burrow is expected to be healthy entering the 2024 season. We've seen what Burrow can do when playing for the majority of the season. Is the Cincinnati Bengals' signal-caller poised to return to 2022's form -- one of the league's best fantasy QBs?

With Burrows' average draft position (ADP) in mind, let's jump into his fantasy outlook for the 2024 season.

Joe Burrow Fantasy Football Outlook

Will 2023's Injury Carry Over to 2023?

Before we dive into the numbers, let's take some time to focus on the injury. Burrow suffered torn tendons in his throwing wrist, cutting short his 2023 campaign. Tearing a tendon -- especially in his dominant wrist -- causes obvious concerns.

Will this injury alter Burrow's throwing motion? If yes, will it lead to a weaker arm or less accuracy? This is just a taste of some of the thoughts racing through Bengals fans' minds throughout the offseason.

Darius Butler discussed how blood flow gets impacted from this kind of wrist surgery, which then leads to questioning about Burrow's wrist mobility.

Ultimately, Burrow should be ready Week 1 and as healthy as ever. David J. Chao -- a former head NFL team doctor -- took to X, stating he expects Burrow to be "fine."

Burrow made an appearance on Pardon My Take, stating he gained around 10 to 15 pounds and feels "a lot stronger." The star quarterback has consistently dealt with injuries from his torn ACL in 2020 to a troublesome calf strain entering the 2023 season.

At this point, injuries are a clear concern for Burrow's fantasy stock. However, there has been an extra focus from Burrow on staying healthy this offseason.

The wrist seems to be of little concern at this point, and Burrow adding weight to his frame could mean improved durability. Time will tell, but I'm not too concerned about injuries entering 2024.

Passing Attack Undergoes Change

Now that we have Burrow's injury troubles out of the way, let's focus on the Bengals' roster.

Cincinnati's passing attack will look a little different in 2024. Here are some notable departures: Tyler Boyd signed with the Tennessee Titans, Irv Smith Jr. joined the Kansas City Chiefs, and offensive tackle Jonah Williams departed for the Arizona Cardinals.

Every mentioned change could be for the better, though. Boyd recorded only 667 receiving yards last season -- his lowest since being a full-time starter. Smith made minor impacts with 115 yards and was overshadowed by Tanner Hudson and Drew Sample. Williams was mediocre at best with a 58.5 Pro Football Focus (PFF) grade.

The Bengals likely upgraded each spot, giving Burrow an improved chance to shine. For example, Mike Gesicki steps into the tight end role and totaled over 700 receiving yards in 2020 and 2021. Gesicki has a far higher ceiling than Smith did in 2023. Trent Brown -- a free agent acquisition -- figures to be an upgrade at right tackle considering his 80.2 PFF grade in 2023.

Cincy's third receiver is likely the biggest question as it will be a competition between Trenton Irwin, Andrei Iosivas, Charlie Jones, and rookie Jermaine Burton. Irwin, Iosivas, and Jones have each shown promise. On The Growler, Steve Palazzolo of PFF gave rave reviews regarding Burton, who has been tabbed as a fantasy "league winner" by some.

None of the mentioned losses should harm Burrow's fantasy stock. If anything, the replacements are more reason to buy into the former top-five fantasy signal-caller.

Joe Burrow Fantasy Football Projection

FantasyPro's consensus ADP currently has Burrow as the eighth QB off of the board. Considering the upside, this is a player worth targeting for fantasy leagues.

We know the usage is there for Burrow; high usage usually means a load of fantasy points. Cincinnati has finished among the eighth-fewest rushing attempts per game while sitting among the eighth-most passing attempts per contest in back-to-back seasons.

This probably won't change much as Joe Mixon was traded to the Houston Texans, and the Bengals added Zack Moss alongside Chase Brown. This backfield remains nothing special.

Dan Pitcher replaces Brian Callahan -- who became head man of the Titans in the offseason -- as offensive coordinator. Pitcher has been on the staff for nine seasons and has been a familiar face for Burrow. As a former QBs coach and in-house hire, the offense's philosophy likely won't change much.

numberFire's fantasy football projections have Burrow finishing with the 12th-most passing yards at 4,181.7. This is assuming that Burrow plays in 17 games. For argument's sake, this projection would put Burrow at 246.0 passing yards per game. He's been beyond that in three of his four seasons.

Last year was a huge regression for Cincinnati's offense for various reasons, from injuries to questionable coaching. After finishing as a top-10 scoring unit in 2021 and 2022, the Bengals were mediocre with the 16th-most points per game in 2023.

Burrow's touchdowns were way down in 2023 at 1.5 passing touchdowns per game compared to over 2.0 in his previous two seasons.

Additionally, if we simply take Burrow's career average of 270.8 passing yards per game, this would be good for about 4,603.6 passing yards in 17 games. That would be the second-best mark among numberFire's projections.

Burrow still has Ja'Marr Chase and Tee Higgins on the receiving end of his throws. The pass protection can't be much worse than his entire career. It could even finally improve with the addition of Brown alongside left tackle Orlando Brown Jr.

Cincinnati's star quarterback is still more than capable of returning to a top-five fantasy total. The roster is more than enough for an elite passing attack, and he seems to be healthy following wrist surgery. Burrow has the tools to surpass the production that his ADP suggests.

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The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author's advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.