When Joe Burrow was clearly less than 100% with his calf injury, the Bengals never turned to Jake Browning, and Thursday night in a loss against the Ravens gave us a good sense of why that was. Browning simply looked overwhelmed, fading from pressure and basically only throwing up prayers his receivers couldn’t answer more often than not.
As of Friday morning, we don’t have any details on Burrow’s injury, and it was pretty concerning to see him try to throw on the sideline only to crumple in a heap in pain after barely bringing the ball up above his shoulder. What we can say about Burrow at this point is if he’s at all physically able to play, he’s probably going to. He just may not be able to after Thursday. At least for a little while.
And, yeah, it’s obviously a significant downgrade across the board for the entire Bengals offense. Ja’Marr Chase ended up salvaging his Fantasy game with a garbage time touchdown, but he had just two catches for 12 yards to go along with the score on seven targets. He nearly made a couple of highlight-reel catches, but he also needed highlight-reel catches just to have a chance at a good game, something we’ve seen from the likes of Garrett Wilson with Zach Wilson as his QB.
That’s probably the range I would throw Chase in if Burrow has to miss time. Wilson’s been a fringe WR1, and that’s right around where I have him ranked, because he makes just enough superhero-type plays to overcome the poor QB play. I would expect the same from Chase if he has to play with Browning.
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Tee Higgins would be more like a WR3 once he returns from his hamstring injury, while Joe Mixon would probably be in the Saquon Barkley range of the rankings for me, where you’re probably starting him because of the volume he’ll get, but his chances of a touchdown in any given week are going to be pretty low, and efficiency could be an issue. He’ll be more like a low-end RB2 if Burrow is out.
Like I said, it’s a downgrade across the board. Let’s just hope the extra time off before Week 12 helps Burrow get right. The last thing we need is another offense wrecked by QB injuries.