Welcome to Would You Rather: Dynasty Edition, a series from DLF based on the popular board game. Each week we post a poll on Twitter asking fans who they prefer between a player or a certain pick. The values used here come via the DLF Trade Analyzer. We will cover the results and discuss both sides of the poll in depth. Let’s get right to it!
In regards to this week’s poll, it would have been interesting to see what the results would be before the NFL Draft a few weekends ago. Expectations have tempered on Claypool with the addition of George Pickens. Here were the results:
Which do you prefer?
— DLF (@DLFootball) May 5, 2022
The outcome was not even close. Despite similar values from the analyzer, Mooney took down this poll by over a three-to-one margin.
These numbers reflect a one-quarterback league. If we toggle to superflex, the values favor Claypool by a score of 147.2 to 120.5. That said, there is no doubt that the NFL Draft has an impact on player values in dynasty formats.
A Case for Chase Claypool
There were certainly some eyebrows raised when the Pittsburgh Steelers selected George Pickens with the 52nd pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. After all, they already have Diontae Johnson and Claypool on the roster so it was not a glaring need for the organization. We have to wonder if the Notre Dame grad is not long for the Steelers. His contract is good through the end of 2023 but the organization can move on fairly inexpensively after this season. Remember Claypool wanted to have more “fun” at practice, something that likely still does not sit well with head coach Mike Tomlin.
Looking at the yearly data app, we see that Claypool had a decline in 2021 from his productive rookie season. He dropped down to the WR39 after a solid WR22 finish in 2020. Claypool did play in one less game but still saw similar usage, hitting 105 targets to follow up the 109 from his inaugural campaign.
The biggest decline for the 23-year-old came in the touchdown department. We see from the chart above that he scored nine touchdowns in 2020, good for 24.9% of his points. In 2021, he only managed two, accounting for just 7.2% of the points scored. Ben Roethlisberger has retired and Mitchell Trubisky will battle with Kenny Pickett for the starting quarterback job. Perhaps a change at quarterback is what was needed to revitalize Claypool’s career.
There has only been one game where Claypool did not catch passes from Roethlisberger, but what a game it was for Claypool. The 6’4”, 238-pounder went off for over 100 yards and a touchdown. A younger, more mobile quarterback should fit his game better and if Trubisky or Pickett both manage to fail, Claypool can bolt for greener pastures in 2024. Don’t throw in the towel just yet on him.
A Case for Darnell Mooney
The Chicago Bears have been loudly criticized for not making a major splash at the wide receiver position via free agency or the draft. New general manager Ryan Poles did draft Velus Jones out of Tennessee with the 71st pick of the draft in April. Even that pick drew some ire because Jones is already 25 years old. This all has sent the Mooney hype to the moon, pun intended.
Similar to Claypool, Mooney struggled to find the end zone in 2021 but ranked as a WR2 in just about every other counting stat. The quarterback play in Chicago was lackluster, to say the least. An improved offensive line and a renewed commitment to Justin Fields should do wonders for the offense as a whole.
Mooney had one more WR1 game than Claypool but his bad games were much worse. This can be attributed to the quarterback’s play and poor offense. Gone are Matt Nagy, Andy Dalton, and Nick Foles, and in comes new offensive coordinator Luke Getsy. We should see an improvement in touchdowns and across the board for Mooney.
Mooney also managed to hit double figures in 11 of 16 games played compared to nine of 15 for Claypool. The hope is that with the improved offense, the valleys will not be as steep or as frequent for the Bears’ most talented receiver. Allen Robinson left for Los Angeles and the only other free agents brought in do not move the needle much in terms of demanding target share. The arrow is pointing straight up here.
As is the case with anything dynasty-related, team needs, league size, scoring, and aversion to risk play a role in how you construct your roster. I agree with the masses here with Mooney being the preferred asset. The players appear to be headed in opposite directions entering their third season in the league. Perhaps the addition of Pickens to the Steelers receiver room lights a fire under Claypool and he goes back to his rookie form.