Will Tee Higgins of the Cincinnati Bengals earn his stripes this upcoming 2022 NFL season?
One of the best young wide receivers in the league entering the 2022 season is Tee Higgins. Even so, Higgins, a second-round pick in 2020, remains underappreciated compared to his contemporaries. In terms of total points, he finished 2021 as WR24, while in terms of points scored per game he was WR11. He joins the Cincinnati Bengals offense in 2022 as their second option as they try to bounce back from their Super Bowl loss.
Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins are the ultimate ___ wide receiver duo
— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) July 30, 2022
Last season, Tee Higgins played in 14 games but missed three with a nagging shoulder problem. Despite this, he still had a successful season with 74 receptions for 1,091 yards and six scores.
On the other hand, fellow All-Pro Rookie of the Year Ja’Marr Chase topped the Bengals in every receiving stat. Chase is mostly deployed as a deep threat, so the added emphasis on Chase coming into this season will only benefit Higgins. Chase led the Bengals in every category, but Higgins was generally the more reliable receiver.
Both Higgins and Chase had the same number of targets during the games they participated in, but Higgins had a higher target-per-drive rate. Note that after Higgins returned from injury in Weeks 5-17, he served as the WR9.
Tee Higgins 2022 Fantasy Football Outlook
Because of the hype around Ja’Marr Chase after his record-breaking rookie season, Higgins once again starts the season as an obscure fantasy prospect.
Another major component of Higgins’ potential fantasy value is Joe Burrow, the Bengals’ star linebacker. Burrow was sacked 51 times last year, making him the most sacked quarterback in the NFL in 2021. That’s important because it could affect the quality of the Bengals’ passing game. However, they have tried to improve their offensive line this season. That means the Bengals should have more quality passing attempts.
Even just adding a few extra attempts each game to that total could have a significant impact on both Burrow’s fantasy value and the fantasy values of his receivers, including Higgins. Keep in mind that Burrow threw the ball 35 or more times in six games last season. Higgins averaged 19.4 fantasy points in those games. That would put him at WR4 for the entire season. It would also tie him with Justin Jefferson for points per game.
Considering their upcoming schedule, the Bengals will face the Cowboys, Buccaneers, Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs. Those matches should ensure some high-scoring contests and improve Higgins’ targets.
Five observations from day 3 #Bengals camp.
1. Tee Higgins is a monster. It’s listed 3 lbs heavier than last year and looks incredibly imposing on the court. Is there a better No. 2 receiver in the NFL? Tee had 96, 103 and 100 yards in the last 3 postseason games pic.twitter.com/JhWKwvzHqe
— Dan Hoard (@Dan_Hoard) July 29, 2022
For now, Tee Higgins is projected to go as a WR12 in the third round. Given some of the receivers moving ahead of him, this is now fantastic value. Higgins is currently ranked 15 places lower than CeeDee Lamb. Given that Higgins finished last season better than Lamb, getting Higgins one full round later is a wonderful thing. Tee Higgins is a fantastic pick as a top receiver in the second or third round. Anyone who values picking a strong wideout early in fantasy football drafts should have him on their radar.
Experts see Higgins as a strong bet to score close to or just over 15 PPR points per game in 2022. That will keep him in the mix as a top-12 Fantasy wide receiver. Recall that he ranked among the top 10 wide receivers in terms of yards per target (9.9), yards per route run (2.26) and, perhaps most significantly, explosive play rate (25.5 percent).
Higgins should continue to be a reliable target for Joe Burrow. That’s despite concerns about how many special games he’ll have this season. This is especially true given that he averaged significantly more targets per game than Chase. As a result, the Bengals will have a solid Fantasy base of at least 13 PPR points most weeks. There is also the possibility of more when the game turns into a shootout. In PPR leagues, that puts Tee Higgins in the 3rd round. Meanwhile, in non-PPR leagues, that puts him closer to the early 4th round.
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