The time is finally here! We are only one week away from the start of the 2023 NFL regular season, and fantasy football drafts are going down left and right in redraft leagues. You’ve done your NFL offseason research, read our Fantasy Football Draft Guide, downloaded our fantasy football cheat sheet, and you’re ready to go! Whatever platform you draft on, whether it’s ESPN Fantasy, Yahoo Fantasy, My Fantasy League, etc., Minnesota Vikings WR Justin Jefferson has been the consensus first-overall pick in fantasy football drafts with an average ADP of 1.59 in our fantasy football ADP tracker. Still, that little bit of deviation in the ADP means he’s not going 1.01 in every draft. So, who is worthy of being taken over last year’s top wide receiver? I’m here to make a case for Ja’Marr Chase of the Cincinnati Bengals. Why, you ask? Let’s get into it.


The Case for Ja'Marr Chase Over Justin Jefferson as the 1st Overall Pick in Fantasy Football Drafts

The metrics at a glance seem to favor Jefferson, with him ranking first in targets, first in red zone targets, first in receptions…I think you get the gist. However, Chase's metrics aren't too far off, considering he missed five games with a fractured hip. Even in just 12 games, Chase still ranked third in red zone targets, first in route participation, and he was actually FIRST in expected fantasy points per game. Applying the “injury-prone” tag to Chase just doesn’t fit, as the hip issue was a freak injury that could have happened to anyone. For all you “on-pace” people, had Chase not been injured, he was on pace to have 37 red zone targets! That’s nine more than Jefferson had last year, and if Cincinnati’s offense is as efficient as we think it’s going to be this season, Chase could come close to that number again.

Chase also has a much more solid quarterback situation in Joe Burrow than Jefferson does in Kirk Cousins. Even after a much-maligned slow start to the season last year, Burrow finished with a 68.5% completion percentage, was first among quarterbacks in accuracy rating, and third in passer rating. Compare that to Cousins, who had a 65.9% completion percentage, and was tenth in accuracy and passer ratings. While that’s nothing to sneeze at, Burrow has proven himself as one of the best quarterbacks in the league, and with a contract year upcoming, he will be going even harder this year. Minnesota also added Jordan Addison in addition to the mid-season acquisition of tight end T.J. Hockenson last year, so the targets may be more spread out than we are expecting with Jefferson facing the top corner on every team, where Cinicinnati’s offense remains relatively unchanged with the exception of a swap at tight end.

Speaking of facing the top cornerbacks, Jefferson struggled in several games last season against the league’s best, putting up single-digit PPR games in four matchups against the Eagles, Cowboys, Giants, and Packers. The games against the Giants and Bears were particularly painful, as they came in Weeks 17 and 18 in the fantasy football playoffs. Oof. Chase, on the other hand, was very consistent, even against tough competition, and never scored under 10.8 fantasy points. But we don’t live in last year when drafting for this year right? While you are correct, Minnesota’s schedule again faces some formidable secondaries this season with the Eagles, Panthers, Packers, 49ers, and Saints all on their schedule. We talked about Jefferson whiffing in the playoffs for you, but what if I said Chase gets the Vikings, Steelers, and Chiefs in Weeks 15-17? I’d prefer Chase here all day long.

Ultimately, who you draft at the 1.01 spot is up to you. That’s why we teach you how to analyze and become a better fantasy football player with all our tools and information at Check out our draft guide, download our cheat sheet, and go dominate your drafts!


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