Tee Higgins
Katie Stratman- USA TODAY Sports

Can Tee Higgins Be A Reliable WR in 2021 Fantasy Football?

Tee Higgins burst onto the seam in 2020 by providing a consistent threat for the Bengals’ offense. Paired with rookie QB Joe Burrow, Higgins looked like the clear number one receiver on this team and Burrow’s favorite target. In the 2021 NFL Draft, the Bengals took another receiver in Ja’Marr Chase with the 5th overall pick. We have to ask, what does this pick mean for Tee Higgins’s fantasy production?

The first thing working in Higgins’s favor is that the Bengals are a pass-first offense. In the limited games we saw Joe Burrow play, he looked the part and gave some life to a dying franchise. We all know about the Bengals’ offensive line woes, couple that with the consistent disappointment of Joe Mixon and the Bengals would be dumb to be a run-heavy offense. They had the 20th lowest rush rate in 2020 at 39%, and I only expect that to go down.

The main obstacle working against Higgins is that Ja’Marr Chase is going to be the best rookie receiver in his class and the number one receiver on the Bengals. I don’t know if people forgot that when Chase and Justin Jefferson were at LSU, it was clear who the WR1 was. Chase is a smooth route runner with surprising breakaway speed, coupled with incredible hands, and he has the tools to be a special receiver in this league.

Now that we got the boring stuff out of the way, what does this mean for owners of Tee Higgins in fantasy football? Among rookie receivers, Higgins ranked in the top four in receptions, yards, and touchdowns. In 16 games, he had 67 receptions, 908 yards, and six touchdowns. In Fantasy, Higgins ranked 28th in total points for all receivers and averaged 8 points a game (non-PPR). He only eclipsed double-digit points in six of sixteen games with a game-high of 15.9 against the Texans in week 15.

Higgins produced with Tyler Boyd alongside him, but adding another high-volume receiver to the mix does not bode well for Higgins. While Higgins and Burrow have some rapport, Ja’Marr Chase and Burrow being teammates at LSU is a factor. They have a sense of comfortability with one another which only hurts Higgins’s chances at getting more receptions.

I would stay away from Higgins in 2021. He will get catches, but his numbers will not be close to WR1 standards and may even be on the lower end of WR2’s. Boyd, Chase, and Higgins are a potent wide receiver group but are going to take catches away from one another week in and week out. If you are looking to grab a second-year receiver this year in fantasy, look towards Justin Jefferson, CeeDee Lamb, Chase Claypool, or even Brandon Aiyuk.

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