When the Cincinnati Bengals took quarterback Joe Burrow with the No. 1 overall pick of the 2020 NFL Draft, they quickly ushered in a new era of their franchise. Rookies, particularly non-running backs, typically struggle to make an immediate fantasy impact. Quarterbacks are especially hard to gauge because, unless you play in a two-QB/Superflex league, there’s only a small chance a rookie will crack the Top 12 at the position.
That being said, last year’s No. 1 overall pick Kyler Murray managed QB1 status. Can Burrow do the same?
To start, we must look at sportsbooks odds as a point of reference. FanDuel Sportsbook lists Burrow’s over/under for passing yards at 3,800 with even juice on both sides. William Hill has his total passing touchdowns listed at 24 with slight juice to the over, meaning he’s slightly more likely to throw more than that number, in theory. In reality, it’s all about ‘books guarding against liability and having too much money on one side of a bet, but it’s a good reference point. BetOnline has 16.5 as the over/under number for interceptions.
Here are some other general things to know about rookie QBs, courtesy of Frankie Taddeo:
History reveals that while 21 rookie quarterbacks have eclipsed 3,000 passing yards in a season, a mere 10 have surpassed the 3,500-yard mark. Only three have thrown for 4,000-plus yards, with the NFL rookie record held by Andrew Luck, who posted 4,374 passing yards in 2012. Fellow Heisman Trophy winners Cam Newton threw for 4,051 yards in 2011 for Carolina while Jameis Winston had 4,042 in 2015 while a member of Tampa Bay.
So let’s take a look into those passing numbers and add 300 rushing yards and 3 rushing touchdowns to the mix (he averaged 383.3 yards and 6 rushing touchdowns in his final two college seasons). A 3,800-yard, 24-touchdown, 16-interception season with those rushing stats is worth 264 fantasy points. That would’ve been good for QB13 in total points last season and QB21 in average fantasy points per game (16.5), just ahead of Rams QB Jared Goff in both categories.
Those numbers seem about right. Burrow projects as a Top 20 fantasy QB with some upside to be a solid bye week fill-in for single-QB leagues.
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