Reports suggest JaMarr Chase has a hip injury that will sideline him for several weeks. That makes the team’s other pass catchers – Tee Higgins, Tyler Boyd and Hayden Hurst– look more interesting. A lot more interesting.
Passing production in general should decline some, but they’ll be looking more often for those guys. Over the last year and half, Chase has caught 19 of the 49 touchdowns thrown by Joe Burrow. Burrow without Chase will have to look more often for other receivers.
Mike Thomas will get on the field a bunch, but I don’t think he’ll be much of a factor. He’s had two opportunities to be a starter-type guy this year (against Pittsburgh and Baltimore) and he’s caught only 2 of the 8 passes thrown his way in those games, for 38 yards.
With the top-level receivers, I think back to the 2020 season (the year before Chase showed up). Higgins in his final six full games with Burrow at quarterback that year caught 32 passes for 528 yards and 2 TDs. That’s 93 yards per game.
Tyler Boyd was also very good in the 2020 season. In his 10 games with Burrow at quarterback, Boyd caught 69 passes for 71 yards and 3 TDs. Those are top-20 PPR numbers.
I picked through the numbers some. I see 15 career games for Boyd where he had Burrow at quarterbacks and Chase wasn’t much of a factor (either not playing or catching 3 or fewer passes). Boyd caught 94 passes for 1,010 yards and 5 TDs in those games. That’s 6.3 catches for 67 yards, on average. Solid.
|TYLER BOYD WITHOUT CHASE DOMINATING|
|2020||at Clev.||L 30-35||8||7||72||1|
|2020||at Phi.||T 23-23||13||10||125||0|
|2020||at Balt.||L 3-27||6||4||42||0|
|2020||at Ind.||L 27-31||8||5||54||0|
|2020||at Pitt.||L 10-36||8||6||41||0|
|2020||at Was.||L 9-20||11||9||85||0|
|2021||at Chi.||L 17-20||9||7||73||0|
|2021||at NYJ||L 31-34||8||5||69||1|
|2021||at L.V.||W 32-13||8||6||49||0|
|2021||at Den.||W 15-10||6||5||96||1|
Similarly for Higgins, I see 14 games since 2020 when Burrow was playing and Chase wasn’t much of a factor (0-3 catches). Higgins in those 14 games caught 63 passes for 938 yards and 6 TDs. That’s about 4.5 catches for 67 yards per game – about the same as Boyd for yards, but with slightly more touchdowns and 2 fewer catches per week.
|TEE HIGGINS WITHOUT CHASE DOMINATING|
|2020||at Clev.||L 30-35||6||3||35||0|
|2020||at Phi.||T 23-23||9||5||40||2|
|2020||at Balt.||L 3-27||8||4||62||0|
|2020||at Ind.||L 27-31||8||6||125||0|
|2020||at Pitt.||L 10-36||9||7||115||1|
|2020||at Was.||L 9-20||10||3||26||0|
|2021||at Chi.||L 17-20||10||6||60||1|
|2021||at NYJ||L 31-34||6||4||97||0|
|2021||at L.V.||W 32-13||3||2||15||0|
|2021||at Den.||W 15-10||3||2||23||0|
I’m not going to put up numbers for Hurst, but they’ll be similar. He’ll be busier with Chase sidelined.
I have re-worked the Week 8 projections. When they come out tomorrow, you’ll see Burrow a little lower, but the pass catches will all be higher. (Joe Mixon will also move up in the rankings, with the likelihood they’ll use him more – he’ll be working against a bad run defense on Monday night).