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Dynasty Fantasy Football Rankings Faller: Chase Claypool, WR PIT

What does the future hold for Chase Claypool in Pittsburgh after a dynasty value drop?

Chase Claypool

Summer and the off-season are upon us. As dynasty owners, we are looking ahead to the upcoming season. In the Dynasty Fantasy Football Rankings Risers and Fallers series, we break down some of the fantasy-relevant dynasty players, including rookies, and look at their values while providing actionable advice on what to do with them.

Chase Claypool, WR PIT (November 2021 Rank=44.17, Current Rank=68.29)

One of the more awkward moments in the 2022 NFL Draft was Chase Claypool announcing the Pittsburgh Steelers’ second-round selection (52nd overall). That pick just happened to be his potential replacement, Georgia wide receiver George Pickens. Since that fateful moment, the Notre Dame grad has seen his fantasy value drop nearly 25 spots.

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Data Courtesy of DLF Dynasty Rankings History Comparison App.

The selection of a player at the same position does not always mark the end for their predecessor, but the fact of how high the draft pick was told us all we need to know about how the front office feels about Claypool. The former second-round pick caused a bit of a stir last season, calling out head coach Mike Tomlin for not allowing music at practice so it can be “fun.” Tomlin doesn’t strike us as the type of guy that incorporates fun in his work.

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Data Courtesy of DLF Wide Receiver Rankings.

Claypool now finds himself ranked in the mid-30s amongst several rookies, including his new teammate, who is only eight spots behind. That could change as early as July when training camps open up. A good showing could easily propel rookie Pickens ahead of Claypool.

Downward Trend

One of the few Canadian-born players to play in the NFL, soon-to-be 24-year-old Claypool saw a significant decline in production in year two. He dropped from WR22 to WR39 year over year. The declining play of Ben Roethlisberger likely didn’t help matters, but Diontae Johnson was still able to thrive in the same offense after seeing similar production as the rookie in 2021.

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Data Courtesy of DLF Yearly Data App.

Things don’t look much better at the quarterback position for 2022 in the Steel City either. Pittsburgh signed former number three overall pick Mitchell Trubisky and drafted Pitt Panthers signal-caller Kenny Pickett with their first-round pick (20th overall). Early indications are that the veteran has a substantial lead on the position heading into camp.

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Data Courtesy of DLF QB History App.

Taking a look at the QB history app, we see that Trubisky has never been able to support more than one wideout for fantasy purposes. Granted, these were different offenses but the discrepancies between the fantasy WR1 and WR2 are significantly large. Fortunately, the Mike Tomlin system can and has supported two wideouts in the past.

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Data Courtesy of DLF Coaching History App.

The big question is whether that WR2 will be Claypool or Pickens in 2022 and if whoever wins the starting quarterback job can implement said system as efficiently as Roethlisberger did over the years. Time will tell.

Boom or Bust

There is no doubt that the 6’4”, 238-pound wideout is a big play waiting to happen. The problem is that if he does not make the big play, then you are stuck with a dud for the week. Perhaps Claypool is best served to be drafted in best-ball formats for now.

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Data Courtesy of DLF Player Scoring History App.

A look at the weekly plot from 2021 shows just how inconsistent he was. These are the peaks and valleys we hate to see but are par for the course for a player who finished as the WR39. There was not one stat category that Claypool excelled in and he was particularly poor in the touchdown department.

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Data Courtesy of DLF Player Scoring History App.

Perhaps the addition of Pickens will motivate him. It better. The Steelers weren’t done drafting receivers there though. They added Calvin Austin out of Memphis in the fourth round (138th overall). Austin is a different type of receiver but could nonetheless be a threat for targets.

One Trick Pony?

We noted that Claypool is a big play waiting to happen but when those big plays don’t come, we see the type of performance that we got in 2021. In 2020, he hauled in nine touchdowns but saw that number drop to just two last season.

With the size he possesses, we would like to see a better catch rate than the current career average of only 56.5%. To put this in perspective, teammate Johnson has a career catch rate of 62.7%. Another area we would like to see an improvement in 2022 is in red-zone targets. Claypool was 58th in the league last year with just 13 looks inside the 20. Players like Coradarrelle Patterson and Aaron Jones saw the same number.

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Data Courtesy of NFL Savant.

Even running back and teammate Najee Harris got more love in the receiving game in the money area. Not great, Bob. Newly acquired teammate Pickens is known to be strong when it comes to contested catches so there doesn’t appear to be a path to an increase in looks for Claypool in 2022.

Conclusion/Course of Action

Get out while you still can. The writing is on the wall and unless the outspoken wideout can overcome all of the obstacles noted above, he will quickly fall out of favor in Pittsburgh and the Steelers can move on rather cheaply this season or next.

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Data Courtesy of Over the Cap.

Maybe a trade to a team that plays music and has “fun” at practice would be best for both parties involved. Speaking of trades, here is what the current market is for him in fantasy land.

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Data Courtesy of DLF Trade Finder.

These results are from 12-team, one-quarterback, PPR leagues. I would gladly take trade number one or trade number two here and not look back. Try to sell before training camp starts and we start to learn that your once-promising asset is being surpassed on the depth chart by a rookie.

Dynasty Fantasy Football Rankings Faller: Chase Claypool, WR PIT
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