Dynasty Profile: Chase Claypool (2022 Fantasy Football)
Chase Claypool (WR – PIT) was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft. In Week 5 of his rookie season, he exploded onto the scene, catching three touchdown passes against Philadelphia for 42.6 fantasy points. While he didn’t manage to replicate that performance again, his rookie season proved successful. Claypool would finish the 2020 season tied for the team lead in touchdowns (9), third in catches (62), and second in yards (873). Those numbers were good enough to make him the overall PPR WR23.
2021 wasn’t as kind to Claypool. Pittsburgh was in a rough spot with an aging quarterback in Ben Roethlisberger and a poor offensive line in the absence of veteran Alejandro Villanueva. The team leaned on rookie RB Najee Harris, who was third on the team in receiving targets with 94, in addition to his 307 rushing attempts. In addition to Najee, WR Diontae Johnson saw an astounding 169 targets, leaving Claypool with a similar target share to 2020 (105). However, unlike the previous season, Claypool could not turn those targets into big plays, scoring only twice and finishing as the overall PPR WR37.
Change is in the air in Pittsburgh heading into the 2022 season. Big Ben has retired, and we now await the camp QB battle between veteran free agent acquisition Mitchell Trubisky and first-round pick Kenny Pickett. In the draft, the team also acquired WRs George Pickens (second-round) and Calvin Austin (fourth-round) and signed WR Anthony Miller in free agency.
This season is make-or-break for Claypool. The team has brought in more receiving competition to go along with incumbents Harris, Johnson, and second-year TE Pat Freiermuth. As a result, red zone snaps will be at a premium in this offense, which will be a key to him having any relevance in 2022. His lack of explosiveness in 2021 clearly concerned the organization, and if he comes out of the gate slowly, it could be a long season for Claypool managers.
General Prediction for 2022 and Rest of Career
With a new QB incoming, offensive coordinator Matt Canada will be looking for anyone who can help make the transition easier for whoever wins the starting job. While the team hasn’t given up on Claypool yet, he will need to earn his keep in this offense. If he can again establish himself as a red zone threat, a top-24 finish at the position isn’t out of the question. However, with the emergence of Freiermuth and the additions of Pickens, Austin, and Miller, that is likely his ceiling for the upcoming season.
If Claypool manages to impress in 2022, we could see a significant bump in his fantasy value. Unless the franchise can work out an extension, Johnson will likely leave in free agency after this season, leaving the door open for Claypool to take over as the team’s WR1. With his FantasyPros Dynasty ECR of WR42, he could be a steal at his current value.
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