Dynasty Battles: Ja’Marr Chase or DeVonta Smith in 2021 and Beyond?

The RotoHeat Dynasty Battles Series pits two dynasty fantasy assets against against one another in an attempt to determine which player is best to have on your dynasty roster in the 2021 season and beyond. We are putting the top wide receivers in the draft up against each other–Ja’Marr Chase and DeVonta Smith.

Among fantasy football managers, there is a debate as to which wide receiver is preferred to roster: Ja’Marr Chase or DeVonta Smith? The debate is on in the Dynasty community as well. Both of these wide receivers are top 24 overall talents, and both Chase and Smith possess the attributes necessary to finish the fantasy season as a WR1 in the game.

Both Chase and Smith are 3rd or 4th round picks in most 1QB startup drafts in 2021 and anywhere from the 4th to 6th round picks in Superflex startups. The reality is, both are valuable dynasty assets, but in a world where you can only select one, who should you prefer? Is it Ja’Marr Chase or DeVonta Smith?

3. Ja’Marr Chase

NEW ORLEANS, LA – JANUARY 13: Wide Receiver Ja’Marr Chase #1 of the LSU Tigers makes a catch over Cornerback A.J. Terrell #8 of the Clemson Tigers for a touchdown during the College Football Playoff National Championship game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 13, 2020 in New Orleans, Louisiana. LSU defeated Clemson 42 to 25. (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images) Ja’Marr Chase or Devonta Smith

Age: 21
Height: 6’0″
Weight: 208 pounds
Drafted: Unknown – LSU
2020 Stats: Opted-out of 2020 season due to COVID-19
2020 Fantasy Finish: N/A
College Career Stats: 24 Games Played; Receiving – 107 receptions, 2,093 yards, 23 TDs; Rushing – 1 carry, 5 yards, 0 TDs
Accolades: 2019 National Champion, 2019 Unanimous All-American, 2019 First Team All-SEC

In 2019, Chase put up a stat line of 84 receptions for 1,780 yards and 20 TDs. He may have had less receptions than Justin Jefferson as he finished with 111 catches, but he had more yards (1,540) and TDs (18) than Jefferson. With the incredible rookie season Jefferson had last season, many people are expecting Chase to live up to similar production in his rookie season.

He’s been seeing a lot of comparisons to A.J. Brown, Julio Jones and Antonio Brown. This is a very diverse group of receivers as AB is only 5’10 and Julio is 6’3. It makes sense considering he can play the slot extremely well, hence AB, and he can play on the outside as an alpha like Julio. Though he’s only 6’0″ tall, he can play like he’s 6’3″+. The best part about Chase is that he’s such a well rounded WR, so when drafting a WR, are you leaning toward Ja’Marr Chase or DeVonta Smith?

2. DeVonta Smith

ATLANTA, GA – DECEMBER 19: Wide receiver DeVonta Smith #6 of the Alabama Crimson Tide makes a reception in the first half against the Florida Gators during the SEC Championship game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 19, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images) Ja’Marr Chase or DeVonta Smith

Age: 22
Height: 6’1″
Weight: 175 pounds
Drafted: Unknown – Alabama
2020 Stats: 13 Games Played; Receiving – 117 receptions, 1,856 yards, 23 TDs; Rushing – 4 carries, 6 yards, 1 TD
2020 Fantasy Finish: N/A
College Career Stats: 47 Games Played; Receiving – 235 receptions, 3,965 yards, 46 TDs; Rushing – 4 carries, 6 yards, 1 TD
Accolades: 2× National Champion, 2020 National Championship Offensive MVP, 2020 Heisman Trophy Winner, 2× First Team All-SEC, 2020 SEC Offensive Player of the Year, 2020 Unanimous All-American, 2020 AP College Football Player of the Year

In 2019, Smith put up a solid season finishing with 1,256 yards and 14 TDs on 68 receptions. The reason his production wasn’t higher his first three years at Alabama was because they had Calvin Ridley, Cam Sims, Irv Smith Jr., Henry Ruggs III and Jerry Jeudy during that time. His production would’ve been more like 2019 in 2020 if the target share wasn’t so spread out.

DeVonta Smith was the first WR to win the Heisman Trophy since Desmond Howard all the way back in 1991. Last year he also showed off his punt returning skills averaging 21.5 yards per return on 11 returns. One of those was an 84 yard punt return TD against Arkansas.

His career game came in 2019 when he put up 274 yards and 5 TDs on only 11 receptions. Those numbers are mind boggling. His best game in 2020 was the Championship game against THE Ohio State University when he posted 12 receptions for 215 yards and 3 TDs. In the biggest college game of his career he showed up in a big way. Pressure doesn’t faze Smith, so with the stats laid out, who’re you taking between Ja’Marr Chase or DeVonta Smith?

1. Dynasty Battle Winner

NEW ORLEANS, LA – JANUARY 13: Ja’Marr Chase #1 of the LSU Tigers celebrates a first down against the Clemson Tigers during the College Football Playoff National Championship held at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 13, 2020 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images) Ja’Marr Chase or DeVonta Smith

It seems kind of tough to decide between Ja’Marr Chase or DeVonta Smith, right? Each wide receiver excels in many areas of the game with few weaknesses to account for.

As I’ve been participating in Rookie Mock Drafts this offseason, I’ve seen Chase go at 1.01 in 1QB formats. I think he’s very capable of being the best WR in this class when we look back in a decade, but what if the 2019 season was just a fluke? He was part of a historic LSU offense led by Joe Borrow. It looks like we’ll have to make our best predictions and hope we’re right about his elite potential. If he has a Justin Jefferson season in his future, we’ll be in for a real treat.

DeVonta Smith has had many fantasy analysts commenting on his age and the fact that he wasn’t an early declare WR. Smith easily could’ve come out earlier than he did, but his priorities seemed to be different than most. He commented, “I came back to get a degree and to win a national championship. That’s why that meant so much to me, why I was just so happy about it. Two main boxes that I wanted to check off, I checked off.” I personally don’t see him as someone who needed extra time to succeed in the NFL.

Both of these wide receivers are top tier assets on your dynasty roster, but in the end when considering Ja’Marr Chase or DeVonta Smith, Ja’Marr Chase wins this Dynasty Battle by a very close margin.


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