🥳 Joe Burrow is throwing again!

The rest of the NFL should be very afraid...

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86 days until football is BACK via the Bears-Texans Hall of Fame game…

In today’s Fantasy Life Newsletter presented by BetMGM:

  • Joe Burrow and the Bengals are approaching full health

  • Watercooler: The Panthers add some depth to their backfield

  • What Now? Time to pick sides, boys and girls!

  • It’s 5/7. Take it away, Ian Hartitz…

It's been a long 12 months for Bengals fans and Joe Burrow supporters.

Sky-high 2023 expectations were initially interrupted by Burrow suffering a July calf injury that left the franchise QB immobile for most of the first month of the season, but a four-game win streak highlighted by back-to-back victories over the 49ers and Bills seemed to have Cincy right where they wanted to be in mid-November.

Sadly, this was when Burrow suffered a season-ending wrist injury that required surgery. Kudos to Jake Browning for helping the Bengals finish 9-8 — the 2023 AFC North was the first division where every team had a winning record since 1935! — but Cincy was never confused as a legit threat without Joe Shiesty under center.

Good news, Who Dey Nation: Burrow was back throwing on the field Monday, and his QB coach Brad Kragthorpe thought things went well!

"He looked like the Joe Burrow we're used to seeing. I didn't see any difference. I thought the ball came out of his hand well. Confidently. I'm happy where he's at."

Dr. Jeff Mueller added some good context to the recovery and ultimately believes, “the scapholunate ligament reconstruction itself will not limit or impact his throwing mechanics in a negative way.”

Let’s hope so because few passing games have been as lethal as Burrow and company with the benefit of full health. His advanced metrics were up there with any QB in the league during the 2021 and 2022 regular seasons:

Burrow among 39 QBs with 300-plus dropbacks in 2021-22:

  • EPA per dropback: +0.175 (No. 4)

  • Completion percentage over expected: +4.6% (No. 2)

  • PFF pass grade: 92.5 (No. 1)

  • Passer rating: 104.2 (No. 1)

  • Yards per attempt: 8.1 (No. 2)

  • Fantasy points per game: 20.8 (No. 4)

Burrow also deserves credit for shining brightest when it has mattered most; he’s arguably been the NFL’s most-clutch QB since entering the league in 2020.

This prolific attack saw both Ja’Marr Chase (WR5 and WR4 in PPR points per game) and Tee Higgins (WR13, WR19) simultaneously put up elite fantasy numbers, something that looks to be on the table for at least one more year with the latter WR anticipating playing in Cincy despite requesting a trade earlier this offseason.

While Chase’s current ADP (WR3, pick 4) is in line with his previous high-end production, both Burrow (QB7, pick 71.9) and Higgins (WR27, pick 44) offer upside at their respective affordable price tags. The same is true for rookie WR Jermaine Burton (WR73, pick 162.9), who profiles as a potential day-one starter and is an explosive play waiting to happen.

The Bengals joined the Chiefs, Cowboys, Bills and Eagles as the only teams to score triple-digit offensive TDs during the 2021 and 2022 regular seasons; don’t be afraid to buy low-ish on Burrow and company ahead of 2024 — just be sure to make some time to pay respect to the Injury Gods at some point this summer.

Man, is all this offseason optimism making anyone else hot?

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Around the Watercooler (August 2022)

📝 Have a rookie draft coming up? Don’t start before checking out our mock draft!

😴 Which rookie sleepers should you target in dynasty leagues? Let’s dive in.

👀 The Packers continue to hype up a certain incoming rookie. His pass-catching chops are intriguing.

🏈 The Raiders added more depth at WR. Now if only they had a QB.

🪙 Rashaad Penny has a new home. This is suddenly a crowded backfield.

📈 Full-time slot WRs can be pretty great PPR assets. Comeback szn for this veteran?

🤝 The Titans visited with another veteran WR. Treylon Burks must be thrilled.

🏥 Anthony Richardson health updates continue to flow in. Good news!

🎸 Critics are calling this the best fantasy football-mahogany tree collab article EVER. Bravo, Pat.

🤣 Eli Manning explains why he was absent from the Tom Brady roast. Got ‘em!

Cooterdoodle's What Now? Pick Sides! Fantasy Life

The fantasy football season might not officially kick off for a few months, we are NOT ready to unplug. Cooterdoodle is here to keep our minds in check by asking the age-old, evergreen question: “What Now?”

😥 What Now? Pick Sides

Time to pick sides, boys and girls! No no no… This has nothing to do with diss tracks. We’re still talking about fantasy football.

Part of the allure to this imaginary game is finding ways to plant our flags and choose sides. But this doesn’t just apply to players and teams. We’ve got plenty of sides to choose from, so let’s get started.

😖 Keep or Change

It’s rule-changing time!! Or is it?

Once things start cookin’ and the league begins to offer up new ideas, don’t be the guy who sits on the fence just to appease everyone.

Actively chose a side. Do you want to move to FAAB or not? Do you want to add another bench spot or keep things the same? Should you implement a 3rd round reversal in your draft or are you against it?

Don’t be lazy and say, “It doesn’t matter.” Get some skin in the game. Pick a side for f*cks sake. Because if you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for … an auction league. (Yeah, I said it. I’ve picked my side. Now it’s your turn.)

🧟 Should I Stay or Should I Go?

We’re already at the part of the offseason where leagues are being rejuvenated. Group chats are coming back to life! But this means that some people (degenerates like us) are prepping for drafts. Because of this, it’s time to take inventory.

Even if you won’t tell your spouse what your total league count is, you need to admit it to yourself. Take note of which leagues brought you joy and which ones were zombified remnants of a group that no longer interacts. While I don’t condone leaving leagues high and dry, if you’re going to leave – NOW is the time.

Commissioners will need to fill your very large shoes, so you’ve got to let them know. Will you stay or will you go?

👶 Old Man Vets or Wittle Baby Rookies

Okay sure, the draft board and your league mates’ decisions might affect how you react on draft day. BUT it doesn’t hurt to take a stance now.

Prep your 'my guy' lists. You need to consume enough information to develop your own in house in-head rankings so you know what you’d rather take off the board when it’s game time. My rookie fever paid off in droves last season, but that doesn't mean that I want to ignore the vets this go-round.

Pick sides. You'll need to know where you stand when you're on the clock.

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