Dynasty Battles: Justin Herbert or Joe Burrow 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 pitting the Chargers’ Justin Herbert up against the Bengals’ Joe Burrow.

Among fantasy football managers, there is a debate as to which quarterback is preferred to roster: Justin Herbert or Joe Burrow? The debate is on in the Dynasty community as well. Both of these quarterbacks are top-10 talents, and both Herbert and Burrow possess the attributes necessary to finish the fantasy season as a top 3 quarterback in the game.

Both Herbert and Burrow are likely to be anywhere from 6th to 11th round picks in most 1QB startup drafts in 2021 and late 1st or 2nd 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 Justin Herbert or Joe Burrow?

3. Justin Herbert – Los Angeles Chargers

KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI – JANUARY 03: Quarterback Justin Herbert #10 of the Los Angeles Chargers passes during the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on January 03, 2021 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) Justin Herbert or Joe Burrow

Age: 22
Height: 6’6″
Weight: 237 pounds
Drafted: 2020 1st Round 6th overall – Oregon
2020 Stats: 15 Games Played; Passing – 595 attempts, 396 completions, 4,336 yards, 31 TDs, 10 INTs; Rushing – 55 carries, 234 yards, 5 TDs
2020 Fantasy Finish: QB9
Career Stats: 15 Games Played; Passing – 595 attempts, 396 completions, 4,336 yards, 31 TDs, 10 INTs; Rushing – 55 carries, 234 yards, 5 TDs
Accolades: 2020 NFL Offensive Player of the Year; NFL Records for a rookie: most completions with 396, most 300 yard games with 8, most passing TDs with 31, most total TDs with 36

With a lot of hype surrounding Herbert after his historic rookie season, it’s important that he’s got great weapons in Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, and Austin Ekeler around him that helps keep his floor high. Another possibly heading into 2021 is that they could add more talent around him through the draft or free agency.

Herbert finished just 39 yards short of the all-time rookie passing yards record while playing in just 15 games, with Tyrod Taylor as the Week 1 starter in Los Angeles. In 8 of his 15 games, Justin threw for over 300 yards.

Heading into 2021, he’ll have a new HC in Brandon Staley and a new OC in Joe Lombardi. They’ll be looking to build the offense around him heading forward which should only increase his chances to succeed. So when you’re debating between Justin Herbert or Joe Burrow, it’s important to take all these things into account.

2. Joe Burrow – Cincinnati Bengals

CINCINNATI, OHIO – NOVEMBER 01: Quarterback Joe Burrow #9 of the Cincinnati Bengals passes the ball in the first quarter of the game against the Tennessee Titans at Paul Brown Stadium on November 01, 2020 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) Justin Herbert or Joe Burrow

Age: 24
Height: 6’4″
Weight: 216 pounds
Drafted: 2020 1st Round 1st overall – LSU
2020 Stats: 10 Games Played; Passing – 404 attempts, 264 completions, 2,688 yards, 13 TDs, 5 INTs; Rushing – 37 carries, 142 yards, 3 TDs
2020 Fantasy Finish: QB25 (due to injury)
Career Stats: 10 Games Played; Passing – 404 attempts, 264 completions, 2,688 yards, 13 TDs, 5 INTs; Rushing – 37 carries, 142 yards, 3 TDs
Accolades: CFP National Champion, Heisman Trophy Winner, AP College Football Player of the Year (All awards mentioned were awarded in 2019).

Before tearing his ACL in Week 11 against Washington, Joe Burrow was on his way to breaking a lot of the rookie QB records broken by Herbert. In 5 of 10 games played, Burrow threw over 300 yards with one of them being a 406 yard performance Week 7 against the Browns. Burrow never threw more than 1 INT in a game, which shows that when mistakes happen he’ll keep his composure.

He was sacked the 3rd most of any QB through the first 11 weeks–going down 32 times. According to Keith Hernandez from RotoBaller, “He had taken 72 hits entering his final game, which was tied for the most by a rookie QB in his first nine games since 2000.” An O-Line upgrade will be a huge focal point for the Bengals this offseason if they want their franchise QB to stay on the field.

The injury and expected time it’ll take for him to return will lower his value this offseason, but don’t be deceived, because this kid can ball. ACL tears aren’t career ending injuries, so we can hope to see the old Joe Burrow come back ready to prove what he’s capable of. That O-Line will have a lot to do with whether you’d prefer Justin Herbert or Joe Burrow as your fantasy QB.

1. Dynasty Battle Winner

MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA – NOVEMBER 15: Justin Herbert #10 of the Los Angeles Chargers attempts a pass against the Miami Dolphins during the second half at Hard Rock Stadium on November 15, 2020 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) Justin Herbert or Joe Burrow

It seems kind of tough to decide between Justin Herbert or Joe Burrow, right? Each quarterback excels in many areas of the game with few weaknesses to account for.

Heading into Week 11 in the 2020 NFL season, Joe Burrow was the QB16, averaging 17.87 fantasy points per game in 10 games played. Herbert had only played 9 games through 10 weeks, and he ranked as the QB8, averaging 24.96 which is good enough for the QB5 in PPG. This may make it easy to pick between Justin Herbert or Joe Burrow, but there’s more to it than what meets the eye.

Their O-Lines are a big proponent in fantasy production, and I think if Burrow had more protection he’d be putting up bigger numbers. At the same time, Anthony Lynn held Herbert back some, even making a comment that he shouldn’t feed Keenan Allen as much. Both QBs have factors that held them back, but I think Burrow had it worse.

Let’s look at how similar they were their rookie seasons. Herbert had a completion percentage of 66.6% and Burrow had 65.3%, while both were completing 26.4 passes a game. Both had 3.7 rushing attempts a game, as Herbert averaged 4.3 yards per attempt and Burrow with 3.8. They both saw 32 sacks during the season, though Burrow played in 5 less games. Justin finished with a QBR of 98.3, and Joe finished with a 89.8 QBR.

Both of these quarterbacks are top tier assets on your dynasty roster, but in the end when considering Justin Herbert or Joe Burrow, Justin Herbert wins this Dynasty Battle.


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