2020 season totals: Games:16 Targets/Receptions:108/67 Yards:908 Y/R:13.6 TD:6 Fantasy Pts:194.6 (PPR)
In the build-up to my fantasy auction last summer, I viewed Higgins as one of those potential ‘smart picks’. Being able to pick him off the waiver with the hope he might have some solid flex value down the line, you know the kind. But boy, did he exceed expectations.
The rookie out of Clemson quickly became one of Joe Burrow’s ‘guys’, so much so that AJ Green turned into just another guy. A perfect foil to Bengals WR1 Tyler Boyd, Higgins was better than decent in jump ball situations, and demonstrated excellent body control in some circus catches throughout the year. His first half of the season tear – special mention to outings on the road at PIT and INDY – came to a sudden halt when Burrow went down, but he still managed to put in some good showings in the second half with Brandon Allen under centre.
In the end, Higgins ended up with a higher target share than Boyd which led to a WR27 finish. Maybe most impressive of all, Higgins finished third among rookie receivers, just behind Justin Jefferson and CeeDee Lamb who we all waxed lyrical about.
You know how sometimes certain people act differently around their best friend? That’s a situation Higgins is hoping to avoid this season. Ja’Marr Chase, the new man on campus and widely regarded as the best receiver in this recent draft class, joined the Bengals to reunite with his former college quarterback in Burrow. Not only does Chase bring with him dynamite ability, but he also comes with a big, hungry mouth to feed, and we all know what that means.
You can look at how this will impact Higgins in two different ways: with Chase taking AJ Green’s slot and targets, the ceiling for Higgins is undoubtedly dented (providing Chase is not abducted by aliens or something). The more positive spin is that now with 3 legit weapons on the field at any given time, defensive schemes will be spread thin, leaving more opportunity for our boy, Tee.
Second-year receivers, the really good ones anyway, almost always take the big step up in year 2. And going by recent reports from Bengals beat writers. Higgins is determined to prove he was not just a one-year wonder.
For example, if you’re expecting a DK Metcalf like 2nd year from Higgins, I think you may end up disappointed. However, and this a big however, Burrow loves to throw the ball and the Bengals spent some money on the O-Line this off-season. There’s absolutely a world in which Higgins has another very good season and keeps himself in the WR 20-30 range, which is where I think he will sneak in to.
Worst case scenario is Higgins turns into the Bengals version of Michael Gallup, which will suck, and then I’ll retire from writing.
Feature Image Credit: Getty Images